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Texas

Welcome to Austin!

400 years ago, refugees fleeing their home country’s hostile political environment bravely headed west over the Atlantic ocean in search of a better life. They arrived on a rock, unprepared for the challenges that come with moving to a new land: a shortage of food and inadequate shelter. A group of Americans called the Wampanoag took pity on these pilgrim refugees, shared their soil and helped them gain a foothold on it. In an act of goodwill and diplomacy, the grateful immigrants hosted the Americans for a large shared feast. Their meal has since become celebrated in the quintessential American tradition, Thanksgiving.

Migration, the core theme of this story, is one of the great forces of history. Not only internationally, but internally within the states. Texas itself has been a migration magnet throughout its history, which helps explain the record of growth that now makes it the second most populous state in America following California. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual Population Estimates program, regionally, the Austin MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) has shown a growth rate with consideration of births and deaths of over 55,000 people annually over the last decade – that’s over 150 people per day! Consequently, with so many people moving in large numbers, there is inevitable impact and influence on the current flavor of our local culture. How will all these new flavors meld into our sweet Central Texas? Let’s take a look at where and why migrants are joining our Thanksgiving table in Texas.

Population Growth Texas 2016-2017
Data Estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau

Growth in Texas
Texas in general is growing at a rate of 1,000 people per day, and roughly half of these new Texans are migrants, according to State Demographer Lloyd Potter. The other half are newborns, Potter added. The strong U.S. economy and low unemployment rates have caused net domestic migration to Texas from other states to slow since 2015. Instead, in 2018, the majority of migrants to Texas — 104,976 people — came from other countries. While historically, Latin countries have accounted for the majority of those migrating to Texas, recently, Texas has seen an increase in migration from Asian countries, particularly China and India, with those countries accounting for around 45% of international migration to Texas in 2016. “Over the 2000s, we saw a pretty significant opening of China and kind of increasing number of Indian students coming over to study”, Potter said, “and I think what happens frequently is once they finish studying, they are able to get sponsored by a company for a work visa… once they get a green card, then they can start sponsoring their family to come over as well.” With Central Texas hosting a university culture that welcomes a large international student population, it’s not surprising that Austin ends up drawing a chunk of this international student demographic within that Texan growth.

Population Growth Austin 2016-2017
Data Estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau

Growth in Austin
Despite the increasingly international migration numbers for Texas, net migration to Austin remains primarily domestic. This also differs from other comparatively fast growing cities such as Miami, San Jose, New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., which experience mostly international migration.

  • The greatest source of growth in Austin outside of local births is migration from other parts of Texas, followed by California, Florida, New York, and Colorado.
  • The most significant metro areas making a net positive contribution to annual migration to Austin are Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, New York, and Los Angeles.

A large part of what’s behind this growth trend can be found in the city’s employment opportunity, prosperity, and its evolution into a tech hub. While Central Texas provides massive employment opportunities in the service industry and in government, in 2018, the Austin Chamber of Commerce recorded 46 tech company relocations to the Austin area (these numbers do not include companies opening second offices as expansions locally like Apple, Amazon, and Google). Those 46 relocations translated into 9,424 new jobs in the city last year. That compares to 51 relocations in 2017 leading to 3,050 jobs. The incoming companies have justified the move due to the region’s lower cost of doing business and a growing pool of tech talent, who in turn are drawn to Austin’s flouishing job market and attractive cost of living.

So what does this kind of migration without RSVP mean for the Austin area? Have we run out of room at the table? A common fear is overcrowding and changes to Austin’s beloved physical and cultural landscape. What it really boils down to is increased population diversity brings with it new ideas, business opportunity, and varied cultures. This has the potential to beautifully blend into our “you be you” or “keep it weird” city, making it thrive. Without question, with this growing population will come the usual suspects – a surplus of traffic and an increased need for affordable housing. But let’s pull up some extra chairs to our table since the diversity of incoming minds will be an invaluable resource in addressing these twists and turns that come on the road to growth. In closing, it’s important to remember the positive lessons embedded in the American Thanksgiving story – our country was founded and fostered by a combination of native and migrant people. We will continue to grow gracefully as long as we embrace our diversity, and work together to build an Austin that we’re proud to call our home.

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SOURCES:

“Where is Texas’ growing population coming from?” By Maria Mendez, 5/8/2019 | Texas Tribune | www.texastribune.org/2019/05/08/texas-keeps-growing-where-are-newest-transplants-coming/

Yep. A Lot More People Have Moved To Austin, The Census Bureau Confirms, By Andrew Weber, 4/18/2019 | KUT Online | www.kut.org/post/yep-lot-more-people-have-moved-austin-census-bureau-confirms

Austin Migration Insights, By Chris Ramser, 2/21/2019 | Austin Chamber of Commerce | www.austinchamber.com/blog/02-21-2019-austin-migration

Central Texas Suburbs on the Rise: Round Rock & Cedar Park

With the decreased home stock inventory and median single-family home price in Austin rising to $400,500 in August – up 2.7% compared with the same time last year — you might be wondering where to find an affordable place to live in the Central Texas area. It turns out two of the most affordable spots in Texas are right in our own backyard. In statistical comparison, Williamson county presented a median price for a single-family home remaining at $295,000, the same as August 2018. With these jaw dropping numerical differences, communities in Williamson County are due for a closer dig into their details.

Cedar Park, Texas
In a new article published by MarketWatch, Cedar Park was ranked No. 3 among “The Best Affordable Places to Live in Texas.” The criteria focused on areas with a strong job market and the types of amenities offered. Below are some of the highlights showing why Cedar Park is leading the way as superb suburb.

  • A solid economy and growing number of employers including Fallbrook Technologies and Firefly Space Systems, and high-tech companies like National Oilwell VarcoDana.
  • A healthier and safer than average community as shown in the 2019 County Health Rankings. Cedar Park’s home of Williamson County comes in as the third-healthiest in the state for the last ten consecutive years. Also of note, Williamson County boasts a No. 3 ranking in Texas counties for a  ratio of 1,581 residents per doctor, more access to places for exercise, has fewer teen births and are more likely to have health insurance than state averages.
  • Data from the same article reports that county residents are less likely to be a victim of a violent crime and are more likely to be college-educated.
  • Cedar Park entertains! The area is home of the H-E-B Center, a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue that parades an impressive roster of performers each month and is home to the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars and minor league basketball’s Austin Spurs.
  • Great Accessibility to nearby Austin. Cedar Park is located 17 miles from downtown Austin with easy access via the MetroRail commuter train.

Read more details about this community in TNT’s Cedar Park City guide.

Round Rock, Texas
The Austin-Round Rock area continues to be one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions. The area was recently ranked No. 4 among “Americas Fastest Growing Cities” in 2019 by 24/7 Wall Street for seeing a population growth of more than 25% from 2010 to 2018. Below are some of the reasons for why Round Rock is rolling forward as a top Texas community.

