Jan. 20: Housing Starts number disappoints agents; news from San Diego to San Diego

Rob Chrisman

Rob Chrisman began his career in mortgage banking – primarily capital markets – 31 years ago in 1985 with First California Mortgage, assisting in Secondary Marketing until 1988, when he joined Tuttle & Co., a leading mortgage pipeline risk management firm. He was an account manager and partner at Tuttle & Co. until 1996, when he moved to Scotland with his family for 9 months. See more

For real estate agents and lenders the theme so far this year is: the good news is that rates are down, but the bad news is that the economy is slowing down.


The latest indication of that is this morning’s housing news. Housing starts fell in December from 1.17 million to 1.15 million, missing the 1.2 million Street estimate. Building permits fell from 1.28 million to 1.23 million, topping the 1.2 million estimate. Single-fam permits hit the highest level in 8 years. I sound like a broken record, but the economy isn’t going to hit the next level until housing construction returns to normalcy, about 1.5 million units per year. The plus side of this is that the housing deficit continues to grow, which means the rebound (when it happens) will be stronger and longer. Confidence and credit remain the issues at the moment.


Agents in San Diego are seeing an MLS conflict. Baseball fans have witnessed the occasional MLB brawl but what about an MLS throw-down? According to the Courthouse News Service, two members of a San Diego regional MLS are preventing the third member from access to real estate listings. Defendants Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors and North San Diego County Association of Realtors control the six-member board to the multiple listing service, the plaintiff the Greater San Diego County Association of Realtors claims in a federal antitrust complaint.
The three parties are the sole shareholders of lead defendant Sandicor, the Greater Association says. It claims it is the “supermajority” owner of Sandicor, with more than two-thirds of the shares, but the Pacific Southwest and North San Diego associations control the board, though they own, respectively, only 10 percent and 22 percent of the shares.
The Greater Association claims the defendants have cut off access “in its entirety” to San Diego’s MLS, interfering with its ability to compete in the real estate market. Reportedly, when the Greater Association contracted with a third-party company to gain access to a syndicated MLS data feed, Sandicor CEO Ray Ewing wrote to the company and told it to block access, the Greater Association says. “Please understand that from our view, SDAR [San Diego County Association of Realtors] is not entitled to data from us … unless our BoD [board of directors] authorizes it”.
In addition, Ewing said the Greater Association has given up its rights to use MLS. “They’re one of our owners. When we formed Sandicor they used to be in MLS. They gave up their rights to be in MLS. Our basic core value is that the listings belong to the brokers. So we facilitate where it goes but we don’t make that choice for the broker,” Ewing said.
The Greater Association seeks an injunction and at least $1.5 in damages for antitrust violations, breach of fiduciary duty, waste of corporate assets, unfair competition, breach of contract and other charges. Wow, TRID seems a little less convoluted all of the sudden.


Many real estate agents work with elderly clients. In Northern California the Healthy Aging Population Initiative Coalition retreat included 50 attendees strategizing ideas to further its advocacy. The gathering at Napa Valley Hospice and Adult Day Services came together to brainstorm ideas to keep the local senior population healthy and thriving and care for the seniors who aren’t. Visualizing headlines such as “Napa Voted Best Place for Senior Residents.” And “First County in California to Have Zero Senior Homelessness.” Health care and affordable housing are priorities. Celine Regalia, coalition co-chairwoman stated “Today, we’re going to be formulating what the low-hanging fruit is, the priorities”.


And in Seattle agents are experiencing a homeless emergency. A state of emergency was declared for the homeless in Seattle per Mayor Ed Murray. The Mayor wants to quickly open two safe parking sites, one in Ballard and the other in Delridge for the homeless living in vehicles. “These are not long-term solutions to end homelessness, but temporary locations that can be managed to provide a safer environment for those living on our streets and have less impact on our neighborhoods,” Murray said in a statement.


Each site will have sanitation and garbage service, as well as case-management assistance.

People using the sites will be required to abide by a code of conduct prohibiting drugs and violence, the mayor said. Until the sites are set up in approximately 30 days, the city will let people living in a vehicle park in three zones in public rights of way.


Murray’s decision to open the parking sites also comes after some Ballard residents have called on him and police to respond to what they’ve described as increases in crime and illegal camping, including people dealing drugs and living in recreational vehicles. Under existing Seattle ordinances, RVs may not be parked on city streets overnight, except in industrial areas, where they may remain in the same spot for more than 72 hours. “The city’s active case management services will reach out to those experiencing homelessness and living in their vehicles, with the goal to help move them to permanent housing as quickly as possible,” Murray said. “These safe lots will also help reduce the public health issues currently impacting several of our neighborhoods.”


The city had conducted 38 cleanups of illegal camps between November 2nd and mid-January.

Murray officials have said the city is complementing the cleanups with more shelter and outreach, thanks to emergency funding. Seattle protocols require 72-hour notice before illegal camping cleanups, but the officials admitted they sometimes act without notice when conditions are hazardous. Opposition to cleanups includes homeless advocates who are attempting to calculate actual homelessness numbers. For example, Alison Eisinger, executive director of the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, said her organization is gearing up to lead the region’s annual One Night Count of people sleeping outside. The count is early in the morning on Jan. 29. “This is affecting our ability to document the realities under which people are living in our communities,” Eisinger said, noting the city receives federal funding based on the results of the count.



A man was sitting reading his papers when his wife hit him round the head with a frying pan. “What was that for?” the man asked. The wife replied, “That was for the piece of paper with the name Jenny on it that I found in your pants pocket.” The man then said, “When I was at the races last week, Jenny was the name of the horse I bet on.” The wife apologized and went on with the housework.

Three days later the man is watching TV when his wife bashes him on the head with an even bigger frying pan, knocking him unconscious. Upon re-gaining consciousness the man asked why she had hit again. Wife replied, “Your horse called.”



(Copyright 2016 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)