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

Exurbs are on the rise

Hot or NotExurbs

Welcome to the exurbs: remote areas just beyond the more affluent suburbs that have seen a wave of activity from builders and home shoppers. According to a recent report by the National Association of Home Builders, the exurbs were the only regions that saw an annual increase in single-family permits in the first quarter of 2019. Posting a 1.6% year-over-year gain, the exurbs are home to just 9% of the nation’s single-family construction. But while this might not seem like much, its share is growing – a fact that some analysts say is raising red flags.

GSE Reform

Now that he is officially installed as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Mark Calabria is taking GSE reform head-on. Calabria spoke at length about possible methods for getting the GSEs out of government hands. First up will likely be the suspension of the net worth sweep, where Fannie and Freddie send their profits each quarter to the the Treasury. The privatization of the GSEs may not happen at the same time, Calabria told Reuters. Calabria said one of the paths under consideration is staggering the schedule for privatization.

iBuyers

The term iBuyer has exploded across the internet as major companies like Redfin and Zillow expand their reach into the business of buying homes directly from sellers. An iBuyer is an online real estate investor who seeks to reduce transactional property costs via digital tools, minimizing the involvement of real estate agents in favor of their own listing services. “iBuyers have been expanding at breakneck speeds,” writes ATTOM  CTO Todd Teta. “What started as a moonshot idea six years ago has now blossomed into a massive, billion-dollar homebuying market in its own right – and it’s not showing any signs of slowing.”

Hot or NotCyber Security

First American shut down external access to an application after cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs alerted the title insurer that millions of records were exposed online. “The digitized records – including bank account numbers and statements, mortgage and tax records, Social Security numbers, wire transaction receipts, and drivers license images – were available without authentication to anyone with a Web browser,” Krebs wrote. But there is no evidence the security hole was exploited, First American said in a regulatory filing.

Student loan debt

The lack of affordability has especially impacted America’s first-time buyers, many who tend to fit in the Millennial category. With more than $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, new LendingTree research shows an overwhelming majority of first-time homebuyers are considering purchasing fixer-upper homes to combat costs. In fact, 88% of homebuyers that are grappling with student loan debt are now more likely to consider a fixer-upper home, the data. Notably, Millennial homeowners are the most likely generation to have improved their home, sitting at nearly 58%.

Transgender protections

HUD proposed a new rule that has the potential to leave transgender Americans without shelter. It is one of the administration's attempts to limit protections for transgender Americans. In 2017, the HUD website removed links to documents that guided emergency shelters on how to serve transgender people facing homelessness. When questioned whether or not LGBTQ people should receive protections under fair housing laws, Secretary Carson reportedly said it was a congressional duty “to do something different” about the definition of gender.

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

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