  • Currently rated No. 5 among the “Best Suburbs to Buy a House in Austin by Niche. The study took into account key factors like a location’s housing market, including home values, taxes, crime rates, and quality of local schools, in an attempt to measure the quality and stability of an area’s real estate market.
  • A thriving economy and work atmosphere. The unemployment rate in the area is 3% and the median household income is nearly $70,000. The communities largest employers include the famous Dell Technologies and healthcare giants like SetonSt. David’s, and Baylor Scott & White.
  • Overall good quality of life. Lifestyle Blog Apartment Therapy recently included Round Rock among the “Coolest Suburbs in America 2019.” The area is home to an array of cultural activities, a sense of community, and a charming historic main street. The community also hosts plenty of pallet pleasing restaurants including newcomers like Fuego Latino Gastropub or Salt Traders Coastal Cooking and old favorites like Round Rock Donuts.
  • It’s the self-proclaimed “Sports Capital of Texas.” City officials have spent decades advancing athletic endeavors by building sports facilities, fostering athletic programs, developing miles of nature trails and thousands of acres of public parkland. The city’s Triple-A team, the Round Rock Express, is celebrating its 20th season; and a new multipurpose complex has hosted national tournaments for rugby, lacrosse, ultimate Frisbee, and even Quidditch.
  • Great accessibility to nearby Austin. Round Rock is located an easy 17 miles from downtown Austin. Only a hop, skip, and an Uber away!

Read more details about this community in TNT’s Round Rock City guide.

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The Impact of Energy on Texas

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.”

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SOURCES:

The Perryman Report

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas – https://www.dallasfed.org/-/media/Documents/research/energy/energycharts.pdf?la=en

U.S. Energy Information Administration – https://www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?sid=TX

Houston Chronicle – https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/As-Texas-oil-production-surges-crude-imports-13952600.php

ETF Trends – https://www.etftrends.com/alternatives-channel/guess-what-country-has-the-worlds-largest-oil-reserves/

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas – https://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

Spring Buying Season Is Here

Spring is here. Finally, after a long, cloudy and wet winter we have had a couple sunny days, the bluebonnets are starting to boom, allergies are on high alert, and the Spring buying season is starting. To help you prepare, here is a snapshot of the housing market forecast.

Freddie Mac recently reported, “Mortgage interest rates have been steadily declining since the start of 2019. These lower mortgage interest rates combined with a strong labor market should attract prospective homebuyers this spring and could help the housing sector regain its momentum later in the year.” This is great news as we approach our typical Homebuying Season.

Mortgage interest rates continue to decline

According to Primary Mortgage Market Weekly Survey mortgage rates have steadily declined after reaching a high of 4.94 percent in November of 2018. As of late-March, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 4.28 percent, its lowest level since February 2018.

Home sales to slowly regain momentum

Existing home sales nationally fell by 7 percent, to 5.32 million homes, in November compared with November 2017, according to the National Assoc­iation of Realtors. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, expects sales to be flat in 2019. This spring will be the best measure of whether the housing market is returning from very tight to normal, Yun says.

Freddie Mac reports, “existing home sales slumped to start the year, likely in part due to exceptionally cold weather in January and the temporary effects of the government shutdown. With mortgage rates down significantly from last fall, we expect to see existing home sales bounce back and trend higher for the rest of the year. However, our forecast indicates that total home sales (new and existing) will remain down at 5.94 million in 2019 since home sales are starting the year at such a slow rate, before increasing to 6.14 million in 2020.”

However, home sales for the Austin MSA increased 1.5 percent for 2018 vs 2017. Median home price increased 3.7 percent to $305,900. 

Housing starts
Freddie Mac reports, “Housing starts averaged 1.25 million in 2018. Due to the recent increases in building permits, we anticipate that total housing starts will gradually increase over the next two years with most of the growth coming from single-family housing starts. We forecast that total housing starts will increase to 1.27 million units in 2019 and to 1.33 million units in 2020.”

According to Moody’s Analytics, “homebuilders have been underbuilding for more than a decade. Builders have been hindered by labor shortages, community opposition to high-density projects and growing costs of land, labor and materials. Plus, they’ve been building at the mid-to-high end of the market, not at the entry level. But it’s not all bad news. Builders are offering in­centives to buyers, and they’re slowly starting to build smaller, lower-price homes that are more affordable.”

Locally, Austin single family building permits increased 4.6 percent in 2018 over the previous year. 

Home equity

CoreLogic Homeowner Equity Insights 4th Quarter Report continues to see a rise in home equity. “U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63 percent of all properties*) have seen their equity increase by a total of nearly $678.4 billion since the fourth quarter 2017, an increase of 8.1 percent, year over year.”

A look at home prices

Home prices started to soften in mid-2018. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance recently reported, “Prices will continue rising, but more slowly, as the housing market regains some balance between buyers and sellers.”

Freddie Mac similarly reports, “After accelerating in recent years, home price growth in the United States has continued to moderate. In line with recent trends, we have lowered our home price growth forecasts to annual increases of 3.5 percent and 2.5 percent in 2019 and 2020, respectively.”

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SOURCES:

Freddie Mac – http://www.freddiemac.com/research/forecast/20190322_economic_growth.page?

Freddie Mac – http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/

National Association of Realtors – https://www.nar.realtor/

Real Estate Center Texas A&M University – https://www.recenter.tamu.edu/data/housing-activity/#!/activity/MSA/Austin-Round_Rock

Moody’s Analytics – https://www.moodysanalytics.com/

Real Estate Center Texas A&M University – https://www.recenter.tamu.edu/data/building-permits/#!/msa/Austin-Round_Rock%2C_TX 

CoreLogic – https://www.corelogic.com/insights-download/homeowner-equity-report.aspx

Homeownership mortgage source: 2016 American Community Survey – https://www.census.gov/acs/www/data/data-tables-and-tools/data-profiles/2016/

MReport – https://themreport.com/daily-dose/03-25-2019/important-drivers-home-sales

Kiplinger – https://www.kiplinger.com/article/real-estate/T010-C000-S002-where-home-prices-are-headed-2019.html

Austin No. 1 City Gaining Company Migrations from California

Austin continues to grow from California residents and business relocations. A recent study by Joseph Vranich of Spectrum Location Solutions revealed more than 13,000 companies have left California for friendlier locations, with Austin being the No. 1 city to gain the California migrations. The study also ranked Texas as No. 1 in the Top 10 states gaining the most from California business relocations, a distinction Texas has held for the past decade.

“During the study period, $76.7 billion in capital funds were diverted out of California along with 275,000 jobs – and companies acquired at least 133 million sq. ft. elsewhere – all of which are greatly understated because such information often went unreported,” according to the study.

The Austin Business Journal summarized that “Departures are understandable when year after year CEOs nationwide surveyed by Chief Executive Magazine have declared California the worst state in which to do business,” said Vranich, a corporate relocation expert who jokes that he loves California’s weather, but not its business climate. Until recently, Spectrum and Vranich were based in Irvine, Calif. Texas, on the other hand, consistently ranks as one of the best states to do business in.”

