Category Archives: Americas

Home Starts in U.S. Rise to Highest Level Since 2008: Economy

New home construction in Dublin, California.

By Michelle Jamrisko - Jul 18, 2012, Bloomberg

New U.S. home construction rose in June to the highest level in almost four years, indicating the residential real estate market is strengthening even as other parts of the economy cool.

Housing starts rose 6.9 percent to a 760,000 annual pace after a revised 711,000 rate in May that was faster than initially estimated, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast of 79 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 745,000 rate.

Record-low mortgage rates and cheaper properties are luring buyers, prompting builders such as Ryland Group Inc. (RYL) to boost construction. The gain underscores comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke that the industry is on the mend, three years since the start of the expansion.

“Low borrowing costs certainly help at the margin, but the biggest thing is affordability in terms of the pricing,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities LLC in StamfordConnecticut, who correctly forecast June starts. Housing is “making a very modest contribution to growth. Unfortunately, it feels like everything around it is crumbling.”

The June pace was the fastest since October 2008, and estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 710,000 to 800,000. Ground-breaking on new homes in May was revised from a previously reported 708,000.

Building permits fell in June, reflecting a drop in applications for apartment construction.

Stocks Rise

Stocks climbed as technology and industrial companies gained. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index increased 0.5 percent to 1,369.9 at 11:12 a.m. in New York. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.48 percent from 1.51 percent late yesterday.

Elsewhere, the Bank of England has joined counterparts around the world in expanding measures to support growth as the threat from the euro-area turmoil increases.

The Monetary Policy Committee said while the arguments for and against cutting the benchmark rate from the current record low of 0.5 percent hadn’t changed since June, they may be reviewed in the coming months, according to the minutes of its July 4-5 meeting. The MPC voted 7-2 to increase quantitative easing by 50 billion pounds ($78 billion) to 375 billion pounds at the meeting.

Bernanke, in his semi-annual testimony to Congress on monetary policy, said the U.S. also has tools at its disposal in case the economic recovery fails to stoke job gains. He said yesterday that housing is improving.

Fed’s Bernanke

Growth in construction and “historically low mortgage rates” are among “modest signs” of a housing recovery, even as buyers show concern about personal finances and the broader economy and have difficulty meeting lending standards, Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee.

Residential investment added 0.42 percentage point to economic growth in the first three months of the year, the most since the second quarter of 2010, according to Commerce Department figures.

Figures earlier this week showed retail sales dropped in June for a third month, a sign slower job creation is taking a toll on the biggest part of the economy.

Construction of single-family houses increased 4.7 percent to a 539,000 rate, the fastest since April 2010, from 515,000 a month earlier, today’s figures showed. Work on apartment buildings and other multifamily units climbed 12.8 percent to an annual rate of 221,000 in June from 196,000 a month earlier.

By Region

Two of four regions had an increase in overall starts in June, including a 36.9 percent jump in the West to a 219,000 annual rate, the fastest since April 2008. Starts climbed 22.2 percent in the Northeast.

“We are seeing different improvements in different parts of the country, but we’re seeing improvement everywhere,” Larry Nicholson, president and chief executive officer at West Lake Village, California-based builder Ryland Group, said on a June 13 conference call. “So that’s the key there.”

A report yesterday showed confidence among U.S. homebuilders climbed in July by the most since September 2002. An index of builder sentiment from the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo increased by 6 points in July to 35.

One reason for optimism is falling interest rates have helped make homes more affordable. The average 30-year, fixed mortgage rate declined to 3.56 percent last week, the lowest in data going back to 1972, according to McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac.

‘Steady Recovery’

“Evidence from the field suggests that the ‘for sale’ housing market has, in fact, bottomed and that we have commenced a slow and steady recovery process,” Stuart Miller, chief executive officer at Lennar Corp. (LEN), the third-largest U.S. homebuilder by revenue, said in a June 27 statement.

Home prices are stabilizing and starting to increase. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values adjusted for seasonal variations rose 0.7 percent in April, the third straight gain. Stronger home sales will bolster producers of building materials.

At the same time, limited employment opportunities and competition from distressed properties are challenges for a housing market that’s struggled to gain momentum.

