HUD Issues Directive Warning Refusing To Rent Based Upon Tenants Criminal History May Be Discrimination

Earlier this month, General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued guidance on the “Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate-Related Transaction“.  This guidance has caused concern among many landlords as many, in an effort to assure safe housing for their tenants, do criminal background checks on prospective tenants and have a policies against renting to applicants with a criminal background, a practice that, according to this guidance, may very well be considered to be discriminatory now.

Do landlord have to rent all all convicted felons?

While the guidance does not appear to remove a landlord’s ability to establish some restrictions on who they rent to with regard to prior convictions, however does say:

“But housing providers that apply a policy or practice that excludes persons with prior convictions must still be able to prove that such policy or practice is necessary to achieve a substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest.”

The guidance goes on to make it clear that a blanket prohibition against any person with any conviction, is not going to fly:

“A housing provider that imposes a blanket prohibition on any person with any conviction record – no matter when the conviction occurred, what the underlying conduct entailed, or what the convicted person has done since then – will be unable to meet this burden.”

So, as is often the case, there is a lot of gray area here.  Below I have the entire guidance letter which goes into much more detail.


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New Home Construction In Midwest During March Increases Over 40 Percent From Year Ago

New home construction in the midwest region of the U.S. continued strong in March with home builders beginning construction on new homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 123,000 home, a 41.4% increase from March 2015 when the new home start rate was 87,000 homes.  March’s rate was a decline of 21.2 from February when an increase of nearly 90 percent from the year before sent the annual rate to 153,000 homes.

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New Home Construction In Midwest In February Up Nearly 89 Percent From Year Ago

Home builders began construction on new homes in the Midwest region of the U.S. in February at a pace of 153,000 new homes annually, an 88.9% increase from February 2015 when new home starts in the midwest was at an annual rate of 81,000 homes.  February’s spike in new home construction was an 18.6% increase from January’s annual rate of 129,000 homes.

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New Home Sales In Midwest Decline In November

New home sales in the U.S. in November rose 9.1 percent from a year ago, and increased 4.3 percent from the month before, according to a report just released by the U.S. Commerce Department.  In the midwest region however, new home sales slid in November, falling 8.6% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 53,000 homes from 58,000 the month before and decreasing 10.2 percent from November 2014 when new home sales in the midwest were at an annual rate of 59,000 homes.

 

 

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Builders See Green in Building Green

Dodge Data & Analytics just released a report on “Green and Healthier Homes” in which it was revealed that many builders are seeing building green as a way to increase business and new home sales.  In fact, according to the report, 83 percent of homebuilders and remodelers believe consumers are willing to pay more for a healthier home.    This shows quite a change over the past decade as around 2005 I was developing quite a few residential properties and looked into the idea of adding some “green” features to some developments.  This led me to Denver to tour many green loft projects and to return to St Louis all fired up on going green on a loft development I was planning.  The problem is, as I dug into it and began researching the market and getting feedback on pricing, I found that while a high percentage of buyers said they would like to have the features, almost no one, said they were willing to pay anything extra to get it, much less the 5% or so we were projecting it would cost.  Changing times I guess…

Highlights from the report:

  • Nearly one third of home builders (31%) report that they are currently doing more than 60% of their projects green, and over half (51%) expect to be doing that level of green work by 2020.
  • Over three quarters (77%) of builders report that building green costs 5% or more than the cost to build a standard home, and an even high percentage of remodelers (83%) agree.

 

New Home Sales In Midwest Declines For Second Consecutive Month

New home sales in the U.S. in September lost some steam declining 11.5 percent from August, however, let’s not forget, August was a record month for U.S. New Home Sales which sold at the highest annual rate since February of 2008, according to a report just released by the U.S. Commerce Department.  New homes sold in September at a seasonally-adjusted, annual-rate, of 468,000 homes, a decrease of  11.5 percent from the month before an an increase of 2.0 percent from September 2014 when new homes sold at an annual rate of 459,000 homes.

Midwest New Home Sales Fall For Second Month in a Row..

Here in the midwest region, new homes sold in September at a seasonally-adjusted, annual-rate, of 55,000 homes, a decline of 8.3 percent from August and also a decline 8.3 percent from September 2014 when new homes sold in the Midwest region at a rate of 60,000 homes per year.

