More Thoughts from James

Some interesting information that caught my attention


*The boat market is displaying many characteristics that look similar to the housing market, according to recent data from Boats Group. In the first half of 2019, the average price for a boat in the United States (new and used) was $114,102. As of the first half of 2022, the average price has risen to $149,169, an increase of over 30%. The total number of boats sold per half year, however, is down. Sound familiar?

*First time homebuyers are facing one of the most challenging housing markets to enter on record. Historically, first-time home buyers make up 40% of the sale market in a given year. Over the past year, that share has dropped to 26%, the lowest since record-keeping began in 1981, and a drop from 34% the prior year. The headwinds for first-time buyers include competing against corporate investors, a fast increase in housing prices and an increase in mortgage rates. 27% of repeat buyers paid cash for their homes, while only 3% of first-time buyers bought in cash. (NY Times)

*Effective on April 1, 2022, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) increased fees charged by Fannie and Freddie for high balance loans, and on loans for second homes. The high balance loan upfront fees were increased between 0.25% and 0.75%, tiered by loan-to-value ratio. For second home loans, upfront fees increased between 1.125% and 3.875%, also tiered by loan-to-value ratio. The goal is to ensure fair access to credit for first-time home buyers and low- and moderate-income borrowers. (FHFA)

*Corporations continue to expand their footprint in Palm Beach County at a rapid rate. BlackRock has joined a growing list of corporate titans opening offices or relocating to the greater West Palm Beach area. They’ll be joining current tenants Goldman Sachs, Elliott Management, and Point72 at the fully-leased 360 Rosemary building. Starting in early 2023, BlackRock plans to have its Head of Fixed Income and about 35 staff start working out of their “snowbird office”! (WSJ)

*Related Cos. (a large developer based in NY) recently announced its newly planned tower in West Palm Beach, 515 Fern. The 25-story office building is expected to become the largest office building in downtown WPB. (PB Post)


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