Kentucky REALTOR® News

NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, examines real estate under a new presidency
November 18, 2016

Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, examines how the real estate market will be impacted by Donald Trump’s victory and Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress. Though Mr. Trump is a real estate man, his policy platform has been largely vague on real estate proposals. Here are his thoughts on how certain real estate issues may play out under President Trump and their potential impact to consumers.

  1. There will no doubt be a short-term stimulus to the economy. A combination of tax cuts and government spending in the form of upgrading nation’s infrastructure and for national defense will provide a short boost to the economy in the first half of 2017. Inflation will likely kick a bit higher from a faster GDP growth and that will lead to modestly higher interest rates. Accompanying gains in consumer confidence will further move the economy higher. Should the faster GDP growth be sustained and arise out of higher productivity, then inflation will be manageable. Moreover, more jobs will automatically mean more tax revenue, which will lessen budget deficit. Should, however, the stimulus impact give only a short term boost and not be durable then a much larger budget deficit will force interest rates notably higher. The future generation will be saddled with more debt. Read More
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Kentucky's unemployment rate at 5% for September
October 20, 2016

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for September 2016 was 5 percent from a revised 4.9 percent in August 2016, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The preliminary September 2016 jobless rate was 0.4 percentage points lower than the 5.4 percent rate recorded for the state in September 2015.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for September 2016 was 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 September 2016, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 1,981,794, an increase of 12,605 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment was up by 10,571, and the number of unemployed increased by 2,034.

“The sharp increase in the labor force signals that more workers are returning to the workforce as they see the employment situation improving. For the last five months our unemployment rate has hovered around 5 percent, which is effectively full employment,” said economist Manoj Shanker of the OET. “Though there has been an uptick in labor force participation, Kentucky is still ranks near the bottom of the stack in participation rates.” 

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 11,500 jobs in September 2016 from the month before and was up 25,800 positions since September 2015.

“Nonfarm employment, or what’s normally called the jobs number, is at a historical high. The September report delivered an unexpected boost to the flat situation we have experienced so far in 2016, “said Shanker. “The biggest increase was in professional and business services which was buoyed by jobs in temp services.”

Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to this survey, eight of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors registered gains in employment, while two declined and one stayed the same from the previous month.

Employment in Kentucky’s professional and business services increased by nearly 3 percent with the addition of 6,200 jobs in September 2016 from a month ago. Year-over-year there was a gain of 6,000 jobs. This category includes establishments engaged in services that support the day-to-day activities of other organizations, including temporary employment services and payroll processing.

“Typically, when businesses plan to expand they test the waters by hiring more temp employees. The robust gain in temp hiring—after a nine-month decline—is reassuring,” said Shanker. 

The leisure and hospitality sector gained 2,500 jobs in September 2016 from a month ago. Since September last year, the sector has expanded by nearly 2 percent with the addition of 3,500 jobs. This sector includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services.

Kentucky’s trade, transportation, and utilities sector expanded by 1,200 jobs in September 2016 from a month ago. This is the largest sector in Kentucky with nearly 400,000 jobs accounting for one-fifth of all nonfarm employment. Since September 2015, this sector has expanded substantially with a gain of 9,300 jobs. Retail trade added 1,000 jobs over the previous month, and gained 7,600 jobs over the year, while transportation and warehousing added 700 jobs from a month ago and increased 2,400 positions over the year. 

The manufacturing sector rose by 700 jobs in September 2016 compared to the previous month. Over the year, however, manufacturing employment declined by 1,300. Durable goods account for two-thirds of the manufacturing sector and grew by 1.5 percent from a year ago with the addition of 2,400 jobs, while nondurable goods lost 3,700 jobs over the year. 

The government sector, which includes public education, public administration agencies and state-owned hospitals, increased by 600 jobs in September 2016 but declined by 2,100 positions compared to last September. Almost all of the month-to-month gain was in federal employment.

Employment in educational and health services sector was up by 500 positions in September 2016, and had a robust gain of 10,600 jobs, or 4 percent, from a year ago. Health care jobs account for about 15 percent of all nonfarm employment in Kentucky and decreased by 200 positions for the month, but showed strong gains over the year with the addition of 12,000 jobs.

The financial activities sector expanded by 300 jobs in September 2016 from a month ago. The sector has added 4,600 jobs since last September.

Mining and logging sector jobs increased by 100 in September 2016 from a month ago. The industry has declined by 2,300 positions from a year ago.

Employment in the information sector remained unchanged in September 2016. This segment has declined by 900 positions from a year ago. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

The construction sector dropped by 200 jobs in September 2016 from a month ago. Since September 2015, construction jobs have decreased by 1,800 positions.

Employment in the other services sector, which includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services, and religious organizations, decreased by 400 positions in September 2016 from a month ago. This sector has increased by 200 jobs from a year ago.

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

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CFPB loses with the court, RESPA referral suit was an overreach
October 12, 2016

The real estate industry won a major referral-law victory in court this week when a federal appeals court shot down a controversial Sec. 8 anti-kickback enforcement action taken by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last year.

In a decision that aligns with arguments by NAR and other industry groups, the court said the CFPB incorrectly levied a $109 million fine on a mortgage company, PHH Corp., for entering into an arrangement with mortgage insurers to refer customers to them if they bought reinsurance from PHH-affiliated reinsurers.

