The next stories lined up on our countdown of the year’s top stories both brought news that shocked the housing industry.
These articles outline decisions that seemed to come out of nowhere, and captured the attention of many readers.
As we continue to countdown to the year’s most popular article, we will examine the 3rd and 4th most read stories of 2017, and the shock they brought to the housing market.
Here’s is the 4th most read article of the year:
Back in July, HousingWire discovered Amazon had quietly launched its Hire a Realtor web page. The page, which was marketed as “Coming soon” gave consumers a search bar to search their zip code and find a Realtor in their area. However, after the article went live, Amazon quietly took its website offline once again, and has remained offline since.
As shoppers scoured Amazon’s website for its annual Prime day deals, the online shopping giant quietly disclosed a new service coming soon to its users: “Hire a Realtor”. The move would turn the company into a competitor with Zillow and Redfin. Shopping for a new television? How about adding a new home to put it in?
And the 3rd most popular article in 2017:
As the mortgage industry worked to create 1% and even zero down products, Freddie Mac suddenly announced it was killing the lower down payment programs. This complex article, written in July by both Senior Financial Reporter Ben Lane and former Digital Reporter Brena Swanson, details the GSE’s decision, and the lenders it would affect.
Freddie Mac announced it is changing the requirements to its low down payment mortgage program and will no longer allow lenders to contribute gifts or grants to reach the 3% down requirement. Borrowers must now front the entire 3% down payment from their personal funds, meaning the industry can say goodbye to the 1% down mortgage, at least from Freddie Mac.