Sep 302014
 

News Corp., the newspaper publisher controlled by Rupert Murdoch, agreed to buy the owner of Realtor.com for $950 million, expanding its digital-real estate listings to compete with sites such as Zillow.com.

Shareholders of the U.S. online real-estate business Move Inc. (MOVE) will get $21 a share in cash, New York-based News Corp. (NWSA) said today in a statement. That’s 37 percent more than Move’s closing price yesterday, and the total purchase price is net of the target’s cash, the company said.

Adding websites such as Realtor.com and Moving.com will allow News Corp. to expand in real-estate listings as advertising revenue sputters. The publisher, completing its first full year as a stand-alone company, last month reported quarterly earnings that missed analysts’ estimates as it struggled in its transition from print to digital.

The deal is News Corp.’s largest since it split from 21st Century Fox Inc. in June 2013. In May, News Corp. agreed to buy Harlequin Enterprises for $415 million, bolstering its book publishing business with the romance imprint.

Companies likes Zillow Inc., owner of the namesake listing site, have expanded as more people move their home searches online. The Seattle-based company in July said it would acquire rival Trulia in a transaction that would make the combined company the largest in online real estate advertising.

News Corp. plans to hold 80 percent of Move, with Australia’s REA Group Ltd. (REA), which is 61.6 percent owned by News Corp., owning the rest.

via News Corp. to Buy Real-Estate Business Move for $950 Million – Bloomberg.

Sep 302014
 

U.S. home prices in July increased at the slowest pace in 20 months, reflecting sluggish sales and a greater supply of houses for sale.The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 6.7 percent in July from 12 months earlier. That’s down from an 8.1 percent gain in June and the smallest increase since November 2012.Nineteen of the 20 cities in the index reported lower annual gains than in June. And a new national index of home prices compiled by S&P rose just 5.6 percent.Lower price gains should make homes more affordable for would-be buyers. Sales of existing homes picked up over the summer but then dipped in August. Sales have fallen 5.3 percent in the past year.

via US Home Prices Rise at Slowest Pace in 20 Months – ABC News.

Sep 292014
 

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — A gauge of pending home sales fell 1% in August, pulling back from an 11-month high in July, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday. Signaling that upcoming closings of existing homes are likely to slow down, the index of pending home sales hit a seasonally adjusted 104.7 in August, compared with 105.8 in July. Last month’s drop is likely due to waning investor activity as the pool of cheap, distressed properties dries up. By region, August’s gauge of pending home sales fell 3% in the Northeast, 2.1% in the Midwest and 1.4% in the South. Meanwhile, the gauge rose 2.6% in the West. Rising mortgage rates and prices cut home sales this year, and August’s gauge of pending deals was down 2.2% from the year-earlier period. Existing-home sales for all of 2014 are expected to hit 4.94 million, below 2013’s final tally of 5.09 million, NAR forecast. Pending sales typically close within two months. An index reading of 100 equals 2001’s average contract activity level.

via Pending home sales fall 1% in August – MarketWatch.

Sep 242014
 

New Home Sales Surge

The pace of new home sales rose sharply in August.New home sales rose 18% to an annualized pace of 504,000 in August.Expectations were for new home sales to increase 4.4% to an annualized rate of 430,000 in August.On Twitter, Bespoke Investment Group said this is the largest beat for new home sales relative to expectations since May 2010. Broken down by region, new homes sold during August were up significantly in the western part of the country, with homes sold in that region increasing 50% month-over-month and 84.3% year-over-year.July’s rate, which was initially reported as a2.4% decline to an annualized pace of 412,000 in July, was revised upwards to 427,000.The latest new home sales report from the US Census indicated that the seasonally adjusted estimate for new home sales at the end of August was 203,000, representing 4.8 months of supply and the current sales rate.The median sales price of new homes in August was $275,600, and the average sales price was $347,900.In a note following the report, Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macro said, “In one line: Breakout from the range of the past 18 months, but mixed signals re sustainability.”

via New Home Sales August – Business Insider.

