Coronavirus and US Real Estate Market


By Sondra Barrett, President and the Board of Directors of NAIBRS

March 15, 2020 Newsletter

We live in uncertain times. We are bombarded with news of Coronavirus spreading in every continent except Antarctica. We are certainly going to break 100,000 infected and 3,000 mortalities….and quite frankly, it is terrifying. I’ve talked to so many friends, relatives and colleagues on how the virus has gone from a remote risk to a local concern. There are comparisons to the Spanish Flu of 1918. Most are shocked at 51 million fatalities caused by the pandemic virus.  Many are more shocked when you think our world population was much less than today 102 years ago (less than 2 billion vs almost 8 billion today).

I’ve been thinking about what this will do to our real estate industry…one of the core engines of driving our US economy. Thus, I am writing to you about what our thoughts are on the impact of Coronavirus on our real estate business.

Home prices still remain strong.

Most markets in the US are still going up. There is over 3.3M shortage of housing inventory (per Freddie Mac) and we all keenly understand that homes go up over time. History has shown blips (like a major recession) but prices tend to go up. After all population grows, but land availability does not. Coronavirus will be contained and will be under control as the world if focused on the solution, versus denial and assigning blame.

The Fed Takes Action as a Response to the Impact of Coronavirus

With concerns on an economic slow down, the fed dropped rates 50bps. What this means for us…mortgage rates fell to incredibly low amounts…low 3% range for 30 Year Fixed and some cases below 3% for 15 Year Fixed. This means our clients can afford more house.  For example, if rate is lower by 1%, this improves monthly payment by 12%. Your buyers (with prequalification from solid lenders) can buy more homes and save money.

Take a look at this chart of 10-year treasury rates, which are closely linked to mortgage rates.

10-Year US Treasury Rates

 (Source:  Google)

Many of you are thinking….are 10-year treasury rate and mortgage rates really connected?  Yes, they are very much tied together as the next chart shows how tight they follow each other!

Looks like there is a positive correlation!

What to do Now

By being in a digital work environment, we have advantages available today.

Our New Construction Specialist classes for designation are online.

Proposed Properties LLC has its new construction discovery sessions available on Zoom tele-conferencing.

Be positive– if you look worried then your clients will be worried.

Some Beacons of Hope

Tom Truong, 2019 national president of AREAA believes “We remain confident in the housing market and are optimistic that the combined countermeasures including lower interest rates and high homebuyer demand will make 2020 an outstanding year for our industry!”

Asa Fleming, president of NC Association of Realtors with 47,000 agents states “The demand for housing is extremely strong in my state, and I hear similar feedback from other states.

Per Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Department expects to continue “limited and tailored government support” of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after their departure from federal conservatorship. “Stability in the housing finance system is crucial, and there should be no disruption to the market as a result of Treasury’s recommended administrative reforms.”

Jim Pesavento, director of NAIBRS states “We have faced more challenges in our lifetime and this too will pass.”

The Ultimate Advice

There will always be a possibility of a global risk that affects our assets.  Just look at the stock market with daily drops where many 401K values are dropping like a rock. However, people don’t live in their 401Ks…they live in their homes.

You can’t change how fast we will find a cure…but you can choose to take advantage of incredibly low mortgage rates and get into your dream home.

Life is too short to stop living. Like all storms, Coronavirus will come to pass and we will be back on the steady road to wealth creation for our clients.


Sondra Barrett

President, NAIBRS

US Housing 2019 Look-Back and 2020 Outlook

by Saurabh Gupta

NAIBRS provides economic commentary on the US housing market. We are pleased on launching our first US market view of housing and renovation. This provides a look-back on 2019 and what to expect in 2020. We live in interesting times (ranging Coronavirus to presidential elections) with lots of variables that can affect our market. Good news is that we aren’t expecting any major downturns in housing overall…enjoy the read.

