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Kentucky REALTOR® News

Applications for KREC Commissioner being accepted
April 26, 2017

Any Real Estate Licensee wishing to be considered for a 3-year term as a Kentucky Real Estate Commissioner should submit an application form to the Kentucky REALTORS®. To qualify, one must have been a resident of the Commonwealth for 10 years and have held a Kentucky Real Estate license for 10 years.

Deadline for submission is Monday, May 22 to Kentucky REALTORS®, by mail (2708 Old Rosebud Road, Suite 200, Lexington KY 40509) or by e-mail (dharris@kar.com). Candidate interviews will be held on Friday, May 26 in Lexington.

The application form and detailed requirements are available here.

Questions may be directed to dharris@kar.com or call 1-800-264-2185.

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Kentucky's unemployment rate remains at 5% in March
April 25, 2017

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary March unemployment rate remained unchanged from February at 5 percent, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The preliminary March 2017 jobless rate was 0.1 percentage points lower than the 5.1 percent rate recorded for the state in March 2016.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for March 2017 was 4.5 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based on estimates from the Current Population Survey of households. It is designed to measure trends rather than to count the actual number of people working. It includes jobs in agriculture and those classified as self-employed.

In March 2017, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,064,787, an increase of 19,971 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment was up by 18,952, while the number of unemployed increased by 1,019.

“The stable unemployment rate at both the federal and state level indicates a strong economy approaching full employment,” said Kentucky Labor Market Information Director Kate Shirley Akers, Ph.D.

In a separate federal survey of business establishments that excludes jobs in agriculture and people who are self-employed, Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 1,300 jobs in March 2017 compared to February 2017. Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to this survey, seven of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors registered gains in employment, while four declined from the previous month.

Kentucky’s manufacturing sector had the largest month-to-month expansion in March 2017, growing by 2,800 positions or 1.1 percent from a month ago. An increase in durable manufacturing employment of 3,000 positions was partially offset by a 200-job decline in nondurable goods. The sector has added 7,700 positions or 3.1 percent since March 2016.

“The increase in manufacturing employment reflects growing demand for durable goods produced by Kentucky firms,” said Akers. “The continued steady manufacturing growth is a positive sign for the broader state economy.”

The trade, transportation and utilities sector jumped by 1,600 jobs in March 2017. This is the largest sector in Kentucky with more than 400,000 jobs accounting for one-fifth of all nonfarm employment. Since March 2016, this sector has surged by 7,100 jobs or 1.8 percent.

The government sector, which includes public education, public administration agencies and state-owned hospitals, rose by 1,800 jobs in March 2017, but has declined by 1,200 positions since last March.

The financial activities sector added 500 jobs in March 2017. Over the year, the sector has gained 2,100 jobs or 2.3 percent.

Information sector jobs increased by 200 in March 2017 and has risen by 1,300 jobs or 5.7 percent since March 2016. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

Employment in the other services sector, which includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services, and religious organizations, increased by 100 positions in March 2017 compared to the month before, and gained 1,200 positions since March 2016.

The mining and logging sector gained 100 jobs in March 2017. The industry has declined by 1,300 positions from a year ago.

The leisure and hospitality sector decreased by 500 jobs in March 2017. Since March 2016, the sector has added 100 jobs. This sector includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services.

Kentucky’s professional and business services sector fell by 1,300 jobs in March 2017 from the month before but has added 6,800 since March 2016. This category includes establishments engaged in services that support the day-to-day activities of other organizations, including temporary employment services and payroll processing.

The construction sector lost 2,000 jobs in March 2017. Since March 2016, this industry has added 2,900 jobs, growing by 3.8 percent.

The educational and health services sector also declined by 2,000 positions in March 2017, but had a gain of 2,200 jobs since March 2016.

Civilian labor force statistics include nonmilitary workers and unemployed Kentuckians who are actively seeking work. They do not include unemployed Kentuckians who have not looked for employment within the past four weeks.

Kentucky’s statewide unemployment rate and employment levels are seasonally adjusted. Employment statistics undergo sharp fluctuations due to seasonal events, such as weather changes, harvests, holidays and school openings and closings. Seasonal adjustments eliminate these influences and make it easier to observe statistical trends. However, because of the small sample size, county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

Learn more about the Office of Employment and Training at http://www.kylmi.ky.gov/.

