The world doesn’t slow down, and neither should we! Today we’re discussing the latest real estate news to keep you in the loop, whether you’re out in the office or working from home.

Hey, you’re busy (at least we hope you are!) and we get that it’s challenging to keep up with the news. Take five right now and catch up on some real estate news you may not be aware of.

Real estate news – No more DTI ratios for mortgages

A couple of weeks ago the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced their desire to do away with using “… DTI as a factor in mortgage underwriting” for qualified mortgages, according to HousingWire.com’s Kelsey Ramirez.

The proposal to Congress states that a “price-based approach … a loan’s price, as measured by comparing a loan’s annual percentage rate to the average prime offer rate for a comparable transaction,” is a more accurate measure of a borrower’s ability to repay than DTI ratios,” according to Ramirez.

The NAR is fully behind the idea and claims that you are too. “America’s Realtors applaud the CFPB’s action to provide a temporary QM patch extension, and commend the bureau and Director Kraninger for acting on behalf of our nation’s consumers and homebuyers at a time when market stability is so critical.”

Real estate news – Look at this dinky rate for a VA loan!

There’s a new VA loan program from United Wholesale Mortgage that offers mortgage rates as low as 2.25%.

As I write this, the average rate for a 30-year fixed is 3.330% with an average APR of 3.560%. I have no idea what the rates will be by the time you read this, but I think it’s safe to say it won’t be 2.25%.

United Wholesale doesn’t lend directly to consumers so if you have a veteran buyer, urge him or her to shop for a lender who works directly with the wholesale lender.

If you aren’t currently pursuing veteran leads, maybe you should start. Of the nearly 22 million U.S. military veterans only 10.5 percent are utilizing their home loan benefits.

When those who aren’t using this benefit were asked why, more than 33 percent responded that they didn’t know about the VA loan guarantee (2010 National Survey of Veterans).

Another large group claims that FHA loans are easier to obtain.

The largest groups of respondents to the National Survey of Veterans who were unaware of the program’s existence were older veterans and unmarried surviving spouses.

Let them know that an amazing mortgage program is among their benefits and that they can now get this mortgage at a super-low rate.

Real estate news – Good news for luxury agents

Raj Qsar, owner and CEO of The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County, tells Inman.com that the luxury housing market is “on fire.”

Realtor.com says that luxury buyers are back in the market, big time.

The latter chalks it up to the wealthier among us feeling cramped during the lockdown and now craving more space. Homebuyers viewed listings for homes in the Hamptons, for instance, 72% more than they did at this time last year.

In April, luxury home listing views tanked 9.5% only to rise a smidge more than 7 percent in May.

The even better news in the Realtor.com report is that luxury home sellers are coming back to the market, albeit slowly.

Take a cautiously optimistic approach to this news, cautions Amanda Fung, editor at Yahoo Finance.

“… coronavirus cases are spiking in Arizona, Florida, Texas and California,” she reminds us. Officials in some counties and states are considering a rollback or postponement of their reopening plans.

If businesses are forced to close again and/or we get another huge spike in unemployment, all bets are off when it comes to the housing market. It’ll be another “wait and see” type of thing.

“In my 40 years as a real estate professional, I have seen many markets but I have never seen a pandemic and there are just too many factors involved to make a prediction short or long term,” broker Donna Olshan told Fung.

Real estate news – Please be careful out there

Apparently, all the social distancing, mask-wearing and hand-washing will protect us from a deadly virus but it doesn’t protect real estate agents from the scum bags who want to hurt them.

Late last month, agent Lenora Farrington with Keller Williams Realty in Virginia, was attacked at an open house. The perpetrator hit her more than 10 times, in the head, with a crescent wrench.

Thankfully, she survived and is out of the hospital. But, as you can imagine, the medical bills will soon start rolling in. To help out, her broker and friend, Teresa Grant, has started a GoFundMe page that you are welcome to visit and, if you can, contribute.

This situation brings new meaning to the age-old question: “Are open houses worth it?” Especially now, when we are still in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and there are still loonies out there hell-bent on attacking agents.

Jay Thompson makes a pretty good point at Inman.com. He pleads (and we agree with him) that “… we as an industry need to stop holding open houses immediately.” Read what else he has to say then have your broker read it.

Be careful. Please.

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