The new home supply in the United States increased in September 18.4 percent to 5.8 months from a 4.9 month supply the month before and increased 5.5 percent from September 2014 when there was a 5.5 month supply.

New home prices rose 2.6% in September to a median price of $296,900 from $289,100 the month before and is 13.5% higher than a year ago when the median price of new homes sold in the U.S. was $261,500.

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New Home Sales In U.S. Hit 7 Year High In August-Sales Slip In Midwest

New home sales in the U.S. in August sold at the highest annual rate since February of 2008, according to a report just released by the U.S. Commerce Department.  New homes sold in August at a seasonally-adjusted, annual-rate, of 552,000 homes, an increase of  5.7 percent from the month before an an increase of 21.6 percent from August 2014 when new homes sold at an annual rate of 454,000 homes.

Midwest New Home Sales Not Keeping Pace

Here in the midwest region, new homes sold in August at a seasonally-adjusted, annual-rate, of 60,000 homes, a decline of 9.1 percent from July but was an increase of 15.4 percent from August 2014 when new homes sold in the Midwest region at a rate of 52,000 homes per year.

The new home supply in the United States decreased in August 4.1 percent to 4.7 months from a 4.9 month supply the month before and declined 13.0 percent from Augsut 2014 when there was a 5.4 month supply.

New home prices remained about the same in August at a median price of $292,700 up slightly from $291,100 the month before and was $500 higher than a year ago when the median price of new homes sold in the U.S. was $291.700.

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New Home Construction In St Louis Slips In July Still Up For The Year

New home construction activity in St Louis during July showed mixed results around the St Louis area. For the five-county core St Louis market that I focus on (city of St. Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Franklin and Jefferson) permits issued for new homes during July slipped 2.7% to 322 from 331 the year before.  The decline was concentrated in just two counties however, albeit the two largest ones, St Louis and St Charles.  St Charles county saw permits fall to 142 for July, down almost 25 percent from July 2014 when there were 189 permits issued and St Louis county saw permits fall nearly 13 percent during the same period from 78 permits in July 2014 to 68 in July 2015.

On a year-to-date basis, the 5-county core St Louis market is up 11.2 percent from a year ago with 2,257 permits issued versus 2,030 as of the same time a year ago.

For the St Louis MSA, as the chart below shows, building permits issued for new homes in July was up 13.8% from a year ago.

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New Home Sales In the Midwest Decline In July But Prices Increase

New home sales in the midwest declined in July to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 54,000 homes, a decline of 6.9 percent from the month before when sales were at a rate of 58,000 homes, according to a report just released by the U.S. Commerce Department.  The new home sales rate for the midwest in July 2015 was exactly the same as July 2014.

The new home supply in the United States decreased in July 1.9 percent to 5.2 months from a 5.3 month supply the month before and marks a decline of 14.8 percent from July 2014 when there was a 6.1 month supply.

New home prices increased 3 percent in July to a median price of $285,900 from $277,500 the month before and was 2 percent higher than a year ago when the median price of new homes sold in the U.S. was $280,400.

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New Home Sales Slip In June In The Midwest

New home sales in the midwest slipped in June to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 56,000 homes, a decline of 11.1 percent from the month before when sales were at a rate of 63,000 homes, according to a report just released by the U.S. Commerce Department.  Even though new home sales cooled off in June, the pace for June was still 5.7 percent higher than June 2014 when new home sales came in at a rate of 53,000 homes.

The new home supply in the midwest increased in June 12.5 percent to 5.4 months from a 4.8 month supply the month before, however this marks a decline of 6.9 percent from June 2014 when there was a 5.8 month supply.

New home prices increased slightly in June, from the month before, to a median price of $281,800 however were down 1.8% from June 2014 when the median new home price in the midwest was $287,000.

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New Home Construction In Midwest Slips In May After Spike in April

New Home Construction in the Midwest declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of return of 104,000 homes in May after hitting a rate of 123,000 homes in April.  April’s increase in activity brought the rate of new home construction to 23% above a year ago, but in May the rate fell to a point 1% below the same time last year, according to newly released date from the U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. Census Bureau.

