News from the industry and abroad In the Past Month The report also noted that 13 of the 20 cities showed a price increase between March and April. Financial-service jobs shrank by 29,000, the 19th-con- secutive month of losses in that sector, according to research group Auto Data Processing Inc. Compiled from staff reports and United Press International, © 2009. All rights reserved.
Photo: Heather Trimm
Next Month Tip of the Month Don’t forgo networking MARK WALLACE nvironmental Data Resources email@example.com
By Tony Stasiek, editor
A friend of mine from back in The Day left his job in newspapers
a few years ago to join an advertising agency. In many journalism
circles, that had been considered sacrilege.
Sales of pending, existing homes
up, new homes down in May
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Existing- and pending-home
sales again increased in May, while sales of new homes
dropped for the month, according to various groups.
But today — when our newspaper peers spend their workdays wondering where to spend their
corporate-mandated furlough or their unemployment hoping for buyers of their Michael Jackson boyhood-home photos — he’s the subject of a full-page city-magazine article detailing his
position as “social media strategist.” Certainly, more than one of our peers has wondered aloud
if his job involves way more creativity than all of ours combined.
Sales of existing homes increased 2.4 percent from
April to May, the National Association of Realtors
reported. From May 2008, sales were down 3. 6 percent. Prices also were down substantially, with the median price for all types of homes down 16. 8 percent to
$173,000 compared to May 2008.
Newspaper folks and mortgage folks likely have more in common than either set would like to
admit. Both have had their playing fields leveled by online content distribution — blogs, Google,
sites that can aggregate comps or mortgage rates faster than you can say them out loud. And
both have come to recognize that their companies’ ability to compete relies increasingly more
on their employees’ individual abilities to market themselves online.
Pending-home sales increased for the fourth-consec-utive month in May, with its sales index increasing
0.1 percent month-to-month. The index is 6.7-percent
more than May 2008, the association said.
Now, we know this is the point in the story when writers quaintly state something like,
“The Internet is here to stay/isn’t going away/is on 24 hours a day!” That’s not the lesson here.
We’ve heard of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter by now. And a year from now, other sites with
goofier names could take their place in the popular lexicon.
Meanwhile, new-home sales dropped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 342,000 in May, down 0.6 percent
from April and 32. 8 percent from May 2008, the U.S.
Commerce Department reported on July 1. This represents a 10.2-month inventory, the department said.
The takeaway is that social-media success depends on you, whether you’re a one-person shop or
dweller of the cruddiest cubicle in the city’s tallest tower. Your Facebook status update represents the kind of person your company hires. Your LinkedIn connections build your credibility
among customers. Your Twitter tweets keep them around and informed.
This is a good thing. This is the brand-awareness training your marketing department can’t
afford … and come to think of it, possibly the marketing department your company can’t afford.
April’s home-price report
proves to be a mixed bag
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The home-price index for 20
U.S. metropolitan regions dropped in April for the
33rd-consecutive month, according to the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index.
How do you best represent and market your business in this way? Numerous articles in this
month’s Scotsman Guide show the way, starting with our Lead Article on Page 17.
Is it too hard or time-consuming? Well, it’s not as though these sites got
popular on account of being dauntingly complex. After all, if a guy editing City
Council recaps for a living can get real good at planning corporations’
Twitter presence, there’s a similar chance for everyone.
The 20-city index decreased 0.5 percent in April compared to March, a smaller decline than most recent
months. But the index has fallen 32. 6 percent since
August 2006, when the prices began their descent.
Unemployment rate inches up to 9. 5 percent, worst in decades WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Labor Department said unemployment climbed to 9. 5 percent in June, an increase that was not as severe as economists predicted but that still was the highest rate in more than 25 years.
The country lost 467,000 nonfarm jobs in the month,
the department said on July 2. Economists had predicted joblessness would edge higher to 9. 6 percent
from its previous mark of 9. 4 percent.
… in September’s Scotsman Guide
Teach your clients the ABCs of ■
How to build your business as a loan- ■
What to tell your employees when ■
the recession has them down
Hot or not: Austin, Texas’ housing ■
… and much more
Networking is an essential task for successful mortgage professionals, whether it’s done
in person, by telephone or online. In particular, don’t overlook the power of online social
networks. Companies that don’t encourage
employees to join and participate in online
business social networks fail to leverage a
critically important channel that millions of
professionals use successfully to foster and
strengthen direct and indirect relationships.
Online social networking is time well-spent.
Online? Check out current and past editions of
Scotsman Guide at scotsmanguide.com.
12 Scotsman Guide | Residential |
scotsmanguide.com | August 2009
Home Affordable refi program increases eligible LTV for borrowers On July 1, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that refinances under the Home Affordable Refinance Program would be open to eligible homeown- ers with a loan-to-value ratio of 125 percent, up from the previous ceiling of 105 percent. The program ap- plies to loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“The higher LTV refinancings will allow more homeowners to strengthen their finances by taking advantage of lower mortgage rates,” FHFA Director James
Lockhart said in a statement.