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Home sales slip in February, prices remain strong
April 17, 2017

YTD still on pace to break records

For the first time since the summer of 2015, Kentucky real estate saw a decrease in monthly, year over year, home sales. The 2.2 percent decline in February (3,191 in 2017 versus 3,263 in 2016) comes at a time when housing inventories are at historical lows. The median price, however, remained strong, increasing over 5 percent to $114,298. 

“Last year, the market was really hot and properties moved quick. A single month’s drop in sales isn’t indicative of a slow-down,” said Mike Becker, president of Kentucky REALTORS®. “In fact, it’s still a seller’s market and the hope is that to meet buyer demand, new construction will ramp up this year to supplement existing home listings.”

Year to date, homes sales are up 7.8 percent and March figures are looking strong. At the current pace, 2017 is shaping up to be another record-setting year for Kentucky. Nationally, pending home sales are at the second-highest level in over a decade, showing that demand is rising and buyers are gearing up for the busy spring and summer months ahead.

According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, “buyers came back in force (in February) to fuel an increase in contract signings throughout the country.” He added “the stock market's continued rise and steady hiring in most markets is spurring significant interest in buying, as well as the expectation from some households that delaying their home search may mean paying higher interest rates later this year."

For now, however, interest rates are holding in the low 4 percent range and have declined over the past month to the lowest levels of the year. Rates are still higher than they were a year ago and experts are saying they could increase by a half percent by the end of the year.

February’s inventory levels were down 8.5 percent to 5.4 months of supply compared to the same period a year earlier and days on market were down over 15 percent.

“It still remains that qualified buyers will have to decide quickly on a property if they see a home in their price range that meets their needs,” stated Becker. “And having financing in place before starting the home search process makes it easier to lock up a contract to purchase when a decision is made.”   

Kentucky REALTORS® is one of the largest and most influential associations in Kentucky. Founded in 1922, Kentucky REALTORS® represents more than 10,300 REALTORS® who are involved in all aspects of real estate, including residential and commercial real estate brokers, sales agents, developers, builders, property managers, office managers, appraisers and auctioneers.

To view housing statistics for the state, as reported to Kentucky REALTORS®, visit housingstats.kyrealtors.com.

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KREEF: new name, expanded programming
April 13, 2017

The Kentucky Real Estate Education Foundation (KREEF) is changing its name to the Kentucky REALTOR® Institute (KRI). Check out the website today to view the new logo and get more information about the name change. In addition, to the name change, a fresh, new website is in the works to better serve real estate professionals and those interested in getting started in a real estate career.



 

 

KRI provides a comprehensive selection of education including classroom CE, online CE, designation courses, pre- and post-licensing and GRI programming to meet the needs of every student. Call today to see what we have to offer or just check the website (the new address is kyrealtorinstitute.com).

The selection of online offerings has recently expanded to include video-based courses to cover both CE, post-licensing (PLE) and GRI credit. The Keynote series of online courses feature the top instructors from across the country at a very affordable cost. Some courses also include ethics credit which is now required every two years (the current cycle is 2017 – 2018).

A big change going forward is the GRI program (GRI 100 – 600) covers all the required PLE hours. To help new licensees gain these hours, KRI has made an effort to expand the number of GRI courses being offered and increase the number of locations where the courses are held. This year, the number of GRI courses being offered is the most in the history of the program. If you want to start the coursework to earn the most popular national designation in real estate, there has never been a better time than now. Also, if you already have the GRI designation, but want to retake a course for all the updates and to earn CE credit, a discount is offered to allow you to audit the courses you want.

And finally, KRI makes available several scholarships to help assist with costs associated with education. There are three types – GRI, college/post-secondary education and pre-licensing. To apply, click here and download the application and learn more about what each scholarship covers.

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Unemployment rate declines to 4.5% in March
April 12, 2017

The unemployment rate declined to 4.5 percent in March, and total nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 98,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services and in mining, while retail trade lost jobs.

The unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage point to 4.5 percent in March, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 326,000 to 7.2 million. Both measures were down over the year.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (4.0 percent), Whites (3.9 percent), and Hispanics (5.1 percent) declined in March. The jobless rates for adult men (4.3 percent), teenagers (13.7 percent), Blacks (8.0 percent), and Asians (3.3 percent) showed little or no change.

In March, the number of persons unemployed less than 5 weeks declined by 232,000 to 2.3 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed over the month at 1.7 million and accounted for 23.3 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 526,000.