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Building Permits Issued In St Louis MSA for Single-Family Homes

St Louis MSA New Home Building Permits Chart

Source: Federal Reserve – St Louis

Characteristics Of New Homes Built In 2014

There were 437,000 new homes sold (single-family) in the U.S. last year, down from a peak of 1,283,000 in 2005.  Roughly ten percent of the single-family homes sold were attached homes (44,000) and the remaining ninety-percent (393,000) were detached homes, according to data just released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Facts and Figures For New Homes Sold In The Midwest During 2014:

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New Home Sales in Midwest During April Increase 20 Percent From Year Ago

New home sales here in the midwest region of the U.S. occurred in April at an adjusted annual rate of 78,000 homes, an increase of 36.8 percent from the month before when new home sales activity was at the rate of 57,000 homes per year and an increase of 20 percent from April 2014 when new homes were selling at the rate of 65,000 homes a year, according to data just released by the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD.

New home inventory is down…

According to the report, in April 2015, there was a 4.8 month supply of new homes for sale in the U.S., a decline of 5.9% from the month before and a decline of 14.3% from a year ago when there was a 5.6 month supply.

New home sales prices increased over 8%…

The median price of new homes sold in the U.S. during April 2015 was $297,300, an increase of 8.3% from a year ago when the median price was $274,500.

 

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New Home Construction In Midwest Surges in April

New Home Construction in the Midwest really heated up during the month of may with construction beginning during the month on new single-family homes a the annual rate of 126,000 homes, an increase of 43.2% from March and an increase of 15.6% from April 2014, according to newly released date from the U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. Census Bureau.  During the month of April, new homes were completed at the annual rate of 128,000 homes, an increase of 50.6% from March and an increase of 28.0% from a year ago.  Building permits issued for new homes did not keep pace with new construction and were issued at the annual rate of 100,000 homes which is still an increase of 1% from the month before and an increase of 5.3% from April 2014.

National Association of Home Builders Chairman, Tom Woods, a builder from right here in Missouri (Blue Springs) said “Our builders tell us that consumers are slowly returning to the market” and added, “This month’s report shows release of pent-up demand and evidence of a sustainable housing recovery.”

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New Home Construction In Midwest Shows Mixed Results in March

New Home Construction in the Midwest showed mixed results in March with a small increase from a year ago in the number of building permits issued but a decline in the number of new homes construction began on or was completed on, according to data released this week by the U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. Census Bureau.

New home construction activity in the midwest region of the U.S. in March (all figures shown are seasonally adjusted, annual rates)

New Home Construction In St Louis Losing Steam

New home construction in St Louis has begun 2015 with a slower start than one might expect given the spring-like weather St Louis experienced during much of January and the flurry of activity we have seen thus far this year from home buyers.  Permits issued in January for new homes in the St Louis Metro Area were down 7.85 percent from a year ago, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis.  As the chart below illustrates, for the bulk of last year, the number of permits issued during the month was down from a year ago.

Percentage Change From Year Ago In Building Permits Issued In St Louis MSA for Single-Family Homes

St Louis New Home Building Permits Change From Year ago

Source: Federal Reserve – St Louis

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Home Building In The Midwest Begins 2015 With a Bang

While the number of building permits issued for new single family homes during January 2015 in the Midwest was down 4.8 percent from January 2014, builders were busy starting construction on new homes  at a pace that was 73.6 percent higher than the year before, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Other highlights from the report for January 2015 for the midwest region of the U.S.:

  • Permits for new single family homes were issued at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 99,000 units, down 2.0% from December and down 4.8% from January 2014.
  • Construction commenced on new homes at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of  92,000 units, a decrease of 30.8% from December but an increase of 73.6% from January 2014.
  • New homes in the Midwest were completed in January at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of  103,000 homes, down 2.8% from the month before and down 12.0% from a year ago.


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New Home Construction In Midwest Finishes Out 2014 Ahead of 2013

After struggling for years, new home construction in the Midwest finished out 2014 with a little  more home building activity than the prior year and on a pace that makes me feel pretty optimistic about 2015 for the home building industry.