Saurabh Gupta

About the Author

Saurabh Gupta is an economic advisor to NAIBRS. He is a veteran leader with experiences at Fortune 100 companies in finance, capital markets, business analytics, portfolio risk management and other business development disciplines. Saurabh is a CFA charterholder with an MBA from Carnegie Mellon and MS in Electrical Engineering. He has been a long-term proponent of the housing finance industry in the US and international markets. He can be reached at [email protected]

Our 2020 Vision


By Sondra Barrett, President

Can you believe it? 2020 is upon us and it seems like it will be a very different and improved market. As the president of NAIBRS, I enjoyed taking the position promoting new construction as a way to build our communities. I am a lifelong real estate professional as well as advocate for building homeownership as a way to build family wealth.

One of the key definitions for our organization is the tagline that embodies our mission-UNIFY, EDUCATE, GROW. To this end, I am commenting on the different areas on what we have done as an organization.


One of the key accomplishments this year is to expand our Board of Directors by adding industry leaders that are critical to the real estate sector. These include adding Jim Pippin, with Fannie Mae and Ed Currie, with Associated Bank. Both are accomplished veterans and will add the expertise firepower to take the organization to the next level.

Our plan for 2020 is to onboard several additional industry leaders to our leadership team, including builders, vendors, MI companies, and others that are both passionate and accomplished to take us to the next level. We will plan more housing summits to connect our members to builders, lenders and real estate professionals, and catalysts who as a collective group want to improve homeownership.

We are currently a 3000+ member strong organization, and will add a focus to increase membership across the country. With help from sponsors such as GO Mortgage, we will focus on expanding into new markets in Texas, Wisconsin, and others. I want to call out GO Mortgage for their generous financial sponsorship as a corporate partner….special thanks to their CEO Chad Jampedro!


One of the key accomplishments this year has been the creation of a New Construction Specialist designation and class (taught by our own Jim Pesavento, certified trainer!). Please see the recent press release referencing industry leaders like Tom Truong, former president of AREAA (Asia Real Estate Association of America). The class was at 100% capacity and had incredible feedback. If you are interested in becoming a NCS, please email us at [email protected] For 2 hours and $50.00 (very reasonable for class + certification), you can differentiate yourself in today’s competitive and rapidly expanding new construction market. A recent Zillow study found that 64% of all home buyers are considering new construction. It is the largest segment of buyers in the market, yet has the least available training for real estate agents. That is what makes the NCS education and designation invaluable for agents interested in capitalizing on this untapped opportunity! Our plans for 2020 include expanding this NCS program to several more states and add continuing education to our curriculum. Stay tuned in IL as it will be our first CE approved state! Also, we will be adding thought leadership and economic news from our experts (Nancy who has a masters from Duke University!)


Many of you have heard Jim Pesavento dynamic presentations around Lot2Home. Jim has been visionary in his process on how to leverage thousands of vacant properties, in-lots, and tear-downs as a way to enhance differentiation to win listing. More importantly, the program creates a win-win for everyone. In Chicagoland alone, we have over 100 opportunities that can leverage the power of the MLS and double the marketing exposure of our agent partners listings. If all 100 opportunities convert into new construction, just imagine – we just created 300 new jobs (source: NAR Analysis regarding impact of new construction jobs).

Our plans for 2020 including expanding nationwide into multiple states. With our value proposition, we expect to reach new markets and members who can refer business to each other.

One of our key missions is also to give back to communities. Not only do we promote rebuilding, we also encourage our members along with ourselves, to give back to great causes that align with our values. More information and news coming!

It has been an honor serving you as president of NAIBRS. With all of us working together, we will have an outstanding 2020 with many great successes– one new homeowner at a time.

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones!

Sondra Barret President, NAIBRS

With Board Members: Paul Imura, Jim Pesavento, Jeff Cook, Jim Pippin, Ed Currie, and Lindsay Kozlowski

NAIBRS Launches New Construction Specialist Certification Class


The National Association of Independent Builders and Real-Estate Services (“NAIBRS”), is pleased to announce it has launched its New Construction Specialist course to raise the industry’s base knowledge in identifying, nurturing, and leveraging market opportunities for residential building.

