To see how our industry is continuing to protect and serve our clients and communities through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, watch this video

Title Industry Responds to COVID-19: Our Title Is Protection

Title insurance professionals take pride in protecting their customers by ensuring that their home is theirs when they make one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the title insurance industry has stepped up even more to help their communities. Whether it’s volunteerism, or innovation to get deals closed during this time of social distancing, the title industry is here to provide protection today, tomorrow, and forever.

X

Can CRE Lead the Way?

Upbeat Commercial Real Estate

By Frank Pellegrini

Last year’s federal tax legislation has begun to sink in, with employers adjusting withholding levels to match the new IRS charts and many employees seeing larger paychecks as a result. It’s hard to tell what effect the tax changes will have on the economy overall, and the real estate market in particular, but there is hope that changes affecting real estate LLCs will boost commercial real estate this year.

In a slideshow posted on nreionline.com, six economists give their generally positive views on the state of CRE in 2018. For instance, Ryan Severino, chief economist at JLL asserts: “The recent tax cuts are likely to benefit real estate significantly and should have a far more substantial impact than either changes to immigration policy or infrastructure policy.”

We may need commercial to lead the way this year as housing continues to be a puzzle despite January housing construction news termed “terrific” by NAR Chief Economist Laurence Yun. “This rise in single-family housing construction will help tame home price growth,” Yun said.

As Reuters reported: “Housing starts jumped 9.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.326 million units in January. …Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts rising to a pace of 1.234 million units last month after a previously reported rate of 1.192 million units. Building permits surged 7.4 percent to a rate of 1.396 million units in January.”

Will January’s construction numbers provide a push for housing? We hope so, but continued lack of inventory and high prices are keeping the overall housing market flat at best. And it remains to be seen if the elimination of federal deductibility of state and local taxes will negatively impact housing.

Good news out of Washington: The House recently passed bipartisan ALTA-supported legislation that corrects the inaccurate disclosure of title insurance premiums on the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID) form and will help consumers understand the true cost of their real estate transaction. Here’s hoping the Senate follows suit and the fix becomes law.

A final thought. We’re moving more and more toward a digital mortgage/closing process from start to finish. It won’t happen overnight but there are signs of movement. Just last month Chase announced its intention to soon offer digital mortgages on smartphones. Also, I found this article on operationalizing the digital mortgage process in Housing Wire to be an interesting read.

Finally, finally. I recently authored an article in an Illinois State Bar publication titled, “The Bond that’s not: How to convey real estate in an unprobated estate.” For those interested in the subject matter, or others who might suffer from insomnia, I thought you might find it helpful.

Let’s close out the first quarter strong!