At the time it handed down the fine, the CFPB said the “tying” arrangement between the companies amounted to an illegal referral arrangement under Sec. 8(c)(2) of the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act. Sec. 8 prohibits payments of anything of value for referrals of business in connection with real estate settlements. Read More

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Time to sell more homes - Kentucky's economy continues to expand
September 16, 2016

There’s a saying in Kentucky that “you need to make hay while the sun is shining” and during the previous month, the sun definitely shined brightly in the Commonwealth. Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for August 2016 was 4.9 percent from a revised 5 percent in July 2016, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The preliminary August 2016 jobless rate was 0.4 percentage points lower than the 5.3 percent rate recorded for the state in August 2015.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for August 2016 was 4.9 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Read More

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KAR hires new Director of Education & Training Services
September 15, 2016

The Kentucky Association of REALTORS® (KAR) announces that Nicole DeBoth has been hired as its Director of Education & Training Services. Nicole comes to KAR from LaCrosse, Wisconsin, bringing with her a strong and impressive background in coordinating professional education programs for leading real estate companies.

Nicole has expertise in organizing high level employee training and creating customized courses for clients in the real estate industry nationwide and has worked to ensure client satisfaction and success.

“Nicole will bring a great wealth of real estate training knowledge to our organization and has the ability to help us create and deliver cutting edge programs for our members,” said KAR CEO Steve Stevens. “Our obligation is to help KAR members access training that not only meets their continuing education requirements, but helps them be the best in our industry in the nation.”

Her primary responsibility at the Association will be to provide leadership and coordination for programming and services to KAR that fall under the Kentucky Real Estate Education Foundation (KREEF) – a 501(c)(3) organization that serves as the educational arm for the KAR. The purpose of KREEF is to promote suitable standards of education in real estate, to broaden and expand real estate course offerings at educational institutions within the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and to promote other activities that foster, encourage and support the improvement of quality, interest and research in the teaching and study of real estate.

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Downpayment assistance offered through the Kentucky Housing Corporation
August 29, 2016

In January of this year, Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) launched the Hardest Hit Fund Down payment Assistance Program (HHF DAP), which gave new homebuyers, in distressed counties, forgivable second mortgage. HHF DAP was only available in four of Kentucky’s counties, as deemed by the U.S. Department of Treasury, for being hardest hit with serious delinquency, negative equity, distressed sales, and foreclosures. The goal of this program was to reduce obstacles for homeownership and stabilize those local housing markets for families and their communities. That first launch of the program was successful, generating 559 loans, and so effective for home buyers in these counties that is being brought back for a second time.

As such, KHC is announcing a new round of HHF DAP, which provides first-time home buyers with $10,000 in down payment assistance. This product is only available with new reservations on or after Thursday, September 1, 2016.

HHF DAP Guidelines:

  • $10,000, 0 percent interest, forgivable second mortgage loan with a five-year term.
  • Property (new or existing) must be located in one of the four counties:
    • Christian
    • Hardin
    • Jefferson
    • Kenton
  • Secondary Market Purchase Price and Income Limits apply.
  • Borrower must be a first-time home buyer (no ownership interest in the last three years).
  • Pre-purchase home buyer education required.
  • Dodd-Frank Affidavit must be completed (will print with loan reservation).

For more information, please visit KHC's website, under Lenders.

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Unemployment rates down in 93 KY counties
August 25, 2016

Unemployment rates fell in 93 Kentucky counties between July 2015 and July 2016, but rose in 27 counties, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Oldham County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 3.5 percent. It was followed by Woodford County, 3.6 percent; Campbell, Fayette, Shelby and Spencer counties, 3.8 percent each; Boone County, 3.9 percent; Anderson County, 4 percent; and Franklin, Jessamine, Kenton, Monroe, Owen and Scott counties, 4.1 percent each.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 16.3 percent. It was followed by Leslie County, 12.7 percent; Harlan County, 12.3 percent; Letcher County, 12.2 percent; Elliott County, 11.6 percent; Knott County, 11 percent; Floyd County, 10.9 percent; Pike County, 10.8 percent; and Lawrence and Wolfe counties; 10.6 percent each.

In contrast to the monthly national and state data, unemployment statistics for counties are not seasonally adjusted. The comparable, unadjusted state unemployment rate for the state was 5.2 percent for July 2016, and 5.1 percent for the nation. Read More

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Overtime rule from the DOL
August 16, 2016

Effective December 1, 2016, DOL revised the requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regarding the minimum salary threshold for employees to be considered exempt from overtime.

The final rule raises the annual salary threshold to $47,476, up significantly from $23,660, and will increase automatically every three years, starting in 2020. Unless specifically exempted, workers are guaranteed time-and-a-half pay if they work more than 40 hours in any given week if they make less than $47,476, including up to 10 percent of the standard salary requirement with nondiscretionary bonuses, incentive payments, and commissions, provided these forms of compensation are paid at least quarterly. Read More

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'Know Before You Owe' helps agents and consumers
August 8, 2016

Since the October 2015 implementation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's ‘Know Before You Owe' mortgage initiative, Realtors® have raised red flags (link is external) over challenges in gaining access to what's known as the mortgage "closing disclosure" form, or CD. The CD is delivered to homebuyers in advance of their closing and contains important financial information related to their purchase.

Unfortunately, many lenders have chosen to withhold this document from real estate agents since Know Before You Owe went into effect, despite a longstanding tradition of sharing similar information.

Earlier this year, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau announced that it was considering changes to Know Before You Owe - also known as the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure, or TRID - including a clarification of the rules regarding sharing the CD. Read More

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Kentucky's jobless rate drops to 5% in June
July 22, 2016

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for June 2016 dropped to 5 percent from a revised 5.1 percent in May 2016, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. 

The preliminary June 2016 jobless rate was 0.3 percentage points lower than the 5.3 percent rate recorded for the state in June 2015.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for June 2016 was 4.9 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Read More

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