Listen up, small business owners!

Don’t let the Walmarts and Amazons take over the economy completely. There is still definitely a need for small business but in order to stay alive, sure to watch these trends as you can find yourself ahead of the curve if you do so properly. What do you think about these trends? Are these tips helpful for you? 

Heading into an election year means many of the big influences on the US small business market will come from macro-economic conditions and technological changes being implemented in the sector.

Here are a few trends that bear watching over the next 12 months:

The on-demand economy is changing our labor force.

At a time when the level of self employment is rising, small businesses in America are contributing less to the nation’s GDP. Between 2002 and 2012, small businesses’ contribution to GDP fell from 48.3 percent to 44.6 percent. At the same time, the number of self-employed contractors grew to more than 14 percent of the labor market.

Driving this dynamic is the rise of the freelancing workforce fueled by a plethora of platforms connecting people with work, be it having someone design a logo for you, deliver ice cream, drive you down the street or clean your house. The on-demand economy is thriving.

The labor force has significantly changed. As an example, three years ago independent contracting site Upwork had 1.5 million freelancers registered, now they’re upwards of 10 million. With those demographic changes, there is now more competition for employees and it’s driving a conversation around minimum wages, paid time off and overtime rules which will all be key election issues. We’re going to hear a lot of discussion around these topics.

Over the next 12 months we’ll see technology help to streamline the freelancing marketplace, which should help boost productivity in this sector.

Not a lot is going to happen policy-wise.

Entering an election year means whatever fear you have about what policies may change in the government can likely be set aside. That means anything that’s going on with tax reform or ObamaCare, for example, isn’t likely to change in the near term as election years tend to be dead policy years. Everyone will be trying to steady the ship so their candidate is elected.

The Inauguration is Jan. 20, 2017, which is when you’ll see policy changes, if a Republican comes into office. The elections are up in the air right now. It’s way too early to predict what is going to happen. It’s fascinating to watch.

Funds are tightening.

There aren’t a lot of major moves made in US financial markets during presidential election years. Access to capital doesn’t look like it’s going to get easier for small businesses, while the high cost of healthcare and employee wages will continue to weigh on the sector.

The big question is will the Fed raise rates more? If they do, access to capital will tighten, borrowing will become more expensive and the economy will probably soften.

If interest rates go up, there are going to be other investments which will be more attractive than the stock market. That’s important for business owners, as many have savings invested in the stock market. It also means now is a good time to borrow, while interest rates are low.

With no significant legislation expected to come out of Washington this year, there’s an expectation that the economy will continue to grow at a moderate pace in 2016 of between 2 percent to 3 percent. The biggest issue out of Washington is the government’s ability to repay its debt which has now been kicked back to March 2017.

This lack of movement locally drives home the idea that macro-economic forces will have a bigger impact on the US economy this year.

Read more: http://entm.ag/1OdKLKs

Cutting down road blocks to success

It is  common adage that courage is not the absence of fear but rather overcoming fear. The same is true for success. It is not about not being worried about the risks that you are taking, it is about having the wisdom to take the right risks and above all else, believing that you can and will succeed if you try hard enough. Check out these tips to using your fear in a useful way and accepting it. 

1. Fear of criticism

Many people are afraid to live their dreams for fear of what others may think and say about them. Recently, I received a letter from a college student. “My parents want me to finish my master’s degree, but I’m ready to start my business,” he wrote. “They would think I’m crazy if I dropped out now. What should I do?”

This is a common theme from many people. But making decisions based on what people think — even your closest friends and family — will debilitate you for the rest of your life. Instead, think about what these same people would say if you did achieve success. To this college student, my advice is to think about what your parents would say if your business did succeed — would they be proud of you? What if it was the best decision you’ve ever made? It very well could be.

2. Fear of poverty

Many people are stuck in “survival mode.”

“I’m 26 years old and I’m trapped in a cubicle for 40 hours a week,” a man recently wrote me. “I pay the bills and live an average life, but I know I can have a better job and reach my fullest potential. I’m tired of being bored and I want to use my gifts. However, I’m afraid that I’ll run out of money. What do you suggest?”

The fear of poverty is crippling. However, this young man did express in his email that he had $10,000 in savings, which would be enough to help him quit his job for a few months and look for his dream occupation or business. Too many people settle for mediocrity because they think they must “survive” instead of “thrive.” The fear of poverty should never hold you back from your dreams.

