Realogy Issues 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility Report

Global real estate services leader facilitated $10 million in 2016 philanthropic donations, including support for housing-related causes

Madison, NJ – March 28, 2017 (PRNewswire) Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY) today issued the 2017 Realogy Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report, highlighting the progress the Company has made during the past year in contributing to society by supporting the well-being of its employees, global communities and the environment, while reflecting its purpose of opening doors for people across the world. The report cover features a photograph of a new community being built in Ahuachapán, El Salvador, through the Company’s support for New Story, an innovative charity organization.

To read the Realogy 2017 CSR Report click here.

Realogy

“As a global leader in the real estate services industry, we take pride in our responsibility of bringing the dream of homeownership to individuals and families in communities across the nation and around the world — and our people actively support numerous causes that provide shelter and answer life’s basic needs,” said Richard A. Smith, Realogy’s chairman, chief executive officer and president. “We are proud of our employees and affiliated agents helping to provide for a better future through their service to others and the stewardship of our environment.”

The Realogy CSR Report summarizes a variety of initiatives the Company has made in the areas of ethics and compliance, employee wellness, workplace, marketplace diversity, community outreach and environmental stewardship.

Key 2016 Highlights

  • Realogy has been recognized by Ethisphere Institute as being among the World’s Most Ethical Companies® for six consecutive years, including 2017.
  • Across its three largest company locations, Realogy recycled 230 tons of commingled waste.
  • Realogy offered a cumulative year-long incentive campaign to boost employee engagement in wellness activities.
  • The Company quadrupled the number of Employee Resource Groups to help drive diversity initiatives across the organization.v
  • Realogy continued its strong support for real estate associations that promote inclusion and understanding of diverse viewpoints, by appearing as speakers, panelists and moderators at industrywide conferences – with several company representatives holding volunteer leadership posts for these associations and events.
  • In partnership with the Realogy Charitable Foundation, Realogy facilitated total philanthropic donations of more than $10 million – and totaling over $93 million since 2006.

About Realogy Holdings Corp.

Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY) is a global leader in residential real estate franchising and brokerage with many of the best-known industry brands including Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, CENTURY 21®, Coldwell Banker®, Coldwell Banker Commercial®, The Corcoran Group®, ERA®, Sotheby’s International Realty® and ZipRealty®. Collectively, Realogy’s franchise system members operate approximately 14,100 offices with more than 273,200 independent sales associates conducting business in 112 countries and territories around the world. NRT LLC, Realogy’s company-owned real estate brokerage, is the largest residential brokerage company in the United States, operates under several of Realogy’s brands and also provides related residential real estate services. Realogy also owns Cartus, a prominent worldwide provider of relocation services to corporate and affinity clients, Title Resource Group (TRG), a leading provider of title, settlement and underwriting services and ZapLabsSM, its innovation and technology development subsidiary. Realogy is headquartered in Madison, New Jersey.

Media Contact:

Kathy Borruso
Kathy.borruso@realogy.com
(937) 407-5041

Redfin Housing Demand Index Dips from January’s Record High

Limited supply is a key factor holding back sales this spring amid overall strong buyer interest

Seattle, WA – March 28, 2017 (BUSINESS WIRE) The Redfin Housing Demand Index decreased 8.5 percent from January’s record high, to a seasonally adjusted level of 118 in February, according to Redfin (www.redfin.com), the next-generation real estate brokerage.

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Despite the dip from the previous month, this was the strongest February for homebuyer demand since at least 2013, the first year measured by the index. The Demand Index is based on thousands of Redfin customers requesting home tours and writing offers. A level of 100 represents the historical average for the three-year period from January 2013 to December 2015.

Compared to January, the seasonally adjusted number of buyers requesting tours was down 8.2 percent in February, while the seasonally adjusted number of buyers writing offers was down 7.7 percent.

“The only factor holding back sales this spring is supply,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “Limited inventory, particularly for starter homes, has put a crimp in the 2017 market. We expect to see more listings hit the market this spring, but there will still not be enough inventory to match homebuyer demand.”

While lower than January’s all-time high, homebuyer demand in February remained well above levels seen around this time last year. Demand was up 20.0 percent compared to the previous February, led by a 25.7 percent year-over-year increase in homebuyers requesting tours and an 11.9 percent increase in buyers making offers.

February continued a trend of limited selection for homebuyers, who saw 7.2 percent fewer new listings hit the market, and 13.9 percent fewer homes on the market overall than the previous February.