Sep 242014
 

Some years ago the National Association of REALTORS® NAR engaged Tom Morris, Ph.D., to be a speaker at NAR’s national convention. His talks — tucked in among sessions dealing with marketing, sales techniques, and listing presentations — were out of the ordinary, to say the least. But they were relevant then and they are just as relevant today. Morris is, of all things, a philosopher, and a respected one at that. He taught fifteen years at Notre Dame, where he was widely-acknowledged to be the most popular teacher on campus. Now, as head of the Morris Institute for Human Values, he is a much sought-after speaker and consultant for businesses and corporations throughout the country. The title of his talk to the REALTORS®, reflecting his grounding in the classics, was "If Aristotle Sold Real Estate: The Four Foundations of Excellence."In a nutshell, Morris’ thesis is this: Human beings seek fulfillment, and an activity or relationship can contribute to one’s fulfillment if and only if it respects and nurtures the four fundamental dimensions of human experience. Those dimensions are the Intellectual, the Aesthetic, the Moral, and the Spiritual. A company or organization that ignores those aspects of its members’ experience does so at its peril. Conversely, companies that attend to those factors see payoffs in loyalty, retention, morale, and productivity."Well, OK," a sincere and attentive broker-owner might say, "but just what does all this stuff mean in the everyday world of my office? Exactly what might I do to apply these lessons from the ancients?" A fair enough question. In the space remaining, we’ll consider some concrete applications with respect to the first two dimensions. In the next column we’ll look at the remaining two.As Morris would put it, the intellectual dimension of human experience aims at the truth. People have a natural desire to know and to understand. To satisfy this desire, they need the truth. And, while no particular environment can supply them with all the truth there is, every environment can provide an atmosphere of respect for the truth. People — yes, even real estate agents — have a deep-seated need for this, and they will not be able to find real satisfaction in an enterprise where the truth is held in low regard.Real estate companies, as well as other organizations, can apply this in at least two ways. Internally, they must speak the truth to their employees and agents. At a minimum, this means no dishonesty. Taken more actively, it means openness. It means sharing with employees the truth about company plans and goals, and, especially, problems. It means not making secret deals with some agents, while deceiving the rest.Truth must also be spoken outwardly. A company that fudges, "puffs", and otherwise makes less than honest claims about itself to the public does no service to itself or its agents. How many Number Ones can there be? The effect of exaggeration and deception which doesn’t always require outright falsification is that, soon, no one listens. Worse, if an employee or agent perceives that his company does not treat the external public with a respect for truth, than he will certainly doubt that such respect would be shown to him.

via Truth And Beauty In A Real Estate Office?.

Sep 232014
 

Existing Home Sales

Existing home sales fell 1.8 percent as investors and cash buyers pulled away from the housing market. But August’s existing home sales data had a silver lining: families are wading back into home ownership, albeit slowly.

By Schuyler Velasco, Staff writer SEPTEMBER 22, 2014

Larry Downing/Reuters/FileView Caption

The market for existing homes experienced its first dip in four months in August, and the data tells a tale of two different housing markets: wealthy speculators buying up properties with cash, and families slowly wading back into home ownership.

Existing home sales fell 1.8 percent last month, according to data released Monday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), to an annualized pace of 5.05 million homes. Economists had expected sales to rise around 1 percent, to an annualized pace of about 5.2 million units.  The months’ supply of single-family homes held steady at 5.5 months.

Sales have been slowly increasing over the last four months, but there were signs that a pullback was coming. “The August result was in line with the July pending existing home sales, which had suggested a small decline in actual sales relative to their July pace,” Joshua Shapiro, an economist with MFR, Inc., writes via e-mailed analysis. “Also, it is important to bear in mind that with mortgage applications for home purchase not showing any signs of recovery, it is apparent that much of the juice in the existing home sales market remains centered in all-cash purchases by speculative buyers.”

via Existing home sales fall in August: a tale of two housing markets (+video) – CSMonitor.com.

Sep 172014
 

State Buyout Program

Nancy Von Spreckelsen grew up on Squire Street in East Brunswick.

Von Spreckelsen, 77, moved to New Brunswick for seven years after she married but when a property became available next to her childhood home in 1971 she returned to the street near the South River. As of November, she said, she would have lived on the block for 71 years.

But last week Von Spreckelsen packed up her belongings and moved to Monroe, after the state finalized the purchase of her home for $193,000 through a buyout program targeting flood-prone properties after Hurricane Sandy.

“It’s a bittersweet move but it’s a move that had to be done because at my age I could not go through another flood,” she said. “I just don’t want to deal with it anymore.”

Von Spreckelsen is one of seven homeowners on the block who plan to participate in the state-run program, which aims to purchase 1,300 homes that will be demolished and maintained as open space. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin visited the street this morning to announce the purchase of Von Spreckelsen’s home, the first in the township purchased through the buyout program.

Martin said Squire Street — which has experienced repetitive floods and borders a park — was a “prime candidate” for buyouts.

via First East Brunswick home purchased in Sandy buyout program | NJ.com.

