NAHB HMI Remains Solid

The NAHB [National Association of Home Builders] put out a press release stating that “Sentiment levels have held at a solid range in the low- to mid-60s for the past five months.” 

Current Demand
Current demand for single-family homes continues to remain strong, while builders report that certain development and construction costs are rising.

In one respect, the higher costs for skilled labor, the increased prices for materials and the on-going shortage of buildable lots is being offset by lower mortgage rates and an easing of buyer demand, especially in the luxury price range.

2019 Outlook
NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz stated, “And while new home sales picked up in March and April, builders continue to grapple with excessive regulations, a shortage of lots and lack of skilled labor that are hurting affordability and depressing supply.”

The NAHB Housing Market Index [HMI] gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months with three designations: “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The index/survey queries builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are used in the calculation of a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

Presently, the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores indicates:
■ the Northeast with a three-point gain to 60
■ the Midwest increased by three points to 57
■ the West remained at a healthy 71
■ while the South fell one point to 67

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

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Chain of Title

A Chain of Title is described as the sequence in which historical transfers of title to a property have occurred. The “chain” would run from the present owner back to the original owner of the property (when the property came into existence). Such information can be obtained from public records through the County Clerk’s or Recorder’s Office.

The objective of the title search is to determine if the title is a marketable title. Marketable title is a title free from encumbrances and any reasonable doubt as to its validity.

This “chain of title” could mean research that goes back 70-100 years. The search usually starts with the current property owner and then proceeds using maps to conduct historical research. Some of the factor affecting the title and the marketability of title are various statutory liens that include:
■ Existing Mortgages which also includes home equity loans and lines of credit that are secured by a mortgage in addition to primary mortgages.
■ Existing Judgments where state and federal judgments entered in New Jersey state courts or Federal District Courts of New Jersey will act as liens against the property. All real estate is liable to be levied upon and sold by executions to be issued on judgments obtained in any court of record of New Jersey for the payment of money when the judgment is properly docketed. These judgments may be discharged by a court order, or the filing a warrant of satisfaction with the appropriate county clerk signed by the judgment holder or the attorney of record authorizing the county clerk to satisfy the judgment of record. They can also be discharged by the acknowledgment of satisfaction on the record by the county clerk after the sheriff or other officer returns an execution of judgment issued as being satisfied.
■ State and Federal Tax Liens can be imposed against a property in such instances as death taxes. Three such taxes in the state of New Jersey include: Transfer Inheritance Taxes, Estate Taxes and Federal Estate Taxes.
■ Real Estate Taxes and Assessments stemming from municipal real estate taxes, municipal improvement assessments, water and sewer taxes all act as liens against the property. These must all be paid off in full before or at the time of closing.

The information contained on this website is not intended to provide legal advice but is simply informational, and the reader is advised to consult with legal counsel. Every effort has been made to provide the accuracy and reliability of the information provided on this website. However, the information is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

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Aspects of Title Search

Title search is the method and procedure of determining the property rights, specifically to whom they belong. The title search investigates all the title records as they apply to a specific property with very specific boundaries as defined through and by public records for the purposes of determining if the current title is good (without defect). The search will identify whether the person(s) who is selling the property holds the legal right to sell, and the buyer is receiving all the rights to the property for which they are making payment, through the transaction also known as the closing.

The abstractor (also called examiner or searcher) is responsible to summarize the information, known as an abstract of title, listing all recorded documents chronologically from the start to the present time, including all liens and encumbrances along with their current status.

Title records play an invaluable role in establishing the ownership of a property and help to identify encumbrances that act as obstructions to clear titles.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

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2019 Storm Surge Report Published

What can New Jersey expect during the current hurricane season. We can look at past history and know that both Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy occurred after uncharacteristically warm winters and warm springs. For 2019, we have had neither. Actually as of June 15th, the temperture at 5:15 a.m. was a chilly 59 degrees, and the temperatures have been much cooler than average. The ocean temperature is in the 50’s which again is a good sign. Typically, if we have cool springs, the chances of a catastrophic storm are considerably less. But CoreLogic has issued its report and it is worth a read. 

CoreLogic issued its 2019 Storm Surge Report last week, which attempts to assess the risk and vulnerabilities of areas which border the eastern and gulf coasts from storm damage.  A quick summary of the report follows below: Storm, Hurricane, Weather, Beach, Waves

“The 2019 CoreLogic® Storm Surge Report provides an annual evaluation of the number of single-family and, new this year, multifamily residential homes in the United States that are vulnerable to storm surge in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Basin. All numbers discussed in the body of the report comprise both single-family and multifamily homes in aggregate unless specified otherwise. The report also includes the associated reconstruction cost value (RCV) of these properties. This year’s analysis shows which areas along each regions’ coasts are susceptible to this type of flooding event. The risk of storm-surge flooding is not uniform along either coast, nor is risk limited to states with a reputation for more frequent hurricane activity such as Florida or Louisiana. Every state with a coastline that borders the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean has areas of high risk for storm surge damage.”