3. Fear of old age (and death)

There’s a certain age where many people quit at life. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Most people die at 25 and are buried at 75.” For some people, this metaphorical death — when they decide to settle for a mediocre lifestyle — comes earlier than 25. These people figure they can’t make it happen, so they end up quitting in advance.

Fear of old age can also be harmful when a person has to go through a major career transition. The thinking often goes something like this: “I’m 46. How do you expect me to learn about real estate if I’ve been in health insurance all my life? Plus, it has to work out perfectly, otherwise I won’t be able to support my family.”

In the end, however, age is far less important than your belief in yourself.

4. Fear of failure  

This is when most people ask the “what if” question. Except typically, they phrase it in a negative way such as: “What if it doesn’t work? What if no one likes it? What if it fails?”

These are the wrong questions. Instead of thinking about all the ways you may fail, concentrate on all the ways you may succeed! Even if you fail or make a mistake, it gives you a chance to reflect and correct. You must fail before you succeed. Every master was once a disaster. So go ahead and try!

Read more at: http://entm.ag/1mI5PRS

Staying Motivated is Half the Battle

When it comes to this dog eat dog world of entrepreneurship, staying motivated really is half the battle. The amount of energy that it takes to really make a small business work is so immense but the payoffs can be that much greater. Here are some great tips that can help you stay motivated and achieve the success you desire.

1. Visit trade related organizations and networking group events. If things are tough for you in your industry right now, chances are others in your industry are feeling and fighting the same challenges too. Attend a trade association or networking event and see how others in your industry are handling the pinch and what they are doing to keep themselves motivated and moving in a positive direction. It’s nice to meet with like-minded people in a supportive environment, plus it gives you a chance to brainstorm breakthrough ideas with business people who understand the industry and what you’re going through. Remember to bring lots of business cards, you never know who you may meet that could use your products or services.

2. Look for other companies that complement what products or services your company provides, and build a strategic alliance with them. When you find another company who is interested in establishing a strategic alliance with your company, first discuss how you can provide added value for their clients. Then discuss how they can provide add value to your clients. Share one or more of your client lists with each other; this will give each company a boost by providing a new client base to start marketing to. I don’t recommend that you just hand your client list over to your new found friend, but maybe put some collateral material together that they could pass along to their clients explaining your products and services. When a new strategic alliance client shows interest you can promptly follow-up with them, and if they use your products or services you will give a referral fee to the strategic alliance company. Make sure you do your homework and research before you establish and enter into a strategic alliance with any company. You do not want to get involved with another company that has a bad reputation in the industry?especially, one that will hurt your company’s reputation too, in the end.

3. Take some time to study new industry products and services that have recently become popular in your industry. For example, when I owned an electrical company we had a period one winter when things had slowed down drastically. Instead of sitting in the office and worrying about what I could do to make money, I took a class on a new lighting system that had just hit the market. When I got back from the class I spent the next few days putting together a new company marketing brochure on the new product and sent it to all of my former clients. Before I knew it my company was booked for the next 3 months installing the new lighting systems. It motivated us and pushed over the hump, and it kept us from having to lay-off employees due to a continuing drastic drought. We now had a new product to offer to our clients and a jump on other companies in our area.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/1uGAxYb

It’s Not An Easy Job!

Finding investment properties or being a real estate agent is no easy job and this is just one example of it. In addition to the odd hours and sometimes unsteady nature of the market, there is also the pure logistical fact that you are going to places you have never been before and that means you can sometimes run into trouble.

In the last two years, the perils that Realtors and real estate agents face on an everyday basis have been brought into sharp focus under tragic and disturbing circumstances.

Entering into strange places with strange people places real estate professionals in harm’s way, and a new story from Athens, Georgia details a new concern that agents have to be aware of – the armed homeowner.

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, a 61-year-old man was summoned to a house he owned when the alarm was triggered.

Upon arriving at the house, the man spotted what he thought was a burglar, and held the would-be burglar at gunpoint until police arrived.

But the person who entered the house wasn’t a burglar; he was a real estate agent who was trying to show the house.

From the Athens Banner-Herald:

The man said he went to the house upon being notified of a burglar alarm activation there, and when arriving he saw unfamiliar vehicles and people in the driveway, according to police.

“Because of past break-ins, (the man) drew his Glock 23 pistol,” police said. “As it turned out, it was a real estate agent he had never met showing (the) house to a prospective buyer.”

