Ben Caballero, a real estate broker in Addison, Texas, received recognition from Guinness World Records for the highest number of home sales in a single year.
Cabellero, the founder of HomesUSA.com, is no stranger to breaking records: in 2015, he became the first individual real estate agent to break the $1 billion production number. His new honor was tied to the sale of 3,556 homes through MLS during 2016. Caballero work with new homes sales for 65 builders in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio markets.
According to research conducted by REAL Trends, Caballero’s sales record for 2016 was seven times more homes than his closest competitor (467 homes) and totaled a new individual real estate agent sales record of $1.444 billion, breaking his 2015 record of $1.022 billion.
“Being named a Guinness World Record holder is truly the highlight of my professional career,” said Caballero. “It’s incredible that, until now, no real estate agent has ever been recognized for setting a world record for home sales. I am honored.”
A shrinking inventory and a decline in active listings did not stop the Texas housing market from enjoying a vibrant first quarter, according to new data from Texas Association of Realtors.
During the first quarter, 70,292 Texas homes were sold, up 2.2 percent from one year earlier. The median price increased 5.7 percent to $224,500 on a year-over-year basis, with 29.1 percent priced at $300,000 or higher, up 1.9 percent from one year earlier. However, sales of homes priced $299,000 and below saw a 1.7 percent slip from the same quarter last year.
The monthly housing inventory in Texas was 3.3 months in the first quarter, down by 0.2 months from one year earlier, while active listings dropped 2.9 percent year-over-year to 93,151 listings in the first quarter. Texas homes spent an average of 66 days on the market, only two days more than one year earlier.
“The momentum from the end of 2017 has moved into 2018, as Texas homes continue to be in high demand,” said Kaki Lybbert, Chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors. “This strong activity we’ve seen in home sales volume during the first quarter of 2018 is setting the stage for a strong summer selling season for Texas real estate.”
Motto Mortgage, a member of the RE/MAX Holdings Inc. family of brands, now has two franchises in greater Houston. Newhomeprograms.com LLC Broker/Owners Cory and Milly Kammerdiener announced that their new Motto Mortgage Franchise, Motto Mortgage Borrowers First, is now open in Spring, Texas, a full-service real estate brokerage firm.
“Motto Mortgage Borrowers First gives our clients more options for mortgage financing not offered through local banks and lenders,” said Cory Kammerdiener. “Our market is very diverse, so we understand there is no such thing as one loan fits all. This is what makes Motto Mortgage Borrowers First a great fit for our local markets.”
Milly Kammerdiener said, “Our current real estate operations are growing by leaps and bounds due to the need for the various programs we offer. By adding more lending opportunities to our portfolio, we are going above and beyond what our clients expect.”
The median home price paid among Texas homebuyers in 2017 was $259,500, according to the new Texas Homebuyers and Sellers Report issued by the Texas Association of Realtors. Within the Lone Star State, the median household income among homebuyers increased from $94,200 in 2016 to $101,400 last year; in comparison, the nationally median income of homebuyers was $88,800.
According to the report, the percentage of homebuyers who identified as African-American was eight percent in 2017, up from five percent the previous year. Seven percent identified as Asian, up from four percent, while those who identified as Hispanic remained consistent with prior years at 14 percent. The share of single female homebuyers decreased by three percentage points to 16 percent and while the share of single male buyers fell one percentage point to eight percent.
However, the percentage of married Texas homebuyers increased 2 points to 68 percent. The share of first-time homebuyers increased from 30 percent to 32 percent, while the median age of first-time homebuyers went from 32-years-old to 33-years-old. The median age for homebuyers in Texas increased for the fourth straight year as is now at 47-years-old.
“As we mark the 50th anniversary since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law, it's good to see diversity increasing among homebuyers in Texas,” said Kaki Lybbert, Chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors. “Our diversity is one of our state's great strengths. Texas Realtors will be leading the way to make even more progress to ensure that homeownership is attainable for all Texans in all types of real estate transactions and at all price points.”
A Texas housing non-profit has filed a complaint against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) over what is described as a “prolonged, programmatic failure” to enforce civil rights obligations in Houston.
According to a CityLab report, the complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service. The complaint argued that HUD was aware in January 2017 that the Houston municipal government allegedly violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act in its refusal to forward the Fountain View apartment building proposal to the City Council. At the time, HUD investigated the matter and concluded the city’s actions were “motivated either in whole or in part by the race, color, or national origin of the likely tenants.” However, earlier this month HUD announced a voluntary compliance agreement between the department and the city that resolved the investigation.
“HUD fails to require Houston to conform its conduct to civil rights laws, including with respect to the placement of affordable housing,” the court challenge stated. “As a result, Houston remains the most racially segregated city in Texas, and one of the most segregated large cities in the country, while administering more than $30 million annually in HUD funding in a fashion that exacerbates and perpetuates segregation.”
HUD did not issue a comment on the litigation.
Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions has opened a new operations center in Las Colinas, Texas, located in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The new facility will replicate the functions of Angel Oak’s headquarters in Atlanta.
