Thursday, January 10, 2019

Will Your Company Join this Great Effort?

Businesses in North Carolina, Forsyth County and Guilford County are thriving, but the biggest issue impeding their continued growth is the growing shortage of workers with the adaptable skills needed to succeed in the modern workplace. There are many that are deeply concerned about the skills gap, educational system and what it teaches and how those students are prepared for the workplace.  The question then is how does society work towards solutions to bolster our talent supply and fill North Carolina’s talent pipeline?  By leaps and bounds, education and talent supply are the top concern weighing on job creator's mind in a recent CEO poll performed by the NC Chamber.
As Congresswoman Virginia Foxx NC-5 says in a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, 
"Individual potential transcends all demographics. It’s time that we speak honestly about the educational paths we set for Americans—and the paths they should be commended for choosing for themselves." (Stop Calling It Vocational Training)
An important step has been taken in Forsyth County.  The County Commissioners recently decided it was time for the community to put a focus on our local talent supply.  So the county has applied to become a North Carolina Certified Work Ready Community (NCCWRC).  Currently in NC, there are 62 counties that are participating which means, 62 counties are working every day to become more competitive for economic and job growth than Forsyth County.  
In NC, the NCCWRC is a collaboration of members form the Office of the Governor, NC Chamber Foundation, NC Community College System, NC Department of Instruction, NC Department of Commerce, regional economic development professionals and local community college leaders. 
What does this mean for Forsyth County, now that county leaders made the decision to become certified? 
  • Business and industry gain confidence that Forsyth County has a skilled workforce and a considerable talent supply
  • Individuals/Students understand what skills are required and therefore know how to prepare themselves for success
  • Allows policy makers to consistently measure the skills gap and work on adjustments
  • Educators can help close the skills gap via tools integrated into career pathways with industry credentials
  • Economic developers can use an on-demand reporting tool to market the quality of the workforce and therefore, become a more competitive marketplace
In order to become certified and therefore more competitive with greater skills for students, the Forsyth County effort will be called, Work Ready Forsyth.  Thankfully, Forsyth County is currently 84% of the way to becoming certified.  However, business engagement is critical and needed.  

What we are asking is for your company to simply say you SUPPORT the effort by lending your company name to this important effort.  It's that simple.  Will you help our students, our workers, our businesses and our economy by lending your support?

Hope you will join Brooke Cashion and Associates-Allen Tate, Reynolds, Hanesbrands, Vulcan Materials and many others with your support? Please visit the Winston-Salem Chamber site for a quick and easy sign-up form...this is free with no obligation and is simply saying your business supports the efforts!

More information about this important effort will be coming out soon about Work Ready Forsyth, but here is some detailed information about the NC Certified Work Ready Community Certificate.  

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

2019 - The Year of Readjustments...

Happy New Year!

The year is off and in full swing already and we are excited about the opportunities 2019 could provide and hope that you are as well!

2018 was a great year for our state and our region.  We were excited about how the real estate market performed, how the local and state economy performed and are cautiously optimistic that 2019 will be another strong year.  Below are some items you may be interested in:

-NC's economy is expanding...
-8500+ Jobs Announced!
-Triad's Megasites Earning Global Attention
-New State Laws Bring Additional Tax Changes and Infrastructure Investment

What about residential real estate?
The United States is currently in the third biggest housing boom in history.  Housing is up 53% in this cycle and we are in the second longest economic expansion in history.  The question of course will be how long will it go.  But the economy is in great shape despite the ups and downs of Wall Street and the complications of the real estate market.