Luckily, the situation was resolved without any further escalation or issue and all parties involved chose not to press charges.

Source: http://www.housingwire.com/articles/35872-real-estate-agent-held-at-gunpoint-after-being-confused-for-burglar

Interest Rates from the FOMC

How the federal Open Market Committee meetings fare, is a good indication of what interest rates in the real estate market will be like and what to expect on a potential buyer’s ability to actually purchase a home and get into a mortgage. As such, it is important to keep an eye out for all FOMC happenings in order to be more informed about when the best times to buy and sell are.

The Federal Open Market Committee is to blame for the rising risk in bank loan portfolios, according to a new industry report. The FOMC is responsible for setting the Zero Interest Rate Policy; in place for years now.

Kroll Bond Rating Agency’s report stated that the FOMC “explicitly set a policy to push up asset prices to facilitate greater risk taking.”

The problem is that these higher asset values have not been validated by the performance of the economy, either in terms of rising income or GDP.

Which means, when valuations for commercial and residential assets are rising faster than income or GDP, and LTVs are rising as well, the only certainty is that the prices will not be maintained.

The results from KBRA’s study of data published by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation made it believe that “there are clear signs again of mounting future credit risk present in the zero or low default rates being reported by the banking industry.”

KBRA said this threat too closely resembles the situation America got into nearly 10 years ago. “During the height of the mortgage bubble in 2004-2005, obligors such as Washington Mutual and Countrywide actually reported negative defaults, meaning that recoveries exceeded charge-offs, suggesting that credit had zero cost,” the report stated.

Now, the report stated that falling market prices for oil, copper and other key industrial commodities have cut the value of collateral by more than half over the past year, raising the specter of increased corporate defaults and related collateral damage for lenders and investors.

“The deflationary environment facing the global economy has been explicitly orchestrated by the policies of the FOMC, which has pushed up asset prices (and compressed credit spreads) to foster economic growth,” the report said.

Loan categories to be concerned about: construction & development, 1-4 family mortgages and multifamily loans are showing signs of stress.

“Plainly stated, the credit results measured by metrics such as charge-offs and recoveries are simply too good to be believed – or sustained,” the report said.

Last month the FOMC voted to table an interest rate hike, and after the horrible September jobs report most think the chance for a rate hike at the Oct. 27-28 FOMC is remote. The next FOMC meeting after that is Dec. 15-16.

Source: http://www.housingwire.com/articles/35284-kbra-fed-actions-inflate-financial-risks-in-bank-portfolios

Growing Housing Markets

Although, the housing market has been on a rebound from the economic recession, it is much healthier than many people realize especially in certain areas. Cities are changing rapidly as jobs are bouncing back. Take a look at these ten cities that should be looked at if you are wanting to invest in real estate.

Atlanta, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Riverside, and San Diego have been included among the 2015 Best Markets Top 10 List compiled quarterly by HomeVestors and Local Market Monitor.

The list evaluates and rates approximately 300 markets, and names the 10 where home prices are likely to increase steadily over the next few years, resulting in better returns, since home bargains will be harder and harder to find.

At 696,000, the number of borrowers in active foreclosure is the lowest it’s been since November 2007.

“The boom in snapping up foreclosed properties is pretty much over,” said Ingo Winzer, president and founder of Local Market Monitor.

 “Our Top 10 list consists of growing markets where higher home prices already signal more demand than supply, and where renters are at least a third of the local population. With the exception of Atlanta, where bargains still exist, home prices are pretty much aligned with local income,” Winzer said.

 The third-quarter 2015 top 10 list includes:

1. Orlando, Florida – the large and growing tourism industry provides plenty of lower-paying jobs.

2. Dallas, Texas – growing rapidly, with lots of jobs in business services and finance; many renters despite fairly modest home prices.

3.  Riverside-San Bernardino, California – growing again after a big real estate recession.

4.  Seattle, Washington – high home prices give many renters little choice; economy is doing very well despite a moribund manufacturing sector.

5.  Austin, Texas – as with other Texas markets, not enough construction in the past decade; strong demand for rentals from government and university workers.

6.  Fort Lauderdale, Florida – renewed growth in a market with a large retirement population and service providers.  

7. Charlotte, North Carolina – the large banking and business services sectors provide ample medium-pay jobs; home prices are moderate but many prefer to rent.

8. Atlanta, Georgia – recovery from the large number of sub-prime foreclosures has produced more renters; some bargains can still be found.

