Real Estate in Brief: ShowingTime reports slowdown in showings, eXp Realty expands and more

by Lauren Brocato

The May 2018 ShowingTime Showing Index report was recently released, which analyzed the traffic per residential property for sale by agents and brokers. A higher number means that an average home saw more visits from potential buyers this month.

On a national scale, the index fell from 156.7 in April 2018 to 139.4 in May 2018. Each region of the U.S. experienced a slowdown as well.

  • The Northeast region saw a drop of nearly 19 points to 139.9.
  • The South region fell from 147.1 to 134.1.
  • The West region saw the smallest change at 140.6, down just 10 points since last month.
  • The biggest change was in the Midwest region, with a score of 142.3, a 20-point decrease from last month.

There is still reason for optimism as the summer housing market heats up, according to ShowingTime Chief Analytics Officer Daniil Cherkasski.

“While the spring season saw a substantially higher level of buyer traffic, May numbers came mostly in line with the levels experienced last year,” Cherkasskiy said. “Activity was up slightly year over year in the Midwest, South and Northeast, while the West Region declined.”

In other real estate news:

  • Virtual brokerage eXp Realty saw an 85 percent growth since the start of 2018 and is now up to 12,000 agents across its North American market, according to a report from Nasdaq. “Our momentum at eXp Realty has continued through the first half of the year, as evidenced by the addition of nearly 6,000 agents, while adding three U.S. states and one Canadian province as we expand geographically. To gracefully manage our growing family, we have increased the number and capabilities of our agent support team and continue to develop our underlying technology framework,” said eXp World Holdings CEO, Chairman and Founder, Glenn Sanford. The group made a $1 billion Nasdaq debut earlier this year and continues to grow.
  • Zestimate artificial intelligence (AI) has proven to be 15 percent more accurate when judging home interiors, according to an Inman report. The algorithm used is trained to analyze pixels in images and understand which pixels translate into higher price tags. The AI feature is currently only available in the Seattle region King County but is set to roll out more broadly.
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) revealed Monday that it neglected to address reported cases involving children with elevated lead blood levels in public housing, according to Pro Publica. Required paint inspections and procedures for reporting these cases were also failed to be reported. This misstep resulted in a recommendation by the principal deputy inspector general to update the HUD’s regulations to expand the inspection and abatement requirements.
  • More than 30 percent of single-family builders have reported framing lumber shortages in a NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index survey, according to BuilderOnline.com. This shortage is fairly new as reported shortages this time last year were much lower for all building materials. “It is probably not a coincidence that the top five items on the 2018 shortage list are made of softwood lumber or steel, both of which have been targeted by the Administration with new import tariffs over the past year. “ the report noted.