Industry Watch

Industry Watch

May 02, 2004|By From staff, Bloomberg News and Chicago Tribune reports

Re/Max to hold sales, safety seminar for agents, brokers

Re/Max International will hold a sales and safety seminar this month for agents and brokers.

The seminar, which will include a review of recent industry regulation changes, is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 19 at the BWI Airport Marriott, 1743 West Nursery Road.

The event, which is open to all real estate agents in the area and costs $15, will include presentations about customer service and a safety course for Realtors to help them identify, avoid and defuse dangerous situations.

From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., a presentation on changes in federal real estate regulations will be offered.

Information and registration: 800-218-1564.

Homebuyer workshop in Lutherville Saturday

The Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors has scheduled a free homebuyer workshop next weekend.

The event is designed to help would-be buyers identify credit obstacles, develop a plan for homeownership and understand financing and closing cost issues.

The session is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon May 8 at the Realtor group's Lutherville offices, 1306 Bellona Ave.

Pre-registration is recommended. For more information, call 410-337-7200.

NAHB raising forecast for new homes sold in '04

The National Association of Home Builders, whose members construct about 80 percent of U.S. houses, will raise its 2004 forecast for home sales to 1.09 million units, a record, chief economist David Seiders said last week.

Home sales were higher than expected during the first quarter, Seiders said. The Washington-based trade group is to announce its new estimate tomorrow. A month ago, the group projected 1.08 million new homes would be sold this year, in line with last year's record 1.087 million.

U.S. mortgage rates fell to a nine-month low in mid-March, causing a surge of home sales as more people were able to afford to buy property, Seiders said. Sales of new houses rose to a record pace in March, a government report showed last week. April sales could meet or beat that high, based on surveys of the group's members and mortgage application data, Seiders said.

The average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to a nine-month low of 5.38 percent during the week that ended March 19, according to mortgage financier Freddie Mac. Last week, the rate was 6.01 percent.

The average U.S. fixed mortgage rate likely will rise to 5.9 percent during the second quarter, from 5.6 percent in the first quarter, Seiders said. During the third quarter, it likely will average 6 percent, rising to 6.2 percent in the last three months of the year, Seiders said.

Sellers' salvage efforts prove to be premature

When four homeowners in Minnesota were approached by a developer who wanted to buy their homes, demolish them, and put up a strip shopping mall, the owners went for the deal.

Then, reasoning that their houses were going to be destroyed anyway, the owners began to salvage any and all materials. They removed such things as windows, doors, moldings, furnaces, patio paving stones and even the perennials in their yards.

When the closing date arrived, the developer didn't, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

He had lost his financing.

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