Rocket Fuel Newsletter – 05/06/2024

Remember that Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12 – the National Retail Federation estimates consumers will spend $33.5 billion on Mother’s Day this year, trailing only 2023’s record $35.7 billion in spending. Broken down, that’s $254 per person, with those between the ages of 35 and 44 budgeting nearly $350!

In this edition: Zillow adapts to recent rulings, agencies come together to define a key term and a deep dive into home price trends.

Fuel Up! 🚀  

Final Chance To Sign Up for Pro Performance!

Don’t miss out on our upcoming Pro Performance session on leveling up your social media marketing skills! Join us at 1:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 7, to learn how to create a community on social media that turns into leads, which results in more closed transactions.

Register here!

Zillow Introduces Flexible Buyer Agreements For Home Tours

Zillow is shaking up the home buying scene with a new non-exclusive buyer agreement designed for property tours. This innovative move comes in response to fresh regulations demanding written agreements between agents and clients before viewings.

Zillow's goal is clear: Boost transparency and give consumers more say in their agent relationships.

Read more in Zillow's blog post!

HUD Allocates $90 Million To Enhance Safety Of Low-Income Families' Homes

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is stepping up with nearly $90 million to tackle health hazards in low-income homes, furthering the federal government’s push to address lead paint, mold and more.

These grants empower Public Housing Authorities and Indian Housing Authorities to address critical health risks, particularly concerning lead-based paint, which poses significant dangers, especially to young children.

Read more from HUD here!

FHFA And GSEs Set Standard For "First-Generation Homebuyer Mortgage" Definition

“First-Generation Homebuyer Mortgage”: The term sounds simple to define, but until now, different groups operated under different definitions. In their May 1 bulletin, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) have teamed up to define "first-generation homebuyer mortgages” for a fresh wave of homeownership.

This initiative targets individuals who haven't owned property themselves or whose parents haven't in recent years. While marking these mortgages is optional, lenders who do must follow these new FHFA and GSE guidelines.

Read the full bulletin here!

Fed Chair Jerome Powell took the mic last week to discuss our progress on inflation and the considerations for rate cut timing after announcing that the FOMC decided to leave rates unchanged in their most recent meeting.

As we’ve covered in recent editions of Rocket Fuel, the rent component of the consumer price index continues to put upward pressure on the closely watched index – this was somewhat obvious at the time as home price inflation was running hot.

After rates started shooting up in 2021, many people thought that the home price gains we saw would certainly ease, at least a bit.

However, homes are a key part of a consumer’s budget and instead of a drop in prices, we’ve watched a drop in home sales (and listings) and as the value of a dollar decreased (or was debased), people must put more of their budget toward purchasing the same home.

Home sales hit their lowest year-over-year percent change in early 2023; since then, that downward trend has been slowing, though we're still seeing fewer home sales now than in 2023. With whispers of rate cuts around the corner, sales are poised to rebound.

The chart for annual change in home prices follows a similar shape, but only dipped negative at the beginning of 2023, and has since put home price appreciation back at historic levels of around 3% – 5%.

Many are picking apart the words of Jerome Powell and other Fed officials to understand when they’ll get a slight reprieve with lower rates, but when it comes to housing, the low inventory has kept prices up as the market still only has 3.2 months of supply.

Thank you to all who joined us at the California Mortgage Expo in Irvine, California, last week, where Rocket ProSM TPO had the privilege of being the title sponsor!

  1. FOMC Statement
  2. Housing Prices Continue Upward
  3. Consumer Confidence Drops
  4. HUD Issues New Guidance To Protect Borrowers From Appraisal Bias
  5. HUD And USDA Adopt Updated Energy Standards 

Great times this week! Over 10% of solvers finished in less than a minute, led by Dan Hartman’s time of 20 seconds.

This week’s puzzle gets 3 Rockets out of 5.

Click here to solve!

Good luck!