No Cause for Alarm

Home prices are up again, though not as much as previous months.  It’s funny…the real estate and lending industry trades announce things like the 5% year-over-year home appreciation gain noted in the April S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index cautiously because the April gain was less than the one in March.  Here’s where you need to grab the grain of salt:  The gain was 5.1% in March – so the “drop” was a whopping .1%.  Here’s what the Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at the S&P Dow Jones Indices had to say:  “… the greatest threat to U.S. housing may come from across the Atlantic and from the domestic political scene.”  While the Brexit vote and the crazy presidential race we’re watching are important, they don’t change the fact that we all need a place to live and the biggest expense most people have each month goes to housing.  SO, as industry experts and TV pundits wring their hands in print, on air and online, talk to local industry experts about what’s going on in your neighborhood, city and personal housing scenario.  Ask questions…find out how you’re doing personally and if there are any adjustments that you should or could make to protect yourself or advance your goals.  Checking in with experienced real estate and mortgage professionals should be part of a regular routine.  The news can be really scary, but your local experts are here to interpret markets and events and can give you great advice and peace of mind.


Need to Know

A lot of new rules and changes have hit the real estate and mortgage industries in the last few years. Here’s a little background and an update and then we’ll get to what you really need to know.

The intent of a lot of these new regulations – and all the acronyms that go along with them like CFPB and TRID – is to educate and protect consumers. The Dodd Frank Act is responsible for a lot of changes in the way business is done going forward and there are many folks opposed to all or part of the sweeping bill. A congressman from Texas has now introduced what he calls “the Republican plan to replace Dodd-Frank and promote economic growth.” Its name is Financial CHOICE Act— complete with its own acronym that stands for “Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs.” It’s not clear if it will get anywhere – there’s no companion bill in the Senate yet or official reaction from the rest of Washington.

It’s almost impossible to keep track of everything politicians are up to with regard to real estate and mortgage regulation. For now, know this: You need to surround yourself with great professionals who are up to date on the rules, timelines and how to make the transaction go as smooth as possible for everyone involved. At GCS Title, we have an amazing team dedicated to doing just that. Meet our great people here:

Whether you’re a Realtor, a loan officer, a homeowner or potential buyer, we want you to know “we get it” and we’re here to help. Call us any time! ~Charlie

Hidden Cost?

A very official-sounding report called “Government Regulation in the Price of a New Home” released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) that has some surprising info.  It claims that government regulations and the cost of complying with them make up nearly one-fourth of the price of a new home.  Think about that as you walk through the model on a new construction project or a house on the Parade of Homes!  You can read about it yourself at .   

Apparently, the costs associated with regulation have jumped 30% between 2011 and 2015 which coincides with the launch of the main agency and many new rules associated with the Dodd Frank reform bill.  NAHB’s CEO Jerry Howard says “The cost of regulation in the price of a new home is rising more than twice as fast as the average American’s ability to pay for it. That is simply not sustainable.”  Even though the rules and regulations that have been created for and imposed on real estate and mortgage transactions were mostly created by politicians, our “On the House” blog isn’t about politics.  We’re here to share important and interesting news that affects consumers, mortgage loan officers and Realtors.   

We at GCS Title think the takeaway is this:  The NAHB report highlights how many regulations there are and we’re here to help consumers and our real estate and mortgage partners navigate the rules to successful closing.  Our entire team is dedicated to making the process as easy and comfortable for everyone involved.  Got questions?  We’re here to help!


Highs & Lows

The summer could be a rollercoaster based on new information from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and online real estate resource Zillow.  Sales of existing homes went up 1.7% between March and April and they’re up six-percent year-over-year.  Prices are higher too:  NAR reports that the median home price has jumped 6.3% from April 2015, making this the 50th consecutive month of annual home price gains.  So there’s the highs – the lows have to do with housing inventory.  The April Zillow Real Estate Market Report shows there are 3.4% fewer homes on the market today than there were this time last year.  There’s an eight-percent drop in the number of homes for sale in the entry level price range, making it even tougher for first-time home buyers than other property categories.  So we’ve got a supply and demand situation that’s driving prices up.  I’m not bringing this up to scare people, but rather to make them aware.  These market conditions mean it’s more important than ever for consumers to make sure they’re working with experience, full-time, qualified real estate and mortgage professionals.  When bidding wars are likely, top-notch representation is critical.  GCS is here to help home buyers and sellers have a great experience throughout the closing process and we work with outstanding Realtors and loan officers every day.  Let us know if you’d like to meet one!  ~Charlie