The top 10 states starting in the order of those that gained the most from California business relocations were:

  1. Texas, which has held the first-place distinction for at least a decade
  2. Nevada
  3. Arizona
  4. Colorado
  5. Oregon
  6. Washington
  7. North Carolina
  8. Florida
  9. Georgia
  10. Virginia

The top 10 cities gaining company migrations from California were:

  1. Austin
  2. Reno, Nev.
  3. Las Vegas
  4. Phoenix
  5. Seattle
  6. Dallas
  7. Portland, Ore.
  8. Denver
  9. San Antonio
  10. Scottsdale, Ariz.


The report’s ranking is based only on cities, not metro areas. Fort Worth, Houston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Indianapolis and Nashville also ranked among the top twenty.

Vranich further details the Texas metro market migrations in the Austin Relocation Guide. Metropolitan areas benefiting from California divestment events show Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos in the top spot, followed by No. 2 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, and No. 10 San Antonio, which was tied with Salt Lake City. Of the Top 15 destination metropolitan communities benefiting from out-of-California Austin tops the list, followed by No. 6 Dallas, No. 8 San Antonio, No. 11 Houston, No. 13 Irving and Plano (tied) and No. 14 Fort Worth.”

The new 2018 Migration Trends study by residential real estate brokerage site Redfin shows California is the top source of people from other metro areas shopping for homes in Austin. KVUE reported that in the Austin area, the biggest generator of inflow (more people seeking to move to area than leave it) was from San Francisco, unsurprising considering both cities are hubs for the technology sector. In Dallas, the L.A. area produced the most potential newcomers.

With the California migrations, it begs the question, how is Austin doing today?

The Austin Chamber of Commerce recently reported:

  • Austin added 36,800 net new jobs, growth of 3.5%, in the 12 months ending in December, making Austin the fourth fastest growing major metro.
  • In Austin, the industry adding the most jobs and growing the fastest is wholesale trade which grew by 6,900 jobs or 12.8% over the last 12 months. Also growing at faster-than-average rates are construction and natural resources (8.1% or 5,000 jobs) and other services (4.4% or 2,000 jobs).
  • Austin’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 2.9%, up from 2.8% in November. Unemployment has been at or below 3.0% for the last 16 months.
  • For new home construction Austin ranked number 1 in the nation in per capita building permits through midyear 2018 with a projected increase over 2017.
  • Home prices are rising with a median home price increase of approx. 4% in 2018.
  • Incomes are rising with total personal income in the Austin metro growing by 6.4% in 2017, the 5th fastest growth rate among major metros.

We continue to see growth in Austin, and we welcome California transplants to make Austin their home.

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Resources:

Austin Business Journal – https://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2018/12/13/1-800-companies-left-california-in-a-year-with.html 

The Kumar Law Firm – https://thekumarlawfirm.com/lawyer/2018/12/31/Business-Law/California-Businesses-Flock-to-Texas_bl36525.htm

KVUE – https://www.kvue.com/article/news/local/california-homebuyers-continue-coasting-into-austins-real-estate-market/269-608008889 

PRWeb – https://www.prweb.com/releases/record_number_of_companies_departing_california_study_urges_more_to_leave/prweb15977005.htm

Redfin – https://www.redfin.com/blog/2018/10/q3-2018-migration-report.html

Culture Map – http://austin.culturemap.com/news/real-estate/10-25-18-homebuyer-interest-in-austin-california-san-franscisco-redfin/

Austin Chamber of Commerce – https://www.austinchamber.com/blog/01-22-2019-job-growth-unemployment

Austin Chamber of Commerce – https://www.austinchamber.com/economic-development/business-climate/economic-perspective

Austin Relocation Guide – http://www.austinrelocationguide.com/Austin-Wins-Big-as-Companies-Leave-California/

State and Local Taxes Influence Homebuyer Migration

Overall taxation increasingly determines where people and companies choose to relocate. Last week Rob Chrisman talked about what makes homebuyers move in his daily newsletter. According to MarketWatch jobs are the determining factor for someone to relocate, second to state and local taxes.

ATTOM Data Solutions, national property database provider, released its 2017 property tax analysis for more than 86 million U.S. single family homes which shows that property taxes levied on single family homes in 2017 totaled $293.4 billion, up 6 percent from $277.7 billion in 2016 and an average of $3,399 per home — an effective tax rate of 1.17 percent.

For Daren Blomquist, Attom’s senior vice president, the story of national property taxes is the story of migration around the country. Blomquist told MarketWatch that taxes are “the icing on the cake” in areas that are seeing strong population inflows anyway.

“Among the counties that saw the biggest percentage of in-migration in 2017, according to Census data, all are in Texas, Florida, Georgia, or the Carolinas. Texas doesn’t have particularly low property taxes, but it has no personal income tax, making the overall tax burden much more manageable,” said Andrea Riquier of MarketWatch.

Texas is a pro-business state that continues to attract business and population.

Business Facilities Magazine ranked Texas as the top state in the nation for the Best Business Climate in the magazine’s 13th Annual Rankings Report. Out of all 50 states, Texas achieved the best overall performance in the 2017 State Rankings Report.

According to Texas Governor Abbott, “economic liberty is why Texas leads in job creation and in corporate expansion and relocations.  Restrained government, lower taxes, smarter regulations, right-to-work laws and litigation reform—these are the pro-growth economic policies that help free enterprise flourish and that attract business to Texas from states that overtax and overregulate.”

Austin continues to attract businesses, and is a hub for corporate and regional headquarters, including AMD, Apple, Bazaarvoice, Cirrus Logic, Dell, Dimensional Fund Advisors, eBay, Facebook, Freescale, General Motors, Hanger, Hewlett-Packard, HomeAway, Home Depot, IBM, LegalZoom, National Instruments, Oracle, Whole Foods, and Visa. Check out the  Austin Chamber of Commerce Austin’s major employers map.

Best and worst business climates.

24/7 Wall Street ranked best and worst business climates looking at nearly 50 measures of doing business, including economic conditions, business costs, state infrastructure, the availability and skill level of the workforce, quality of life, regulations, technology and innovation, and cost of living.

Massachusetts ranked No. 1 with a well-educated population that is a boon for state businesses. Such a population presents a more flexible and skilled talent pool for employers. Also, people with college educations tend to have higher incomes, which means they have more disposable income to spend. A nation-leading 42.7% of Massachusetts adults have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 31.3% of adults nationwide. The typical state household earns $75,297 a year, the fourth highest median income of any state and over $17,000 greater than the national median.

And, Louisiana ranked last. Working-age Louisianans are less likely than working-age Americans to have the qualifications for higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs. Just 23.4% of adults in the state have a bachelor’s degree, nearly the lowest percentage of all states. Unlike most states, Louisiana’s working-age population is also declining. In the Census’ American Survey of Entrepreneurs, 46% of state businesses reported unpredictable conditions having a negative impact on their business, and 48% reported slow business or lost sales, each among the highest shares in the country.

Texas ranked among the top states at No. 13.