The National Association of Independent Builders and Real-Estate Services (“NAIBRS”), is pleased to announce it has launched its New Construction Specialist course to raise the industry’s base knowledge in identifying, nurturing, and leveraging market opportunities for residential building. Jim Pesavento, founder of NAIBRS, created the course because of the general lack of new residential construction understanding in the REALTOR® community. 

Pesavento states “From my travels in many states, we found there was a lack of core courses that teach agents the nuances of new construction. 50% of homebuyers are open to new construction homes. If the agent, who is the trusted advisor, is not armed with the details of building a new home it does the homebuyer a disservice. Our organization decided to create the course and designation because one of our three core missions is to educate the market.” Mr. Pesavento, who is a seasoned residential builder and managing broker in real estate as well as a certified trainer, created the course content. The material is patterned from Mr. Pesavento’s continuing education course structure. The course is designed, like most continuing education,to be covered in just a few hours with a competency test at the end. The graduates receive a 2-year NAIBRS designation that helps them with marketing their differentiating knowledge in the space.

Tom Truong, recent president of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (“AREAA”) and one of the industry real estate experts, immediately saw value in the course. Mr. Truong has agents from his eXp Realty in over 25 states. He states “many of my agents understand to be the best at serving homebuyers, you need to understand all aspects of the market. New construction is often overlooked, but many of our clients still ask about the option. I applaud NAIBRS for the vision and insight in creating a valuable tool.”

The first class was launched recently with plans to offer the course twice monthly. One of the graduating students, Paola Moore, states “the course was valuable and provided me with confidence to better serve my clients and win more listings. Traditional real estate education does not address new construction and many of its elements such as building permits, architects, contractors, and specialized financing. These all make selling new construction very different than selling existing product. In the end, many of my clients will find it was worth building their dream home.”

For more information on the New Construction Specialist course please contact [email protected]


Lindsay Kozlowski 
Press Relations 
[email protected]          

“NAIBRS is about Wealth Creation”


By Ms. Barrett, President of NAIBRS

As  your incoming president, I wanted to share my perspective on why NAIBRS is an important organization and mission. You work incredibly hard serving the needs of your clients, and for many of you it is not just a transaction, it’s a long relationship with someone who wants to plant roots in our community.

I’ve found myself in the real estate industry after a 13-year stint as a commodities trader on the Chicago floor.  My mom was a real estate agent, and I remember how each deal was more than a transaction.  There were families looking to buy their first home after having their first child. Subconsciously, I knew being in real estate is a real career opportunity.

When my colleagues at NAIBRS speak of our mission, it is about rebuilding our communities, creating jobs locally, filling a housing shortage, creating new ways to promote new construction, and creating a unified platform for many of us who are independent small business owners.

I have a new defined purpose for NAIBRS…we are wealth creators.  My colleague, Paul Imura, who is founding chairman of our organization, often addresses at  our conferences the impact the real estate.  If you sold a house ten years ago versus a car, which purchase turns out to be a better deal for the consumer.  Everyone understood the analogy, but  I wanted to see the expected numbers.  If you assume 4% appreciation for homes vs 15% depreciation for cars,  what happens after 10 years?    These are basic assumptions that we can find numerous supporting sources.

If we start with a $100,000 purchase (which is possible to buy a car or home today), in 10-years the home is worth $142K versus $22K.  

Although a fancy new car would be exciting initially, I think many homebuyers would be happy providing shelter for their families and then as a nice surprise, see their home worth more providing much needed wealth for important events like children going to college or one day, retirement.

My message is simple, we in the real-estate business are wealth creators.  I look forward working with you on driving more transactions, more happy clients, and more economic strength back to our communities. 


Sondra Barrett

President of NAIBRS

National MI to Co-Sponsor New Construction Housing Summit in Chicago.


