Kathy & Terry Sullivan

Kathy: 978-927-9199


RE/MAX Advantage Real Estate
Boston's North Shore, Essex County MA

Offices: Beverly, Gloucester, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem MA

Luxury Homes Waterfront Properties Condos
Multi Family Investment Properties Land All MLS

Judith Coughlin


Buyer Specialist
RE/MAX Advantage Real Estate, Beverly, Marblehead, Salem, Peabody, Gloucester, MA

FICO Scoring Changes Could Help Borrowers - Effective This Fall

FICO Scoring Changes May Help More Qualify for Mortgages

FICO, the nation’s most popular credit-scoring system, announced it is tweaking some of the criteria used in coming up with consumers’ scores, which could help consumers save more money in qualifying for mortgages and other types of loans.

The changes include reducing the toll that overdue medical bills can take on credit scores, as well as removing other past penalties from consumers who have paid off debts that had been assigned to collection agencies. A consumer whose only major delinquency comes from an unpaid medical bill could see their credit score rise by 25 points due to the changes.

The changes come after a recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study, which found that both paid and unpaid medical debts were unfairly penalizing consumers’ credit ratings. An estimated 64 million Americans have a medical collection item on their credit reports, according to Nick Clements of Magnify Money, a personal finance site.

The FICO changes will go into effect this fall, but borrowers may have to wait a year or more until they see the impact of the changes in their scores, lenders say.

In June, the average FICO score for a closed mortgage was 728, a drop from 742 a year prior, according to data from Ellie Mae, a company that processes mortgage applications for lenders. FICO scores range from 300 to 850.

For Full Article go: http://bit.ly/1sPkg69

Zillow's Q2 Revenues up 68% to $78.4 Million, Loss was $10.5 Million

Zillow's rapid growth continues.  2014 Q2 revenues were up 68% from a year earlier to $78.7 million. 

However, Q2 expenses grew by 56% to $84 million and Zillow lost $10.5 million for the quarter. 
After Zillow acquires Trulia, it will be more than twice as large as Realtor.com
Zillow is upping its spend on its consumer marketing campaign for 2014 from $65 million to $75 million.

Company 2013 revenue  Projected 2014 revenue* Projected % YoY 2014 revenue growth
Zillow $197.5 million $322 million 63.0%
Move Inc. $227.0 million $253 million 11.5%
Trulia $143.7 million $251.5 million 75.0%
Source: Zillow

  1Q 2013 2Q 2013 3Q 2013 4Q 2013 1Q 2014 2Q 2014
Net annual growth in agent subscribers
15,414 16,111 18,046 18,841 18,938 18,011
Total number of agent subscribers 34,030 38,807 44,749 48,314 52,968 56,818

Source: Zillow, Move Inc. and Trulia *Midpoint of the firms’ projected revenues as of the second quarter.

Zillow quietly pursuing top producing agents

Read More »

July Unemployment 6.2% - 6 consecutive months with 200,000 + New Jobs

Best 6 months of job growth since 2006

July added 209,000 new jobs, Unemployment was 6.2% ( 9.7 million unemployed) which was the best 6 month job growth since 2006.

Major concerns:  A. The Under-employment rate is 12.2%, B.  the Labor Participation Rate is near a 40 year low at 62.9% and C. Wage Growth is stagnant when adjusted for inflation.  The unemployment rate for those with a high school diploma was 9.6% vs 3.1% for college graduates.

Hiring Settles Into Steady Gains


U.S. businesses added jobs at a sturdy pace last month, extending the most robust stretch of hiring since before the recession.

The question now: Is this the beginning of a breakout in hiring that will lift wage growth and finally bring unemployment down to levels consistent with a healthy economy?

In all, employers ranging from retail stores and professional offices to factories and construction sites last month added a total of 209,000 jobs, when adjusted for seasonal factors, the Labor Department said Friday.

That marked a downturn from the 298,000 jobs created in June, but was more than enough to yield the strongest six months of payroll gains since 2006. July was the first time since 1997 that employers added 200,000 or more jobs in six consecutive months.

Many scars from the financial crisis remain: 9.7 million Americans are out of work, and wage growth—closely watched by the Federal Reserve and others—didn't budge last month. Average hourly earnings for private-sector workers rose just 2% in July over last year, in line with the sluggish trend since the recession.

Read More »

June Housing Report - NAR

June Existing-Home Sales 5.04 Million, Highest Level Since October

Existing-Home Sales Hit Highest Level Since October

• June's Existing Home sales were up 2.3% from May, the 3rd consecutive monthly increase, reaching an annual pace of 5.04 million.

• Existing home Inventory was up 6.5% from a year earlier  -  5.5 months supply.

• Median home prices were $223,300, up 4.3% from the year earlier.

• First time buyers represented 28% of all sales, low by historic standards as the jobs market remains sluggish.

• Distressed sales slide to 11% of total sales as fewer investors entered the market.

• June sales were down 2.3% from last year.  However, 3 consecutive months of rising sales seems to indicate the housing market is recovering from a harsh winter.

• Borrowing rates remain near record lows at 4.13%


Read More »

Mobile Ad Spending To Jump 83% to $18 Billion Surpassing Print and Radio


Mobile-Ad Spending Leaps, but Trails User Growth

Outlays Expected to Jump 83% This Year, but Remain Small Compared to Time on Devices

Research firm eMarketer estimates that spending on mobile advertising, which includes both smartphones and tablets, will soar 83% to nearly $18 billion in 2014. Newspapers will draw nearly $17 billion, while radio will bring in $15.5 billion.



