September 2013 Newsletter


Fall is here and many of us have been attending various conferences for the past several months.  Some good…some not so good.  Some we have to attend….some we do not.

But something very significant is happening in America.  A demographic shift is dramatically changing the population distribution of the country.  This change is opening new and expanding markets for both the private and public sectors of the economy.

The driving force behind this movement is the maturing of the “Baby Boom” generation.  And what better way than to learn how to attract and market to this movement than the annual AARC Conference on “Rebranding, Repositioning & Redefining the Future of Retirement Communities: What Your Community Needs to Successfully Recruit Boomer Retirees”.

No…this is not just another conference.
Our line-up of industry leaders is exceptional this year where you will hear the first results from the “Second Life Trends Study”; you will learn from thriving real estate market professionals; hear the buying trends of the boomers; hear from a State Tourism Commissioner on why tourism and attracting retirees go hand-in-hand; learn from folks successful at positioning their niche to best attract retirees; and network with people in the trenches and leading the charge in this economic development strategy.

And on top of all of that…..enjoy the coastal region at the Marriott Resort & Spa on Hilton Head Island.  Music and entertainment at opening reception, a low country boil at Honey Horn Plantation and much, much more.  Go, read the full agenda, get your early-bird registration in and join us for an exciting EVENTwhere you will surely take home something to use in your communities.

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

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

Ramay Winchester
Chair, The AARC

The AARC’s 2013 Conference – Hilton Head Island, SC

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.


Sign-up Online!
View our Conference Signup Page

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


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.

Trulia: U.S. Housing Market Now 67% Back to Normal

Trulia’s Chief Economist Jed Kolko reveals that latest findings from Trulia’s Housing Barometer. The recovery is now two-thirds of the way back to normal. Existing home sales have returned to their long-term normal level, while construction lags significantly. The recovery is not a straight line: it moves through different phases.

Since February 2012Trulia TRLA +0.35%’s Housing Barometer has charted how quickly the housing market is moving back to “normal.”  We summarize three key housing market indicators: construction starts (Census), existing home sales (NAR), and the delinquency-plus-foreclosure rate (LPS First Look).


For each indicator, we compare this month’s data to (1) how bad the numbers got at their worst and (2) their pre-bubble “normal” levels.

In August 2013, all three measures improved: construction starts and existing home sales rose slightly, while the delinquency + foreclosure rate moved strongly downward:

  • Construction starts increased a bit, but still far from normal. Starts were at an 891,000 seasonally adjusted annualized rate – up 1% from July and 19% year-over-year. Still, construction starts are 40% of the way back to normal – the slowest recovering measure of Trulia’s Housing Barometer.
  • Existing home sales have returned to normal. Sales rose in August to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 5.48 million – that’s up 13% year-over-year, and up 29% year-over-year when foreclosures and short sales are excluded. Overall, existing home sales are 99% back to normal, even though foreclosures and short sales still make up roughly one eighth of all existing home sales.
  • The delinquency + foreclosure rate continued its downward march. The share of mortgages in delinquency or foreclosure dropped to 8.66% in August, the lowest level in over 5 years. The combined delinquency + foreclosure rate is 60% back to normal.

Averaging these three percentages together, the housing market is now 67% back to normal, compared with just 42% one year ago. As the recovery matures, some types of housing activity, like sales and price levels, have returned to near-normal, while others, like construction andhousehold formation, remain far from normal. The housing recovery doesn’t follow a straight line; instead, it moves through phases, with some measures of housing activity returning to normal long before others do.

This blog post marks the retirement of Trulia’s Housing Barometer. When we titled the first Housing Barometer post “Are we there yet?”, the answer was clearly “no.” Now, “are we there yet?” is no longer a yes-or-no question: the answer is yes and no, depending on which aspect of the housing recovery you look at. The recovery is now far enough along that the time has come for a new way to track its progress. We’ll be introducing that new way soon.

In Real Estate: Urban Is In

 by Phoebe Chongchua

Maybe it’s the high gasoline prices, the tremendous amount of heavy traffic and long commutes to the office that are fueling the growing interest in urban dwelling. Or, perhaps, it’s just kind of cool to go green and be able to walk to most of the establishments that you once had to drive to for groceries, dining, gym workouts, retail shopping, and socializing.

Whatever the reason, urban living is in. In fact, it’s becoming so much in demand that companies are specializing in creating urban developments that maximize big living in small spaces and using small lots.

Good design and high efficiency are key for these developments or homes. Urban areas are expanding with work-live spaces and attracting people who want minimal home tasks to care for and maximum entertainment options.

Globally it’s quite impressive too. By 2010, according to the Global Health Observatory, more than half of the world’s population lived in urban areas. In 1990 that figure was less than 40 percent. It’s expected that six out of every 10 people will live in a city by 2030. An increasing technology and service industry and shrinking agriculture-based economy are part of what’s causing the urban-living shift.

