Stop the Housing Tax for Transportation

Congress is considering a proposal that would create a tax on all potential homeowners and consumers looking to purchase or refinance a mortgage. This proposal, scheduled for consideration on October 22 by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, would use Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s credit risk guarantee fees (g-fees) to fund the re-authorization of federal surface transportation (highway) programs.

By increasing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s credit risk guarantee fees (g-fees) to fund transportation programs, Congress would disturb the housing recovery. Now is not the time to raise the cost to purchase or refinance a home.

NAR strongly believes that taxing homeowners to pay for transportation programs places an unnecessary long-term burden on consumers and this action will disproportionately impact low and moderate income borrowers, as well as first-time homebuyers.

Tell Congress to stop taxing homeowners to fund transportation projects.

Please click here to visit the REALTOR Action Center and help us take action!

Posted on October 19, 2015 at 12:44 am
Trish Englund | Posted in Homeowners, Housing, Legislative, National Association of REALTORS, Seattle, Tax |

A Royal Blue Blash! Happy Birthday YPN…


As Chairman of the Young Professionals Network, I have the opportunity to create social events, network with people in my community, and give back – physically, and financially.  But, I'm just one piece to the puzzle. Our YPN crew gives so much creativity, and commitment to our group!  Even as busy REALTORS, we all find time to exemplify our YPN mission – advocate, give back to the community, and seek out leadership opportunities, both locally and nationally. 

The Seattle King County Association of REALTORS – Young Professionals Network was incepted in 2010, so this year marks FIVE years that our group has been tirelessly serving our young REALTOR community, connecting, and writing checks to local, non-profit groups. To date, $35,000 has been donated by our group.  What was the perfect way to celebrate? Throw a 5th birthday party around the REALTOR blue color, and choose a charity to donate to! Our Royal Blue Birthday Bash benefited Habitat for Humanity Seattle King County, and took place on July 9th in Seattle. Just a few weeks ago, we spent time with Habitat for Humanity Seattle King County on a day build, and presented our check. The build took place in Renton, WA, under the supervision of AmeriCorp. Yes, it's a wonderful feeling to give important funds, but it's much more emotional, and rewarding to get our hands dirty, build a home and learn first hand where our donation dollars are being spent.  A special thanks to our lead Sponsor, Envoy Mortgage for making this all possible!

Posted on July 30, 2015 at 1:00 am
Trish Englund | Posted in Charity, Giving Back, National Association of REALTORS, Networking, Uncategorized, Young Professionals Network |

National Association of REALTORS Conference = In Full Swing!


NOLA. New Orleans, Lousiana.  The perfect setting for this year's National Association of REALTORS Conference and Expo. Southern hospitality truly does exist, and I experienced the best of both worlds — a learning environment surrounded by 17,000 REALTORS from around the globe, and the royal treatment of the locals, culture, food and history on the streets of Louisiana.  This was my first time attending the annual NAR Conference, and I can't speak highly enough of the educational classes, networking events, speakers and my overall experience of shaking hands with so many driven, dedicated and wonderful real estate professionals that are so skilled at their craft.

Next year, I will be leading the Seattle King County Association of REALTORS, Young Professionals Network as Chairman. I will also hold a "Director at Large" position with the Association's Board of Directors and will be representing our area on the Washington REALTORS Board. The 2014 NAR Conference definitely put me in full swing, and I will be using the next couple months to plan my goals and re-evaluate my ambitions for 2015. I can't wait to implement all I've learned into my business and keep hitting the pavement hard! 

Thank you for allowing me to be your trusted Real Estate Professional.  I love my time networking with REALTORS around the globe, representing our Seattle-King County Association, but especially working with you. 