Denver Buyers Out in Full Force Despite Historically Limited Selection

The Denver-area Demand Index was at 166 in February, up 100.4 percent compared to the same time last year. Demand was strong despite inventory 30.7 percent lower than this time last year.

“The Denver metro is seeing incredibly limited selection, with the number of homes for sale down to its lowest level in over 30 years,” said Redfin real estate agent Corey Keach. “But that hasn’t stopped buyers, from whom there is as much, if not more, interest than last year. Add that up, and you have a lot of pressure on the market, with multiple offers basically an expectation, particularly for those single-family homes in price ranges below $500,000. And it’s rare for a non-cash buyer to win any home under $300,000.”

“Homes in higher price points are also seeing strong competition, and even some $1 million and $2 million dollar homes in Boulder are seeing multiple offers. Competition at that price point used to be rare here, which shows just how hot the market is.”

Redfin real estate agents also noted that the problem of limited choice of homes has been worsened by the influx of residents to the Denver area, which is experiencing strong economic growth. With very few residents leaving, the metro’s population is outpacing its housing supply.

For additional national and local data and analysis, including metro-level charts and insights from real estate agents, please visit: www.redfin.com.

About Redfin

Redfin (www.redfin.com) is the next-generation real estate brokerage, combining its own full-service agents with modern technology to redefine real estate in the consumer’s favor. Founded by software engineers, Redfin has the country’s #1 brokerage website and offers a host of online tools to consumers, including the Redfin Estimate, the automated home-value estimate with the industry’s lowest published error rate. Homebuyers and sellers enjoy a full-service, technology-powered experience from Redfin real estate agents, while saving thousands in commissions. Redfin serves more than 80 major metro areas across the U.S. The company has closed more than $40 billion in home sales through 2016.

For more information or to contact a local Redfin real estate agent, visit www.redfin.com. To learn about housing market trends and download data, visit the Redfin Data Center.

Contacts

Redfin Journalist Services
Alex Starace
(206) 588-6863
press@redfin.com

Homeownership Hits 50-Year Record Lows; Weakened Housing Market Restricts Economic Growth, Stalling the American Dream for Millions

Rosen Consulting Group Releases First of Three Reports Analyzing Collapse In Homeownership Rates

Berkeley, CA – March 27, 2017 (PRNewswire) Over the past ten years, homeownership rates in the U.S. collapsed, wiping out more than three decades of progress toward the American Dream for millions of households. Overall, the national homeownership rate dropped from a peak of 69% in 2004 to an average of 63.4% in 2016.

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If the homebuilding industry alone returned to a more normalized level in 2016, Rosen Consulting Group (RCG) estimates that more than $300 billion would have been added to the national economy, representing a 1.8% boost to GDP, according to a new report “Homeownership in Crisis: Where are We Now?” released today by Rosen Consulting Group and the Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.

“Bolstering homeownership in a safe and sound way is not just about helping households secure financial stability, but may be the single most important factor in returning the United States to a path of robust economic growth,” said Ken Rosen, Chairman of Rosen Consulting Group and UC Berkeley’s Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics. “This report highlights the current state of homeownership and the many factors that contributed to the plunge in homeownership rates during the past decade.”

Despite recent improvements in market fundamentals, low homeownership rates persist. Compared with pre-recession peaks, homeownership declines were largest among minority households, young adults, one-person households and single-parent households, leaving the social and economic benefits of owning a home out of reach for millions of households.

Key Findings on National Homeownership Trends

  • As of 2016, the African American homeownership rate dropped to 41.5%, falling by 7.6 percentage points from the previous peak (see Figure 1). This was the largest decline of any major racial group and was 30 percentage points lower than white household homeownership. African American homeownership declined even as the total number of African American households increased by 2.7 million or 19.8% since 2005.
  • By age cohort, young adults were hit hardest by declines in homeownership. The homeownership rate for households aged 25 to 29 years old dropped by 10.9 percentage points to 30.9% in 2016. Similarly, the homeownership rate for households aged 30 to 34 years fell by 12.0 percentage points to 45.4%, compared with the pre-recession peak.
  • In 2015, the homeownership rate for single-parent families was 48.2%, 31 percentage points below married family homeownership rates. One person households performed only slightly better, with a homeownership rate of 52.2%, which was 27 percentage points lower than married families.