9. San Diego, California – high (but not outrageous) home prices produce a large renter population; the large business services sector – with medium-pay jobs – provides growth.  

10. San Antonio, Texas – increased tourism boosts demand for rentals.

“These Top 10 markets demonstrate that real estate investment opportunity is widespread,” said Ken Channell, HomeVestors co-president. “There are locations with great potential from coast to coast, in the biggest markets and in smaller cities, if you evaluate carefully. For instance, while some people might assume any California real estate is completely overpriced, we see two Southern California markets that have exceptional values.”

Source: http://www.housingwire.com/articles/35287-amazing-markets-housing-investors-really-need-to-consider

Mortgage Rates Falling

Mortgage rates from Fannie Mae have been falling like crazy. Fannie Mae is one of the biggest mortgage lending firms in the United States that focuses on affordable home mortgages to allow more people to own homes, therefore rebounding the housing market from the Great Recession. 2015 does seem to be a great year for buying homes.

After raising the benchmark interest rate for its standard modification program twice in the last three months, Fannie Mae is set to drop the benchmark rate back down to the lowest level it’s ever been.

Beginning Sept. 15, Fannie Mae will lower its required interest rate for standard modifications from 4.25% to 4%.

The standard modification rate has only been that low three other times since the modification interest rate was first established in Jan. 2012.

The only other times the standard modification interest rate has been 4% were in February and May of this year, as well as December 2012.

In July, Fannie Mae raised its required interest rate for standard modifications from 4.125% to 4.25%. The standard modification rate hadn’t been that high since Nov. 2014.

In June, Fannie Mae increased its standard modification rate from 4% back to 4.125%, which was the designated rate from April 14 through May 14.

And In May, Fannie dropped the interest rate from 4.125% to 4%.

Fannie Mae announced the change Wednesday in an email sent to its servicers.

According to Fannie Mae’s website, the Standard Modification program is “designed to help those borrowers who are ineligible for the Home Affordable Modification Program.” Therefore, the new rate does not extend to HAMP borrowers.

In the note sent to servicers, Fannie said that servicers must use the new interest rate for any mortgage loan modification evaluation conducted on or after Sept. 15.

When the program began in Jan. 2012, Fannie’s benchmark interest rate was 4.625%. Fannie lowered the interest rate to 4.25% in Sept. 2012, before dropping it to 4% on Dec. 1, 2012.

The interest rate stayed at 4% until Sept. 2013, when Fannie raised it back to 4.625%, before dropping it back to 4.5% in July 2014.

The interest rate progressively dropped from October 2014 until February 2015, falling from 4.5% to 4%, before Fannie raised it in April, dropped it again in May, raised in in June and July, and now, citing “prevailing market rates,” Fannie is dropping it back down again.

Source: http://www.housingwire.com/articles/35024-fannie-mae-drops-mortgage-modification-interest-rate-to-lowest-level-ever

How to Manage Personalities

There is a huge difference between a regular boss and a leader. Leaders are capable of managing stressors and problems in a way that is effective and doesn’t end up taking a toll on a leader’s personal life in an irreparable way, potentially burning them out on the job. This is a great article about common pet peeves managers struggle with from employees and how to manage it.

With the current economic downturn, work level stress is climbing, often manifesting itself in those particularly delightful, difficult behaviors at work – withholding, arguing, blocking, withdrawal, among others. Before we chastise those enacting these behaviors, let’s remember we are all culpable of enacting these same behaviors from time to time! No matter, here are some takeaways for managing these challenging behaviors with aplomb.

Feelings then Facts
My scientist clients ask me why their employees can’t leave their feelings at home. The irony is that the scientists too bring their feelings to work, sometimes hiding them temporarily under the proverbial carpet (putting them in shadow where they ironically loom larger). The reality is that feelings, as long as we remain humans, are here to stay. The key is ever so simple. LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN. When you listen, do so without judgment and interpretation. Ask questions to show curiosity and to learn.

Remember that what you resist, simply persists. So if you discard or ignore someone’s concerns, they are not going to go away anytime soon. Paradoxically, they just multiply!

Empathize – Get in Their Shoes
We all know that when we tell our significant others that their perspective makes no sense, our relationship doesn’t seem to improve. Imagine that! Remember the old adage: “Would you rather be right or happy?” Rather than arguing with others’ perspectives (Yes, even when they seem irrational), consider the differing perspectives an opportunity to learn more about others. Ask questions to help you understand where they are coming from; the goal is to understand – not to be right. The goal is to imagine what it is like to live in their shoes.