  • 1-yr. real GDP change: -0.3% (7th largest decrease)
  • salary: $53,838 (12th highest)
  • Adults w/ bachelor’s degree: 28.9% (tied — 22nd lowest)
  • Patents issued/100,000 people: 35.7 (18th most)
  • Working-age population change, 2020-2030: -14.9% (4th largest growth)

According to USAToday, “like North Dakota and a few other oil-producing states, Texas’ economy has taken a beating from the more-than-three-years-long stretch of depressed crude oil prices. However, the state’s economy is more diverse than that of North Dakota, and GDP has contracted by just 0.3% in the most recently reported year. Credit agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s clearly recognize the state’s stability and rate its debt a perfect AAA and Aaa, respectively, with a stable outlook. The state’s businesses not only benefit from a stable economy, but also from a growing labor force. Texas’ working age population is projected to grow by 14.9% between 2020 and 2030, the fourth most of any state.”

Austin MSA stands out with 42.8% having a bachelor’s degree or higher, as compared to 28.9% in Texas, and 31.3% in the United States. And, WalletHub ranked Austin-Round Rock No. 9 in the Most & Least Educated Cities of America.

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of the Census, American Community Survey

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SOURCE:
http://www.robchrisman.com/daily-mortgage-news-commentary/page/2/
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/americas-new-great-migration-in-search-of-lower-property-taxes-2018-04-05
https://www.attomdata.com/news/market-trends/home-sales-prices/attom-2017-property-tax-data-analysis/
https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/texas-ranked-top-state-for-business-climate-by-business-facilities-magazine
https://businessfacilities.com/2017/07/business-facilities-13th-annual-rankings-report/
https://www.austinchamber.com/upload/files/ed/MajorEmployersMap.pdf
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2018/03/05/economic-climate-best-and-worst-states-business/376783002/
https://www.austinchamber.com/economic-development/austin-profile/population#Educational%20Attainment
https://wallethub.com/edu/most-and-least-educated-cities/6656/

Corporations Relocating to Texas and Austin

Here are some great articles highlighting the continued trend of corporations relocating to Texas and the Austin area:

Today, Ray Perryman reports that Texas again wins of Site Selection Magazine’s “Governor’s Cup” competition: Another Win for Texas – This award goes to the state with the most major corporate location and expansion projects in a year. The 2017 win is the sixth in a row for Texas. Lone Star State also won in 2004, 2005, and 2010 (and was a close second in several of the years between).  Last year, Texas had 594 projects with a capital investment of at least $1 million, 20 or more new jobs, or 20,000 square feet of new construction. Texas has resources corporations need: a large and growing population, oil and gas, a coastline favorable to shipping, abundant land, a relatively moderate climate, and a central location, among others.

Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce reports on Relocations and Expansions: 2016-2017 RELOCATIONS & EXPANSIONS LOG – note the large number of Headquarters that are expanding.

Other tech companies moving to Austin: Texas takeover: Why 5 tech companies relocated their headquarters to Austin – Great article which highlights the many reasons why companies want to relocate to Austin.

San Francisco article: Tech pipeline to Texas: Tax money, people flow out of Bay Area – which highlights the struggles of keeping companies in the bay area vs. moving to Austin for the labor they need to grow and expand.  This is a 2016 article but highlights the ongoing trend of companies moving from other states, particularly California, to Austin.

Links to articles:

FEMA and lender disaster notices

Listed below are excerpts from Rob Chrisman’s http://www.robchrisman.com/ daily blogs from August 22nd to September 7, 2017 regarding FEMA and lender disaster notices for your quick reference. Great advice for lenders, servicers and borrowers for dealing with disaster/flood related issues from Hurricane Harvey. 

With the natural disasters already plaguing regions across the United States, the FEMA website lists all declared incidents with a link to provide details specific to that area, including leaking chemical plants.

Most investors and lenders rely on FEMA to define a disaster and the area impacted. Of course, any monies about to be lent, and recently lent, in a disaster area are questionable from an investor’s perspective. Is the borrower safe, will they make their payments, is the collateral sound? Typically a correspondent investor, such as Chase, will have verbiage in their contract referring the seller to it in the event an area is declared an investor and requiring additional appraisals.

Partners can access Sun West Seller Guide under HELP section in Sunsoft (login required). Please refer to Sun West Forward Mortgage Seller Guide (Section 404.07) and Sun West Reverse Mortgage Seller Guide (Section 3.23) for more details.

Plaza Home Mortgage is reminding its clients to follows its Natural Disaster Policy, GD-PO-008 (login required) for properties located in these areas.

Pacific Union is monitoring the impact of severe storms and disaster declarations across several states as published by FEMA. Currently, loans secured by properties located in impacted areas are subject to standard Pacific Union protocol. Standard requirements for disaster areas apply for these properties as they relate to expectations from appraisers for existing pipeline and new applications. For loans secured by properties in affected areas, the appraiser must comment on the disaster and if there is an impact to the property and value.  In addition, all types of issued insurance policies (hazard, flood, windstorm, etc.) must have binding authority on the subject property. Upon delivery of a loan to Pacific Union Financial, the Correspondent must ensure that re-inspections have been completed and delivered to Pacific Union Financial for all impacted properties in accordance with Pacific Union’s Disaster Area Policy.

“The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and state bank regulators recognize the serious impact of Hurricane Harvey on the customers and operations of many financial institutions and will provide regulatory assistance to affected institutions subject to their supervision. The agencies encourage institutions in the affected areas to meet the financial services needs of their communities.

“Bankers should work constructively with borrowers in communities affected by Hurricane Harvey. The agencies realize that the effects of natural disasters on local businesses and individuals are often transitory, and prudent efforts to adjust or alter terms on existing loans in affected areas should not be subject to examiner criticism. In supervising institutions affected by the hurricane, the agencies will consider the unusual circumstances they face. The agencies recognize that efforts to work with borrowers in communities under stress can be consistent with safe-and-sound banking practices as well as in the public interest.

Community Reinvestment Act (CRA): Financial institutions may receive CRA consideration for community development loans, investments, or services that revitalize or stabilize federally designated disaster areas in their assessment areas or in the states or regions that include their assessment areas. For additional information, institutions should review the Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Community Reinvestment here.

Freddie Mac’s disaster relief options will be available to borrowers with homes in presidentially-declared Major Disaster Areas where federal Individual Assistance programs are made available to affected individuals and households. Until then, servicers may leverage Freddie Mac’s forbearance programs to provide immediate mortgage relief to borrowers affected by the storm.

“We strongly encourage the many American families whose homes or businesses are being impacted by Hurricane Harvey to call their mortgage servicer if the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s declaration is announced,” said Yvette Gilmore, Freddie Mac’s Vice President of Single-Family Servicer Performance Management. “Relief — including forbearance on mortgage payments for up to one year — may be available if their mortgage is owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac.”

Freddie Mac disaster relief policies authorize mortgage servicers to help affected borrowers in presidentially declared Major Disaster Areas where federal Individual Assistance programs have been extended. Freddie Mac mortgage relief options for affected borrowers in these areas include suspending foreclosures by providing forbearance for up to 12 months, waiving assessments of penalties or late fees against borrowers with disaster-damaged homes, and not reporting forbearance or delinquencies caused by the disaster to the nation’s credit bureaus.

