array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97794" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26211" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97794" ["subject"]=> string(30) "Home Prices Still on an Upturn" ["authors"]=> string(17) "By RISMedia Staff" ["data"]=> string(3725) "Home prices are still on an upturn, up 5.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). 
 
"A majority of the country saw an upswing in buyer interest at the end of last year, which ultimately ended up putting even more strain on inventory levels and prices," says Lawrence Yun, chief economist of NAR. "Remarkably, home prices have risen a cumulative 48 percent since 2011, yet during this same timeframe, incomes are up only 15 percent. In the West region, where very healthy labor markets are driving demand, the gap is even wider. These consistent, multi-year price gains have certainly been great news for homeowners, and especially for those who were at one time in a negative equity situation; however, the shortage of new homes being built over the past decade is really burdening local markets and making home-buying less affordable."
 
Single-family home prices went up in 92 percent of markets assessed in the report, or 162 of 177 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). Fifteen percent of, or 26, metro areas saw prices up by double digits. At the national level, the median single-family home price was $247,800, and the median existing condominium price was $237,500.
 
Home prices in the Midwest and West grew at the highest year-over-year rate, both 7.2 percent to a median existing single-family value of $193,800 and $374,400, respectively, according to the report. Prices in the South followed, at 5.0 percent to a median $221,600. Prices in the Northeast grew at the lowest year-over-year rate, 4.2 percent to a median $268,100.
 
Affordability also declined in the fourth quarter. A homebuyer with a 5 percent down payment would need an income of $55,585 to afford a single-family home priced at the national median. A homebuyer with a 10 percent down payment would need an income of $52,659, and a homebuyer with a 20 percent down payment would need an income of $46,808.
 
“While tight supply is expected to keep home prices on an upward trajectory in most metro areas in 2018, both the uptick in mortgage rates and the impact of the new tax law on some high-cost markets could cause price growth to moderate nationally," Yun says. "In areas where home-building has severely lagged job creation in recent years, it's going to be a slow slog before there's enough new construction to cool price appreciation to a pace that aligns more closely with incomes."
 
The most expensive metro areas by median existing single-family price in the fourth quarter were: San Jose, Calif. ($1,270,000); San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. ($920,000); Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. ($785,000); urban Honolulu, Hawaii ($760,600); and San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif. ($610,000). The least expensive areas were: Cumberland, Md. ($84,600); Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio ($90,200); Decatur, Ill. ($100,000); Binghamton, N.Y. ($108,900); and Wichita Falls, Texas ($110,400).
 
Existing-home sales, including condos, rose 4.3 percent to 5.62 million in the fourth quarter, according to the report. Existing homes available for sale were down 10.3 percent year-over-year to 1.48 million at the end of the quarter, with an average supply of 3.5 months.
 
For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor
" ["preview"]=> string(358) "Home prices are still on an upturn, up 5.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). " ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97795" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26211" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97795" ["subject"]=> string(34) "Market Your Brand With .realtorâ„¢" ["authors"]=> string(0) "" ["data"]=> string(656) "NAR PULSE—Target your niche and increase your visibility online by spelling out who you are and what you do for your clients. Only REALTORS® can get a .realtor™ web and email address—free for the first year, one per member. Don't wait. Stake your claim today. Learn more


 " ["preview"]=> string(264) "
NAR PULSE—Target your niche and increase your visibility online by spelling out who you are and what you do for" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97796" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26211" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97796" ["subject"]=> string(54) "Show Your Love and Earn Referrals This Valentine's Day" ["authors"]=> string(16) "By Liz Dominguez" ["data"]=> string(3779) "Editor's Note: This was originally published on RISMedia's blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin' now at blog.rismedia.com: Valentine's Day is here. And while it's typically reserved for romantic, coupley outings, there's no reason why real estate agents can't show love for their clients and referral business. There are puns abound and an endless stock of chocolate at your disposal—use them wisely. Here's how you can reach out to clients this Valentine's Day and remind them you are the best agent in town:
 
Send a Card
It's a Hallmark-created holiday, right? So, take advantage and send out greeting cards to all of your clients. You don't need to spend a lot by buying them in a store. Creating a simple, print-out version that is branded to your business can be even more expressive. Remember, the cheesier, the better—that's the whole point of Valentine's Day!
 
Give a Little Gift
A little chocolate can go a long way. Everyone appreciates a surprise gift, and your clients likely won't be expecting one from their real estate agent. Add on to your greeting card by including a small box of chocolates, some holiday-themed candy or even a gift card to their favorite coffee shop. Adding a pun will add to your cheese factor and is a great way to be remembered. "Thanks a latte for your business" or "I'd like to espresso my love for you" are always winners.
 
Host a Contest
Everyone wants to be a winner and this is your chance to get referrals and boost your social media presence at the same time. You can do something as simple as having clients guess how many heart-shaped candies are in a container, or you can host a contest based on shares and likes and have your clients vote for their favorite from a group of four dream dates. Whichever you choose, the prize doesn't have to be anything crazy like a new TV. For example, a gift card to a local restaurant is the perfect way to tie a bow on your date-themed contest.
 