In 2019, we'll likely see some READJUSTMENTS in the residential real estate market and return to a more balanced marketplace.  It'll be important to watch some key metrics in the Triad of North Carolina...those include:
  • Days on the Market - likely to see those start ticking up from years-long low
  • Inventory - already starting to see an increase here 
  • Number of Showings - currently we are seeing the median around 11 
  • List price to Closed Price - we have been very high over the last two years or so and this is likely to decrease as more inventory becomes available.
  • Appreciation - we have seen solid appreciation rates over the past couple of years of which it may have peaked and we are already seeing in some of the largest markets in the state, start to come back down.  This will be the case in our region as well.
But with all of that, 2019 will be a HEALTHY and GOOD real estate market.  But if you are thinking about selling, be open to important conversation about appreciation and what you can expect.  If you are buying, it'll be important to pay attention to the factors and metrics that can help you make important and informed decision.  Here is a good article about what to expect when buying a home in 2019 and how best to prepare.

Quick Announcements we are proud of:
2019 will be a busy year for our team...a couple of announcements because we believe that being active in your professional industry is important...

-Brooke Cashion has been named the 2019 Federal Political Coordinator for US Congressman Ted Budd and the 2019 Image Committee Vice-Chair for the North Carolina Realtors Association

-Jake Cashion has been named the 2019 Chairman of the NC Realtors Global Network and will be traveling to Cannes, France in March to help showcase and connect North Carolina to international business and therefore greater economic development opportunities for the state.  As well, he has been appointed to the 2019 Business Issues Policy Committee for the National Association of Realtors.

Team Member Hollie Breazeale was awarded the 2018 Rising Star award by the North Carolina Realtors Association.

It's important to be prepared and that's simple...just let us know and we are happy to add you to our MarketPlace Report - this is a FREE monthly email that shows real estate activity in your neighborhood and keeps you abreast of any changes.  We are happy to simply set you up - just ask!

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

A Home in the Sun?

Recently, we enjoyed a little time in sunny St. Pete Beach, FL.  This is a great beach and part of the state and it offers big, wide, white-sandy beaches on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.  It is sunny about 340 days per year!  As we strolled along some of the neighborhood streets heading into Pass-A-Grill Beach for breakfast one morning, we took some pictures of a few homes with one question in mind...all of these homes are located either on the beach or on the bay side, have different architectural qualities and all very lovely but...

Which one is your favorite?

Home One

Home Two

Home Three

Home Four

Home Five

Home Six

Home Seven

Home Eight

Monday, December 10, 2018

November 2018 Market Snapshot

Below are a few updates regarding home values and other data.  This data is for the entire Triad MLS:

-Median Sales Price - $171,750 - 10 year high
-Number of Homes for Sale - 5485 - 10 year low
-Median Days on Market - 21
-Months Supply of Homes - 3.1 (normal is closer to five or six months)
-Median Percent of List Price - 98.7% (homes are selling for this percent of list price)
-Average Showing/Listing - 4.7

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Home Values and the Transportation Network?

Here is an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal.  There is a lot of road construction going on in North Carolina...from new interstate highways to road expansions to major road retrofits...all of which are a good thing for jobs and the economy.  However, it can be short-term pain for long-term gain.

In the Winston-Salem area there is a lot of money being pumped into the network and a brand new interstate highway is under construction and schedule to open within the next couple of years...I-74.  This is a major project which will connect SC and NC to the midwest of the United States and will open up a lot of new opportunity and investments from distribution facilities to new neighborhoods and all things in-between.  Below are some recent pics that NC Department of Transportation took of the project.

But what does it mean for home values in the area of the new interstate?  Would we see similar numbers from this report in our region?  It is hard to say right now, but IT IS accurate to say that an improved transportation network is good for the economy, mobility, growth, quality-of-life and many other things and therefore appreciation and values. But we'll have to wait and see how things go but nonetheless, we are optimistic about the future of home values.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Dogs, Water and Playtime...What do they have in common?

From the Desk of David Wilkins - Allen Tate Insurance

Risks that affect your homeowners insurance rates

Insurance, by its very nature, is about risk – the likelihood that an insured event will occur, requiring the insurance company to pay a claim. The insurance premium you pay reflects how great the risk, based on historical data about claims.

Most of us understand that your car insurance will go up if you buy a sports car, have an at-fault accident or are charged with a moving violation that results in points on your driving record. But your homeowners insurance premium can increase based on your children’s play equipment, how you maintain your land and even your choice of four-legged, furry family members.

