Builders broke ground on fewer homes in March, but ramped up applications for permits, as the housing recovery continued to inch forward.
Housing starts fell 6.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.22 million, the Commerce Department reports. That was 9.2% higher than during the same period a year ago, but it missed the forecast of 1.24 million .
Meantime, housing permits jumped 3.6% to a 1.26 million rate, suggesting a stronger pace of starts may lie ahead.
On Friday, we get the latest report on existing home sales which retreated in February after hitting a 10-year high the previous month.
Collingwood Group Chairman Tim Rood says, “Despite record low home supplies and rising prices, demand remains strong as a result of healthy job and income growth, and Millennials who are itching to move out of their parents’ basements. Millennials are expected to be the overwhelming majority of first time homebuyers this Spring. However, housing policy makers need to pay attention to the fact that the average first time homebuyers are white (75%) and make over $90,000 a year. Thats a real problem that requires actions from policy makers to ensure more democratic access to homeownership and credit.”
An earlier survey by The Collingwood Group found Millennials were willing to sacrifice Starbucks visits and Cable Television to finance home purchases, but lack of starter homes is hampering their ability to buy into the American Dream.
>Collingwood Group Chairman Tim Rood joins Fox Business Network’s Neil Cavuto Friday at Noon, Eastern to discuss this and more.
Housing REIT’s May Be A Good Bet
Real estate investment trusts took a beating in 2016 when it started to become clear that the Federal Reserve was intent on raising interest rates. But many analysts think REITs deserve another look now as the economy looks set to continue expanding slowly and steadily but rates have remained subdued.
Equity analysts also agree that there’s room for growth in housing REITs, though there’s some disagreement on which strategy is best.
Mizuho is bullish on single-family rentals, believing that many of the macro trends that have allowed the industry to blossom will continue. Household formations are rising, but tighter mortgage credit and other personal finance challenges like student debt are keeping a lid on ownership.
The risks for multi-family REITs, they write, include “the possibility of the Trump administration making changes to boost the for-sale housing market (i.e. bad for the rental market)” but mostly it’s the overbuilding that’s gone on in the past few years. Their favorite single-family REIT is Colony Starwood SFR, +1.60% a stock that’s up 19% this year.
In contrast, SunTrust Robinson thinks apartment REITs have already seen enough of a correction and are likely to bounce back. One of their favorite stocks in this area, Mid-America Apartment Communities MAA, +0.62% , has four buy ratings among analysts polled by FactSet.
The analysts forecast higher net operating income for single-family REITS than multi-family or even all REITS, and 16% earnings growth for the group, compared to 3% for multi-family.
read more: MarketWatch
These Are the Wealthiest Small Town Housing Markets in America
Finding big money in Small Town U.S.A. is as simple as looking toward the mountains of the Old West.
America’s three wealthiest small communities are located in the western U.S. and tower at elevations exceeding a mile — with real estate valuations some would consider even loftier.
Here’s How Hackers Used Airbnb To Rob Hosts’ Homes
Airbnb says that its rating and review system builds trust between people and accomplishes the impossible — convincing people to let complete strangers sleep in their homes.
Well, some scammers found a way to use Airbnb’s ratings system to rob people. Airbnb calls the problem “account takeovers,” which, it said in a blog post published Thursday, has been “receiving increased attention” lately. But the company said it has been working for months on new security solutions.
Basically, account takeovers are when people hack into the profiles of guests who have built up good ratings and reviews on Airbnb, and use those accounts — with some minor tweaks to the personal details — to book stays in the homes of hosts that they then burglarize. The BBC spoke to at least three people who said they’ve been robbed this way.
Takeovers can also work in the reverse — hackers take over host profiles, and try to get unwitting guests to send them money.
“Our model is effective at stopping most account takeovers, but unfortunately there have been some incidents where hosts and guests have suffered. This is not acceptable to us, therefore we’re working around the clock to do everything we can to improve our detection and prevention method,” Airbnb CTO Nathan Blecharczyk wrote in the blog post.
Blecharczyk said the top three ways accounts get hacked is through malware, phishing, and password dumps. Going forward, users will get text-message notifications if details on their profile are changed, and they will be required to use two-factor authentication when logging in to Airbnb on a device that hasn’t previously been used to access their account.
Airbnb offers hosts a $1 million insurance policy, and a spokesperson said hosts whose homes are burgled via account takeovers are reimbursed by the company.
read more: BuzzFeed