Key Findings on Understanding the Plunge in U.S. Homeownership

  • More than 9.4 million homes were lost in the foreclosure crisis, through short sales and deed-in-lieu transactions from 2007 through 2015. Access to easy, yet unsafe, credit in the form of non-traditional mortgage products was a major factor contributing to foreclosures.
  • After the foreclosure crisis, lenders moved in the other direction, severely tightening access to safe and affordable mortgages, and restricting households with moderate credit scores from buying homes. Since 2010, lending to applicants with credit scores ranging from 620 to 660 retreated sharply and loans to homebuyers with credit scores below 700 declined to 27% of first-lien mortgages in 2014, down from 33% in 2010. As of third quarter 2016, the median credit score for conventional mortgages was 760, up from 707 in the fourth quarter of 2006.
  • The rise in student debt is another important factor influencing the affordability of homeownership for young households. Total student debt nationwide quadrupled since mid-2004 to approximately $1.3 trillion, with both the number of borrowers and the average debt load rising, making it harder for many young households to afford homeownership.
  • Following multiple years of rising rents and limited income growth, cost-burdened renter households, defined as those paying more than 30% of income toward rent, increased by 3.6 million, diminishing the ability to save for a down payment for millions of Americans.
  • The overall pace of household formation decreased sharply following the recession, reducing demand for all types of housing. We estimate that 3.4 million additional households would have formed between 2008 and 2015 if household formation had remained on pace with the long-term average, many of whom would have been homeowners.

Key Findings on the Economic Impact of Declining Homeownership

In 2016, RCG estimates that more than $300 billion would have been added to the national economy if the homebuilding industry returned to a normalized level, representing a 1.8% boost to GDP.
Since 1959, total housing-related spending, including both owners and renters, accounted for an annual average of 18.9% of GDP, but decreased significantly to 15.6% of GDP as of 2016, a significant decline.
As of 2016, the residential fixed investment (RFI), or the spending on newly constructed homes in the United States, as a percentage share of GDP remained below the long-term average, representing only 3.6% of total GDP, compared with an average of 5.3% since 1959, or 6.2% from the pre-recession peak, further indicating the impact of homeownership’s decline on the economy.

Outlook for Homeownership

Many of the most significant trends that contributed to the decline in homeownership during the past decade are expected to stabilize or reverse in the coming years. Increased job opportunities, and moderate, but accelerating, income growth should bolster the number of households seeking to enter the for-sale market. Despite these improvements, considering the demographics of a large millennial population, increasing minority households, and a growing number of single-parent and one person households, low homeownership rates will persist nationally without policies to improve access and affordability among these key groups.

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To read the full report, please click here.

About the Study

Homeownership in Crisis: Where are we now? was prepared by Rosen Consulting Group for the National Association of REALTORS® and jointly released by Rosen Consulting Group and the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business. This report, the first of three papers to be prepared by Rosen Consulting Group in 2017, highlights important demographics and economics trends behind the recent decline in homeownership and provides an assessment of the national housing outlook.

About Rosen Consulting Group

Rosen Consulting Group (RCG) is a leading independent real estate economics consulting firm. Founded in 1990 and with offices in Berkeley and New York, RCG provides strategic consulting and unbiased investment guidance through all market cycles. RCG is a trusted advisor to leading banks, insurance companies, institutional investors, and public and private real estate operators. For more information go to www.rosenconsulting.com.

About the Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics

The Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics (FCREUE) mission is to educate students and real estate professionals, and to support and conduct research on real estate, urban economics, and the California State economy. FCREUE strives to be the leading center for research on the California economy and excels nationally as a center for urban economic and public policy research. It also regularly provides a practical forum for academics, government officials, and business leaders. For more information, go to berkeley.edu.

Survey: Most Home Sellers Tried to Negotiate Real Estate Agent Commissions Last Year

Millennial Home Sellers Most Likely to Negotiate for Lower Commissions; Reluctant to Move to Areas Where Most People Have Differing Political Views

Seattle, WA – March 15, 2017 (BUSINESS WIRE) A majority of sellers last year tried to negotiate their listing agent’s commission to a lower price, according to a survey of 3,352 homebuyers and sellers across 11 major metropolitan markets conducted in December 2016 by SurveyGizmo and commissioned by Redfin (www.redfin.com), the next-generation real estate brokerage.

Redfin Logo

Fifty-seven percent of sellers last year attempted to negotiate their agent’s commission, up from 52 percent in June 2016. The trend was partly driven by Millennial sellers, 66 percent of whom said in December they had attempted to negotiate with their agent.

Savings were prevalent among homebuyers, too. Nearly half (49 percent) said they got a refund, closing-cost contribution or other consideration from their agent worth $100 or more, up from 46 percent who said the same in June.

