Great Day For Mortgage Rates, But There's a Catch September 23, 2019 Mortgage rates added to last week's friendly rebound with their best single-day drop in more than a month today. Weak economic data in Europe and tepid domestic data helped drive demand in safe-haven bond markets. Higher bond market demand means lower rates, all other things being equal. But it can take some time for movement in the bond market to translate to changes in mortgage lenders' rate sheets. Most of today's improvements were due to bond market gains that were already in place by this morning. As the day progressed, bonds drifted back in the other (less friendly) direction. When that sort of drift results in enough bond market movement, mortgage lenders can change their rate offerings in the middle of the day. Several of them did so today. Those who didn't will be more likely to offer slightly higher rates in the morning (unless bonds manage to bounce back in a friendlier direction again overnight). Loan Originator Perspective Bond markets posted small gains Monday, as ECB Chairman Draghi's comments prompted global growth concerns. It appears we've weathered the worst of our post Labor Day rate run-up, at least for now. Looks like bonds are content to stay in current ranges at the moment. I am locking applications closing within 30 days for all but the most risk-craving clients. - Ted Rood, Senior Originator Today's Most Prevalent Rates 30YR FIXED -3.75% FHA/VA - 3.375% 15 YEAR FIXED - 3.375% 5 YEAR ARMS - 3.25-3.75% depending on the lender Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations 2019 has been the best year for mortgage rates since 2011. Big, long-lasting improvements such as this one are increasingly susceptible to bounces/corrections and as of September, it looks like such a correction is underway Fed policy and the US/China trade war have been key players. Major updates on either front could cause a volatile reaction in rates The Fed and the bond market (which dictates rates) will be watching economic data closely, both at home and abroad, as well as trade war updates. The stronger the data and trade relations, the more rates could rise, while weaker data and trade wars will lead to new long-term lows. Rates discussed refer to the most frequently-quoted, conforming, conventional 30yr fixed rate for top tier borrowers among average to well-priced lenders. The rates generally assume little-to-no origination or discount except as noted when applicable. Rates appearing on this page are "effective rates" that take day-to-day changes in upfront costs into consideration.
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Texas Supreme Court sides with short-term renters, likely bolstering state’s fight against Austin’s ordinance Friday's ruling doesn't directly address regulations implemented by some Texas cities restricting homeowners' use of services like Airbnb. But it bolsters the case against the City of Austin's short-term rental ordinance in several major ways, lawyers said. The Texas Supreme Court has sided with short-term renters, delivering a win to Texas homeowners who hope to take advantage of websites like Airbnb and HomeAway, and likely bolstering a separate, ongoing case against the City of Austin’s short-term rental ordinance. Kenneth Tarr bought a home near San Antonio in 2012, but when his employer transferred him to Houston two years later, he began to rent it out on a short-term basis. His homeowners’ association soon took issue with that, telling him that the practice violated his deed restrictions, which said his home had to be used "solely for residential purposes." Tarr and his lawyers argued that short-term rentals did constitute a residential purpose: Visitors ate, slept and entertained themselves as anyone would at home. The homeowners’ association countered that Tarr’s property operated more like a hotel than a home, meaning it was primarily serving a commercial purpose. "So long as the occupants to whom Tarr rents his single-family residence use the home for a ‘residential purpose,’ no matter how short-lived, neither their on-property use nor Tarr’s off- property use violates the restrictive covenants in the Timberwood deeds," Justice Jeff Brown wrote Friday for a unanimous court. Patrick Sutton, Tarr’s lawyer, said Friday’s ruling will apply to homeowners in homeowners associations across the state, most of whom operate under similar deed restrictions — and its impacts may even reach further than that. "This is about as strong of a property rights type opinion as one can imagine," Sutton said. "It is broadly applicable to [city] ordinances and to deed restrictions — it tells us what nine justices on this current court think about people using their land." Separate from deed restrictions, there are also local ordinances on short-term rentals in place in more than a dozen Texas cities. While Friday’s ruling doesn’t directly concern those restrictions, the strong attention it gives to property rights and the court's unanimous support for it may well bolster the case of a group of short-term renters and guests who have sued the city of Austin, alleging that its short-term rental ordinance, one of the state’s oldest and strictest, unconstitutionally infringes on their rights. In that high-profile case — which has drawn the support of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — a small group of plaintiffs, represented