The International MLS [IMLS] Forms Esteemed Advisory Board

The International MLS [IMLS] Feature Story

The International MLS [IMLS] Announces Rei L. Mesa, Lawrence Vecchio and Valerie Fitzgerald as First Advisory Board Members

Los Angeles, CA, July 17, 2012: The International MLS [IMLS] has announced today the formation its first Advisory Board, comprised of well known leaders in the Real Estate Marketplace.

The International MLS’ Advisory Board is chaired by Dr. Daniel Nussbaum, CEO of The International Realty Inc., and founder of The International MLS based out of Los Angeles, California.  Daniel, a licensed real estate broker and former dentist, embarked upon the mission of bringing the real estate world and consumers closer together by creating The International MLS [IMLS].

Daniel’s initial thoughts for developing The IMLS were to try and create the perfect blend of the traditional tried and true referral business model between brokers with the more interactive online technology. Today, The IMLS has created the process to empower real estate brokers from all over the world to come together and share their property listings and commissions via the first IMLS globally delivered search. The IMLS search can be placed on any website and generate income for agents and brokers through its automated closed channel lead generation system by simply having a website customer register through their search and purchase a property somewhere in the world outside of their normal market.

“The IMLS has framed itself to be an initiative that is FOR Brokers, BY Brokers, as well as also being owned by Brokers through what will be a major global cooperative effort. I believe that we have assembled an outstanding initial group of advisors who have a long track record of leadership in the real estate industry, are located in each corner of the USA, and approach real estate and international real estate from various vantage points. I am personally honored to have their support and to be a part of this visionary group. Combining the experience and expertise of these team members is exciting and I am confident that we can continue to create and develop The IMLS to fundamentally impact and improve the state of our industry.” says CEO, Dr. Daniel Nussbaum.

The board’s first esteemed members include:

Rei L. Mesa, CEO/President of Prudential Florida Realty – Rei L. Mesa is a Certified Real Estate Broker (CRB) and a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS). He currently serves as a National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Director and serves on the Large Firms Relations Committee, NAR Major Investor Council, Public Policy Coordinating Committee, and Global Business and Alliance Committee.  In 2012, Rei serves as the NAR Liaison to the Large Firms Relations as well as on the Real Estate Services Advisory Board and on the REALTOR.com Advisory Board.

“I am honored to serve on the International Multiple Listings Services Advisory Board. We live and serve a global community and as REALTORS®, it is our responsibility to embrace tools, technology, and resources that allow us to provide an exceptional customer service experience for all consumers,” says Mr. Mesa.

Lawrence Vecchio, Broker/Owner of Better Homes Realty – With an expertise that speaks to many years in the business, and the foresight to recognize the role of the Internet, Larry Vecchio is the driving force behind BetterHomes.com. A natural outgrowth of his 22-office real estate brokerage, Better Homes and its counterpart “HomesInYourTown.com” are trailblazers in grassroots real estate marketing with more than 1200 domains nationwide. Better Homes is a product of Vecchio’s real estate experience, which is both broad and deep. A licensed mortgage banker, real estate broker and appraiser, Vecchio is familiar with all aspects of the home buying process. He is a frequent speaker at real estate conferences and a consultant on web-based real estate initiatives.

“I am pleased to join the Advisory Board for The IMLS. I feel that it is a very exciting time for the Dan and the Company. In addition, I believe the Company’s unique niche will become the online leader in this space,” says Mr. Vecchio.

Valerie Fitzgerald, Top Selling Broker with Coldwell Banker Previews International and Star of the HGTV show “Selling LA” – Valerie Fitzgerald is the President of The Valerie Fitzgerald Group, a Beverly Hills Coldwell Banker real estate firm. She has been ranked among Coldwell Banker’s Top 10 agents nationwide, and earned the attention of the Los Angeles Business Journal for highest sales volume in Los Angeles County for residential real estate. She’s also written a successful book, “Heart and Sold: How to Survive and Thrive in Real Estate,” and served as a mentor to new real estate agents across the country.

“I am pleased to have been selected as a member of the Advisory Board of The International MLS,” says Ms. Fitzgerald. “Dan Nussbaum has a firm vision bringing the international real estate community together and I am committed to assist The IMLS with my expertise as part of Coldwell Banker Previews International.”