Lenders are reminded that Fannie Mae has selling and servicing policies to assist impacted borrowers (or potential borrowers) following a disaster, such as the hurricane on the Gulf coast. Refer to Assistance in Disasters for information on where to find Fannie Mae’s policies for providing assistance to borrowers impacted by a disaster. View the press release.

Due to the potential impacts of Hurricane Harvey to the southern Texas coast, at this time, and until all affected areas have been identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other sources, Pacific Union Financial, LLC will temporarily suspend the funding of loans secured by properties in impacted areas.

AmeriHome, with FEMA’s DR-4332, reminded clients that policies vary based on program and re-inspection requirements for transactions with and without appraisals. Sellers are reminded that they are responsible for determining potential impact to a property located in an area where a disaster is occurring or has occurred, irrespective of whether the property was included in an area covered by a disaster declaration. Sellers are also reminded that appraisal waivers and reduced appraisal types, such as Fannie Mae’s PIW and Freddie Mac’s ACE, are not eligible in areas impacted by disasters. See the respective Agency requirements for details.

AmeriHome reminded clients that for loans on properties involving transactions with appraisals for Fannie, Freddie, VA, and USDA, if the appraisal is dated on or before incident period end date, including on-going disasters where an incident end period date has not yet been declared then the re-inspection date must be prior to the declared incident period end date.

For non-agency, Core Jumbo, or FHA, if the appraisal is dated on or before incident period end date, the re-inspection date must be after declared Incident period end date. (In other words, re-inspection may not be completed until after the declared incident period end date).

For properties without an appraisal, a property inspection is required if no incident period end date has been declared and Loan Purchase is on or after incident period start date, or the incident period end date has been declared and Loan Purchase is on or within 90 days after incident period end date. Re-inspection type can utilize any of the property inspection types in Seller Guide Section 10.10.7.1., AND include an interior inspection with photos.

Sellers must follow Wells Fargo standard Disaster Policy for all properties located in ZIP codes that Wells Fargo Funding has determined were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Precautions must be taken for Loans originated within affected areas. Regardless of whether FEMA has formally declared a disaster, all transactions showing any indication of damage to the collateral should comply with the published Disaster Policy Guidelines as outlined for customers here (login required).

Customers of Chase can visit the Correspondent Site for more information on appraisal requirements, and re-inspection requirements.

And, the same with SunTrust – it is spelled out in SunTrust’s seller guide.

NewLeaf Wholesale reminded its brokers that If the subject property is located in an impacted area, with a completed appraisal dated prior to the incident start date, a 1004D re-inspection completed by the Appraiser must certify that the property is free from the applicable natural disaster damage. For appraisals in an impacted area dated during the incident period, the Appraiser must: Comment on the condition of the property and any effects on the marketability AND add detailed language into the body of the appraisal confirming that the property is free from the applicable natural disaster damage OR provide a 1004D re-inspection to certify that the property is free from the applicable natural disaster damage. For appraisals in an impacted area dated after the incident end date, the Appraiser must: Comment on the condition of the property and any effects on the marketability AND add detailed language confirming that the property is free from the applicable natural disasters damage into the body of the appraisal.

As of August 30th, Flagstar Bank is suspending funding in Texas counties: Aransas, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Harris, Jackson, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria and Wharton. Louisiana parishes include: Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Orleans and Vermillion. Once funding has resumed, a re-inspection will be required in the counties identified. Loans that have already been issued a Final Approval Clear to Close status will be placed in an Approved with Conditions status until a re-inspection is performed. Please note that appraisal re-inspections are not required to be completed by the original appraiser; however, a Flagstar Bank eligible appraiser must be utilized. For loans that have an appraisal that was ordered via Loantrac, an appraisal re-inspection may be requested via the Appraisal Management module by selecting “Yes” to the “Do you need a property/Disaster Inspection” question.

M&T Bank will enforce the Disaster Re-Inspection Policy for all properties located in the affected counties of Aransas, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Harris, Jackson, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, and Wharton.

Appraisals Completed prior to 8-28-2017 (Refer to Ex #03-600: Disaster Affected Areas, for expiration). For loans secured by properties, in the designated disaster areas, and appraised prior to the Federal Government / State Government declaration, please refer to the matrix for required Re-inspection guidance.

First Community Mortgage disaster policy and procedure can be viewed in its product full guidelines. View a copy of the FEMA declared disaster counties.

Wells Fargo Funding Sellers must follow its standard Disaster Policy for all properties located in counties identified by FEMA as being impacted. Precautions must be taken for Loans originated within affected areas. Regardless of whether FEMA has formally declared a disaster, all transactions showing any indication of damage to the collateral should comply with the published Disaster Policy Guidelines as outlined in Seller Guide Section 820.19: Disaster Policy and 820.20: When Required both found in our Conforming Underwriting Guidelines. (Government Loans must follow FHA/VA guidance.) Reminder: When the appraisal is completed on or after the disaster incident period end date, a full appraisal with exterior and interior inspection is required. This includes Loans where a PIW or equivalent was requested by the Automated Underwriting System (AUS).

PennyMac has posted Disaster Policy Implementation: Texas Hurricane Harvey. In response, FEMA has declared 18 counties in Texas as eligible for Individual Assistance. PennyMac’s Disaster Policy requires a post-disaster inspection on all properties located in counties eligible for Individual Assistance.  Due to the continued impact of Hurricane Harvey, FEMA has not declared an incident end date and PennyMac will not be accepting post-disaster inspections and additional counties may be added. PennyMac has also paused funding in the additional counties where the Texas Governor declared a State of Emergency due to the ongoing rain and flooding and potential for additional damage.  PennyMac will continue to monitor counties not yet declared for Individual Assistance for reinstatement.

AmeriHome is implementing re-inspection requirements for four additional Texas counties that were included in an amended State of Disaster declaration made 8/28/2017 by Texas governor Abbott. Those counties are Angelina, Orange, Sabine and Trinity. AmeriHome is also re-inspection requirements for FEMA declared Texas DR-4332 and Louisiana EM-3382.

“As we work together to support borrowers affected by Hurricane Harvey, lenders are reminded that Fannie Mae has selling and servicing policies to assist borrowers (or potential borrowers) affected by disaster. Refer to the Assistance in Disasters page for information about its policies for providing assistance to borrowers impacted by a disaster. Fannie will provide additional policy guidance in a separate lender communication.

In light of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, if you have mortgages secured by properties in the affected areas that are in the delivery pipeline, you should remove these mortgages from a Guarantor pool or Cash commitment.”

Additionally, you should review Freddie Mac requirements related to properties affected by disasters to prepare to address impacted mortgages you originated and planned to sell to Freddie. “While it’s premature to determine the full impact of Hurricane Harvey, review the applicable sections of the Single Family Seller/Servicer Guide and your procedures for inspecting and updating a property’s value, condition and marketability when a major disaster or emergency occurs. Guide Section 5601.2 (c) – Requirements for properties affected by disasters, Guide Section 5601.2 (b) – Requirements for incomplete property improvement, Guide Section 4201.13 – Circumstances that adversely affect the value of the property.

