Real Estate In Brief: Freddie Mac to help fight rural unemployment, new millennial mortgage data and more

by Andrew Morrell

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Freddie Mac, the government-owned real estate finance firm, announced June 15 that it had partnered with an outplacement services provider to help rural homeowners who may be at risk of foreclosure due to a lapse in employment. It’s part of a larger strategic initiative called “Duty to Serve,” a three-year plan by Freddie Mac to address broader issues currently facing U.S. homeowners and buyers in underserved markets.

NextJob, the outplacement service, connects users with job search tools, training webinars and career advice to help them find a job or secure a better-paying position. According to Freddie Mac, homeowners paying back loans under the company’s Home Possible mortgage products will be alerted if they are eligible to receive NextJob services. Participants of a pilot study reported better job search skills and higher placement rates than average after using NextJob, according to Freddie Mac.

More of this week’s real estate news:

  • Evidence is mounting to suggest millennials are entering the housing market in droves. According to a recent survey from Ellie Mae’s Millennial Tracker and reported by HousingWire, 89 percent of mortgages made to borrowers of this age group in April were for new home purchases, the highest percentage since May 2017. The bulk of these (67 percent) were made up of conventional loans, with an average loan amount of $188,171. Ellie Mae also found these buyers to be somewhat younger, with an average age of 29.9 on the mortgage applications it analyzed. Some of the oldest Americans considered millennials are well into their 30s. Even so, millennials approved for mortgages have good credit — Ellie Mae reported an average FICO score of 721 among the applications it reviewed.
  • The companies behind real estate news and content sites Realtor.com and Apartments.com announced a content syndication deal June 14 to expand the reach of both networks. Apartment listings published on Apartments.com will also show up on sites owned by Move, Inc., including Realtor.com and Doorsteps.com. The partnership will replace a previous arrangement made between Realtor.com and Apartment List, whose listings will no longer appear on Realtor.com after Sept. 1.
  • Inman reports Zillow Group and its subsidiary Trulia are named in a lawsuit filed by the owner of a now-defunct brokerage firm, which accuses them of patent infringement. Michael Gorman is listed as the inventor of a patent filed in 2001 for a “real-estate information search and retrieval system” that is the center of the lawsuit. A spokesman for Zillow told Inman that they “believe the claims are without merit and intend to vigorously defend ourselves against the lawsuit.”

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