Identify their Interests
Fisher and Ury, from the Harvard Negotiation Program discern between interests and positions. Your position is the end product – that which you most want. Perhaps you want a raise of “X” amount or to work on a different team – these are positions. Your interests are the underlying reasons you want what you want. Find out what is really important to the person by being curious. Your listening does not commit you to meeting their needs but begins the conversation and builds the relationship. It also provides opportunities for identifying options that meet both of your interests.

Give Feedback
If a colleague doesn’t answer any of your email requests, you need to address his/her lack of response. If a boss criticizes you in front of others, feedback is the way to go. Here are the key steps for giving effective feedback:
A. Ask to set a time to talk
B. Ask for permission to give feedback
C. Very concretely, describe the behavior (“You are rude” doesn’t work, that’s an
interpretation. Describe what the person did that makes you experience them as rude).
D. Describe the impact of their behavior (“When you didn’t answer my requests, I had to
stay late.”).
E. Share how you made sense of someone’s behavior (“I assumed you were angry with
me.”). This is important because we often make assumptions that are completely 
untrue and go unchecked.
F. Ask for what you need. (“I need you to answer my emails within a 24 hour period.”).

Set Limits
There are times when neither discussion nor feedback is the answer. If someone yells at you, you need to clearly and firmly ask him or her to stop. You need to be prepared to know what you will do if she or he won’t (I am asking you to sit down and talk quietly with me. If you can’t do that now, let’s talk tomorrow). And yes, you can even say this respectfully to your boss.

Name What is Going On in the Moment
There will be times when you give someone feedback and the person insists she or he never did what you said. Quite often, if you carefully observe, she or he will perform that very behavior during your meeting. For example, if Sue said she never told you were wrong last week, chances are she will do so in your meeting now. (Sue, while you said you never told me I am wrong last week, you just did.) That’s a hard one to refute!

Reframe and Redirect
If a chronic complainer works for you and you want the complaints to stop, tell him or her that you will hear concerns only if she/he is prepared with 3 possible solutions. If you have a constant arguer in a meeting you facilitate, ask him or her to take the opposite side – what about the idea would be beneficial?

Apply Consequences
When there is a constant and consistent pattern of repeated behavior and you have tried the seven key strategies above and little has changed, you need to apply consequences and know your bottom line. You are much less likely to be curious and empathize with your children the third time they come home late than the first (especially if you gave them feedback the first time). So too, if you asked a colleague to stop yelling a week ago and listened to her or his concerns once calm, if the yelling resumes, you need to have a bottom line. You may choose to walk out or speak with her or his boss since you already addressed it directly with her or him.

It is very important to follow through on consequences once you set them or people will not take your word seriously. Harriet Lerner, in Dance of Anger, notes the propensity for people to test if the person setting consequences really means business. If Larry indicates that he will no longer respond to last minute requests, often the last minute requestor will test to see if he will “change back” and collude with these requests. If Larry is prepared for the other to test him to get him to “change back” and does not collude, the testing will end. But if he gives up in frustration, the last minute requests will unfortunately continue.

Tailoring Your Strategies
Lastly, you will need to tailor your approach to several factors: your relationship with the challenging person, his or her role in the organization and the specific type of challenging behavior. If you need to talk with a subordinate, you have legitimate power and can expect that she or he adhere to your bottom line. However, if you are confronting a peer in a different department, your requests may not be met. You may need to handle the situation organizationally by involving both your and her or his boss.

Listening, empathizing, giving feedback, setting limits, naming what is going on in the moment, reframing and redirecting and applying consequences when necessary, help address many challenging behaviors. It’s important to remember too, that even the most skillful people at managing challenging behaviors need to responsibly manage their own too!



About the Author:

Dr. Liz Berney (B.A., Yale, Ph.D., University of Maryland) consults, trains and coaches senior leaders in: Change Management, Conflict Management, Interests-based Negotiation, Influencing Skills, Customer Service, Team and Leadership Development, and Emotional Intelligence, including managing challenging personalities. She is considered an expert in the areas of team development, conflict management and the application of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator to leaders and teams. For more information on Dr. Liz Berney, visit: http://www.berneyassoc.com

Source: http://www.motivationmagazine.com/articles/managing-challenging-behaviors

Hottest Markets in the US

The key to real estate investing is finding the hot areas before they are too hot to afford and make more money on. In order to find these about to be hugely hot areas, it is always wise to look at the hottest markets around so that you can view prices, see if you can afford to invest in already hot markets or create predictions for which markets will be hot next.

