Morning Briefing: Realtors targeted by cyber attackers

by Steve Randall16 Nov 2015
Realtors targeted by cyber attackers
Sophisticated cyber attackers are targeting real estate transactions the National Association of Realtors says. Panelists of the Risk Management and Licence Forum of the Realtors’ Conference and Expo heard that small real estate businesses, agents and their clients are all at risk. Melanie Wyne, the NAR’s technology policy expert warned that it’s not just large companies that the criminals are interested in: “Small businesses need to pay just as much attention as large companies to possible cyber threats.” Darity Wesley of the Lotus Law Center added that realtors and mortgage brokers are at risk of financial loss, lawsuits and reputational damage from a cyber attack.
New home purchase applications fall
There was a drop in the level of mortgage applications for new home purchases in October according to data from the Mortgage Bankers’ Association’s Builder Application Survey. The month-over-month drop of 8 per cent does not include any adjustments for typical seasonal patterns.

However the longer-term picture appears better: "On top of normal seasonal slowdown, the October decline in mortgage applications to builder affiliates was likely amplified by some applications being pulled forward into September ahead of the implementation of the Know Before You Owe Rule on October 3," said Lynn Fisher, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics. "Despite the decrease, our estimate of new single-family housing sales for October was up more than 7 percent from a year ago."

By product type, conventional loans composed 67.2 per cent of loan applications, FHA loans composed 19.2 per cent, RHS/USDA loans composed 1.0 per cent and VA loans composed 12.7 per cent. The average loan size of new homes decreased from $324,884 in September to $320,881 in October.
Property deals brokered over messaging app
Technology is changing the way so many things are done with communication one of the biggest continuing shifts. It seems that some real estate deals are now being brokered using instant messaging apps. The Business Insider highlights Emma Hao, a realtor for Douglas Elliman who uses the method frequently. The high-value properties that she is selling are of interest to Chinese buyers so Hao uses China’s most popular messaging app WeChat to post details of properties and get responses from interested buyers. The use of the Chinese app works well for high value homes as some other social networks, including Facebook, are blocked in China; and WeChat has 650 million users, mainly in China.


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