National Cheat Sheet: Home loan demand hits 4-year low, Freddie Mac CEO retiring … & more

<em>Clockwise from top left: Freddie Mac starts search for new CEO as current one plans to retire, home loan originations hit a four-year-low in the second quarter, JPMorgan Chase initiative will let cities compete for $500M in funding, and House Republicans introduce legislation to make tax cuts for individuals permanent.</em>
Clockwise from top left: Freddie Mac starts search for new CEO as current one plans to retire, home loan originations hit a four-year-low in the second quarter, JPMorgan Chase initiative will let cities compete for $500M in funding, and House Republicans introduce legislation to make tax cuts for individuals permanent.

Home loan originations hit a 4-year-low in the second quarter, report says
Interest rates are rising, and the demand for home loans has hit a four-year low, according to a new report. Between April and June of this year, mortgage originators completed 1.5 million loans — the lowest level of loans completed since the first quarter of 2014, and a 27 percent drop from the same period of time last year, an Attom Data Solutions report showed. The report indicated that foreclosures and delinquencies are on the rise in major U.S. cities, while down payments are skyrocketing, creating difficulty for people looking to buy their first homes. [TRD]

Freddie Mac starts search for new CEO as Layton plans to retire
Donald Layton, who’s been the CEO of Freddie Mac since 2012, is stepping down, according to the Commercial Observer. Layton plans to retire in the second half of 2019, and the agency will either replace him with David Brickman — who was promoted to president at the agency and is the only internal candidate it’s considering — or an outsider. “Don has played an indispensable role in transforming Freddie Mac and moving the housing finance system in a better direction,” chairman Christopher Lynch said. [TRD]

JPMorgan Chase initiative will let cities compete for $500M in funding
A new JPMorgan Chase initiative called “AdvancingCities” aims to bolster economic growth across the country via public-private partnerships, the Wall Street Journal reported. Up to 30 cities will compete to receive part of $500 million in funding that will come from loans and philanthropic investments. The initiative aims to address “employment barriers, financial insecurity and neighborhood disinvestment,” according to the outlet. Cities interested in the funding will be able to submit to the request for proposals until the end of November and winners will be announced in the spring. [TRD]

House Republicans introduce legislation to make tax cuts for individuals permanent
The tax overhaul passed last year included lower tax rates for individuals, a change that is set to expire at the end of 2025. House Republicans, however, want to make those tax cuts permanent, Bloomberg reported. “It’s time to change the culture in Washington where we only do tax reform once a generation,” House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said in a statement to the outlet.“This legislation is our commitment to the American worker to ensure our tax code remains the most competitive in the world.” But the legislation also includes an extension of the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions — an inclusion that several Republican lawmakers in states that have been hit by the cap say they won’t support. [TRD]


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Berkshire Hathaway snaps up Century 21 Commonwealth in Boston
Century 21 Commonwealth, which has 22 offices in Boston, has been snapped up by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Inman reported. The deal includes Commonwealth’s 500-plus brokers, and will see the firm eliminate its “Century 21” branding. “We considered different real estate networks as part of our research and decided Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices offered what we need to help our brokerage expand and reach new levels of production and service,” Commonwealth founding partner George Patsio said in a statement provided to the outlet. “After meeting the entire support team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, we are even more confident in our decision and excited to get started.” Patsio said Commonwealth’s new relationship with HomeServices will allow the company to double its sales volume. [TRD]

New York City brokers aren’t happy about Google Maps renaming neighborhoods
Brokers in New York City aren’t happy about Google rebranding neighborhoods, they told TRD. Last month, The New York Times reported that new names have been popping up on Google Maps — something Google attributed to a combination of user submissions, third-party data and public sources and satellites. In Manhattan, for example, a prestigious neighborhood called Sutton Place is split into “Sutton Place North and “Sutton Place South” on Google Maps. “It’s not helpful in any way, and the truth is it’s not a big neighborhood to start with,” Stribling & Associates’ Pamela D’Arc said. “To now turn it into two different locations is ludicrous.” [TRD]

Zillow Group’s homebuying program Zillow Offers is expanding to Atlanta
Atlanta is the newest market for Zillow Group’s homebuying program, known as Zillow Offers. As part of the expansion, the listings giant will be able to buy homes directly from Atlanta homeowners and resell them after preparing them for showings. The program is already up and running in Phoenix and Las Vegas, and is heading to Denver next. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers are teaming up with Zillow for the Atlanta launch. Zillow Offers hasn’t had a warm welcome in every city, however. During pilot programs in Las Vegas and Orlando last year, thousands of agents asked the National Association of Realtors to shut the service down. [TRD]

Miami luxury brokerage principals battling against one another in court
A luxury brokerage in Miami could be torn apart by its founding principals’ court battle against one another. International Sales Group’s Craig Studnicky and Philip Spiegelman are accusing each other of mismanaging funds, among other claims. Some of the claims are personal, with Studnicky claiming ISG’s third founding partner distanced himself from the brokerage because of Spiegelman’s “overbearing narcissism and obnoxious personality,” while maintaining his “substance abuse problems and antisocial behavior” have made him unproductive. Studnicky told TRD the two are “hopeful we can resolve our differences amicably in a short period of time,” while Spiegelman didn’t respond to requests for comment. [TRD]

Former Obama adviser and strategist David Axelrod lists his Chicago Gold Coast condo
Political strategist David Axelrod and his wife are parting ways with their 42nd-floor condo in Water Tower Place in Chicago. The former senior advisor to Obama currently leads the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. He and his wife put the 3,320-square-foot, three-bedroom unit on the market for $3.25 million, the Chicago Tribune reported. If it goes for asking price, they’ll turn a profit on the condo, which they purchased for $1.7 million in 2012. During their stay in the condo, the couple had hired Nate Berkus and Marvin Herman Associates to gut-renovate the unit, the outlet reported. [TRD]

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