The ZIP codes 02176 (Melrose, Mass.), 43085 (Worthington, Ohio) and 58103 (Fargo, N.D.) have pushed past one of the nation’s most recognizable postal codes – 90210 – and 32,000 others across the U.S. to top realtor.com’s list of 10 Hottest ZIP Codes for 2015.

ZIP codes making the list are distinguished by healthy housing dynamics, strong local employment and neighborhood “it factors.”

The hotness ranking is determined by the time it takes properties to sell and how frequently homes are viewed in each ZIP code.

“Each locale on this list is emblematic of the key trends driving housing this year – healthy local economics, job opportunities and affordability,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com. “For first-time homebuyers, these communities provide great opportunities to enter the housing market, build a career, and raise a family; older generations are able to build wealth and enjoy a variety of lifestyles.”

Here’s how it broke down.

In each top-ranked ZIP code, supply and demand are about five times stronger than the rest of the country. Homes in these communities sell four to nine times faster than the national average, with days on market 45%, or 20 days, lower than their respective metropolitan statistical areas. Centennial, Colo., has the nation’s lowest median age of inventory, with homes selling in approximately two weeks. Listings in each area are viewed three to eight times more often than overall U.S. listings, and an average of 2.3 times more often than their respective metros.

Income and employment are also contributing to the strong housing markets in these ZIP codes. Median household income among the Top 10 is $71,000, 20% higher than their surrounding metropolitan statistical areas and 32% higher than the national average of $54,000. Moreover, the share of households earning $100,000 or more is 32%, 22% higher than their respective markets and one-third higher than the national average of 23%.

Unemployment rates in these metros have dropped five times faster than other metros in the country in just the last year. Detroit and St. Louis are the only metros experiencing unemployment rates above 5%. ZIP codes on this list have an average of 22% lower unemployment than their surrounding metro areas. 

Each of the neighborhoods on this list provides favorable conditions for millennials considering a home purchase. The median income of people ages 25-34 years old in these ZIP codes is 26% higher than their respective metros, and 50% higher than the national average. In half of these areas, millennials earn 35% more than other age groups in the same ZIP code. Novi, Michigan, the St. Louis suburb of Crestwood, Missouri, and Columbus suburb, Worthington, Ohio, rank high in affordability with the median household able to afford 60-70% of the inventory on the market.

“Choosing a neighborhood to call home is not just a product of economic factors; it’s an intensely personal decision,” Smoke said. “Non-economic ‘it factors’ such as strong school systems, short commutes and access to public transportation, as well as close proximity to shopping and restaurants, also play an integral role in each market’s popularity.”

Who made the cut?

Click below to find out.

§

02176 – Melrose, Mass. is close to both Boston and Cambridge and has become a magnet for young professionals and families due to its relative affordability, access to public transportation and attractive downtown area.

  • Population: 27,690
  • Median income for households between the ages 25-34 years old is $88,000, 67% higher than the average millennial in the U.S.
  • Market unemployment dropped by 14% year over year in the last six months.
  • Median list prices in June 2015 were 5% higher than the surrounding metro, and grew 5% year over year in both May and June.

 43085 – Worthington, Ohio is a major relocation market. It benefits from being part of the Columbus, Ohio metro, which offers stable employment and is the headquarters of a number of financial services and insurance companies – such as Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Huntington Bancshares Inc. – as well as The Ohio State University.

  • Population: 13,837
  • Listings receive an average of 1,000 views per month – nearly three times more views than the rest of the metro, and seven times more than the national average.
  • Market unemployment is one of the lowest in the country – about 40% lower than the rest of the metro.
  • Median list prices in June were 26% higher than the surrounding metro, and grew 10% year over year during the first half of the year.

80122 – Centennial, Colo., a suburb of Littleton, is centrally located south of Denver at the intersection of I-70, which traverses the girth of the U.S. from Ohio to Utah, and I-25, which cuts a swath from New Mexico to Wyoming. Centennial boasts a major retail presence and proximity to the area’s largest employer, Lockheed Martin, and a new Charles Schwab campus opened in October 2014 that is expected to employ approximately 2,000.