“With this new operations center in Dallas, we will be able to provide services to our clients as we expand our presence throughout Texas and the West Coast,” said Angel Oak Companies Managing Partner Mike Fierman. “The Dallas area has long been a hub of the mortgage industry and home to top-tier professional talent, making it the perfect place for Angel Oak to continue its growth as the national leader in the non-agency marketplace.”
Angel Oak will hire up to 30 professionals to launch its new operations center, with plans to increase those numbers over time. The 9,000-square-foot facility is located in the “Mustangs of Las Colinas” development.
Travis LaLonde, an industry veteran with 15 years of experience, will head the operations center.
“Angel Oak’s reputation throughout the industry is well-known and extremely well-regarded, and it has a very strong track record of success,” said LaLonde,. “But what I am most excited about is its ‘culture first’ mentality. Angel Oak’s commitment to bringing out the best in its employees is only matched by its commitment to its customers. We look forward to matching the success in Atlanta and becoming one of the top companies to work for in the Dallas area.”
When it comes to living in state capitals, Texas residents in Austin enjoy the highest quality of life, while residents in Trenton, N.J., and Hartford, Conn., face significantly lower quality of life, according to a new survey from WalletHub.
In creating this survey, WalletHub compared all 50 state capitals via an analysis of 51 key metrics, ranging from cost of living to the local school systems to crime. Austin ranked first on the list, followed in the top 10 by Madison, Wis.; Boise, Idaho; Lincoln, Neb.; Bismarck, N.D.; Raleigh, N.C.; Denver; Salt Lake City; Juneau, Alaska; and Concord, N.H. At the other end of the spectrum, Trenton ranked last and Hartford was second-to-last.
Hartford stood out from other state capitals for repeated problems: WalletHub noted that over 30 percent of its population lives in poverty, compared to the national average of 12.7 percent, and it also boasted the lowest median household income, highest unemployment rate, and second lowest percentage of adults with a college degree or higher—Trenton had the lowest in that category.
In terms of affordable housing, Pierre, S.D., had the greatest quantity of affordability options, followed by Jefferson City, Mo., and Des Moines, Iowa. Not surprisingly, the state capitals with the lowest level of affordability options were among the nation’s most expensive housing markets: Boston, Honolulu and Denver.
Home Point Financial Corporation has announced that its Dallas office has moved to Farmers Branch, Texas. As part of this effort, Home Point will be hiring to expand its operations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“The move places us in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth mortgage ecosystem,” said Chad Patton, Home Point Financial Chief Strategy Officer. “Our new site gives us the space we need to grow our servicing operations by tapping into the robust and experienced mortgage labor pool in the area.”
The one-time Central Texas ranch that served as the vacation home of President Lyndon B. Johnson is listed for sale at $2.8 million.
According to Realtor.com, the 140-acre property includes a 3,980-square-foot main house, an 1,100-square-foot guesthouse, and a 12,000-square-foot hangar. Italian artist purchased the property in 1999 and has used the hangar as an art gallery.
Johnson bought the property one week after he took the oath of office on Nov. 22, 1963, and used the ranch as a retreat from his White House duties. He sold the property in 1971. The property for sale is separate from the LBJ Ranch that is now part of the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park in Stonewall, Texas.
Ocwen Financial Corporation will join the NAACP to host a borrower outreach event in Houston for homeowners who are having difficulty making their mortgage payments or experiencing a hardship due to Hurricane Harvey. The event, which is part of Ocwen’s “Help & Hope for Homeowners” initiative with the NAACP, is designed exclusively for Ocwen customers and will be held from 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Central Time on Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Norris Conference Center in Houston, Texas.
Borrowers who attend the event will meet one-on-one with Ocwen Home Retention Agents and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved counseling agencies to discuss their unique situations and to receive information about potential options to lower their mortgage payments.
Ocwen has developed new programs, policies, and procedures to more efficiently and effectively address borrower needs stemming from natural disasters, including a specialized response team to help homeowners. Members of this dedicated team will be available to assist borrowers on-site at the event in Houston.
“Ocwen provides sustainable mortgage solutions for homeowners across the country every day,” said Jill Showell, Senior Vice President of Government and Community Relations. “We realize that the recent natural disasters, which also impacted many Ocwen employees, have caused added pressure for many families. As always, Ocwen is ready to help. We are proud to be working with the NAACP to directly help borrowers throughout the Houston area find needed solutions to better afford their homes.”
Marvin Owens, Senior Director of Economic Programs at the NAACP, “Homeownership remains one of the most lasting ways families can build wealth for future generations. But for many homeowners who are struggling or have fallen on hard times, finding a trusted resource can be challenging. The NAACP is pleased to continue our work with Ocwen to help Texas homeowners find the right solutions to remain in their homes and their communities.”
Homeowners interested in attending the event can learn more by calling (855) 459-2514 or by viewing the event flyer available on OcwenCares.com.
Ocwen currently services more than 94,000 loans in Texas. Since Jan. 1, 2008, Ocwen has provided more than 50,300 loan modifications to Texas borrowers and forgiven nearly $274.9 million in debt. Nationwide, Ocwen has completed approximately 765,000 loan modifications and provided billions of dollars in debt forgiveness.