The labor force participation rate remained at 63.0 percent in March, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.1 percent, changed little. The employment-population ratio has edged up over the year, while the labor force participation rate has shown no clear trend.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers), at 5.6 million, was little changed in March but was down by 567,000 over the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time jobs.

In March, 1.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier.

(The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 460,000 discouraged workers in March, down by 125,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in March had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

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Home sales are breaking new ground
April 12, 2017

Though it came neither fast nor easy, Kentucky’s residential real estate sector has recovered from the steep losses of the Great Recession, and the past two years is breaking new ground for sales, according to recent numbers by the Kentucky Association of Realtors.

After a record-breaking 2015, 2016 achieved the distinction of the highest number of total home sales ever recorded in the state, at 52,123. Prices are rising and days on the market are shrinking as inventory decreases.

It’s good news for Kentucky’s economy because residential real estate demand is an engine that drives major industries and services – white collar, blue collar, wholesale and retail – which in turn pump dollars into industries such as construction, materials, supplies, retail. Read More

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Tax reform on the table for 2017 - member input needed
March 28, 2017

One of the most important jobs we do as an organization is to represent you, our members, on issues and concerns affecting your businesses. We ask you to please open the survey and spend the few minutes it will take to complete it to provide us with valuable input.

One of Kentucky REALTORS’ top priorities in 2017 is tax reform. During the 2017 State of the Commonwealth Address, Governor Matt Bevin indicated that he plans to call a special session later this year to reform Kentucky’s tax code. In a recent interview, Governor Bevin stated:

“I think people will be surprised at what I am going to be proposing when we have a special session later this year to address taxes and pensions. I mean I do think that we can have overall tax rates come down while effectively gathering more revenue by not exempting so many things. We have so many tax loopholes in this state. We’ve got to move to stopping the production tax where we’re suffocating those that produce the wealth of this state…We should be moving to more of a consumption-based tax."

It is our understanding the Governor hopes to begin unveiling his plan in the next couple months to gain support from stakeholders prior to the special session being called. Current indications are this will take place sometime in September. In order to ensure we understand what tax-related issues are important to you and your business, while also having an opportunity to get in front of the key decision-makers in the Executive Branch and Legislature, we would appreciate you completing the following survey. Your input will be used to establish our Legislative Priorities for the Special Session.  

CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE SURVEY (member input only)

Your input is invaluable to us and our organization's leadership will be using the data and input you provide us to guide them in determining our Legislative Priorities and the strategies we will use to be involved in them.

Thank you in advance for being an engaged member and doing your part to ensure we are the most effective business advocacy organization in the Commonwealth.

 

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Momentum continues for Kentucky real estate market in January
March 20, 2017

Coming off a strong 2016, Kentucky real estate continued its momentum in 2017 as January saw home sales break the 3,000-unit mark, a new high for the month. The 9 percent gain (3,047 in 2017 versus 2,637 in 2016) follows the national trend where housing increased at its fastest pace in almost a decade.

The median price rose 2.5 percent in January to $116,946, up from $114,123 a year prior. In Kentucky, median home prices have increased monthly, year-over-year, in 54 of the previous 61 months. Nationally, prices rose considerably in January as it marked the 59th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

“Kentucky is still seeing a shortage of inventory, and if the economy continues to improve, more buyers are going to be in the market as the spring selling season approaches,” stated Mike Becker, 2017 president of Kentucky REALTORS®. “Affordability in the state makes it easier to purchase a home, however, there just aren’t enough properties available to meet the current demand, especially for the first-time buyer.”

Inventory levels were down over 30 percent in January compared to the same period a year earlier and days on market were down 14 percent. The housing market continues to struggle with available homes even as consumer confidence soared to its highest level in the history of NAR’s quarterly Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS, said “the housing market is off to a prosperous start as homebuyers staved off inventory levels that are far from adequate.” He continued by saying “competition is likely to heat up even more heading into the spring for house hunters looking for homes in the lower and mid-market price range."

With the recent spike in consumer confidence and the number of households that believe now is a good time to buy a home, competition in the housing market may, in fact, remain strong for several months. The recent decision for the Federal Reserve to raise its key interest rate and the indication that two additional increases are likely to occur later in 2017, buyers may be even more eager to jump into the market before the spring season ends. Mortgage rates have inched up over the previous months in anticipation of the Fed increase, averaging over 4 percent in February from a near record low of under 3.5 percent last summer.