Updated July 21, 2014 8:02 p.m. ET

Read More »

Record 57 Million Americans Living in Multi-Generational Households - Pent Up Housing Demand

Record 57 Million Americans Living in Multi-Generational Households


Is your post-college 20-something still living in the basement? Why, yes. Yes, he is.

Driven by young adults, the share of Americans living in multi-generational households continues to climb, a new report released Thursday finds, a trend that accelerated during the recession but has extended beyond it.

A record 57 million Americans—or 18.1% of the population—lived in multi-generational households in 2012, according to an analysis of Census data by the Pew Research Center, a think tank. The rate, up from 17.8% in 2011, has been on a steady march upward since its post-World War 11 low in 1980, when just 12.1% of the population utilized these arrangements.

Read More »

Billionaire: Home Ownership Still the Best Investment

Billionaire: Home Ownership Still the Best Investment


John Paulson, a billionaire hedge fund manager, says that for those looking for the best investment possible, they need to look toward home ownership.

At the Delivering Alpha conference, presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor, Paulson said: "I still think, from an individual perspective, the best-deal investment you can make is to buy a primary residence that you're the owner-occupier of. Today, financing costs are extraordinarily low. You can get a 30-year mortgage somewhere around 4.5 percent. And if you put down, let's say, 10 percent and the house is up 5 percent, which is the latest data, then you would be up 50 percent on your investment. And you've locked in the cost over the next 30 years. And today the cost of owning is somewhat less than the cost of renting. And if you rent, the rent goes up every year. But if you buy a 30-year mortgage, the cost is fixed."

Paulson stressed that an owner-occupied home — not a home bought to be a rental — is what he views as the best investment individuals can make right now.

"To buy it as an investment and rent it out — I'm not so enamored with that concept," he said.

Source: “Paulson: Buying a House Still Best Investment,” CNBC (July 17, 2014)



Apartment Rents Rise For 18th Consecutive Quarter

Nationally, apartment rents rose 0.8% in the second quarter from the first quarter.  This is the 18 consecutive quarterly rent increase.  Over the last 12 months, apartment rents rose 3.4% and vacancies are now 4.1%.  The average rent is $1,099.

While rents are rising,  incomes have remained stagnate.  The median household income was $50,017 in 2012 vs $55,627 in 2007after adjusting for inflation.

With mortgage rates near historic lows, now is an attractive time to buy a home.

Apartment Rents Rise as Incomes Stagnate

Apartment landlords continued to push through hefty rent hikes in the second quarter, squeezing U.S. households that already are struggling financially after four years of steady increases.

The average monthly rent for an apartment rose to $1,099 in the second quarter, up 0.8% from the first quarter, according to data to be released Wednesday by real-estate research firm Reis Inc.REIS +0.96% That was the 18th consecutive quarter of rent increases. For the 12-month period ended in June, rents rose 3.4%.

Read More »

America's Generational Race Gap Widens As Younger Population Becomes More Diverse

Younger Population Grows More Diverse

Creating Widening Generational Race Gap Bewteen Over 65 and under 15

The demographic divide between older white Americans and younger minorities grew wider last year, according to Census Bureau data released Thursday, highlighting a long-term shift that might alter the interplay between generations.

In 2013, nearly 79% of people 65 and older were white, but for those younger than 15, the share of whites was just over half. In 2000, those proportions were nearly 84% and almost 61%, respectively.

The widening generational gap comes as the U.S. population as a whole grows older and more racially diverse. Non-Hispanic whites made up 62.6% of the country last year, down from 63% in 2012, continuing their long-term decline as the dominant American group. More whites died than were born last year, while the share of both Asian-Americans and Hispanics grew.

Hispanic population growth was fueled by an increase in births, as the number immigrating continued to fall. (The Census Bureau makes no distinction between legal and illegal immigration.) Just over half of all babies born in the U.S. were white.

In some states, the generational gap was much larger—particularly in places that keep and attract retirees and are also home to many immigrant families. In Arizona, 82% of people 65 and over were white, while just 41% of those under 15 were white—a 41-point gap—according to calculations by William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who studies these data.

Other states with large generational race gaps include Nevada, New Mexico, California, Texas and Florida.

That creates a potential conflict, Mr. Frey said, between aging white baby boomers and younger minorities, who share few connections. Yet the older generation will depend on these young people to drive the economy and to support social programs for the elderly. The 65-and-over population continues to grow as the baby boomers age, highlighting the challenge for programs such as Social Security and Medicare that will increasingly rely on fewer workers to support more retirees.

"What we are seeing here is just the tip of the iceberg as white baby boomers continue to retire and whites make up ever smaller shares of the child-bearing population," Mr. Frey said. "It suggests that even greater priority should be given to providing these young minorities education opportunities and other resources to be successful as members of the labor force."

The number of Hispanic and Asian children grew, but overall, the total number of Americans under 15 dropped 0.6% in 2013.

The changing face of America is most apparent when looking at its youngest residents. Whites account for less than half the population in four states: California, New Mexico, Texas and Hawaii, plus the District of Columbia. But among children under age 5, whites are now below 50% in 15 states—with Alaska joining 14 others in 2013.

Overall, the median age for the U.S. population ticked up to 37.6 years from 37.5 in 2013. But in a few states—North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota and Oklahoma—the median age fell, driven in part by an oil and gas boom that has attracted new, younger workers, the Census Bureau said.

"We're seeing the demographic impact of two booms," Census Bureau Director John Thompson said in a statement. "The population in the Great Plains energy boom states is becoming younger and more male as workers move in seeking employment in the oil and gas industry, while the U.S. as a whole continues to age as the youngest of the baby boom generation enters their 50s."

Write to Laura Meckler at laura.meckler@wsj.com