New Home Building and Construction Activity in the Midwest during December 2014, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • Permits for new single family homes were issued at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 102,000 units, up 4.1% from the prior month’s rate and up 6.3% from the rate in December 2013.
    • During 2014, building permits were issued for 101,900 new homes, just slightly more than 2013 when there were 101,800 permits issued.
  • Construction commenced on new homes at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of  123,000 units, an increase of 7.9% from November and an increase of 0.8% from December 2013.
    • During 2014, construction was commenced on 105,100 new homes, an increase of 3.1% from 2013.
  • New homes in the Midwest were completed in December at the seasonally adjusted annual rateof of 108,000 units, up 8.0% from the month before and up 10.2% from a year ago.
    • For 2014, there were 103,800 new homes completed, an increase of 8.6% from 2013.

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Which St Louis Neighborhoods Had The Most Homes Sold in 2014?

The 63376 zip code area of St Charles County, which includes the City of St. Peters and a portion of Cottleville, had the most homes sold in 2014 of any other zip code area in St Louis with 1,145 homes sold.  For the zip area with the second most homes sold in 2014 we jump to the east side of the Missouri river with the 63021 area of St Louis County, comprised of Ballwin, Manchester and Ellisville, with 856 homes sold.   The chart below shows the top 20 zip areas in the St Louis area and then the charts that follow show the median home prices in those areas as well as the percentage of list prices homes in those areas sold for in 2014.

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St Louis New Home Sales Up Over 12 Percent In November From Year Ago

St Louis New Home Sales in November 2014 increased 12.5% from November 2013 and, as would be expected given the time of year, decreased about 8% from the month before.  New home sales in St Louis out performed new home sales in the Midwest Region as a whole as the region saw 4,000 new home sales in November 2014, the same as a year ago, and a decrease of 20% from the month before, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD.

The median price of new homes sold in November 2014 was $235,900, an increase of 15% from the month before when the median price was $205,000, and was up about 1% from November 2013 when the median new home sale price was $237,450.

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New Home Construction In Midwest Increases In November as Does Home Size

New home construction starts in the Midwest during November occurred at a seasonally adjusted, annual rate, of 107,000 homes, an increase of 5.9 percent from the month before and a decline of 10.1 percent from November 2013, according to the latest data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Year to date through the end of November, there have been 97,800 single family homes started, an increase of 2 percent from this time last year when construction had started on a total of 95,700 new single family homes.

Only half the new homes built are for sale-

One of the things to keep in mind about the new home construction numbers you hear about is not all the homes being built are for sale or adding to the inventory of homes for sale.  Some new homes are built specifically for a client, perhaps on their own property, or are built for rental or other purpose.  During the 3rd quarter of this year construction was begun on 32,000 new single-family homes and only 16,000 (50%) of those were built “for sale”.  During the same period construction was begun on 18,000 new units in multi-family buildings (2 units or more) and less than 1/2% of those were built for sale, with 94.4% of them being built for rental.

New homes in the Midwest getting larger-

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St Louis New Home Sales Slip Slightly In October

St Louis New Home Sales in October 2014 slipped 3.8% behind October 2013 but increased a little over 16% from the month before.  The St Louis new home sales activity followed suit with the Midwest Region of the U.S. which saw a 15.8% increase in new home sales activity in October from the month before but a decline of 2.9% from October 2013, according to data just released by the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD.

As the chart below shows, the median price of new homes sold in St Louis in October 2014 was $205,000 a decline of 4.7% from a year ago when the median new home sale price in St Louis was $215,000 and is 3% below September’s median new home price of $211,500.

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New Home Construction Slows In The Midwest

New Home Construction in the Midwest Region of the U.S. slowed in October with new home building permits being used at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 102,000 homes, a decline of 3.8% from September but a 4.1% increase from October 2014, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD.  Year to date for 2014, through October, there have been 89,100 permits issued for new homes, down very slightly from the same time last year when there had been 89,400 new home permits issued.

New Home Starts Fall Dramatically In The Midwest In October-

Construction began on new homes in the midwest in October at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 94,000 homes, down 21% from September and down 7.8% from October 2013.

New Home Completions Decline In The Midwest In October-

New homes were completed in the midwest region in October at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 99,000 homes, down 6.6% from the month before and down 2% from October 2013.

On a national level, new home permits were issued in October at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 640,000 homes, an increase of 1.4% from the month before and an increase of 2.4% from October 2013.    Year to date for 2014, there have been 541,300 building permits issued for new single-family homes nationwide, an increase of 1.4% from the same time last year.