Posted on November 21, 2014 at 4:51 am
Trish Englund | Posted in Giving Back, National Association of REALTORS, Networking, Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate, Young Professionals Network |

Seattle Times: The Sluggish Housing Market is Turning


We are blessed to live in Seattle. Surrounded by big business like Amazon, Microsoft, Costco, REI and Google. As Kemper Freeman continues to develop in Downtown Bellevue, Canadian Developer Nat Bosa continues his two tower condo project "Insignia" in Belltown, and South Lake Union gets developed to accomate the new Amazon campus, it's important (and enlightening!) to keep tabs on our Seattle/Eastside Real Estate market — and the National market, too. The Seattle Times just released the following article:

Americans bought homes in October at the briskest pace this year, a sign that the sluggish housing market is turning around. Sales of existing homes rose 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.26 million last month, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. That's up from a revised pace of 5.18 million in September. October marked the first month in 2014 when sales increased compared to a year ago, registering a 2.5 percent gain.

Still, the Realtors project that 2014 sales will fall below 2013 levels. "Continued gains in existing home sales are going to be difficult," said Ted Wieseman, an analyst at Morgan Stanley.

Home sales slumped through much of 2014 after a three-year rally in the wake of the recession and the implosion of the housing market. Harsh winter weather crippled sales at the beginning of 2014, just as tight credit, rising home prices and essentially flat incomes increasingly limited the number of buyers who could afford a home.

At the same time, investors are backing off properties to either rent out or renovate and resell.

Over the past 12 months, the share of homes being bought by investors has slipped to 15 percent from 19 percent, according to the Realtors. As the real estate market has mended from the recession, the opportunity has eroded for investors to profit from buying homes at steep discounts.

Just 4 percent of the single-family houses sold in the third-quarter were flipped by investors, who frequently bought distressed properties on the cheap, fixed them up and put them back on the market, according to a report released Thursday by housing data firm RealtyTrac.

Flipping accounted for 5.6 percent of sales during the same period in 2013. Its share nearly reached 10 percent in 2012.

Not counting renovation costs and other expenses, investors made on average a 36 percent return $75,900 on each home they flipped. That profit margin fell from 37 percent last year. But unlike recent years when flippers bought at a discount and sold the homes at a discount compared with the broader market, sales are now at a 6 percent premium, suggesting that their repairs are more extensive than in the past.

"The flippers aren't just slapping on a fresh coat of paint and rolling out new carpets," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

Median home prices rose 5.5 percent over the past 12 months to $208,300, according to the October sales report.

First-time buyers have yet to return to the market, representing just 29 percent of sales last month. This group historically accounts for 40 percent of sales.

The time on the market is also steadily increasing. It took 63 days on average to sell a home last month versus 44 days in June during the height of the summer buying season.

The Realtors estimate that 4.94 million existing homes will be sold this year, down 3 percent from 5.09 million in 2013. Analysts say sales of roughly 5.5 million existing homes are common in a healthy real estate market.

October sales improved in the Northeast, Midwest and South compared to the previous month, but purchases declined in the West.

The uptick in activity caused the inventory of homes on the market to slip to 5.1 months. When the supply of homes for sale falls beneath 5 months, it usually signals accelerating price growth.

Home prices have been increasing at a much faster clip than incomes, hurting affordability and causing sales to drag. Prices increased 5.6 percent in September compared with a year ago, real estate data provider CoreLogic reported. While the pace of appreciation has slowed this year, it still is almost three times greater than the approximately two percent increase in average wages tracked by the Labor Department.

Lower mortgage rates in recent weeks have improved affordability, though sales have yet to rise substantially. Average 30-year mortgage rates have been hovering around 4 percent, down nearly half a percentage point since January.

Still, other reports suggest that home sales could improve in 2015.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index rose to 58 this month, up from 54 in October, a sign that sales of newly-built homes should continue to improve over the next six months. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor.

Separately, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday that applications for building permits rose 4.8 percent in October to 1.08 million, evidence that construction activity could increase next year.

Posted on November 18, 2014 at 5:12 am
Trish Englund | Posted in Amazon, Bellevue, Buyers, Home Inventory, Home Value, Homeowners, Kirkland, Lake Union, Market Statistics, Microsoft, National Association of REALTORS, Real Estate, Redmond, Sammamish, Seattle, Sellers |