The latest economic and policy trends facing mortgage servicers

Join this webinar for an in-depth roundtable discussion on economic and policy trends impacting servicers as well as a look ahead at strategies servicers should employ in the next year.

2021 RealTrends Brokerage Compensation Report

For the study, RealTrends surveyed all the firms on the 2021 RealTrends 500 and Nation’s Best rankings, asking for annual compensation data for the 2020 calendar year.

Steve Murray on the importance of protecting property rights

In this episode, Steve Murray, RealTrends advisor and industry stalwart, discusses some of the issues facing private property rights, including how a case in Germany could potentially affect U.S. legislation.

Lenders, it’s time to consider offering non-QM products

The non-QM market is making a comeback following a pause in 2020. As lenders rush to implement, Angel Oak is helping them adopt these new lending products.

Real Estate

Hey, Mr. President, what about removing lumber tariffs to make homes affordable?

Tariffs on Canadian lumber add $9,000 to the price of a new house, NAHB said

After President Donald Trump announced at the National Association of Realtors convention on Friday that he was lifting aluminum and steel tariffs on Canada and Mexico, the National Association of Home Builders asked: What about lumber? 

Canadian softwood lumber used to build U.S. homes carry tariffs of about 20% imposed by the Trump administration two years ago. That adds $9,000 to the price of a typical new home and more than $3,000 to the value of a multifamily unit, NAHB said. At a time when all eyes are on U.S. housing affordability issues, the trade dispute with Canada is “needlessly driving up housing costs,” Greg Ugalde, chairman of NAHB, said in a statement issued after the president's speech. 

“A prompt resolution to this ongoing trade conflict with our neighbor to the north will help to ease ongoing housing affordability concerns,” Ugalde said.

Softwood lumber from Canada is used for framing homes and for finishing interior spaces, such as trim around windows and doors. The two countries in 2006 signed a trade pact, the Lumber Softwood Agreement, that expired in 2015 without a replacement. In 2017, Trump imposed tariffs on Canadian lumber imports. 

In 2012, a typical family could afford 77.5% of all new and existing homes sold, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index. Today, that share is at a 10-year low of 61.4%. 

“Housing affordability benefits from free trade,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “To improve housing affordability, we really need to bend the cost curve, and that means finding ways to reduce construction costs.”

In the first quarter, first-time homebuyers had 102% of the income needed to buy a median-priced starter home, according to NAR’s housing affordability index. That’s down from 105% a year earlier, and down from 110% in 2016.

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3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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