From the Desk of Bob Caldwell
Real Estate Report 5/30/13
With the housing rebound in full swing, “pocket listings” are growing in many parts of the country as some sellers look to preserve their privacy, and brokers use them to trigger an aura of exclusivity to a listing. But some in the industry worry that exclusivity may be crossing an ethical line. Pocket listings refer to situations in which real estate agents purposely keep sales information about a home off the multiple listing services, and brokers only show that house to people they expect to actually purchase it. The National Association of Realtors® does not have an official policy on pocket listings, spokesman Walt Molony told CNNMoney. But some real estate boards say they don’t like the practice. In New York, the practice of “pocket listings” violates the Universal Co-Brokerage Agreement, which requires agents to share listings, maintains Neil Garfinkel, counsel for the Real Estate Board of New York. Some housing experts also say that pocket listings create a gray area when an agent is able to collect double commission from the deal by acting as the agent for both the buyer and seller. "If an agent is putting their own economic interest ahead of the seller’s, it’s a violation of state law," Garfinkel says. However, "most of the time, pocket listings are done ethically and fairly," Betty Graham, president of Coldwell Banker Previews International/NRT, told CNNMoney. If the home doesn’t sell quickly as a "pocket listing," many agents say they’ll then advise their clients to readjust their price and list the home publicly on the MLS. But some agents say a few sellers may prefer the privacy of pocket listings because they’re not highly motivated to move — unless someone offers them a “make-me-move” deal with a great price, CNNMoney reports. Source: CNNMoney
As the number of people living in a household expands, builders are responding and tweaking home designs to meet the growing needs of multigenerational households. In recent years, the number of grown children moving back with their parents and the number of elderly parents moving-in with their adult children is increasing, causing more households to re-evaluate their use of space at home. Analysts say the number of multigenerational households will likely rise even more in the coming years, particularly among ethnic groups like Asians and Hispanics who are more likely to live with extended family. More builders are debuting floor plans for single-family homes that include “semi-independent suites with separate entries, bathrooms, and kitchenettes,” the Associated Press reports. “Some suites even include their own laundry areas and outdoor patios for additional privacy, though they maintain a connection to the main house through an inside door." Source: The Associated Press
Home owners are starting to feel freer to move where the jobs are, Reuters reports, as worries about homes that won't sell or will sell at a loss begin to fade. Since early 2012, home prices in the major metro areas have been rising. Homes are also selling faster: It took 62 days, on average, to sell a home, compared with 91 days one year prior, according to March data from the National Association of Realtors®. The increase in mobility from the recovering housing market is expected to have a hand in lowering the jobless rate. "Until the real estate market picked up, people wouldn't even consider a move without the certainty that they could sell their homes," Jerry Funaro, vice president of global marketing for TRC Global Solutions, a Milwaukee-based relocation service, told Reuters. "Companies are now more inclined to make offers since we're seeing real estate markets across the country coming back.” The number of people who moved last year increased to 35.6 million, with the mover rate climbing to 12 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That marked an increase over the 11.6 percent low set in 2011. "It's not a huge gain, but when you consider that for two years, we've had the lowest migration rates since World War II, any move up is good news," William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, told Reuters. Source: Reuters
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