Dangerous dogs
You’ve decided it’s time to add a dog to the family and researched various breeds. But have you talked to your insurance company?

Yes, you need to. More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year, and more than 50 percent of dog bites occur on the owner’s property. Many bites require medical attention – which could mean claims against homeowners’ liability policies.

“While all breeds of dogs can bite and temperament largely varies, many insurance companies maintain a list of dog breeds that they consider to be dangerous, based on past claims or popular perceptions of breeds,” said Robin Price, president, Allen Tate Insurance.
These breeds include Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Dobermans, Huskies, Chows, Boxers and other breeds with potentially aggressive behavior.

So what if your desired dog is on the dangerous list? It is possible that you may denied coverage, but it’s more likely you will be offered limited coverage or pay a higher premium – because of the increased risk. It’s also common for an insurance company to require you to carry additional liability insurance, in addition to your standard homeowners coverage.

But your insurance company doesn’t need to know about your dog, right? What they don’t know can hurt you.

“Your coverage could be cancelled if you haven’t notified your insurance company about your pet. And you could be sued if someone is injured by your dog,” said Price.

Worrisome water
You’ve found the perfect home – complete with a swimming pool. Anything to consider before you make an offer?

“In insurance terms, a swimming pools is considered an attractive nuisance. This strange but accurate name refers to an object, structure or condition that is both dangerous and irresistibly inviting or intriguing to children,” said Price.

While a swimming pool might make you the most popular neighbor, it also creates an opportunity for accidental death or injury. For that reason, insurance companies will require your pool to be securely gated and locked at all times. Your insurance agent may recommend raising your liability coverage and purchasing an umbrella policy for additional protection.

Other water structures like artificial or man-made fountains and ponds are also considered risky when it comes to homeowners insurance.

Playtime pitfalls

Another category of popular attractive nuisance is trampolines. While they seem like a great way to get the kids away from the video games and out of the house, trampolines are actually one of the most dangerous toys.

Trampolines cause more than 100,000 injuries annually, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, with 75 percent occurring when more than one person is jumping at the same time.

“Trampolines are also difficult to secure, so you may be liable if someone is injured, whether or not you gave them permission,” said Price.

As a result, some homeowners insurance companies will exclude trampolines from coverage. Others will require certain safety precautions or raise the premium. Similar conditions may be added for playground structures, treehouses, and skateboard ramps.

Numerous nuisances

Other attractive nuisances considered insurance risks include abandoned cars, old appliances, railroad tracks, farm and construction equipment, power lines and holes in the ground.

A landowner can be held responsible for a child injured by any of these, assuming owner had knowledge children may trespass, an object or condition has the ability to cause harm, the cost of the repair is small, or the owner fails to take reasonable action to eliminate the nuisance.

Your Allen Tate Insurance agent can advise you regarding risks that may affect your coverage. It’s important to be upfront when obtaining coverage so your insurance is not cancelled. Don’t risk it!

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

What does home mean to you?

With the mid-term elections behind us, we can all now refocus and get ready for the Holidays!  Can't believe it is already upon us!  Below are some updates we thought we'd share.
Market Update:
The Triad's average home price for October 2018 was $196,000 and the days on the market and the months supply is ticking up slightly. Below is a recent quote that was in the Winston-Salem Journal.
“While steady appreciation continues, we are beginning to see the market balance out in certain price points,” said Brooke Cashion, the association’s president. “Rising interest rates will further encourage buyers to secure housing sooner than later, as the rate increase will impact affordability and monetary outlay for years to come.”
What do the changes to Congress mean for homeowners and real estate?
What the new Congress means for real estate...Expect gridlock with tax reform, HUD cuts, flood insurance and other housing policy 
BY: INMAN Staff Writer 

When it comes to real estate, don’t expect any sea changes coming from last night’s midterm election in which Democrats seized a majority in the House and Republicans tightened their control of the Senate. For one the housing market, unlike the stock market, does not make sudden moves based on events like elections. 