by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, argue that by restricting short-term rentals, the City of Austin prevents homeowners from using their property as they see fit, and treats short-term renters differently than it treats long-term renters. Rob Henneke, a TPPF lawyer representing those plaintiffs, said Friday that "the Texas Supreme Court got it right." "This is a decision affirming private property rights," he said, noting that the reasoning in the case supports his argument against Austin’s ordinance in several major ways. In overruling a lower court’s previous decision on Tarr’s case, the ruling removes much of the legal grounding for the City of Austin’s argument, he said. A lawyer for the city did not immediately return a request for comment. The ruling also affirms a separate short-term rental decision that supports TPPF’s side, Henneke said. The decision marks the high court’s first major ruling on this issue at a time when short-term rentals — and the restrictions on them — are being litigated across the state. While short-term rentals have long been a reality, especially in vacation destinations, their spike in popularity thanks to web platforms like HomeAway and Airbnb has exposed holes and discrepancies in the laws that regulate them, ripening the issue for litigation across the state. Short-term rentals have also emerged as yet another local control issue in a state where Republican state leaders have moved more aggressively in recent years to override local decisions made by Democratic-dominated city councils. As that war proceeds, Friday’s decision marks a major victory for the state. Disclosure: HomeAway and the Texas Public Policy Foundation has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here. BY EMMA PLATOFF MAY 25, 201811 AM
Texas leads the nation in energy production. Across every part of the great state of Texas there is energy potential and production. With the second-largest population and the second-largest economy in the nation after California, second only to Alaska in land area, Texas is not playing second in the energy sector. According to The Perryman Report, "The energy sector has long been a major component of the Texas economy, generating substantial economic activity and opportunities. For more than a century, the state’s vast reserves of oil and natural gas have contributed to business activity and job creation. Production has risen sharply in recent years, and with improved recovery on each well, the cyclical nature of oil and natural gas exploration and production has diminished. In addition, US exports of crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) are rising. In fact, the growth in production in the Permian Basin is creating a "global transformation of petroleum market." Texas production has risen dramatically in recent years, up about 500% since 2010. These increases began after decades of falling production and talk of "peak oil", Perryman reported. The increased production levels have led to a reduction in the need for imports. The Houston Chronicle recently reported, "That surge in production has helped drive oil imports to the U.S. Gulf Coast to the lowest level in more than three decades, according to a report from the Energy Department. In March, imports to the Gulf Coast averaged 1.8 million barrels a day, a more than 70 percent decline since 2007." Texas Has More than Oil Potential. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, "The state provides more than one-fifth of U.S. domestically produced energy. Crude oil and natural gas fields are present across much of the state, and coal is found in bands that cut across the eastern Texas coastal plain and in other areas in the north-central and southwestern parts of the state. Texas also has abundant renewable energy resources and is first in the nation in wind generated electricity. With a significant number of sunny days across vast distances, Texas is also among the leading states in solar energy potential. Geothermal resources suitable for power generation are present in East Texas, and uranium, the fuel for nuclear reactors, has been found in South Texas." Texas’ Energy Stats Highlights • Texas leads the nation in crude oil reserves and production. The state has two-fifths of the U.S. crude oil proved reserves and produces more than 40% of the nation’s crude oil, more than any other state and exceeding that of all the federal offshore producing areas • One-fourth of the nation’s proved natural gas reserves and about three-tenths of the 100 largest natural gas fields are located, in whole or in part, in Texas. The state leads the nation in natural gas production, accounting for nearly one-fourth of U.S. gross withdrawals in 2017 • Texas produces more electricity than any other state, generating almost twice as much as Florida, the second-highest electricity-producing state. • Renewable energy sources, primarily wind, contribute more than one-sixth of the net electricity generated in Texas. The state provided almost one-fifth of the total U.S. utility-scale electricity generation from all nonhydroelectric renewable sources in 2018, more than any other state. The Nation’s Standing The U.S continues to bolster its position as a global leader in oil production and reserves. According to ETF Trends, the U.S. is producing the most crude oil in the world, and we now have the largest reserves. "In its latest annual report of world