We rely on you to determine the number of mortgages secured by impacted properties and the extent of damage to each property that may affect its acceptability as security for the mortgage.

As we continue to closely monitor the situation, we are grateful to our Seller/Servicers who are responding to requests for assistance from borrowers who are facing unexpected hardships because of the hurricane.”

As always, clients should read the full bulletins from lenders and investors. 

Fannie Mae reminds clients that “Following a disaster, we rely on our customers to implement our disaster relief policies and assist impacted homeowners. We require servicers to assess property damage and the needs of homeowners in order to provide appropriate relief. In addition, our Account Teams work closely with our customers to determine physical and operational impacts to their business operations and their ability to service mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae.”

“Citibank Correspondent Lending is ready to help residents regain pre-storm business functionality. Among other assistance, Citibank will work with you on a case by case basis regarding loan file delivery and lock expiration dates, consider rate lock extensions based on your business needs due to storm damage1and consider fee waivers on issues arising due to the impact of the storm.

“As a reminder, Lenders represent and warrant that the properties securing all loans submitted to Citibank for purchase consideration have not been negatively impacted by any natural or man-made disaster as of the date Citibank purchases the loan. The Lender also represents and warrants that the borrower’s credit qualifications for the underlying loan have not been negatively impacted by any natural or man-made disaster as of the date Citibank purchases the loan.

“Lenders must have a process in place for identifying disaster areas and potential impact to properties that are the subject of loans proposed for sale to Citibank. If the Lender’s disaster policy includes a requirement for re-inspection of the property, the re-inspection should be included in the closed loan file submitted for purchase (i.e. appraisal ordered prior to the storm with closing after the event).”

Citi’s note finished with, “For loans originated after the storm, it is important to note that section 501 of the Correspondent Manual. Lenders are responsible for ensuring that the borrower’s credit qualifications for the underlying loan have not diminished because of the storm. Property or Lender’s place of business must be located in a FEMA disaster area.”

Because of the Presidential Declaration of a Major Disaster Area (PDMDA) in designated counties in the State of Texas due to damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, FHA is issuing this reminder to mortgagees originating and/or servicing mortgages in the affected PDMDAs: FHA-insured mortgages secured by properties in a PDMDA are subject to a 90-Day moratorium on foreclosures following the disaster. HUD provides mortgagees an automatic 90-Day extension from the date of the moratorium expiration date to commence or recommence foreclosure action or evaluate the borrower under HUD’s Loss Mitigation Program.

Mortgagees should review complete servicing guidance in the Single-Family Housing Policy Handbook (SF Handbook) 4000.1, Sections III.A.2 and III.A.3.c relating to the servicing of mortgages in PDMDAs.

In preparation for assisting homeowners with longer-term recovery efforts, mortgagees should also review: FHA’s 203(h) Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims requirements in Section II.A.8.b of the SF Handbook. The 203(h) program allows FHA to insure mortgages for victims of a major disaster who have lost their homes and are in the process of rebuilding or buying another home. FHA’s 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program requirements in Section II.A.8.a of the SF Handbook. The 203(k) program provides mortgage financing or refinancing which includes the cost of home repairs – both structural and non-structural – into the loan amount. Mortgagees can find more information about the policies referenced above and other FHA PDMDA policies on the FHA Resource Center’s Online Knowledge Base.

The Mortgage Solutions Financial Disaster Policy must be followed for the following areas Texas DR-4332 and Louisiana EM-3382.

Mortgage Solutions guidelines have been updated to address any property area located in a FEMA declared disaster area requiring individual assistance or as determined by MSF. Search for a specific property provided by Disaster Assistance.gov.

Conventional, VA and USDA: Properties with an appraisal effective date prior to the date of the disaster, appraiser to provide a 2075 drive-by, 1004D update/completion report, or Disaster Inspection Report, or Disaster Area inspection prepared by a certified appraiser to verify home is not affected Specific requirements must be met within the inspection.

Specific to Conventional properties, disaster inspections are not required for DU Refi Plus and LP Open Access transactions. Property Inspection Waiver (PIW) is not eligible in disaster-impacted areas. If a FEMA disaster is declared after the loan has closed with a PUW, one of the above-listed exterior inspection documents is required.

FHA Properties with an appraisal effective date prior to the date of the disaster, appraiser to provide a 1004D update report, prepared by a certified FHA Roster Appraiser to verify home is not affected. Disaster inspections are not required on new FHA transactions endorsed by FHA prior to the disaster date. Disaster inspections are not required for FHA Streamline without Appraisal transactions.

NewLeaf sent out, “All subject properties in the areas impacted by the disaster require evidence that the subject sustained no damage from the identified disaster for NewLeaf transactions. As the effects of Hurricane Harvey are continuing, please note impacted areas are subject to change without notice.

If the subject property is in an impacted area listed on the NewLeaf incident table with a completed appraisal dated prior to the incident start date, a 1004D re-inspection completed by the Appraiser must certify that the property is free from the applicable natural disaster damage. For appraisals in an impacted area dated during the incident period, the Appraiser must: Comment on the condition of the property and any effects on the marketability AND add detailed language into the body of the appraisal confirming that the property is free from the applicable natural disaster damage OR provide a 1004D re-inspection to certify that the property is free from the applicable natural disaster damage.

Prior to closing and funding, ResMac, Inc. will require a property inspection for any loan secured by a property in the FEMA declared Texas DR-4332. If the subject property is in one of the impacted counties and the appraisal was completed prior to the incident period end date, ResMac will require a post disaster inspection confirming the property was not adversely affected by the disaster. The inspection report must be dated no earlier than the date of disaster conclusion as determined by FEMA and/or the State of Texas. Clients may utilize any of the following re-inspection options to satisfy the post disaster inspection requirement, with a photograph of the subject property: Property Inspection Report (Fannie Mae Form 2075/ Freddie Mac Form 2070), or Appraisal Update and/or Completion Report (Fannie Mae Form 1004D/Freddie Mac Form 442), or Uniform Residential Appraisal Report (Fannie Mae Form 1004/Freddie Mac Form 70), Exterior Only Appraisal Report (Freddie Mac Form 2055), Individual Condominium or PUD Unit Appraisal Report (Fannie Mae Form 1073/Freddie Mac Form 465), Disaster Inspection Certification from a Licensed Certified Inspector.

Flagstar will apply a 15 day, no cost extension to loans in the counties/parishes impacted by Hurricane Harvey that meet the following criteria: Must have a lock expiration date that falls between Friday, August 25, 2017 and Friday, September 15, 2017. Loan must be in underwriting and is not funded or in a closing package received status (i.e. approved with conditions, conditions received, and final approval). Flagstar will reduce funding extension fees to 1 basis point per day on delivered loans provided that all conditions are cleared except for the appraisal re-inspection.

