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Hemlane launches free software as ‘accidental landlords’ increase

Hemlane launches free software as ‘accidental landlords’ increase

The launch comes as approximately 45.2 million Americans rent out their homes concurrently with the rise in mortgage rates.

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In response to the rise of “accidental landlords” the property management software provider Hemlane has launched a free version geared towards landlords.

The launch comes as approximately 45.2 million Americans rent out their homes, according to the National Association of Realtors.

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Hemlane has done incredibly well with our software, showing a strong appetite by landlords and property managers for our powerful software and technology-enabled services,” said Dana Dunford, co-founder and CEO of Hemlane. “Adding a free version gives more rental owners and managers the opportunity to try Hemlane. Giving people a taste of Hemlane will change the way rentals are managed in the future. We’re thrilled to introduce this free level and watch our following grow.”

The landlord-focused software helps users list their properties for rent, pre-screen prospective tenants, track their property income and expenses, and provides a centralized dashboard for multiple properties, according to a press release.

The rise in “accidental landlords” has been concurrent with the rise in mortgage interest rates, which topped 7 percent during April, as property owners with low-interest mortgages find it more fruitful to rent their homes out than sell them and lose their lower-interest rate when they move to a new house, as detailed by an Investopedia report.

At the same time mortgage rates have surged, rents have grown steadily as well, especially for single-family properties, which have seen 30 percent rent growth since the pandemic started, according to CoreLogic.

“Real estate ownership is a powerful tool for financial growth, even for the average person. It’s a path to financial independence that many overlook due to the perceived challenges of managing rental properties,” Michael Zuber, CEO of One Rental at a Time said in Hemlane’s statement announcing its free version. “Hemlane’s latest offering is a game changer, breaking down the barriers of owning rental properties and achieving financial freedom.”

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Home prices hit record high for the 6th time in 12 months

Home prices hit record high for the 6th time in 12 months

National home prices jumped 6.5 percent in March from a year earlier to a new record high with the Northeast leading regionally.

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Home prices hit another all-time high during March, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Schiller Indices.

The National Home Price NSA Index jumped 6.5 percent in March from a year earlier to a record high — the sixth time the index has reached a record high in the past year, fueled by the scarcity of housing inventory.

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On a monthly basis, national home prices increased 1.3 percent between February and March, while composites of the 20 and 10 largest cities in the nation both rose 1.6 percent month over month, according to the S&P, which was updated on Tuesday.

“This month’s report boasts another all-time high,” said Brian Luke, head of commodities, real and digital assets, at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “We’ve witnessed records repeatedly break in both stock and housing markets over the past year.”

The Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index, a separate measure of housing prices also updated on Tuesday, found that housing prices were up 6.6 percent between the first quarter of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024, and had increased 1.1 percent between the fourth quarter and 2023 and the first quarter of 2024.

“U.S. house prices continued to grow at a steady pace in the first quarter,” said Dr. Anju Vajja, deputy director for FHFA’s Division of Research and Statistics. “Over the last six consecutive quarters, the low inventory of homes for sale continued to contribute to house price appreciation despite mortgage rates that hovered around 7 percent.”

The consistent growth of home prices caused by the severe lack of housing supply, along with generationally high mortgage interest rates, has painted a grim picture for first-time homebuyers, but some trends are starting to head in the right direction for them.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell below 7 percent last week, after surging throughout April, though economists do not expect rates to drop significantly throughout 2024, meaning they will likely remain elevated.

And while prices continue to rise, some economists predict tempered growth during the summer if inventory continues to increase as it has in recent weeks.

“Home price growth will likely slow down this summer as mortgage rates remain high, sidelining some prospective homebuyers, while at the same time inventory will be increasing,” Bright MLS Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant said in a statement.

However, the fundamental gap between demand and supply will remain. Even if Federal policies to increase supply are put into place, the effect will not be immediate. The result is that we are likely to be in a low supply environment through the Presidential election and probably into the next decade.” 

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2 Tampa-area Realtor organizations announce merger

2 Tampa-area Realtor organizations announce merger

Pinellas Realtor Organization / Central Pasco Realtor Organization approved their merger with Greater Tampa Realtors, forming a new group called Tampa Bay Realtors.

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Two Florida Realtor associations announced a merger on Thursday, creating what they say is now the sixth-largest association in the country and the third-largest in Florida.

The Pinellas Realtor Organization / Central Pasco Realtor Organization approved their merger with Greater Tampa Realtors to create a new organization called Tampa Bay Realtors with over 24,000 members in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, according to a press release.

Staff members of both organizations will remain in their positions and will coordinate efforts to expand their support services for members on a region-wide basis, according to the announcement.

Tampa Bay Realtors will continue to bring localized services to our members while harnessing our enterprise size and scale to provide cutting-edge programs and influential advocacy,” said Brad Monroe, chair of the task force that organized the merger.