“Buyers who are qualified to purchase may want to consider getting into the market sooner rather than later as financing conditions may change going forward,” stated Becker. “Inventory shortages aren’t going to significantly improve which means buyers may also have to search longer than expected to find a home that suits their needs.”

Kentucky REALTORS® is one of the largest and most influential associations in Kentucky. Founded in 1922, Kentucky REALTORS® represents more than 10,300 REALTORS® who are involved in all aspects of real estate, including residential and commercial real estate brokers, sales agents, developers, builders, property managers, office managers, appraisers and auctioneers.

To view housing statistics for the state, as reported to Kentucky REALTORS®, visit housingstats.kyrealtors.com.

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Lexington needs 22,000 additional housing units to meet demand
March 19, 2017

A recent report on housing demand for Fayette County forecasts overall demand for 22,780 new housing units by 2025 including 15,160 new single family residential units, 6,275 units within multi-family structures, and 1,345 units classified as condominiums or "other” units.

The Fayette County Housing Demand Study, sponsored by a consortium of Lexington stakeholders and governmental officials, cited statistics from the Kentucky State Data Center that suggests Lexington will continue to grow at a rate of 1.2% annually thru 2025, yielding a projected Fayette County population of 354,000.

According to Lexington Bluegrass Association of Realtors (LBAR) 2017 President Ty Brown, "The association wants to make sure citizens’ needs are met by accommodating the expected population growth of the community, and this report sets out the very real challenges in the Fayette County housing market moving forward. Fayette residential sales are strong currently, and have been so for a relatively long time. It is a very tight market locally. And the lack of inventory is increasingly concerning.”

Declining inventory, fueled by projected Fayette population growth, will lead to upward pressure on home prices, diminishing housing affordability. A by-product of this increased demand will be that market-rate housing will be less affordable to middle income earners and out of reach to lower-income earners.

Shrinking inventory is creating a market where buyers are scrambling for houses which leads to sellers who are hesitant to sell. Sellers are concerned they won’t have a place to go which feeds into the continued decline of inventory.

Further, the report identifies clearly the effects of the currently unmet housing demand within Fayette County, which is forcing people to travel farther to and from their job into adjacent communities where they reside. Fayette County was home to 164,251 jobs in 2002, and in 2014 the number of jobs swelled to 191,977, equivalent to a growth rate 16.9%.

However, Fayette County jobs are increasingly filled by commuters from outside the county. In 2014, 49.1% of all Fayette jobs were filled by Fayette residents, down from 61.1% in 2002. Despite the growth of 28,000 jobs, the total number of jobs filled by county residents decreased from 100,431 in 2002 to 94,338 in 2014.

Job growth and economic opportunity drives the housing industry. A home is where each job goes at night. When communities fail to meet their demand for housing, housing prices rise, people commute further, and the community’s quality of life suffers, as does its infrastructure and environment.

The report also projects that homeownership in Lexington will remain low relative to its historical average, with homeownership only expected to increase to 52.75% in 2025 from its 2015 level of 51.5%. Also, the population continues to trend older with over half of anticipated householders from 2015 to 2025 to be age 65 years or older.

Read the executive summary of the report

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Unemployment rates down in majority of KY counties
March 10, 2017

Unemployment rates fell in 90 Kentucky counties between January 2016 and January 2017, rose in 23 and stayed the same in seven counties, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the commonwealth at 3.6 percent. It was followed by Oldham County (3.9), Fayette County (4.0), Shelby County, (4.1), Scott County, (4.4), Jessamine and Spencer counties, (4.5) and Boone, Campbell and Warren counties (4.6).

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 17.9 percent. It was followed by Elliott County (14.0) Carter County (12.7), Wolfe County (12.1), Leslie County, (11.8), Lawrence County (11.7), Menifee County, (11.5), Harlan County, (11.4), Lewis County, (11.3) and Clay County (10.9).

In contrast to the monthly national and state data, unemployment statistics for counties are not seasonally adjusted. The comparable, unadjusted unemployment rate for the state was 5.8 percent for January 2017, and 5.1 percent for the nation.

Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working. Civilian labor force statistics include non-military workers and unemployed Kentuckians who are actively seeking work. They do not include unemployed Kentuckians who have not looked for employment within the past four weeks. The statistics in this news release are not seasonally adjusted because of the small sample size for each county. The data should only be compared to the same month in previous years.

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