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The government-sponsored enterprises, agencies and other policymakers have all issued valuation guidance since March 23 to help clarify how appraisers can perform their work during the coronavirus pandemic, and all new guidance is available on the Appraisal Institute’s coronavirus page.
The Appraisal Institute joined four other real estate organizations March 25 in asking state and local government leaders to include appraisers among “essential services” exempted from stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders issued during the coronavirus pandemic.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke thinks the effect of the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus is akin to that of a “major snowstorm” rather than a depression, CNBC reported March 25. Bernanke cited the Great Depression lasting 12 years and being caused by monetary and financial problems, as opposed to a health crisis that should be short-lived.
Nonbank mortgage servicers could be at risk of collapse if economic problems due to the coronavirus persist for more than two months, according to Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria, National Real Estate Investor reported March 26. If some nonbank servicers fail, plans are in place to transfer servicing rights and obligations to other lenders.
Grocery-anchored retail is performing exceptionally well as people stock up on goods during the coronavirus pandemic, according to commercial real estate advisors George Smith Partners, GlobeSt.com reported March 25. Investors who had bet on these properties as a way to compete with online shopping are seeing their foresight payoff while other retail investments decline.
U.S. real estate has traditionally been a safe haven for investors during times of crisis — the exceptions being the Great Recession and Gulf War recession, according to Freddie Mac Home Price Index data from 1975 to 2018, National Real Estate Investor reported March 24. Investors favor residential real estate because people will always need places to live.
The median home price of $252,500 during the first quarter was affordable for average wage earners in 34% of U.S. counties — the most affordable it’s been in two years — up from the fourth quarter when the median home price was affordable to only 30% of average wage earners, analytics firm ATTOM Data Solutions reported March 26.
The demand for virtual home showings has soared in recent weeks as more people are encouraged — or required — to stay home, according to online real estate sites that have reported the demand for video home tours has jumped 494% during the past week, HousingWire reported March 25.
A walk-in closet in the master bedroom is the feature most likely to be found in newly built homes, followed by energy-efficient windows and a laundry room, the National Association of Home Builders reported March 25. The features least likely to be found in new construction: cork flooring and a solar water heating system.
Mortgage rates dropped for the first time in three weeks after the Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate, Freddie Mac reported Mach 26 in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Demand for real estate has recently softened, but the recent cuts and the economic stimulus bill are expected to support mortgage markets.
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