Prior to the merger, Greater Tampa Realtors boasted 15,000 members in the Tampa Bay area, making the largest real estate association in the area, while Pinellas Realtor Organization / Central Pasco Realtor Organization had just over 10,000 members, according to the press release. Both organizations focused on professional development, networking, political advocacy and government affairs.

“To consumers, Tampa Bay is one thriving region. With unification, members can leverage the incredible resources across both associations to provide real estate services throughout the Tampa Bay area with three service centers for more in-person support and a larger combined staff to support member needs, Adam Grenville, 2024 president of Greater Tampa Realtors said in a statement.

The merger comes as Tampa’s real estate market cools from its pandemic highs, with the median sale price sitting at $430,000 — down 1.1 percent year over year according to Redfin, yet still elevated considerably from pre-pandemic prices.

“In today’s uncertain real estate market, there truly is strength in numbers. The combined centers of excellence of our two associations will enable Tampa Bay Realtors to simplify members’ ability to navigate industry changes and enjoy more impactful tools, education, and coordinated advocacy to significantly increase the return on membership dues,” Tom Steck, President of Central Pasco Realtor Organization said in a statement.

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US inventory rises to highest level since 2022 as new-home sales fall

US inventory rises to highest level since 2022 as new-home sales fall

Newly built homes available on the market rose to 480,000, representing a supply of 9.1 months at the current sales rate, up from an 8.5 month supply in March, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

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New-home sales fell in April as inventory of existing homes increased modestly and inventory of newly built homes hit their highest level since November 2022, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sales of newly built single family homes clocked in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 634,000, down 4.7 percent from March and 7.7 percent less than the rate recorded in April 2023, according to the Census Bureau. The median sales price of newly built homes in April was $433,500, up from $420,800 in April 2023. The average sale price hit $505,700, up from $501,000 a year earlier.

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The estimated supply of newly built homes available on the market at the end of April was 480,000, representing a supply of 9.1 months at the current sales rate, up from an 8.5 month supply recorded in March, according to the Census Bureau. The last time the inventory supply for new homes rose above nine months was in November, when 9.2 months of supply was on the market, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Existing-home inventory, meanwhile, rose 9 percent between March and April, to 1.21 million units, or 16.3 percent more than in April 2023 when the extreme shortage of housing made newly built home a popular alternative, according to the National Association of Realtors.

“As the inventory of existing homes has increased, homebuyers have choices and demand for new construction has cooled slightly,” Bright MLS Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant said in a statement.

Sales also likely took a hit from mortgage rates, which are above 7 percent according to Freddie Mac.

“At the same time as supply begins to increase, demand is being challenged by high mortgage rates and affordability ceilings,” Sturtevant said. “Homebuilders have been offering concessions and building smaller homes in response to the tight conditions some homebuyers are facing.”

Even tech workers struggle to afford sky-high NYC rents

Even tech workers struggle to afford sky-high NYC rents

New York City tech workers could only afford about 35 percent of rental apartments available on the market last year, according to a new report.

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Finding an affordable apartment in New York City can even be a challenge for workers in one of the nation’s most lucrative fields, according to a new report from Streeteasy.

New York City tech workers could only afford about 35 percent of rental apartments available on the market last year, according to the report, which was published in partnership with Tech:NYC.

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That figure is higher than many other professions and illustrates the extreme lack of affordability in the city’s rental market, considering that the average annual wage for tech workers in New York City was $135,089 in 2023 — 52 percent higher than the average NYC salary.

For an entry-level tech worker making well below the average salary, only 2.1 percent of studios and one-bedroom units were affordable during 2023, according to the report, with Streeteasy defining “affordable” as rentals that cost less than 30 percent of one’s annual income. To comfortably afford the city’s median asking rent of $3,475 by that metric, one would need a salary of $139,000.

Workers outside of tech have an even harder time affording New York City rents, according to the report, with workers who make the city’s average wage only being able to afford 5 percent of apartments, and essential workers who make the average wage in their field affording less than 1 percent of available apartments.

“Housing affordability has been a persistent barrier — and top priority — for all New Yorkers, from the essential workers keeping our city running to the tech workers powering New York’s fastest-growing industry,” Tech:NYC President Julie Samuels said in a statement.

Among solutions posed by the report are zoning reform to allow for increases in housing near public transit, increasing the floor area ratio by 20 percent in medium- to high-density areas, and lowering upfront rental costs by only requiring tenants to compensate agents when the tenant is the one who hired the agent, ending the practice of single-agent dual agency in the city.

Rents in New York City, already high before the pandemic, have been soaring in the four years since. Last year saw the median rent jump 8.6 percent from the year before to $3,475, the highest increase since 2010. In the same period, the average wage rose only 1.2 percent, according to federal statistics.

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