Following are six major findings:

1. Most sellers are negotiating for lower commissions.
2. Nearly three out of four sellers checked their online home-value estimates at least weekly before deciding to list their home for sale. One in five checked daily or near daily.
3. Rising mortgage interest rates haven’t deterred most homebuyers.
4. The top economic concerns are income inequality and affordable housing.
5. Many homebuyers, especially Millennials, are hesitant to move to an area where people tend to have different political views from their own.
6. Nearly half of minority homebuyers felt potential discrimination because of their race.

“Millennials are more data savvy than previous generations and naturally comfortable taking advantage of the relatively recent data transparency and technological innovations in the industry,” said Nela Richardson, Redfin chief economist. “This makes them more informed than any cohort the housing market has ever seen, and partly because of that, more willing to negotiate fees. Millennials’ hesitance to move to places where people have different political views suggests that our already deeply divided nation could become even more geographically segregated by ideology. As Millennials age into peak home-buying years, we will continue to see their preferences reflected not only in how homes are bought and sold, but also the makeup of cities and neighborhoods across the country. This carries big implications for the future of our political parties and electoral outcomes.”

For the full report including more findings, charts and a detailed methodology, click here.

About Redfin

Redfin (www.redfin.com) is the next-generation real estate brokerage, combining its own full-service agents with modern technology to redefine real estate in the consumer’s favor. Founded by software engineers, Redfin has the country’s #1 brokerage website and offers a host of online tools to consumers, including the Redfin Estimate, the automated home-value estimate with the industry’s lowest published error rate. Homebuyers and sellers enjoy a full-service, technology-powered experience from Redfin real estate agents, while saving thousands in commissions. Redfin serves more than 80 major metro areas across the U.S. The company has closed more than $40 billion in home sales through 2016.

Contacts

Redfin Journalist Services:
Keena Bean
(917) 822-5087
press@redfin.com

Bankrate: Mortgage Rates Reverse Course

New York, NY – March 23, 2017 (PRNewswire) Mortgage rates slipped lower this week, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropping to 4.29 percent, according to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey. The 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.24 discount and origination points.

Bankrate Logo

The larger jumbo 30-year fixed slid to 4.22 percent and the average 15-year fixed mortgage rate stepped down to 3.49 percent. Adjustable mortgage rates also declined, with the 5-year ARM sliding to 3.44 percent and the 7-year ARM to 3.68 percent.

Mortgage rates retreated to one-month lows, continuing declines that began with the Federal Reserve’s quarter-point interest rate hike. The Fed rate hike and dropping oil prices help keep a lid on inflation, which coupled with the suddenly wobbly stock market, are good news for long-term bonds and mortgage rates. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds. If investors continue to exhibit skepticism about the likelihood of new fiscal stimulus measures, this will produce a flight to quality that continues to benefit mortgage borrowers. If animal spirits return, or we get details from the administration that investors cheer, mortgage rates will quickly reverse course.

At the current average 30-year fixed mortgage rate of 4.29 percent, the monthly payment for a $200,000 loan is $988.57.

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Bankrate’s national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in 10 top markets.

For a full analysis of this week’s move in mortgage rates, go to www.bankrate.com.

The survey is complemented by Bankrate’s weekly Rate Trend Index, in which a panel of mortgage experts predicts which way the rates are headed over the next week. The majority of panelists, 55 percent, expect mortgage rates will remain more or less unchanged over the next seven days. Of the remaining experts, 36 percent predict mortgage rates will decrease and just 9 percent expect mortgage rates to rise in the coming week.

About Bankrate.com

Bankrate.com provides consumers with the expert advice and tools needed to succeed throughout life’s financial journey. For over two decades, Bankrate.com has been a leading personal finance destination. The company offers award-winning editorial content, competitive rate information, and calculators and tools across multiple categories, including mortgages, deposits, credit cards, retirement, automobile loans, and taxes. Bankrate aggregates rate information from over 4,800 institutions on more than 300 financial products. With coverage of over 600 local markets, Bankrate generates rate tables in all 50 U.S. states. Bankrate develops and provides web services to more than 100 cobranded websites with online partners, including some of the most trusted and frequently visited personal finance sites on the internet, such as Comcast, Yahoo!, CNBC and Bloomberg. In addition, Bankrate licenses editorial content to more than 500 newspapers on a daily basis including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.

For more information:

Kayleen Yates
Vice President, Corporate Communications
kyates@bankrate.com
(917) 368-8677

California Pending Home Sales Dial Back, Marking Weakest February in Three Years, C.A.R. Reports

Los Angeles, CA – March 22, 2017 (PRNewswire-USNewswire) After a solid start to the year in closed escrow sales, low housing inventory, eroding affordability, and rising interest rates mildly pulled back pending sales on a year-over-year basis in February, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today.