AXIS AMC has been through several disasters across the country, and has been here to help guide and navigate our industry partners through each of them. Axis expects to see a multitude of Disaster Certifications needed on properties in those markets that have been affected although lending partners and other clients may have different reporting requirements and needs. If possible, send Axis any policy or requirements that you feel are specific to you and Axis will try to accommodate.

CoreLogic estimates that about 70% of the flood damage in Houston was uninsured. Lenders are worried about everything from lost closing packages to forced-placed insurance policies. The ABA estimates about 1,000 bank branches were impacted by the unprecedented rainfall and flooding of Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Harvey comes at a time when the National Flood Insurance Program owes $24.6 billion to the Treasury already. This will put pressure on a program that is expiring this month. The impact of Harvey following Katrina means bankers should prepare for extreme regulatory scrutiny around all things flood-related at upcoming exams.

With the odds increasing that Irma will impact U.S. holdings, including Florida, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is busy indeed. Those impacted should register with FEMA online, in person at a disaster recovery center or by calling 1-800-621-3362. They should also have their homeowner’s insurance company contact info, plus flood or earthquake insurance company, if either applies, and their mortgage servicer.

What if a borrower can’t pay their mortgage? If the disaster makes it impossible to make monthly house payments, borrowers should ask their servicer for mortgage forbearance. A forbearance allows one to stop making payments for an agreed-upon time. In a forbearance agreement, one might make partial payments or stop making payments for a specific time. Generally, a forbearance lasts up to six months and can be extended up to another six months. Interest still accrues during the time the debtor isn’t making full monthly payments. But under a forbearance agreement, the lender won’t charge late fees or report them to credit bureaus.

Of course, the lender/servicer will want the mortgagor to catch up on missed payments after the forbearance period is over. That might involve paying extra every month for a few years, modifying the loan, or reaching some other negotiated agreement. Freddie Mac spread the word that if applicable, a mortgage loan is in forbearance for 24 months, Freddie will repurchase the loan from its mortgage participation certificates.

Some borrowers talk with a Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved housing counselor before agreeing to forbearance. HUD: 1-800-569-4287.

There is also aid available. Direct federal aid consists mostly of loans from the Small Business Administration which oversees delivering disaster-related loans to individuals and families. The SBA extends loans at favorable interest rates to replace or repair primary residences. Someone can borrow up to $200,000 to cover renovation or construction costs, and regardless of whether someone is a renter or a homeowner, the SBA will lend you up to $40,000 to replace personal property such as clothing, furniture, appliances and vehicles.

FEMA offers grants to fill in gaps between insurance payouts and SBA loans. The maximum grant is $33,300 per household for disasters that happen in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, 2017. Grants can be used for expenses such as basic home repairs that aren’t covered by insurance, temporary rent and disaster-caused medical and child care. For more information, read the section called “What Does Individual Assistance Cover?”

The Federal Housing Administration has a program that’s designed to help disaster survivors rebuild or buy replacement homes. Under the Section 203(h) program, the FHA insures mortgages for people whose homes were destroyed or damaged in disasters. Borrowers don’t have to make a down payment.

Even when a house is destroyed the mortgagor should continue paying on the note until they have talked with the servicer and have reached a settlement with the insurance company. After all, the borrower promised to repay the loan when they signed the mortgage documents at closing. The borrower is liable for the loan debt, and making their payment is part of the borrower’s contractual obligation.

Servicers are contacting borrowers. In response to Hurricane Harvey, Freddie Mac is allowing servicers to “verbally grant” 90-day forbearances, and Fannie Mae is letting servicers grant 90-day forbearances “even if they cannot contact the impacted homeowner immediately.”

AFR Wholesale is conducting a webinar for brokers to provide answers and solutions to guide their customers with the best options to help them rebuild in the wake of natural disasters, like Hurricane Harvey. The webinar will focus on products, like the 203(h) mortgage insurance program that helps victims in Presidentially designated disaster areas recover by making it easier for them to re-establish themselves as homeowners. Scheduled for this Friday, September 8th from 2-3PM EST, those interested in this timely webinar on disaster relief resources can register here.

Wells Fargo is taking steps to assist borrowers in the Hurricane Harvey affected areas. If you’re aware of a Wells Fargo Home Lending borrower in need, share the following information: Wells Fargo Home Lending customers can contact us at 1-888-818-9147, Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. CT, and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2PM CT. All Wells Fargo customers can reach us at 1-800-TO-WELLS if they need assistance or have questions. Our mobile response unit will be deployed to the affected area once the situation is stabilized. Wells Fargo customers will be able to receive in-person assistance with their mortgage, home equity or auto loans. Wells Fargo is waiving ATM fees for customers in the affected areas, as well as reversing other fees – such as late fees – for all our consumer products, including credit cards and checking accounts.

On 9/1/2017, with Amendment #3 to DR-4332, FEMA announced federal disaster aid with individual assistance for 3 additional Texas counties.

The Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board (TALCB) has announced that any appraiser license that expires in the month of August will be extended 30 days due to delays caused by Hurricane Harvey. In addition, open applications for licenses that expire between August 21, 2017 and September 30, 2017 will be extended by 30 days. If a Pacific Union Financial loan file includes a Texas appraisal license with an expired license that is within the dates detailed above, include a screenshot of the TALCB announcement with the appraiser’s license in the loan file.

Loans secured by properties located in impacted areas are subject to suspension of funding or proceeding with caution according to standard Pacific Union protocol. Standard requirements for disaster areas apply for the funding of properties as they relate to expectations from appraisers for existing pipeline and new applications. For loans secured by properties in affected areas, the appraiser must comment on the disaster and whether there is an impact to the property and value.  In addition, all types of issued insurance policies (hazard, flood, windstorm, etc.) must have binding authority on the subject property. Its Disaster Area Policy, Pacific Union reserves the right to impose restrictions and/or suspend funding, without notice, in additional areas subject to any adverse event that may impact the safety/habitability/value of impacted properties.

Mortgage Solutions Financial has posted revised information on affected areas due to Hurricane Harvey. Lenders are reminded its disaster policy must be followed.

PennyMac posted updates to Texas Hurricane Harvey requirements.

FAMC is requiring disaster re-inspections that are dated after the incident end date on properties affected by Hurricane Harvey. Due to unprecedented levels of rainfall and the ongoing flooding caused by this event, the extent of all impacted areas is currently unknown. Once the incident end date is established by FEMA, it will be published on the Disaster County Detail Worksheet located on the FAMC website.

M&T Bank will enforce the Disaster Re-Inspection Policy for all properties located in the affected counties. For loans secured by properties, in the designated disaster areas, and appraised prior to the Federal Government / State Government declaration, refer to the M&T Bank matrix for procedures.

Before going on, readers should a commentary piece yesterday was written by NerdWallet’s Holden Lewis. The article for those impacted by disasters is titled, “What to do after a disaster hits your home, mortgage,” was published on Sept. 1 and can be found on this page. Credit is due where credit is due, and in this case to Mr. Lewis – my apologies.

Of particular interest to lenders looking to pick up a point or two is the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) information. “Financial institutions may receive CRA consideration for community development loans, investments, or services that revitalize or stabilize federally designated disaster areas in their assessment areas or in the states or regions that include their assessment areas. For additional information, institutions should review the Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Community Reinvestment here.”

