Millennial Mortgages and then Marriage

According to the website Zillow, there is a surge of unmarried Millennial couples purchasing homes. The numbers have increased 36%: from 11% in 2005 to 15% in 2016. [Millennials range between the ages of 24 and 35.]

This is leading to couples forsaking a marriage license for a pre-nuptial. Within the pre-nuptial document various areas can become very specifically spelled out: the breakdown of finances going into the home purchase, how future home repairs will be paid, and how to divide assets in the event that the relationship were to dissolve.

The title of the home can include both partners, so that financial responsibilities for the home don’t fall on one person.

But in some cases of unmarried couples purchasing a property, they may be defined as “joint tenants,” where they have equal shares of the home and if one partner dies, his or her share is automatically transferred to the other partner.

Still, purchasing a home requires that BOTH parties have good credit scores. In some cases when there are two borrowers applying for the home, a lender will select the partner with the higher of the two scores for the loan decisions.

Median Home Price Soars 7 Percent from 2016

January Existing Home Sales Reflect Robust Buyer Demand for Spring

The National Association of Realtors® reported that all major regions except for the Midwest saw sales gains for January 2016. Existing-home sales stepped out to a fast start in 2017, surpassing a recent cyclical high and increasing in January to the fastest pace in almost a decade.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, expanded 3.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million in January from an upwardly revised 5.51 million in December 2016. January’s sales pace is 3.8% higher than a year ago (5.48 million) and surpasses November 2016 (5.60 million) as the strongest since February 2007 (5.79 million).

The median existing-home price for all housing types in January was $228,900, up 7.1% from January 2016 ($213,700). January’s price increase was the fastest since last January (8.1%) and marks the 59th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

First-time buyers were 33% of sales in January, which is up from 32% both in December and a year ago

All-cash sales were 23% of transactions in January, up from 21% in December but down from 26% a year ago.

Single-family home sales grew 2.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in January from 4.91 million in December 2016, and are now 3.7% above the 4.86 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $230,400 in January, up 7.3% from January 2016.

January existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 5.3% to an annual rate of 800,000, and are now 6.7% above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $253,800, which is 2.5% above January 2016.

A Fresh Look at Title Insurance

A property title is the legal right that a person has to the ownership and possession of land.  If that prior claim can be established, that person may claim an interest in the property outright or make demands on the owner as to its use.

How quickly can Counsellors Title provide a title commitment?

Typically, Counsellors is able to provide a title commitment in 24 hours. All products and services are managed through one customized central order tracking system, providing access to the appropriate, designated partners including completed appraisal reports, title binders, auxiliary searches, preliminary and final HUD, final title policy, executed closing package and designated post-closing documents on-line 24/7. Once an order for title is placed using a secure password, an e-mail confirmation of the order is sent within seconds, providing peace of mind and sparing everyone involved unnecessary phone calls for tracking purposes.

When you purchase a Title Insurance Policy through Counsellors Title Agency it becomes a critical instrument protecting you, the purchaser, from loss due to a defect in the title deed.  Your title insurance occurs only once at the time of the purchase. It not only guarantees protection but also the peace of mind knowing that your purchase investment is protected from any prior claims against the property.

At Counsellors Title Agency, we provide title insurance services and services related that our clients require in the course of purchasing a property.

Housing Market Remains Steady

The drop in the number of mortgage applications for the last week doesn’t seem to be resulting in a softening of the real estate market.

Housing Market

Mortgage Bankers Association reported that total mortgage application volume increased 2.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week from the previous week.

While applications are significantly below what they were this time in 2015, the 23% drop in applications is basically due to the drop in loan refinancings, which are 40% lower than 2016. The higher rates are seen as being the primary reason for the falloff.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 2% last week and are 3.6% higher than a year ago. Buyer demand remains unflinchingly steady.

It will be interesting to see how many new sellers venture into the market, considering the number of homeowers who have moved into the black.

Lunch & Learn February 22

Lunch & Learn

Come learn about the US DA Loan Program and discover how to sell more homes using this $0 down payment loan.
Convert Rental Leads to Buyers
Market Your Listings
Flexible Guidelines

Q&A Networking with guests and co-sponsors:
Michael Mathews Housing Programs Director | NJ State Office Rural Development | U.S. Dept of Agriculture

Register Here

January Building Permits Hit 15-Month High

U.S. housing starts fell slightly for January 2017.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, total 1.25M in Jan vs. 1.22M starts expected.