In line with seasonal patterns, REALTORS® responding to C.A.R.’s February Market Pulse Survey** saw elevated market activity, with an increase in floor calls, presentations, and open house traffic for the second month in a row.

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Pending home sales data:

  • Based on signed contracts, statewide pending home sales decreased in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, with the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)* declining 2.6 percent from 113.5 in February 2016 to 110.6 in February 2017, marking the weakest February in three years. On a monthly basis, California pending home sales were up 3.2 percent from the January index of 107.2.
  • After leading the state for the past year, non-seasonally adjusted pending home sales in the Southern California region decreased for the first time in nearly a year, slipping 2.8 percent from 97.9 in February 2016 to 95.2 in February 2017. The year-over-year decline was driven by a decrease in pending sales of 2.6 percent in Riverside County, 5.1 percent in San Diego County, 6 percent in Orange County, and 12.2 percent in San Bernardino County. Only Los Angeles County posted a year-over-year improvement in pending sales, but only by a paltry 0.9 percent.
  • For the San Francisco Bay Area as a whole – which has been plagued by a shortage of homes on the market and poor affordability – non-seasonally adjusted pending sales were down year-to-year for the fifth straight month, with every tracked county in the region experiencing a drop in pending sales activity. The Bay Area pending sales index fell 10 percent from 145.2 in February 2016 to 130.6 in February 2017. Santa Cruz and San Francisco counties experienced the largest year-to-year reductions in pending sales of 40.6 percent and 23 percent, respectively. Pending home sales fell 9.2 percent from the previous year in San Mateo County, 7.5 percent in Santa Cruz, and 5.6 percent in Monterey.
  • Pending sales in the Central Valley Region fell 11.4 percent from 86.2 in February 2016 to 76.3 in February 2017. Within Central Valley, pending sales were down 1.6 percent in Kern County and 19.4 percent in Sacramento compared with a year ago.

Year-to-Year Change in Pending Sales by County/Region

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* Seasonally adjusted

February REALTOR® Market Pulse Survey**:

While pending sales were lower in February, California REALTORS® responding to C.A.R.’s February Market Pulse Survey expect improved market conditions in the near term, as they reported an increase in floor calls, listing appointments, and open house traffic, as well as an increase in multiple offers.

  • The share of homes selling above asking price dipped from 31 percent a year ago to 30 percent in February. Conversely, the share of properties selling below asking price increased to 37 percent from 35 percent in February 2016. The remaining 34 percent sold at asking price, down from 35 percent in February 2016.
  • For homes that sold above asking price, the premium paid over asking price edged up to 12 percent, up from 11 percent a year ago.
  • The 38 percent of homes that sold below asking price sold for an average of 14 percent below asking price in February, compared to 13 percent a year ago.
  • Nearly three-fourths of properties for sale (71 percent) received multiple offers in February, down from 75 percent in February 2016.
  • The share of properties receiving three or more offers in February was 47 percent, compared to 48 percent a year ago.
  • The share of homes priced $500,000 to $749,000 posted the largest gain in receiving three or more offers, rising from 9 percent in February 2016 to 12 percent in February 2017.
  • As prices fell more in line with the market, listing price reductions declined to 22 percent in February, down from 26 percent in February 2016.
  • Rising for the sixth straight month, a lack of available inventory was the top concern for 40 percent of REALTORS®, the highest level in a year. Eroding housing affordability/high interest rates concerned 32 percent of REALTORS®. Inflated home prices/housing bubble was cited by 14 percent of REALTORS®. A slowdown in economic growth, lending and financing, and policy and regulations rounded out REALTORS®’ remaining biggest concerns.
  • REALTORS®’ expectation of market conditions over the next year edged up in February to an index of 68, up from an index of 64 a year ago.

Graphics (click links to open):

* Note: C.A.R.’s pending sales information is generated from a survey of more than 70 associations of REALTORS® and MLSs throughout the state. Pending home sales are forward-looking indicators of future home sales activity, offering solid information on future changes in the direction of the market. A sale is listed as pending after a seller has accepted a sales contract on a property. The majority of pending home sales usually become closed sales transactions one to two months later. The year 2008 was used as the benchmark for the Pending Homes Sales Index. An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2008.

** C.A.R.’s Market Pulse Survey is a monthly online survey sent to more than 10,000 California REALTORS® to measure data about their last closed transaction and sentiment about business activity in their market area for the previous month. Approximately 300 REALTORS® responded.

Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 110 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with more than 185,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.