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HOT or NOT August: What’s trending in housing right now

Cybersecurity, stress tests, Mick Mulvaney and more make the list


As we move through 2018, there are three trends companies should be focused on when it comes to cybersecurity, according to the director of cybersecurity services for Richey May. The first, is data privacy entering a new territory. Many companies are now subject to two new compliance laws, NYCRR 500 and the General Data Protection Regulation, which take data security and breach reporting to a whole new level. The other two areas companies should focus on are email, fraud, ransomware and monitoring and insight.


According to a new report from property analytics firm ATTOM Data Solutions, more homeowners are cashing in on home equity. In the first quarter of this year, the number of people taking home equity lines of credit jumped 18% from the previous quarter and 14% from the same time period last year.  In just three months, nearly 350,000 borrowers took out HELOCs, according to ATTOM. The cities with the most impressive upticks in HELOC volume were Hartford, Connecticut (up 80%), Nashville, Tennessee (up 74%) and Las Vegas (up 69%).

Mick Mulvaney 

Already serving as acting director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and head of the Office of Management and Budget, it seems Mick Mulvaney is now possibly wanted for yet another White House position. Current White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is expected to depart from the administration soon and President Donald Trump is reportedly considering Mulvaney as one of the top candidates to take his place. It is not yet clear, if he took the position, what would become of his current position at the CFPB while the Senate weighs the nomination of Kathy Kraninger to be the next permanent director. 


Opioid Crisis 

Housing shortages continue to hold back home sales, keep Millennials from entering the housing market and decrease affordability. Many different factors are to blame, but the latest challenge could be the ongoing opioid crisis. Currently, the number of people working or looking to work remains at 62.7%, a 40-year low. Now, Jeff Korzenik, Fifth Third Bank chief investment advisor said opioids could be at the heart of the problem. This comes at a time when the housing industry is already fighting over limited levels of construction labor.

Stress Tests 

The Federal Reserve objected to one bank’s capital plan and gave only conditional approval to two others following the 2018 stress tests. Two banks, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, will be required to maintain their capital distributions at the levels they paid in recent years. The board objected to the capital plan from DB USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, due to qualitative concerns. But this may not be a concern too much longer as the Fed is currently looking to eliminate the pass or fail score for bank stress tests.


Several times this summer, federal authorities have arrested a number of people who allegedly participated in schemes designed to intercept and hijack wire transfers from businesses and individuals, including those involving real estate transactions. At one point, the feds arrested nearly 75 people for allegedly participating in the “Business Email Compromise” schemes. Later, eight more people were arrested and four more were charged with participating in a widespread, Africa-based cyber conspiracy that allegedly defrauded U.S. citizens and companies out of $15 million over the last several years.

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