July 2013 Newsletter


The Associated Press recently reported that U.S. consumer confidence remained near a six-year high in June as higher home prices boosted household wealth.  Americans are feeling better about the economy, despite wild gyrations in the stock market. Rising household wealth was the main reason consumers stayed optimistic.  Households with income about $75,000, those more likely to own homes and stocks, reported the biggest gain.  Consumers’ confidence is closely watched because their spending accounts for 70 percent of economic growth.

So what a good time to mark your calendar for the annual AARC Conference to be held at the island paradise, Hilton Head, South Carolina at the Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa. on Nov. 13-15.  Rebranding, Repositioning & Redefining The Future of Retirement Communities:  What Your Community Needs To Successfully Recruit Boomer Retirees is this years title and is truly a conference full of take homes…..to help boost your local economy with potential boomers, retail trends of the boomers and what post-recession retirees want and how to target them.

The Savannah, GA / Hilton Head region is home to dozens of communities catering to retirees.  Come  network with them, learn best practices, enjoy insightful speakers and take a barefoot walk on the beach.

Visit our Conference Page To Learn More – AARC 2013 Annual Conference.

Don’t miss Early Bird Discounts – Expires October 15th


Ramay Winchester

The AARC Selects Hilton Head Island, SC As Site for 2013 Conference
Rebranding, Repositioning & Redefining The Future of Retirement Communities: What Your Community Needs To Successfully Recruit Boomer Retirees

The American Association of Retirement Communities is excited that the island paradise, Hilton Head, South Carolina will host the 2013 Annual Conference November 13 – 15, 2013. The Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa will be the site for this year’s conference and the Conference Committee is busy planning the agenda and speaker line-up.

The Savannah, GA / Hilton Head region is home to dozens of communities catering to retirees. Come network with them, learn best  hhhgr_phototour50practices, enjoy insightful speakers and take a barefoot walk on the beach.

View our Conference Signup Page to Sign Up Online

Don’t miss Early Bird Discounts – Expires October 15th

Second Life Trends Study

2e20f064-bfcc-4618-8f4b-729de1e0b478_zps97fd2c8bSo, how do communities who seek to attract retiree buyers adapt to the new realities of the Baby Boomer perspective? As a leading resource to retirement communities, the AARC is at the forefront of answering these questions with the 2013 Second Life Trends Study, which provides an understanding of the attitudes, values and behaviors of America’s post-recession Boomers planning to retire.

The basic philosophy behind the study: the decision criteria for today’s retiree buyer is very different from the decisions made by previous retirees. Understandings how to communicate with them (and what to offer) will determine your success. The study’s results have ramifications for marketers, amenity developers or managers, and sales organizations. Board presentations, specific brand and offering analysis, and on-site sales training are key potential elements of this cutting edge, highly actionable research.

Noted behavioral economist Dr. Jim Taylor, who runs the widely cited American Express Study of Affluence and Wealth in America, introduced the Second Life Trends study’s parameters in the AARC’s April webinar. Following a successful presentation at the Urban Land Institute’s Spring Conference, Dr. Taylor has seen strong interest by marketers, sales operations and economic development organizations in the results of the study – which are slated to be published in mid-June.

“We see a real opportunity for both marketing communications guidance, as well as new practices and tactics for sales organizations,” notes AARC board member Bill Houghton, who serves as President of The Landings Company in Savannah. “We have 26 sales agents representing a 40 year old, 4,400 unit community – and we need to make sure that what our sales agents convey will resonate with Baby Boomer prospects. Dr. Taylor will be presenting to The Landings’ board and will be doing some sales team consulting in July, as we prepare for the Fall selling season.”

AARC members have a unique opportunity to participate in the study. Since our organization partnered in the development of the Second Life trends study, the study’s organizers are offering a 25% discount on the base “insights” report (normally $995, but just $750 for AARC members; see www.SecondLifeTrends.com for other details and opportunities).

Further, as an initiative to drive more new members, the AARC is offering a study + annual membership “package”, where (through August 30) an organization can join the AARC and get that insights report for just $1,000. For details on that, email info@the-aarc.org.

Foreclosures fall to pre-housing bust levels

Les Christie, CNN Money

July 11, 2013

The long national foreclosure nightmare is nearing its end, with foreclosure filings Foreclosurehitting their lowest level since before the housing bust.

Total foreclosure filings, including notices of default, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, dropped to 127,790 in June, down 35% over the past 12 months, according to RealtyTrac. Overall, filings have hit their lowest monthly level since December 2006.

The number of foreclosure filings have plunged so fast — down 14% since May — that the housing market could be back to pre-mortgage meltdown levels before the end of the year, according to Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac.

“Halfway through 2013 it’s becoming increasingly evident that foreclosures are no longer a problem nationally, [although] they continue to be a thorn in the side of several state and local markets,” he said.