“Early predictions for 2019 indicate an average year for both the number of tropical storms and hurricanes. The forecast released from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in late May indicate seasonal activity could range from slightly below to slightly above average, with nine to 15 total named storms and four to eight hurricanes (two to four of which would be major hurricanes). Again, while the number of storms is important to consider, the location of landfall for any given storm is much more important when considering the effect that storm surge will have on property loss.”

To read the full report go to: https://www.corelogic.com/insights-download/storm-surge-report.aspx 

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

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Title Terms from Counsellors Title

Terms that are common when dealing with title insurance.


ALTA
 Title Insurance Policy – American Land Title Association combination of various policies and endorsements that lenders usually require when making a loan; expands normal coverage to include unrecorded mechanic’s liens, unrecorded physical easements, facts not revealed by a physical survey, water and mineral rights, and the right of parties in possession such as buyers who have recorded claims and tenants. 

Avulsion – a change or shift in a water boundary resulting in loss of land by an owner and the acquiring of such land by another.

Back Title Letter – Also called “Back Title Certificate” in some areas, and “Starter” in others. When title have been previously examined up to a certain date by reliable examiners, title companies sometimes give subsequent examiners of such titles a letter which sets forth the condition of the title at the time of the previous examination and authorizes them to begin their subsequent examination with the terminal date of the previous examination.

Binder – Written confirmation of insurance coverage provided by an insurer prior to issuance of the actual policy.

Certificate of Title – The written opinion by an attorney that ownership of a particular property is as stated in the certificate.

Chain of Title – The history of ownership of a parcel of real estate; each deed or other instrument transferring the title is called a link and all of these links make up the chain of title.

Clear Title – Title that is free of liens or legal questions as to ownership of the property

Closer – An attorney or other person responsible for orchestrating a closing, often including drafting legal documents, receipting and explaining documents, handling funds, and meting terms of the purchase agreement, lender requirements, and Title Company.

Cloud/Defect on Title – An irregularity  or encumbrance, which, would adversely affect or impair the title.

Commitment of Title – Similar to preliminary title report; guarantees a title company will issue title insurance.

Common Areas – All the areas in a condominium or planned unit development that are not specifically reserved for the individual owners; includes walkways, parking lots, and yards.

Condemnation – The taking of private property for public use.

Conditions – Specifications detailed in a deed; they may cover such things as setbacks, types of dwellings, etc.

Confirmation of Sale – Court approval of the sale of property by an executor, administrator, guardian, or conservator

Contiguous – being in actual contact; adjoining or touching.
Contract for Deed – (land contract) An agreement to sell and purchase under which the legal title is withheld from the purchaser until such time as the required payments to the seller have been completed.

Conveyance – The transfer of title to property from one person to another.

Lien – A legal claim upon property for the payment of a debt; a money encumbrance; such as, a mortgage lien, a judgment lien, or a mechanic’s lien.

Lien Waiver – A document provided by a contractor, subcontractor, or materialman, showing that they have been paid for their work and are waiving rights to file a lien.

The information contained on this website is not intended to provide legal advice but is simply informational, and the reader is advised to consult with legal counsel. Every effort has been made to provide the accuracy and reliability of the information provided on this website. However, the information is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind.

Agents Median Gross Income Approximately $40K

The 2018 National Association of Realtors report indicated that the number of agents increased by 80,000 year-over-year. In 2017, there were 1.22 million agents and in 2018 there were 1.3 million agents. 

Stats
The median age for an agent was 54, which was up from 53 for the last two years. The median age continued decline from 56 and 57 in 2011 and 2015. The difference could be attributed to the retiring members and to new and younger members entering the industry. In 2018, 33% of agents were over 60 years old and 5% were less than 30.

Income
■ Agents with 16 years or more experience had a median gross income of $78,000, which is up from $73,000 in 2015.

■ The median gross income of an agent was $39,800 in 2017, which was less than 2016, which was reported to be $42,500.

■ According to the report the biggest challenge faced by agents is finding the right property, which has surpassed the ability to obtain mortgage financing.

■ The average annual number of transactions decreased from 12 transactions in 2016 to 11 transactions in 2017.

■ The median brokerage sales volume decreased to 1.8 million in 2017 from 1.9 million in 2016.

■ Only 51% of agents reported having a website for at least five years, and only 9% reported having a real estate blog. This contrasts with the number of agents who are on Facebook, which came in at 71%, and 59% were on LinkedIn.

■ 63% of all NAR agents were female.

■ 72% of agents reported that real estate was their sole occupation.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

LET’S CONNECT ONLINE!

Connect with Ralph on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CounsellorsTitleAgency/

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You Can Buy Your House on Amazon

We always knew that it was going to come: and now it’s here, you can buy your home on Amazon.