Buyers will still purchase homes and sellers will still list their houses.  That is the same with the economy, it will remain strong regardless of shifts in the U.S. Congress. However, longer term public policy can play an important role, as we have learned with actions by the Federal Reserve, starting three years ago when it began raising interest rates.  Plus, tax reform has played a role — good and bad — with the real estate scene. 

Tax reform rollback? 
Last November around this time, much of Washington was focused on the first major piece of legislation from the Republican Congress: the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which passed a month later along party lines. 

The tax reform bill included some major changes for real estate, including capping mortgage interest deductions at $750,000 for both primary and secondary residences (down from $1 million previously), and capping state and local tax deductions at $10,000 (no previous cap). It also allowed pass-through entities and S-corporations — which some real estate agents and brokers may qualify as — to claim a 20 percent deduction on their business income. 

There is unlikely to be a major roll back of this policy anytime soon. 

Even with a new split House and Senate, the Congress is unlikely to pass a full rollback and President Trump would not sign a retreat of his major policy initiative. However, certain adjustments could be made through amendments, such as raising the property tax deduction. 

Budget cuts will be stalled 
Facing a ballooning $779 billion national budget deficit, the highest in six years, President Trump recently said he would ask all the members of his cabinet to cut 5 percent from their respective departmentmental budget proposals for 2019 (Agriculture, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, etc). 

However, Congress approves the federal budget and funding for all major government departments. It’s unlikely that Democrats and Republicans will agree to much on the way of cuts. Democrats will most likely fight to preserve funding for social services, education, and benefits programs, including for women’s health and affordable housing, while some Republicans will look to make deeper cuts.

Without agreement on what to cut, neither party will sign on to pass bills aimed at reducing the budget deficit, leaving attempts to curb the deficit to another Congress with a clearer majority. 

Flood insurance will not be reformed 
Just weeks after the midterms elections come to a close so too will the National Flood Insurance program, an ailing 49-year-old insurance plan that will lapse in December without re-authorization or partisan support of the so-called “21st Century Flood Reform Act.” 

Such an endeavor is easier said than done, as the bill has languished in the Senate since late last year — ever since the GOP-led House voted in favor of the bill 237-189 despite significant opposition from coastal Democrats, who believe premiums on high-risk properties could skyrocket under the reform initiative. 

Under the terms of the “21st Century Flood Reform Act,” premiums, which on average cost homeowners $650 annually but can spin out of control in coastal regions, would be capped at $10,000. Additionally, new mapping technology authorized in the new legislation would reduce rates by calculating the true risk of flooding farther inland. 

Either way, expect the lights to dim on flood reform. 

Mortgage finance 
The mortgage finance system is unlikely to be overhauled entirely. 

Under a Trump administration plan to end the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, first floated over the summer by the Office of Management and Budget, both government-sponsored entities would be tossed into the private market, requiring each to raise their own capital and compete with traditional lenders.

But for such an endeavor to pass muster in Congress, Democrats would likely demand key concessions to buoy affordable housing. Under Trump’s proposal, HUD, which would take responsibility of all affordable housing objectives, would be untethered from the traditional mortgage market.

Critics of the proposal fear that such a shift would allow lenders to be more selective. Therefore, the odds of significant changes appears low at best. 

Executive orders by the President are expected to continue, such as moves to further wipe out punitive financial regulations and easing environment enforcement. 

No new middle-class tax cut 
In the runup to the 2018 midterm elections, President Trump said in late October that he was working with Congressional Republican leaders to pass a new tax cut bill that would reduce the burden on middle class families by 10 percent. 

However, just last week, the president and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, a Republican Congressman from Texas, said that they would need to continue working on further tax cuts with the intention of passing them during the next session of Congress, in 2019. 

Once again, since the entire Congress must vote on any new major tax cut or reform package affecting the nation, and a majority must vote in favor, it is unlikely that the new Congress will pass any significant changes.