The housing starts declined 2.6% to an adjusted annual rate of 1.25 million units.

Building Permits Hit a High

Still, December’s starts were revised upward to a rate of 1.28 million units from the previously reported 1.23 million.

On a year-to-year basis, homebuilding was up 10.5% compared to January 2016.

Building permits for construction climbed 4.6% in January to a rate of 1.29 million units, the highest level since November 2015.

The housing market recovery is being driven by high buyer demand, historic low inventories and a strong rental market.

Higher mortgage rates have still not had enough of an impact to hold the growing demand for housing.

In addition, builder’s confidence is also much stronger than at any other time in the last few years.

  • Homebuilding for December surged 55.4% in the Northeast, while climbing 20% in the South
  • January single-family homebuilding increased by 1.9% to a pace of 823,000 units
  • Multi-family housing fell by 10.2% to a rate of 423,000 units

Happy President’s Day

Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. Traditionally celebrated on February 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.

77 Percent of Americans Own a Smartphone

Nearly nine-in-ten Americans today are online, up from about half in the early 2000s. Pew Research Center has chronicled this trend and others through more than 15 years of surveys on Internet and technology use. They released a new set of fact sheets that will be updated as they collect new data and can serve as a one-st

77% of Americans Own a Smart Phone

op shop for anyone looking for information on key trends in digital technology.

To mark the occasion, here are four key trends illustrating the current technology landscape in the U.S.

1. Three-quarters of Americans (77%) now own a smartphone, with lower-income Americans and those ages 50 and older exhibiting a sharp uptick in ownership over the past year, according a Pew Research Center survey conducted in November 2016. Smartphone adoption has more than doubled since the Center began surveying on this topic in 2011: That year, 35% of Americans reported that they owned a smartphone of some kind.

Smartphones are nearly ubiquitous among younger adults, with 92% of 18- to 29-year-olds owning one. But growth in smartphone ownership over the past year has been especially pronounced among Americans 50 and older. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Americans ages 50-64 are now smartphone owners (a 16-percentage-point increase compared with 2015), as are 42% of those 65 and older (up 12 points from 2015). There has also been a 12-point increase in smartphone ownership among households earning less than $30,000 per year: 64% of these lower-income Americans now own a smartphone.

2. After a modest decline between 2013 and 2015, the share of Americans with broadband service at home increased by 6 percentage points in 2016. Between 2013 and 2015, the share of Americans with home broadband service decreased slightly – from 70% to 67%. But in the past year, broadband adoption rates have returned to an upward trajectory. As of November 2016, nearly three-quarters (73%) of Americans indicate that they have broadband service at home. But although broadband adoption has increased to its highest level since the Center began tracking this topic in early 2000, not all Americans have shared in these gains. For instance, those who have not graduated from high school are nearly three times less likely than college graduates to have home broadband service (34% vs. 91%). Broadband adoption also varies by factors such as age, household income, geographic location and racial and ethnic background.

Even as broadband adoption has been on the rise, 12% of Americans say they are “smartphone dependent” when it comes to their online access – meaning they own a smartphone but lack traditional broadband service at home. The share of Americans who are smartphone dependent has increased 4 percentage points since 2013, and smartphone reliance is especially pronounced among young adults, nonwhites and those with relatively low household incomes.

3. Nearly seven-in-ten Americans now use social media. When the Center started tracking social media adoption in 2005, just 5% of Americans said they used these platforms. Today, 69% of U.S. adults are social media users. Social media is especially popular among younger adults, as 86% of 18- to 29-year-olds are social media users. But a substantial majority of those ages 30-49 (80%) and 50-64 (64%) use social media as well. Only about one-third (34%) of Americans 65 and older currently use social media, but that figure has grown dramatically in recent years: As recently as 2010, only around one-in-ten Americans age 65 and older used social media.

4. Half the public now owns a tablet computer. Though less widespread than smartphones, tablet computers have also become highly common in a very short period of time. When the Center first began tracking tablet ownership in 2010, just 3% of Americans owned a tablet of some kind. That figure has risen to 51% as of November 2016.