recoverable oil resources, Rystad Energy finds that the United States currently holds 293 billion barrels of recoverable oil resources," reports OilPrice.com. "This is 20 billion barrels more than Saudi Arabia and almost 100 billion barrels more than Russia." The Houston Chronicle reported, "U.S. oil production likely hit a record of 12.5 million barrels per day in May — about 200,000 barrels per day above Energy Department estimates — and should grow to 13.4 million barrels a day by the end of this year, according to the Norwegian energy research firm Rystad Energy. By the end of next year, U.S. oil production should hit 14.3 million barrels a day." SOURCES: The Perryman Report Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas www.dallasfed.org/-/media/Documents/research/energy/energycharts.pdf?la=en U.S. Energy Information Administration – www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?sid=TX Houston Chronicle – www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/As-Texas-oil-production-surges-crude-imports-13952600.php ETF Trends – www.etftrends.com/alternatives-channel/guess-what-country-has-the-worlds-largest-oil-reserves/ Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas – www.dallasfed.org/research/energy/indicators/2019/en1906.aspx OilPrice.com – https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-US-Cements-Its-Position-As-World-Leader-In-Oil-Reserves.html
Sellers, Are You Making These 4 Mistakes? Did you put your house on the market so it would stay there for a long time? Probably not, but if you’re making these mistakes, that’s exactly what will happen. The good news is that it’s never too late to change your ways. See if you’re doing anything on this list, then stop right now. 1)Don’t linger while buyers view your home. Being around during a showing seems like a great opportunity for you to point out the highlights of your home, right? Wrong. And if you think being present will mean you’ll get honest feedback, you should probably think again. Most buyers are uncomfortable with the seller around because they don’t feel they can be honest about the property. What you want is for buyers to feel at ease in your home so they’re more likely to see themselves living there. 2) Don’t leave your pets. Even pet lovers may get distracted by your dog with separation anxiety or your cat who growls at anyone who isn’t you. If you can’t take your pet with you during a showing, drop them by a pet daycare or ask a friend or neighbor if they’d be willing to have your furry friend over for a visit. 3) Don’t go overboard on smells. Whether it’s the smell of lavender or litter boxes, people are sensitive to smells, and not everyone enjoys even those that are meant to be pleasant. Ask your REALTOR® for ideas for making a neutral smell, and think about opening windows and moving the litter box temporarily while your house is on the market. 4) Don’t base your price on feelings. Sentimental value isn’t the same as monetary value, and even those extensive renovations you made don’t increase your sale price per dollar spent. Trust your REALTOR® to help you price your home properly. He or she has access to information about the current market, other sales nearby, and how renovations really improve your home’s value. These are just a few common mistakes that many sellers make, but your REALTOR® can help you avoid these and other pitfalls. May 21, 2019 | Texas REALTORS® Staff
By Will Anderson – Managing Editor, Austin Business Journal May 3, 2019, 3:03pm CDT Updated May 3, 2019, 4:19pm EDT
There are new worries of rising property valuations because county tax appraisers in Austin allegedly received price data on homes sold in 2018. The Austin Board of Realtors claims that CoreLogic Inc., the vendor that runs the organization's multiple listing service for buying and selling homes, sold MLS data to the Travis Central Appraisal District.
In a May 2 message to members, ABOR said the "unauthorized access" to its MLS data was "newly discovered." That could be a contractual violation, according to ABOR.
ABOR said it told CoreLogic to stop sending data to TCAD. CoreLogic said May 2 it complied with the order and "instructed TCAD to destroy previously shared data" and provide proof that it was destroyed, according to ABOR.
"We are very concerned and share your frustrations," ABOR said in its message to its roughly 13,000 members. "We are committed to fixing this situation and protecting the trust you and your clients place in the MLS. Our talks with CoreLogic are continuing and we will report to you the outcome of all actions taken with regard to holding the vendor accountable."
TCAD officials and executives from CoreLogic could not be immediately reached for comment. ABOR declined an interview request but said in a statement it is "exploring all options to correct this situation," and that "actions will be taken to ensure full accountability from all parties enabling the unauthorized exploitation of MLS data."
ABOR is also encouraging anyone who believes MLS data was used during property tax appraisal appeals, whether in Travis County or elsewhere, to email email@example.com. It's unclear if this information could be accessed by the public or journalists. Some worry property valuations will rise notably because TCAD may have access to fresh sales data — something that doesn't normally happen in Texas, which doesn't require disclosure of real estate prices.