Throw a Little Party
Who doesn't love free food and drinks? You don't have to go overboard—just make sure it's memorable. This can even be an informal hangout at your office. If you want to promote it on social, have a backdrop where your clients can take their picture and upload it with a branded hashtag. You can also have little giveaways with themed goodies like Sweetheart candies that have your name on them.
 
It's not about what you're giving away, but how you are being remembered. Constant follow-ups throughout the year with some fun events and gifts is how your clients will remember you. At the end of any client appreciation events or within your greeting cards, always thank your clients for their business and ask them to refer you to their friends and family.
 
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia's associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com" ["preview"]=> string(266) "
Valentine's Day is here. And while it's typically reserved for romantic, coupley outings, there's no reason why real" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97807" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26211" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97807" ["subject"]=> string(43) "CFPB Dials Back on Dodd-Frank With New Plan" ["authors"]=> string(17) "By RISMedia Staff" ["data"]=> string(3343) "The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has announced its five-year Strategic Plan—a dial-back of Dodd-Frank—with three objectives:  
  1. "Ensure that all consumers have access to markets for consumer financial products and services."
  2. "Implement and enforce the law consistently to ensure that markets for consumer financial products and services are fair, transparent, and competitive."
  3. "Foster operational excellence through efficient and effective processes, governance, and security of resources of information."
Of note is the language and order of the Plan, which differs from the agency's 2013-2017 strategy:
  1. "Prevent financial harm to consumers while promoting good practices that benefit them."
  2. "Empower consumers to live better financial lives."
  3. "Inform the public, policymakers, and the CFPB's own policy-making with data-driven analysis of consumer finance markets and consumer behavior."
  4. "Advance the CFPB's performance by maximizing resource productivity and enhancing impact."
In consideration of its first objective, the organization is planning to "regularly identify and address outdated, unnecessary or unduly burdensome regulations in order to reduce unwarranted regulatory burdens." Both Mulvaney and President Trump have been forthcoming with their opposition of over-regulation, and critics contend that the agency's former director, Richard Cordray, was too aggressive in enforcing Dodd-Frank.
 
"If there is one way to summarize the strategic changes occurring at the Bureau, it is this: we have committed to fulfill the Bureau's statutory responsibilities, but go no further," said Mick Mulvaney, acting director of the CFPB, in a statement. "By hewing to the statute, this Strategic Plan provides the Bureau a ready roadmap, a touchstone with a fixed meaning that should serve as a bulwark against the misuse of our unparalleled powers."
 
According to the agency, it consulted Congress in the development of the plan, and it "draws directly from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act." It has amended its mission to now "regulate the offering and provisions of consumer financial products or services under the federal consumer financial laws and to educate and empower consumers to make better informed financial decisions," and its vision to "free, innovative, competitive, and transparent consumer finance markets where the rights of all parties are protected by the rule of law and where consumers are free to choose the products and services that best fit their individual needs."
 
To carry out its objectives, the agency intends to "seek the counsel of others; make decisions after carefully considering the evidence; equally protect the legal rights of all; confidently do what is right; and act with humility and moderation."
 
Stay tuned to RISMedia for more developments." ["preview"]=> string(339) "
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has announced its five-year Strategic Plan—a dial-back of Dodd-Frank—with three objectives. Of note is the language and order of the Plan" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97628" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26211" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97628" ["subject"]=> string(66) "Social Skills: Marketing Your Testimonials to Attract New Business" ["authors"]=> string(16) "By Liz Dominguez" ["data"]=> string(5849) "Editor's Note: This was originally published on RISMedia's blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin' now at blog.rismedia.com: Many companies will tell you that referrals are the bread and butter of their business. And how do they come about? That's simple—word spreads quickly when you offer a good product. But, it's not as easy as sitting back and waiting for that word to go viral. To keep the business coming, you have to keep the testimonials going up on social and across the internet. Here's how you can take your reviews to the next level:
 
Create Unique Testimonial Opportunities
The days of posting only simple written reviews are gone. Consumers want to see excitement and engagement in your company and changing up the testimonial format is a great way to show that. Let your clients choose from a variety of testimonial options so that you have different ways of promoting a review, which will also help your clients feel more comfortable.
 
Video testimonials are a little more personal and have a higher chance of going viral. Since social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are becoming more popular, you need to continue putting out digital content to stay relevant. These can be simple, selfie-style videos that your clients shoot themselves and then send to you, or you can ask them to pop into the office or film them in front of a branded background. Some buyers and sellers may be wary of being in front of a camera, so find out what they're most comfortable with. 
 
Don't get rid of written reviews either. Instead, add them into your testimonial package. Give your clients a list of sites where they can post their review; it can be the same for every page, but it's important to get those words of praise on as many sites as possible. Facebook, Yelp and Zillow are just some of the sites you should be asking for reviews on. To make these a little more engaging, you can also take selfies or SOLD pictures with your clients and post them on social with their reviews.
 