In the United States, the urban movement is also being driven in part by young families seeking the urban lifestyle. The twenty- and thirty-somethings want neighborhoods that have been revitalized, are safer, and offer more things for young professionals to do.

Some experts say the younger generations are settling for urban living because the acres of green grassy fields and open space that once existed in rural areas just aren’t affordable for most young buyers… that is, if they were even still an option. Many suburbs are shrinking too or becoming extinct.

Large yards and long commutes aren’t necessarily preferred by this group of younger generation buyers. Simplicity is. However, these buyers still aren’t convinced that a row house or apartment is most suitable. But the desire to live in a city is causing them to learn more about the ideal configuration. Families are finding that sometimes being in a walkable neighborhood with good mass transit means a smaller, compact, and multi-story living space. This means the kids might be on one floor while the parents’ office is on another level. So while there isn’t the attached garage and driveway or big backyard, there’s still space and privacy.

This generation is helping to improve inner-city neighborhoods and they’re even making some suburban areas more urban by encouraging the development of retail and other amenities in the area.

Many of those moving into the urban core areas of a city are hoping they can cut expenses by doing things like getting rid of a car and walking, bicycling, or taking mass transit to work. It’s an effort to help offset the high mortgages that typically are part of urban living. Not all developing urban areas are high-priced but purchasing a home in an urban core area that’s still undergoing many changes may mean waiting months or years before it’s really an “urban lifestyle” with plenty of restaurants, jobs, and stores in walking distance.

Urban living has its perks and its challenges. Crime is typically higher and often the better schools are found in more suburban areas. But numerous cities’ downtown areas across the U.S. are being revitalized in hopes of attracting new residents. It seems the urban core is, indeed, the “in” thing in real estate.

Changing Mortgage Rates Have No Impact on Home Builder Confidence

Written by Ed Ferrara

Even though markets have continued to be volatile, changing mortgage rate shave had no impact on home builder confidence. According to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Confidence Index, builder confidence remained at 58 for the month of September, the highest level in nearly eight years. Any reading above 50 means that a larger number of builders see housing conditions as good.

According to the most recent survey of wholesale and direct lenders performed by, current conforming 30 year fixed mortgage rates are as low as 4.000% (APR 4.363%); 15 year fixed mortgage interest rates are as low as 2.875% (APR 3.432%) and 5/1 adjustable mortgage rates are as low as 2.375% (APR 2.636%). Low mortgage rates are available for borrowers who have been able to maintain a history of good credit and have the qualifications that are required by lenders.

While home purchases have been on the upswing, the week ending September 6th saw a decrease of 3% on a seasonally adjusted basis for applications in the Purchase Index, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Volatile mortgage rates has also hit the Refinance Index which decreased 20% from the previous week. Applications for mortgage refinances is down 71% from the recent peak reached May 3, 2013 and at the lowest level since June of 2009. HARP refinances, which will be available until the end of 2015, remained steady for the week. HARP refinance loan applications were unchanged and represented 38% of total refinance applications.

Current FHA 30 year fixed mortgage rates are as low as 3.750% (APR 4.232%); FHA 15 year fixed rates are as low as 2.750% (APR 3.479%) and FHA 5/1 adjustable mortgage rates are as low as 2.500% (APR 2.892%). Borrowers who have been through a bankruptcy, foreclosure, deed-in-lieu or short sale can now purchase a home using an FHA mortgage after 12 months have passed. This is an opportunity for many consumers for whom the waiting period has already passed.

Even though FHA closing costs (APR) are high because of the upfront mortgage insurance premium and other FHA fees, consumers should take into consideration the benefits offered by FHA, such as using seller concessions up to 6% to help pay for expenses related to the mortgage. There is also the FHA streamline refinance which allows homeowners to move in to a better mortgage without the need of a credit history or appraisal. There is still time left for homeowners who have loans that were FHA endorsed prior to June 1, 2009 to use the FHA streamline to refinance with reduced upfront and annual MIP fees. This special offer is set to sunset at the end of this year 2013.

Jumbo 30 year fixed mortgage rates are as low as 4.000% (APR 4.308%), jumbo 15 year fixed rates are as low as 3.125% (APR 3.545%) and jumbo 5/1 adjustable mortgage rates are as low as 2.750% (APR 2.938%). Borrowers who have excellent credit and qualifications can obtain low jumbo rates available through lenders. Jumbo loan rates have become extremely competitive as they remain the same or lower than conventional loan rates at this time. As a result of this unusual occurrence, jumbo loan volume has seen an incredible increase this year. According to Inside Mortgage Finance, volume from the first to second quarter 2013 rose 20%.

MBS prices (mortgage backed securities), which move mortgage rates in the opposite direction, have been higher for several days which has stabilized mortgage rates. With markets continuing to be unpredictable, consumer sentiment dropped 5.3 points to 76.8 in early September, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s report. This is the lowest since April. The Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose 0.2% last month as consumers purchased more long-lasting goods while receipts for clothing, building materials and sporting goods dropped.