The five states with the highest percentage of foreclosure filings last month were Florida, Nevada, Illinois, Ohio, and Georgia. In Florida, Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Ocala, and Tampa held the top five spots for filings among the nation’s metro areas.

While initial filings for foreclosures dropped by 45% year-over-year to a seven and a half year low, the number of homes that were further along in the process and were repossessed have not fallen as quickly.

“[At the last stage of foreclosure] they trail other filings,” said Blomquist.

Bank repossessions are still trending at a rate of more than 420,000 a year, compared with a historical average of 250,000, said Blomquist.

Many of these repossessions are occurring in states where courts supervise the foreclosure process and they are just now working through a backlog of foreclosures that built up after the so-called robo-signing scandal.

“The increases in judicial foreclosure auctions demonstrate that these delayed foreclosure cases are now being moved more quickly through to completion,” said Blomquist. “Given the rising home prices in most of these markets, it is an opportune time for lenders to dispose of these distressed properties.”

And as home values rise nationwide, more homeowners are able to keep their homes or sell them before they lose them to foreclosure. To top of page

Low Down-Payment Lending Avoids Regulatory Blitz

By Nick Timiraos

July 3, 2013

downpaymentConcerns about the availability of mortgage credit appear to be leading regulators to craft new mortgage-lending standards that are less strict than the real-estate industry had initially feared.

Regulators at the Federal Reserve on Tuesday backed off of a proposal that would have required banks to hold more capital for certain mortgages, particularly those that have higher loan-to-value ratios for borrowers that have made smaller down payments.

The rules are “significantly friendlier” to the housing-finance market—and to homeowners looking for a mortgage with a low down payment—than the initial proposal, wrote Ken Fears of the National Association of Realtors on Wednesday.

Over the past year, real-estate and mortgage-banking groups have warned that a cocktail of new mortgage regulations would make credit access much more difficult for first-time buyers and other Americans without large amounts of cash for down payments.

Three regulations, in particular, have loomed large. The first of these are the new bank capital requirements, known as Basel III, that the Fed approved on Tuesday. (Banking regulators at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency also have to approve the rule).

Second, the Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law made lenders legally responsible for determining that a borrower has the ability to repay a mortgage, and it tasked regulators with creating a so-called “qualified mortgage,” or QM, standard by which lenders could reduce their legal liability.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which issued its final rule in January, opted for less stringent rules than some lenders had feared, citing concerns about aggravating a slowdown in new lending. They didn’t specify a minimum down payment for borrowers, but instead focused on ensuring banks document borrowers’ ability to make their monthly loan payments.

Loans in which the principal balance can increase are excluded by law from being “qualified” mortgages, for example.

Also, borrowers can’t qualify for adjustable-rate loans based on low “teaser” rates and instead must qualify based on the highest payment that will apply in the first five years of the loan.

Third, Dodd-Frank also came up with a market mechanism to promote safer underwriting. It requires issuers of mortgage-backed securities to maintain a 5% slice of the bonds they issue, but it tasked a separate gaggle of regulators—including the Fed, the OCC, and the FDIC—with providing an exemption for so-called “qualified residential mortgages,” or QRM, that meet certain standards.

Those regulators issued a proposal two years ago that would have required minimum 20% down payments for a qualified residential mortgage, but they have yet to issue a final rule, in part due to disagreements over the down payment standard. Earlier this year, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said regulators were considering “the idea of making the QRM essentially identical to the QM,” which means that there would also be no down-payment requirement in the QRM.

On Tuesday, Fed staff justified the move away from the stiffer capital-reserve requirements on mortgages because of the recent changes to mortgage underwriting regulations as well as concerns about the potential effect of unfinished mortgage regulations.

“The Fed is looking at the qualified mortgage rule and saying, ‘Already there’s potential for a dampening effect on the mortgage market,’” said Anthony Sanders, a housing-finance professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. While low down payment loans weren’t the sole cause of the housing bust, “they clearly had a role,” he said, which is why Tuesday’s roll-back of the tougher capital rules “kind of took me by surprise.”

The fact that regulators are moving away from tougher mortgage regulations doesn’t mean banks are escaping regulation. Indeed, in addition to the Dodd-Frank rules and the Basel requirements, lenders face other new regulations on everything from mortgage servicing to fair lending.

But the lighter touch from regulators on some of these rules could reflect growing concerns that the housing market won’t see a durable recovery until more first-time homeowners are able to buy homes. Big home price declines have swept away one major source of down payments for many households, while low interest rates have made it hard for would-be buyers to save for a down payment.

Lewis Ranieri, the pioneer of the mortgage securitization market, outlined those concerns in a speech at a Washington think tank last month. Against a backdrop of stagnant incomes for younger workers and higher student-loan debt, he said, “unless we’re willing to let the dream of homeownership whither except for individuals with significant resources, we will need a mortgage-finance system that will recognize the importance of prudent, low down-payment lending.”