  • Population: 30,457
  • Median income for 25-35 year old households is $88,000, 67% higher than the average millennial in the U.S. and 48% higher than the average millennial in the metro area.
  • Houses spend approximately two weeks on the market – the shortest number of days on market in the U.S.
  • Market unemployment dropped 20% year over year in the last six months.

75023 – Plano, Texas is a suburb of Dallas, and home to the corporate headquarters of Dell Services, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Ericsson and Frito-Lay Inc., as well as the future headquarters of Toyota Motors USA. Plano is also home to a new $2 billion, 240 acre mixed-use development, Legacy West, which is bringing more businesses and thousands of new jobs to the area.

  • Population: 46,733
  • Listings receive nearly 1,200 views per month on average, 2.4 times more views than the rest of the metro and eight times more than the national average.
  • Civilian labor force unemployment dropped 22% year over year over the last six months.
  • Share of $100,000 earning households is 36% and will increase to 40% by 2020 based on the latest five-year projections from Nielsen Demographics.

48375 – Novi, Mich. is near the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Mich., the General Motors Proving Grounds in Milford, Mich., as well as the Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., and is home to some of the region’s largest healthcare systems. It is centrally located with quick access to highways, the Detroit airport and a re-emerging downtown Detroit. The Novi Community School District is also a major draw for this ZIP code.

  • Population: 22,189
  • Median income for 25-34 year old households is $80,000, 50% higher than the average millennial household in the U.S.
  • Civilian labor force unemployment is 57% lower than in the rest of the metro, and has dropped by 30% year over year.
  • Median list prices in June were 22% higher than the metro.

78247 – San Antonio. Located in the city’s North Central district, 78247 is within San Antonio city limits that offers a suburban feel. San Antonio is home to the corporate headquarters of USAA, Valero Energy Corporation, Rackspace, NuStar Energy L.P. and Harland Clarke. Coined “Military City USA,” San Antonio has a large military presence with about 100,000 people employed by the armed forces.

  • Population: 49,514
  • Households and population have grown 7% in the past five years, two times faster than the rest of the country.
  • Share of $100,000 earning households is expected to grow by 15% by 2020.
  • Median list prices in June were 33% lower than the metro, and grew 7% year over year during the first half of the year.

63126 – Crestwood, Mo. is a suburb of St. Louis. Home prices and quality of schools combined to propel Crestwood to No. 7 on the Top 10 list. The average cost of a home is about half the price of the neighboring ZIP codes of historic Kirkwood and Webster Groves. Crestwood is the most inexpensive community that feeds into Lindbergh Schools – a district that has received national honors and several state awards.

  • Population: 11,942
  • Median income for 25-34 year old households in this ZIP code is $73,000, 40% higher than the average millennial household in the U.S. and 38% higher than the average millennial in the metro area.
  • Civilian labor force unemployment is one of the lowest in the country and about 40% lower than the surrounding metro.
  • Home ownership rate is one the highest in the country at 84%, almost 20% higher than the U.S.

78729 – Austin, Texas. One of 78 ZIP codes in Austin, 78729 is located on the city’s north side, incorporating the residential Jollyville neighborhood, which offers prime access to many of the city’s major tech companies, including Apple, IBM and Dell. Jollyville feeds into one of the best school districts in the area, Round Rock ISD, and offers affordably priced homes, perfect for first-time buyers.

  • Population: 26,906
  • Median income for 25-34 year old households in this ZIP code is $73,000, 40% higher than the average millennial household in the U.S.
  • Share of $100,000 earning households is expected to grow 23% by 2020.
  • Population of millennials ages 25-34 is 23%, 75% higher than the U.S. average.

58103 – Fargo, N.D. A ZIP code that incorporates many smaller residential neighborhoods, 58103 is just southwest of Fargo’s downtown district. It is located just miles from the North Dakota State University campus, and provides many housing options for first-time home buyers.

Ranked as the fourth fastest growing metropolitan area by the U.S. Census Bureau, Fargo is home to robust healthcare, technology, agriculture and education industries with corporate offices for Microsoft and Sanford Health.

  • Population: 48,859
  • Median household income has grown 7% year over year, and is forecasted to grow 17.5% by 2020. Nearly three times faster than the national average.
  • Civilian labor force unemployment is one of the lowest in the country.
  • Population of millennials ages 25-34 is 20%, 50% higher than the U.S. average.

