Real Estate in Brief: Home price cuts, green mortgages and more

by Morgan Mereday

Nearly one third of homes for sale experienced a price drop of more than 1 percent this October, according to report by real estate brokerage Redfin. The report foreshadowed a market cooldown, finding October’s decline in home prices to be the largest number of price drops since Redfin’s first year tracking this metric in 2010. Redfin reported that nearly half of for-sale homes in Seattle had price drops, with an average reduction of $27,500.

“An increase in interest rates effectively makes home-buying more expensive because buyers have to pay higher monthly mortgage payments even if the sticker price hasn’t changed,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “Some homebuyers are adjusting their price range down, and others are backing out of home-buying entirely — deciding that renting is a better deal. Sellers are now realizing buyer demand isn’t what it used to be and are dropping their prices. When buyers and sellers are on the same page, the market moves quickly, but since sellers were slow to react, we’ve seen a slowdown in the housing market.” 

In other real estate news:  

  • Freddie Mac announced its launch of GreenCHOICE mortgages, which help finance energy-efficient home renovations. The mortgages will offer an expanded variety of financing options to help low income families by providing energy saving renovations and repairs to reduce home service costs.  
  • eXp Realty announced its growth to over 15,000 agents. The real estate brokerage is recognized as the largest residential brokerage by geography in North America, and is a division of eXp World Holdings. The brokerage’s agent base has increased by more than 130 percent and with its recent opening in West Virginia, is now the first real estate brokerage to function as one company-owned brokerage in all 50 states of the nation. 
  • Compass named Kristen Ankerbrandt to be the new Chief of Financial Officer, starting November 26th. Ankerbrandt will report to founder and CEO Robert Reffkin, and will be responsible for increasing the real estate technology company’s financial strategy, manage financial functions such as acquisitions and investor relations, and legal and new development.
  • The number of new home sales dropped in October. The Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported a 8.9 percent decline to 544,000 in new single-family homes this October, a decrease from September’s 597,000 revised rate, and a recorded 12 percent dip below sales made in October of 2017.