The International MLS [IMLS] is the first Free-to-List Commission Share International MLS that delivers a no-cost proprietary IMLS search around the world. It is the only company that provides the ability for properties to be listed on hundreds of thousands of websites, empowering all agents and brokers around the world to share in commissions.

About The International MLS [IMLS]
The International MLS is part of The International Realty, Inc. a privately held real estate company based in Los Angeles, California, USA that has around 200,000 property listings in 50 countries and more than 300 new home developments in 25 countries making it one of the more complete databases of property listings in the world. Property listings are imported via electronic XML data feeds from TOP selected global agencies, and from USA agents who may post their listings manually. The IMLS empowers all agents and brokers to display international property listings knowing that commissions can be made on any sale which is generated by their IMLS search through referral agreements signed between The International Realty Inc. and agencies around the world. Information on The International Realty, Inc. and all its services are available at TheInternationalMLS.com and TheInternationalRealty.com.

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The International MLS Introduces Its Free to List Commission Share Platform

The International MLS [IMLS] Feature Story

Ability for All USA Agents and Brokers to Add Properties on The IMLS with its Free-to-List Commission Share Platform

Los Angeles, CA, November 2, 2011: The International MLS [IMLS] has announced today that its Free To List-Commission Share platform for all USA agents is now available. Real estate agents may now register and manually list their property listings at no cost for global exposure on all of the International MLS search widgets now being distributed globally as well as on the company’s two main web sites, www.TheInternationalMLS.com and www.TheInternationalRealty.com.

This is brand new to the real estate industry as the first true commission share International MLS, with its free IMLS search being delivered now around the world. This ability for agents to list their properties manually would be in addition to the ability for all USA brokers now to send an electronic data feed with all of their company’s listings to The IMLS on an automated basis for promotion on a worldwide scale to be on hundreds of thousands of web sites.

The International MLS, created by The International Realty Inc., provides an International MLS (Multiple Listing Service) with around 150,000 properties in 55 countries outside the USA. These property listings are visible all over the world, and the company is soon to announce another major initiative in the USA as it prepares to deliver The IMLS search on a truly grand scale.

Prudential Florida Realty became the first brokerage in the United States to provide property listings companywide on the IMLS and has been receiving new clients from all over the world. With the addition of the International MLS search on their own web site, Prudential Florida Realty is also able to provide a truly global property search experience for any consumer looking to buy, sell, or invest in real estate worldwide.

The IMLS is announcing this strategic initiative so that any real estate agent, with their broker’s permission, may enter their listings manually at no cost, in return for all buyers being sent to that agent for the usual and customary referral fee paid by USA agents if the buyer purchases and closes on a property with them.

The sophisticated technology platform of The International MLS is a referral based system where everything is carefully tracked. Carefully selected real estate agencies outside the USA post and update their listings in return for agreeing to share commissions with any agent who provides that buyer through the channels of The International MLS. The IMLS has also been created so that it is complimentary to any agent’s MLS in the USA, as they may exclude their state or region that they typically service from their local MLS.

Agents and brokers worldwide are now adopting the unbranded IMLS search not only because it is free and that they can earn referral commissions, but because it also enhances the agent’s prestige by the ability for them to show international properties on their own web site. Agents and brokers can earn referral commissions simply for having a web site customer who registers through their search and ends up purchasing a property somewhere in the world outside of their normal market.

Home owners who wish to have their own homes listed on The IMLS may use a participating agent or broker, or may contact The International MLS directly for a participating broker as their home must be listed on their local MLS first.

“The International MLS allows real estate brokers from around the world to not only market their properties globally, but also ensures that consumers are followed up with immediately by the person who knows the most about the properties or areas they are interested in purchasing,” said The International Realty Inc. CEO Dr. Daniel Nussbaum. “With The International MLS, all of the consumers are directed back to the agencies which have supplied the property listings on a fully automated basis, so the agency has the ability to keep a much larger share of the commission from the seller than with the local MLS, so it varies from the traditional MLS as commonly known.”

“We partnered with Prudential Florida Realty as our first USA agency because of their reputation, integrity and strength in the Florida real estate market, and we now want to open up this platform to the entire USA market. We knew that demand from Europe and South America would help drive customers to their properties. We also know that recently it was announced that more foreigners are looking at USA properties now due to the lower prices and weaker dollar, so our ability to promote properties globally through our search and data exports may be unmatched.”