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St Louis New Home Building Permits Increase In September

St Louis new home building permits issued in September increased by 6 percent from a year ago for the 5-county core area of St Louis (city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin), according to data just released by the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri.  On a year to date basis, as the table below shows, the city of St Louis is up 13 percent from the same period last year, St Louis county is up 2 percent and the rest of the counties are running behind last years numbers.

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St Louis Building Permits - September 2014 - St Louis New Home Permits

St Louis New Home Sales In September Increase Slightly From Last Year

St. Louis new home sales in September 2014 increased 3.26% from September 2013 while the average St Louis new home sales price increased 10.97% during the same period, according to the latest data from Maris.

On a national level, new home sales in September 2014 were up 17% from September 2013 and in the Midwest region sales were up 6.7% during the same period.  The average new home sales price in the U.S. in September 2014 was $259,000, a 4% decline from a year ago when the average price was $269,800, according to the U.S. Census Bureaiu.

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Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 3.20.42 PM

Where The Real Estate Market Is Headed In 2015

Around this time of year every year, people start asking me “Where is the real estate Market headed next year?”  The real estate market is affected by so many factors that predictions on what the market will do are hard, however there are some basic fundamentals that can be looked at to make a good educated guess.  One of the industry experts out there that I think does a good job at this and, offers a somewhat less biased look at the market than some, is Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac.   Below are highlights of his most recent report on the outlook of the housing market along with my comments relating his projection to our St Louis market:

Home Sales:

  • 5.31 million total homes (new and existing) sold in 2014, a 3.6% decrease from 2013.  Projection for 2015 is an increase of 5.5% to 5.6 million homes sold.
  • For St Louis (the 5-county core market), I am projecting that home sales will be down roughly the same as above, maybe just slightly higher, perhaps 4%, for 2014 from 2013.  I would also project an increase in home sales in St Louis in 2015 at a rate close to the rate projected by Mr. Nothaft for the market as a whole.

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St Louis New Home Building Permits Drop In August

The number of new home building permits in St Louis dropped in August 12 percent from July and were down 2 percent from August 2013, according to the latest date from the Home Builders Association for St Louis and Eastern Missouri.   There were a total of 287 permits issued for the 5-county core market consisting of the city of St Louis and Counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin, down from 327 the month before and 292 a year ago.

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new home building permits in St Louis August 2014

Home Builders Optimism Regarding New Home Market Hits Highest Level In Almost 9 Years

The new home market is improving and home builders indicate they have more confidence in the new home market now than they have had since November 2005, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today.  According to the HMI, home builders confidence is presently at 59, the highest level the index has been at since November 2005.

The HMI is comprised of several components including builder’s opinions of current sale conditions, buyer traffic and future sales.  The response from builders indicate they feel optimistic about current sale conditions and very optimistic about future sales, but not as pleased with current buyer traffic through their displays.

Looking at results of the survey on a regional basis, the Midwest region registered the highest on the index with a 59, followed by the West with a 58, South at 56 and Northeast at 41.

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Midwest New Home Sales Slip in July

New home sales in the midwest region of the U.S. slipped in July with new home sales coming in at the seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 52,000 homes, down 8.8% from a rate of 57,000 homes the month before and down 1.9% from July 2013, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Year to date, through July, there have been 36,000 new homes sold (not seasonally adjusted) down 2.7% from the same time last year when there were 37,000 year to date new home sales.

On a national level, in July new home sales were at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 412,000 homes, down 2.4% from the month before but up 12.3% from July 2013 when new home sales were at the annual rate of 367,000 homes.  In July 2014 there was a 6 month supply of new homes for sale, an increase of 7.1% from the month before when the supply was 5.6 months and an increase in the same amount from a year ago.

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$1,000 Increase In New Home Price Takes Over 200,000 Buyers Out Of The Market

A new study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reveals that, for each $1,000 increase in the price of a new home (median-priced new home)  ,206,000 prospective home buyers are forced out of the market.  The NAHB uses this point to illustrate the effect that building regulations can have on housing affordability  citing that every $833 increase in fees paid during the home-building process, such as permit fees, impact fees, etc, adds an additional $1,000 to the final price of the home.

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