Freddie Mac confirmed that its disaster relief options, like Harvey, will be available to homeowners in impacted areas. “Freddie Mac’s disaster relief options will be available to borrowers with homes in presidentially-declared Major Disaster Areas where federal Individual Assistance programs are made available to affected individuals and households…Freddie Mac mortgage relief options for affected borrowers in these areas include: Suspending foreclosures by providing forbearance for up to 12 months; Waiving assessments of penalties or late fees against borrowers with disaster-damaged homes; and not reporting forbearance or delinquencies caused by the disaster to the nation’s credit bureaus.”

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SOURCE:
http://www.robchrisman.com/

Corpus Christi real estate activity is alive and well; City continues to turn on seasonal activity

It is that time of year to start planning your summer vacations. The days are longer, Spring Break is over, and now we can look forward to a sunny spring and summer. This planning brings to mind our Texas beaches. On that note, today I would like to highlight Corpus Christi.

The South Texas Economic Development Center Economic Pulse, 2017, Issue 4 on the “Housing Market Downswing?” covers how the Corpus Christi housing market has boomed since the beginning of the decade. According to the article, “recently, the local economy has stalled in the wake of falling oil prices. Still the area’s residential construction remains remarkably active, and home prices stay at historically high levels.”

Here is a snapshot of the article:

  • The housing market has grown without major interruptions since 2000. Even during the burst of the nationwide housing bubble and the subsequent recession of 2007-2009, local home prices merely slowed down.
  • Along with other metro areas in Texas, Corpus Christi was among the top cities in home price appreciation during the decade ending in 2016.
  • The area’s median home price grew nearly 40 percent over the 2006-2016 period, slightly below the 45 percent and 44 percent growth rates for Houston and Dallas, respectively.While the median home price of the Corpus Christi metro area tended to rise at a solid pace in the past decade, the housing conditions varied widely across its local communities.A real estate bubble might have developed and then burst recently in the Rockport-Fulton area—the major community of Aransas County. Construction of a large number of industrial sites around the Port of Corpus Christi seems to have boosted the housing markets of various communities in San Patricio County. Following a long period of swings in different directions, the median home prices of these three counties converged to about $160,000 by the end of 2016.
  • Developers responded to rising home prices by increasing the supply of home units.The column chart below shows the Real Estate Center’s Texas Home Affordability Index (THAI) for Corpus Christi and the state. The index indicates the ability of the typical household, measured by total earnings, to buy a house selling for the median home price. The higher is the index, the more affordable are homes in the area.The chart suggests that homes in both Corpus Christi and Texas are less affordable today than in 2012. Home prices across Texas have caught up with income growth, which has recently slowed down from the 2011-2014 period of economic boom. Still the latest THAI readings remain higher, meaning more affordable, than their respective readings at the previous housing boom ending in 2007.
  • Given its relatively large exposure to the oil and gas industry, Corpus Christi’s overall economic condition is tied to developments in the oil market. For the three years that local personal income per capita recorded a loss, the crude oil price also fell. Year 2016 was the most recent period that local income per capita shrank, after the collapse of the oil market beginning in early 2015.
  • Oil and gas drilling and production in South Texas began to rebound in late 2016, and based on the oil futures market, oil prices are expected to rise steadily at least in the next six months.
  • Should the current market trends continue under normal conditions, home prices would rise modestly through the end of this year.
  • Corpus Christi will likely continue to recover from the recent economic downturn, holding up home demand.

Let’s talk about seasonal activity.

According to the Texas A & M Corpus Christi South Texas Economic Development Center Corpus Christi employment and unemployment reflect remarkable seasonal fluctuations. This to me, is no surprise given the tourist attractiveness of the city. In this article, Jim Lee covers the seasonal variations in unemployment not only from tourism, but also other cyclical activities which greatly effect South Texas, like harvest seasons and how this effects the agricultural sector, as well as government job and hiring patterns and their contribution to seasonal fluctuations. The graph below shows the Corpus Christi MSA unemployment rates, both the original and then in blue the seasonally adjusted rates.

“The level of farm employment indeed shows considerable seasonal variations. For the United States as a whole, the peak months for farm employment are March and September. Another regular seasonally pattern occurs in retail sales, which tend to peak during the holiday season in November and December 2017.” For Corpus, “employment typically peaks in April, and dips the most in January with New Year holidays.”

To explain the dips in the latter summer months, Lee attributes this to local government. He states, “compared to the average for the first half of the year, employment in the local government sector fell about 1,500 positions on average in July and about 1,200 position in August. This regular pattern was attributable to the summer break taken by some of those 2,500 local grade school teachers. The public sector typically recovered most of the jobs lost from those two summer months in the latter part of the year beginning in September.”

The bottom line, Corpus Christi will continue to be a strong housing market. There is inventory, homes continue to be affordable and the city is on the upward swing of recovery from the energy crisis. And, we now have the seasonal activity to look forward to. Bring on the summer.

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SOURCES:
http://stedc.tamucc.edu/files/Econ_Pulse_2017_1.pdf
https://stedc.atavist.com/housing-market-downswing

 

The state of Texas’ South Region

Texas is almost like a country in itself with 12 economic regions including: High Plains, West, Northwest, Metroplex, Upper East, Capital, Central, Southeast, Upper Rio Grande, Alamo, Gulf Coast and South.

Today I would like to take a look at what we Texans call “the Valley”, to look at our economy and job growth.

The much talked about border towns of Texas are growing, as is the opportunity for jobs. Texas’ South Region is comprised of the 28 counties covering the Gulf Cost and Mexico border and offers a “young, growing workforce”. According to the Texas Comptroller, “the South Region added more than 138,600 jobs from 2004 to 2014, led by Hidalgo County. Its 26 percent job growth accounted for 37 percent of the region’s net new jobs.”

Here is how South Texas ranked against Texas and the US on Job Growth.

Job growth 2004 – 2014
South Texas – 20.1%
Texas – 21.7%
U.S. – 5.5%

In the Texas Comptroller’s Regional Snapshot, they conclude that “The South Region is one of Texas’ fastest growing and most diverse. It overlies a portion of the Eagle Ford Shale that has helped fuel the state’s energy resurgence. It also serves as a hub for shipping, farming and manufacturing. Meanwhile, tourists flock to shoreline destinations such as Corpus Christi and South Padre Island.

The region offers a dynamic workforce. Both birth and graduation rates top state averages. It has also added jobs at a faster rate than Texas as a whole, though wages lag significantly behind the state average. Rapid growth, coupled with drought conditions, has strained the region’s water supplies.

Thriving cities, agriculture and mining helped drive Texas’ largest consumption increase over the past decade. In all, the region offers much promise. It will remain relatively young and culturally dynamic  while supporting some of Texas’  key industries.”

Here is the rest of the story from the Comptroller.

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SOURCES:
http://stedc.tamucc.edu/rei/
https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/economy/docs/regions/region-10.pdf
http://eaglefordshale.com/

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