92010 – Carlsbad, Calif., nicknamed the “Village by the Sea,” is a tourist destination known for its Legoland theme park. It has four ZIP codes, two of which are right on the coast and extremely pricey. Prices in this region have been steadily increasing over the last 18 months. Located farther from the beach than the others, 92010 offers buyers a big selection of multi-family units, which is a way to get into the real estate market for under $600,000.

  • Population: 14,986
  • Share of $100,000 earning households is 35%, 55% higher than the U.S. average.
  • Median household income in this ZIP code is $71,000, 16% higher than in the rest of the metro.
  • Median list prices were $664,000 in June, 33% higher than the metro. They also grew 10% year over year during the first half of the year.

Source: http://www.housingwire.com/articles/34761-these-are-the-10-hottest-us-housing-markets-by-zip-code-right-now

Mortgage Loans

In the height of the real estate crash in 2008, people were walking away from mortgages and banks were foreclosing on homes left and right. In the years since, we have been slowly but surely recovering and a recent study is showing huge improvements in mortgage loan delinquencies that are even better than before the crash.

The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.3% of all loans outstanding at the end of the second quarter of 2015, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

This was the lowest level since the second quarter of 2007.  The delinquency rate decreased 24 basis points from the previous quarter, and 74 basis points from one year ago.

The delinquency rate includes loans that are at least one payment past due but does not include loans in the process of foreclosure.  The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the second quarter was 2.09%, down 13 basis points from the first quarter and 40 basis points lower than the same quarter one year ago. 

Click to enlarge

(Source: Mortgage Bankers Association)

This was the lowest foreclosure inventory rate since the fourth quarter of 2007.

“It is not surprising that incidences of mortgage payment difficulties are falling to back to historical norms. Despite edging-up over the second quarter, mortgage interest rates are still very low by the standards of the past 20-30 years,” says Ed Stansfield, chief property economist for Capital Economics. “And with house prices currently rising by 5% to 6% year-over-year, the number of mortgages that are underwater will have seen further declines. Admittedly, job creation has slowed since the start of the year, and the unemployment rate was unchanged in July. But overall the economy is still creating jobs at a steady rate, supporting mortgage borrowers.

“The downward trend in borrowers experiencing payment difficulties should continue, as unemployment sees further declines and mortgage rates only increase gradually. In turn, that should increase lenders’ willingness to extend mortgage credit, providing further support to the recent increase in housing market activity,” Stansfield says.

The percentage of loans on which foreclosure actions were started during the second quarter was 0.4%, a decrease of five basis points from the previous quarter. The foreclosure starts rate was unchanged relative to the second quarter of 2014. 

The serious delinquency rate, the percentage of loans that are 90 days or more past due or in the process of foreclosure, was 3.95%, a decrease of 29 basis points from the previous quarter, and a decrease of 85 basis points from the second quarter of 2014. This was the lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2007.  

“Overall delinquency rates and the percentage of loans in foreclosure continued to fall in the second quarter and are at their lowest levels since 2007,” says Marina Walsh, MBA’s Vice President of Industry Analysis. “Even more telling, nearly every state in the nation reported declining foreclosure inventory rates over the second quarter, reflecting a nationwide housing market recovery and strong job market that provide opportunities for distressed loans to be resolved rather than be put into foreclosure.

“The overall delinquency rate for FHA loans dropped to 9.01% in the second quarter from 9.1%, as the 90 day or more delinquent category declined. However, the 30-day and 60-day delinquency rate was up by a combined 10 basis points from the previous quarter,” she says. “In addition, the FHA foreclosure inventory rate rose to 2.68% in the second quarter, four basis points higher than the previous quarter but still 13 basis points lower than a year ago. As more recent loan vintages begin to age and as older vintages enter the foreclosure process, we may see volatility in FHA delinquency and foreclosure rates.”

While only 40% of loans serviced are in judicial states, these states account for a growing majority of loans in foreclosure, Walsh said.  For states where the judicial process is more frequently used, 3.41% of loans serviced were in the foreclosure process, compared to 1.15% in non-judicial states. States that utilize both judicial and non-judicial foreclosure processes had a foreclosure inventory rate closer that of the non-judicial states at 1.36%.

“Legacy loans continued to account for the majority of all troubled mortgages. 73% of the loans that were seriously delinquent, either more than 90 days delinquent or in the foreclosure process were originated before 2008, even as the overall rate of serious delinquencies for those cohorts decreased,” she said.

Source: http://www.housingwire.com/articles/34762-mortgage-delinquencies-foreclosures-continue-to-drop-in-2q15