Guide Your Clients
Even if your clients prefer to take care of the reviews themselves, you can help steer them in the right direction. A review that doesn't mention your biggest wins will end up being less valuable. If you had a great experience with a client, it's okay to let them know what you would like pointed out in their review.
 
An excellent way to do this is to hand out a short survey that clients can use as an outline for their review. Did you sell their home in record time? Include a question that addresses that. Did you prove your market expertise? Include a question about how satisfied they were with your knowledge of comps and available homes. And always ask them to recommend your service to friends, family or anyone else looking to buy or sell a home.
 
And if you're going the video route and your clients prefer to be filmed rather than film themselves, you may want to think about interviewing them. This puts you in control of the video's content and will give your clients some direction.
 
Promote, Promote, Promote!
It doesn't end there. Now that you have a steady stream of varied reviews heading your way, you need to market them on social media and across the internet. You can post snippets of your reviews on Twitter every week and include a special hashtag like #TestimonialThursday. Post your videos and photos on Instagram and your Snapchat Story so all your followers can see. You can even create a testimonial series or playlist on YouTube. Tag your clients, with their permission, so they can share with their own followers. This will introduce your business to a new audience, which is essential to getting referral business. 
 
These reviews can also be promoted during your listing presentations and buyer consultations. Gather the best of your video reviews and create a digital portfolio/video reel that you can show potential clients. Include your written reviews and the accompanying photos within the documents you give your new clients, as well. You can even create case studies using your clients' experiences and reviews to showcase successful business relationships from beginning to end.
 
Once your social audience starts to expect your testimonial videos and excerpts, it won't be long before your phone starts ringing with new business.
 
Find more social media strategies, tips and trends in RISMedia's Social Skills series.
 
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia's associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com
" ["preview"]=> string(258) "
Many companies will tell you that referrals are the bread and butter of their business. And how do they come about? That's" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97808" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26211" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97808" ["subject"]=> string(29) "Where Are Women Buying Homes?" ["authors"]=> string(16) "By Zoe Eisenberg" ["data"]=> string(3222) "Editor's Note: This was originally published on RISMedia's blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin' now at blog.rismedia.com: Wondering where in the world women are becoming homeowners? A new SmartAsset study examined just that. In order to find the places where women are buying homes, SmartAsset looked at data for 402 metro areas, comparing data of two specific metrics: number of mortgages originated to women, and number of mortgages originated to men. The results showed a noticeable imbalance: Overall, men were 50 percent more likely to buy homes without cosigners compared to women. 
 
According to the data, solo women are snapping up more homes than men in only two metros: Santa Fe, N.M., and Santa Rosa, Calif. SmartAsset notes that women without cosigners outbought men without cosigners by 6.7 percent in Santa Fe and 1.6 percent in Santa Rosa.
 
Why are men purchasing more homes than women? Some research points to an income inequality issue purported in many places around the country. Grand Forks, N.D.-Minn. was the only studied metro area where the average female homebuyer had a larger income than the average male homebuyer.
 
Financial flexibility also impacted results, especially when it came to the mortgage-to-income ratio. SmartAsset data suggests women are more likely than men to buy a home, which limits their long-term financial flexibility. Meaning? On average, women have mortgage-to-income ratios 7 percent larger than men. Many experts recommend purchasing a home worth no more than 2.5 times your income, but for women, the mortgage-to-income ratio goes over 3.5 in metros like Santa Rosa or Los Angeles, Calif. If you factor in a 20 percent down payment for women in Santa Rosa, the average woman there is buying a home worth 4.4 times their income. So, it seems women are more likely to take a risk when it comes to purchasing a home.
 
Below are the top 10 places where women are buying. Hopefully, a focus on equal wages will bring more female buyers into the fold in the future.
 

 
For more information, view the study here
 
Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia's senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com." ["preview"]=> string(388) "Wondering where in the world women are becoming homeowners? A new SmartAsset study examined just that. In order to find the places where women are buying homes, SmartAsset looked at data for 402 metro areas" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "12392" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26211" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_10" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(6) "Footer" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "12392" ["subject"]=> NULL ["authors"]=> string(0) "" ["data"]=> NULL ["preview"]=> string(327) "

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" ["link"]=> string(0) "" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } Today's Real Estate News - Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Today's Top Stories
Home Prices Still on an Upturn
Market Your Brand With .realtorâ„¢
Show Your Love and Earn Referrals This Valentine's Day
CFPB Dials Back on Dodd-Frank With New Plan
Social Skills: Marketing Your Testimonials to Attract New Business
Where Are Women Buying Homes?
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RISMedia, Inc.
Real Estate Magazine
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Norwalk, CT 06851

General Inquiries:
Toll Free: (800) 724-6000
Local: (203) 855-1234

Online News Feedback:
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