Word From NJ – Summer Shore Looks Good

Shore properties were being scooped up in the second weak in January in some shore towns

Life Guard Chair Avon By the Sea

such as Bradley Beach. Usually rentals don’t post until February, but this year seems the inventory shortage is having an effect on summer rentals as well.

The good thing about early rentals is that they are paying the asking price, and being paid six months ahead of time.

Some rentals are meriting $4,000 for a week in high season, some report!

According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Rentals in Ocean City’s prime ‘high season’ — from mid-July to mid-August — start at around $1,500 a week for a one-bedroom condo and go as high as $18,000 a week for a seven-bedroom house on the beach…[and] a four-bedroom apartment that rents for $4,000 a week in Ocean City.”

According to the article, the number of signed contracts is up over 33% from 2016.

In a lot of ways, 2017 represents a return to normal, after the chaos of Superstorm Sandy that left many of the quaint shore towns without adequate roads and properties still waiting for renovation.

The good news is that the 2017 summer tourist season is going to have a complete complement of restaurants, amusement parks, beach retail shops, and plenty of events to keep everyone busy.

Tourism is New Jersey’s second-largest industry, pulling 95 million people and $43.4 billion down to its 130 miles of coastline, spanning from Sandy Hook to Cape May. The thing about rentals is that if the weather holds up, and the renters are careful about the property, many come back year-after-year.

It is also great for the 318,000 jobs it created back in 2015: most likely that number will be significantly higher.

Blue Apron Expands New Jersey Presence

Another Internet Company in NJ

It was recently reported that Blue Apron is planning to expand its operations to Linden, New Jersey.

Blue Apron in New Jersey

Blue Apron is a leading fresh-meal kit delivery company based in New York City.

The company expects to employ over 2,000 people in the new Linden facility upon construction of a new 495,000-square-foot fulfillment center by the end of 2017.

One of the reasons for Blue Apron’s expansion is to meet strong customer demand and to help improve operational logistics and efficiencies.

Currently, Blue Apron operates fulfillment centers in Jersey City; Arlington, Texas; and Richmond, California. The company is also planning to roll out an additional fulfillment center in Fairfield, California, in 2018.

The decision to build out a Linden facility was the result of efforts in part by Choose New Jersey, the privately-funded business attraction and retention arm of New Jersey. Blue Apron’s decision was based upon Linden’s proximity to more than 22 million consumers. Nearly 40% of the U.S. population also can be reached within two days from New Jersey via its transportation and rail infrastructure.

Equity Rich Properties Climb to Nearly 14 Million

Seriously underwater properties are down by 1 million from 2015.

According to ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s largest fused property database, the number of equity rich U.S. properties increased by 1.3 million from 2015.

U.S. Equity Rich Properties Climb Higher

The ATTOM Data Solutions report shows that as of the end of 2016, there were 5.4 million (5,408,323) U.S. properties seriously underwater — where the combined loan amount secured by the property was at least 25% higher than the property’s estimated market value — a decrease of more than 1 million properties (1,028,058) from a year ago.

The 5.4 million seriously underwater properties at the end of 2016 represented 9.6% of all U.S. properties with a mortgage. This figure is down from the 10.8% at the end of Q3 2016 and down from 11.5% at the end of 2015.

Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with ATTOM Data Solutions, said, “Meanwhile, the number of equity rich homeowners has increased by nearly 4.8 million over the past three years, a rate of about 1.6 million each year. Between 2000 and 2008, our data shows the average homeownership tenure nationwide was 4.26 years, but that average tenure has been trending steadily higher since 2009, reaching a new record high of 7.88 years for homeowners who sold in 2016.”

The report also found that as of the end of 2016 there were 13.9 million (13,877,315) U.S. properties that were equity rich.

The 13.9 million equity rich properties at the end of 2016 represented 24.6% of all U.S. properties with a mortgage, up from 23.4% at the end of Q3 2016 and up from 22.5% at the end of 2015.

Valentine’s Day Ideas for New Jersey

Checking out a great article on it offers some wonderful and romantic ideas for Valentine’s Day 2017.

Even though Valentine Day’s comes along in the dead of winter, there are some great spots you can go with your sweetheart.  Here are Jersey’s ten most romantic spots, with several off the beaten path or with a decidedly Jersey spin.

Click this link to check 


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