Anything Amazon initiates usually begins small and this is no different, when it comes to buying a house from the giant online retailer.

The small house, or micro house, trend is starting to gain ground, and so Amazon sees this as a great opportunity to enter into the housing space.

A tiny or micro house can go from 172 square feet to a couple thousand. Even HD TV has a show on micro houses.

One tiny cabin called the Allwood Slovakia doesn’t come assembled but potentially it can be put together in about 8 hours by two adults. Believe it or not, this 172-square-foot cabin kit sold out immediately. And if you’re thinking about, well, how much does one of these cost? This particular house sold for for $7,250, plus shipping, of course.

There are other micro houses that are larger, for those looking for a bigger “footprint.”

The Lillevilla Allwood cabin is a step larger at 292 square feet. It even includes a loft, which is not factored into the 292 square footage. It even has a front porch.

Then there is the Allwood Claudia cabin, which retails for $8,250. The Claudia includes 209 square foot tongue-in-groove flooring and a wind block pattern and multiple windows on three sides.

Then there is the Allwood Eagle Vista mini house, which contains 1,336 square feet, with 657 square feet downstairs and 679 square feet upstairs. The price for the Eagle Vista is $64,650, but it includes free shipping.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

LET’S CONNECT ONLINE!
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Homeowner Equity Rises – The CoreLogic

CoreLogic published data regarding homeowner equity over the last 12 months. According to CoreLogic, the average homeowner gained $6,400 in homeowner equity. 

The current quarter represents a slowing down of the gains homeowners were able to build with respect to homeowner equity.

For the year, New Jersey gained $7,000 on average in homeowner’s equity, and New York gained $17,000 in homeowner equity. California, on the other hand, did not fare so well, gaining only $4,000 in homeowner equity. The state which gained the most in homeowner equity was Nevada gaining $21,000 for the year.

CoreLogic report still sees gains in homeowner equity as a good sign that a continued economic growth trend is still on track.

CoreLogic sees homeowner equity continuing to increase nationally throughout 2019, but at a slower pace.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

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US Home Values Increase to $26 Trillion

The Federal Reserve released a report which indicates that the value of US owner-occupied homes increased to a new record level, $26.1 trillion for the first quarter of 2019.

This gain tracks with the home value appreciation in home prices for the last year, representing a 4.3% increase from the prior-year period. Nonetheless, according to the report, this represents the slowest annualized increase since 2012.

According to the report, Americans own just over 60% of their homes for the first quarter of 2019. This represents also the highest level of equity since 2002.

The strengthening the economy, in addition to lower mortgage rates, continue to be reflected in home price gains.

Economists will continue to track these metrics assiduously since they usually translate into increased consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of the US economy.

According to Freddie Mac, Americans converted $19 billion of their home equity into cash during the first quarter of 2019. This is not as large as the prior-year quarter, which came out to $22.7 billion.

The good news regarding these cash-outs during the first quarter is they are nowhere near as much as was seen just prior to the crash in 2006, when Americans converted $80.7 billion into cash.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

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Title Wise – Counsellors Title Newsletter

https://conta.cc/2I2MEjV

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

LET’S CONNECT ONLINE!

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75 Years Ago Today – The Fight for Freedom

Today, June 6th, 2019, we commemorate the day when the Allied armies invaded Nazi-occupied France. The attack is today known as D-Day. Nearly 156,000 American, British, and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified French coastline in the region known as Normandy. The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history. Years of planning went into this massive operation that resulted in the death of over 5,000 allied soldiers. Now, 75 years after the landings at Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches, it is crucial that the stories of the few remaining survivors are told.

NJ Offers a Stable Real Estate Market

The New Jersey single family real estate market shows a great deal of stability.

New listings, pending sales and the median sales price all increased.

Overall, the market in New Jersey remains strong as the economy continues to support home purchases.

On a national basis it appears that pending sales fell by 1.5% in April vs. March, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Even though mortgage rates have fallen slightly over the last six to nine months, nationally, the number of homes sold has not kept pace with the more attractive mortgage rates.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has fallen from 5% in November to just above 4% in April.

An encouraging sign comes in the form of the inventory of available homes for sale. This affords buyers additional selection in their home purchase process. Also, the stronger economy is not resulting in buyer euphoria, but rather is giving the power of choice back to the buyer.

Buyers are also seeing home prices come down slightly in many markets. These price reductions or slowdowns are typically occurring in higher-priced markets. In the middle markets and the lower-priced markets, the cost for the average home continues to grow but at a very moderate pace.

According to National Association of Realtors, home price appreciation is strongest in the lower end of the price market, which is represented by homes priced under $250,000.

In the high tax states such as Connecticut, New York and Illinois, prices for homes are getting softer.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

LET’S CONNECT ONLINE!
Connect with Ralph on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CounsellorsTitleAgency/

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