About The International MLS
The International MLS is part of The International Realty, Inc. a privately held real estate company based in Los Angeles, California, USA that has around 150,000 property listings in 55 countries and more than 300 new home developments in 25 countries making it one of the more complete databases of property listings in the world. Property listings are imported via electronic XML data feeds from TOP selected global agencies, and from USA agents who may post their listings manually. The IMLS empowers all agents and brokers to display international property listings knowing that commissions can be made on any sale which is generated by their IMLS search through referral agreements signed between The International Realty Inc. and agencies around the world. Information on The International Realty, Inc. and all its services are available at www.TheInternationalRealty.com and www.TheInternationalMLS.com.

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Contact: Joanne Alvarenga
press@theinternationalmls.com

How The IMLS Came to Be

The International MLS [IMLS] Feature Story

As a real estate broker in California, active in local markets and being interested in providing referrals around the USA, I was first approached by a developer outside the USA who wanted us to promote his new home development. After I agreed to do that, more developers came to me wanting promotion of their new home communities into the USA for projects in Mexico and other places throughout Europe and the Caribbean.

I had to think HOW I could get all the agents in the USA, and around the world to be able to promote properties everywhere and still be able to make referral commissions without being circumvented.

Historically, it has really always been other real estate agents who would typically bring the buyers, and this is why or how the USA MLS came to be…the spirit of cooperation and the sharing of commissions for bringing about a real estate transaction.

As we contacted agencies all over the world to help us promote properties, it became apparent that agencies all over wanted THEIR properties promoted as well, and to the largest possible number of consumers, so I came up with the idea of the International MLS which would be able to take on property listings from all over the world.

In order to really distinguish ourselves, and to be able to bring out the largest amount of viewers, I thought it would be wise to create a platform with a search, that could be delivered to any web site in the world, and came up with a way to enable agents and brokers to share in commissions for any lead generated off of the IMLS search on their web site, without needing to do any work. No international phone calls…not even emails.

It was apparent that I was going along on a path of adjusting what the USA has for an MLS, because unlike the typical USA MLS whereby any agent could display property, capture the client, and drive them around until they wrote an offer to purchase a property, it was clear that an agent in Miami was NOT going to be driving clients to Spain or Costa Rica, and certainly would not know all the laws associated with the purchase in order to provide clients with excellent representation.

Therefore, we decided that agencies who provided all of their listings would be getting ALL client referrals, and that the IMLS search tool would be used to capture buyers and generate income for agents all over the world….and at NO cost.

What distinguishes The IMLS from other real estate sites is our free to list commission share model….and where agents, brokers and portals all over the world would be displaying the properties, so it EMPOWERS these sites to want to take on the IMLS search because they can make commissions….just for having web site traffic and capturing the attention of a home buyer. Real estate agencies love it as it costs nothing to list on The IMLS, they get all the client leads, and then pay referral commissions when sales close.

In the USA, when a broker lists a property on the traditional MLS, they typically offer 50% of their listing commission to any agent who brings the buyer. In the IMLS, all clients are sent back to the listing agent or broker, so there is the opportunity to retain a greater amount of the commission.

In order to make The IMLS a perfect addition to any site, we made the IMLS search where it can be adapted and an agent can EXCLUDE all the homes in their country, state, or region, so it would COMPLEMENT their local MLS/IDX search in the USA, and agents in Spain could exclude all the listings in Spain, or just the region in which they have their own listings.

We all know that buyers are buying all over the world…as well as across the USA. The IMLS enables the agent, broker, or portal the ability to participate in this, and since The IMLS is now taking on USA listings, for the first time, agents and brokers will be able to display listings from all over the USA while excluding the listings on the IMLS which would be the same as their own MLS/IDX.

The IMLS seeks to be a First Class-World Class database of property listings from all over the world, as well as an excellent agency network of top brokers from around the world, so it has set things up so everybody can win….agencies which list properties for free, as well as agents, brokers and portals who take The IMLS search for free and having the ability to earn referral commissions.

Anybody can win by taking on the IMLS search…..agencies who wish to post their property listings must be approved and reviewed since the IMLS is in the position of needing to collect and distribute commissions, and therefore can only accept the most reputable agencies into the agency network.