Sep 122014
 
RE/MAX Global Image

RE/MAX Global

RE/MAX online lead generator LeadStreet® has surpassed 14 million leads supplied to RE/MAX brokers and agents since its launch in 2006. RE/MAX, LLC, one of the world’s leading franchisors of real estate brokerage services, does not collect fees for LeadStreet leads, which are equitably distributed to its U.S. agents.”In today’s marketplace, quality leads are extremely important to real estate professionals, so the RE/MAX LeadStreet platform is a tremendous resource,” said Margaret Kelly, RE/MAX, LLC CEO. “Reaching the milestone of 14 million leads is certainly a momentous achievement. No-cost leads are just one of the many resources RE/MAX is pleased to provide to our agents.”LeadStreet is a proprietary online lead generation and management platform that collects contact information from prospective homebuyers and sellers visiting the company’s many websites including: remax.com, theremaxcollection.com, remaxcommercial.com, global.remax.com. LeadStreet delivers thousands of leads daily, in near real-time, via email or text to agents’ computers, cell phones or tablets.”When I joined RE/MAX, LeadStreet quickly became a tool that I relied upon. In fact, my very first transaction resulted from LeadStreet,” said Michael Schopf of RE/MAX Associate Brokers in Stanwood, Wash.A redesigned remax.com launched in December 2012 and remains one of the most visited real estate franchise websites. The popular website offers a user friendly interface, along with an ability to create personal preferences. Homebuyers and sellers have easy access to what matters most: millions of home listings with numerous photos and valuable neighborhood information.RE/MAX provides a consistent web experience across desktops, tablets and smart phones. Users can tap and swipe through oversized listing photos with easy-to-use controls.

via RE/MAX Agents Receive 14 Million Leads — DENVER, Sept. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ —.

Aug 292014
 

remaxMore than 1,000 RE/MAX brokers and their industry vendors recently gathered in San Francisco for the company’s annual Broker Owner Conference. They’re celebrating recent successes and preparing for new opportunities in a recovering real estate market. Since the second quarter of 2013, more than 4,200 new agents and 208 new offices have joined the RE/MAX network.

At the opening session, RE/MAX Chairman and Co-Founder Dave Liniger told the audience that the company has come through a difficult housing market as a stronger organization and is much better positioned for success in the future.

Liniger acknowledged that much of the talk in the industry over the past few weeks has been about what’s happening online after Zillow acquired Trulia. Liniger brought Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff on stage for a straightforward, one-on-one conversation.

Rascoff reassured the crowd of real estate professions, “We are a media company and we sell ads — not houses. We are not an MLS and not a brokerage. We sell impressionbased advertising. That’s what we did before the merger and that’s what we will continue to do.”

Liniger said the motivation for RE/MAX to partner with online portals is based on the company’s reputation for innovation and interest in providing valuable technology resources for its affiliates. “We keep looking at ourselves and reinventing ourselves to do what works best. We negotiate the best packages we can for all our affiliates,” he stated. RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly spoke to the audience about new creative materials and customizable technologies that have been developed to assist brokers to recruit new agents. Specifically, she provided statistics about the success of the 2014 recruiting campaign, “Open Your Eyes to RE/MAX.”

“In the United States, we added 2,934 agents since the second quarter of 2013. We continue to expand our network of agents in the United States with growth of 5.5 percent over the second quarter of 2013.”

In 2014, the results from the two surveys of the largest U.S. real estate brokerages revealed that RE/MAX agents continue to outperform their competitors. The RISMedia Power Broker Report and the REAL Trends 500 survey both showed RE/MAX agents were the most productive when ranked by closed transaction sides per agent among the leading real estate franchisors.

For more information about RE/MAX, visit www.remax.com.

via RE/MAX sees opportunity in recovering market | eb.gmnews.com | East Brunswick Sentinel.

Aug 282014
 

Pending Home Sales Climb

A gauge of pending home sales rose 3.3% in July to reach the highest level in 11 months, signaling that upcoming closings of existing homes are likely to speed up, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. The index of pending home sales hit a seasonally adjusted 105.9 in July, compared with 102.5 in June. Low mortgage rates, moderating home-price growth and more homes for sale are all supporting deals, NAR said. However, weakness earlier in the year could drag 2014’s total sales of existing homes below last year’s tally. In July the pending-sales gauge was down 2.1% from a year earlier. By region, July’s gauge of pending home sales rose 6.2% in the Northeast, 4.2% in the South and 4% in the West. Meanwhile, the gauge declined 0.4% in the Midwest. Pending sales typically close within two months. An index reading of 100 equals 2001’s average contract activity level.

via Pending home sales climb 3.3% in July to reach 11-month high – MarketWatch.