Fannie Mae, Fifth Third Bank, NAIBRS and other top housing industry experts are among the speakers who will discuss a variety of topics relevant to Realtors and mortgage lenders.

EMERYVILLE, Calif., Sept. 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Leading industry experts will gather to discuss new ways to address the housing shortage on October 3, 2019 from 10:00 AM to 2:30 PM Central at Fifth Third Bank in Rosemont, IL. The housing summit will be followed by a networking and cocktail reception. The free event is being hosted by National MI, a subsidiary of NMI Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: NMIH), along with Fifth Third Bank and National Association of Independent Builders and Real-Estate Services (NAIBRS). Registration is required.

Experts in mortgage lending, real estate and housing will discuss ways to grow new construction opportunities, often overlooked as an option in buying a new home. One in two homebuyers are willing to consider building a new home, yet only 10 percent actually end up doing so, according to an extensive Zillow study. In a roundtable format, summit participants will look at the reasons behind homebuyers’ choices and will discuss ways to boost new home purchases.

Jim Pippin, business relationship manager at Fannie Mae, will speak about housing market challenges today. National MI Vice President, National Accounts, Jim McGurk will address low down payment options for mortgage financing. James Pesavento, CEO of Proposed Properties LLC, will talk about driving new construction and Fifth Third Bank Area Sales Manager Jeff Gomoll will speak on financing options.

“Our bank has always supported new construction with our mortgage products, such as construction-to-permanent loans,” says Fifth Third’s Gomoll. “Our partnership with NAIBRS and its sponsors will drive much-needed education in our industry.”

“By focusing on the conversion of vacant lots into new construction, we can make a serious dent in the housing inventory shortage,” says NAIBRS President Sandra Barrett. “Ten thousand lots in the Chicago area alone represent about 20 percent of the sales opportunities in the Chicago market.”

“We’re thrilled to be working with Fifth Third Bank and NAIBRS to help increase homeownership,” says National MI’s McGurk, “We want to dispel the notion that building a new home is only for the financially wealthy and let people know that private mortgage insurance is a valuable low-down payment solution for borrowers.”

Details on the event are as follows:

Date:October 3, 2019
Time:10AM to 2:30PM CST
Location:Fifth Third Bank, 6111 N River Rd. Rosemont, IL 60018
RVSP:Required as seating will be limited to first 100 acceptances.

Please contact Lindsay Kozlowski at [email protected] for any additional information or to register for the event. You may also follow the link below to register.

About National MI
National Mortgage Insurance Corporation (National MI), a subsidiary of NMI Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: NMIH), is a U.S.-based, private mortgage insurance company enabling low down payment borrowers to realize home ownership while protecting lenders and investors against losses related to a borrower’s default. To learn more, please visit

Press Contact for National MI 
Mary McGarity
Strategic Vantage Mortgage Public Relations
[email protected]

Investor Contact for National MI
John M. Swenson
Vice President, Investor Relations and Treasury
[email protected]


Proposed Properties launches its patent-pending matching technology, Lot2Home™ to allow homebuyers to expand options in selecting the right building site and home design.


Proposed Properties launches its patent-pending matching technology, Lot2Home™ to allow homebuyers to expand options in selecting the right building site and home design. New construction is making a come-back because market tailwinds are driving consumers to consider building instead of buying existing homes.

Jim Pesavento, CEO of Proposed Properties states “Technology has always been a game-changing catalyst in our real estate industry. Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen the power of the internet in providing homebuyers more information than ever imagined. Today’s buyers want choice, transparency and ease of understanding options with their home purchase decision-process. Our Lot2Home technology was designed with the end-goal of providing tools for buyers to visualize their dream home with our participating builders, and providing them a simple solution to help them build their dream home.”

Many real estate professionals struggle with connecting their clients with new construction options. However, Mike Zawilsak, a broker with Baird & Warner (established in 1855), finds Proposed Properties’ solution quite effective. Mr. Zawilsak states “I first heard Proposed Properties approach three-years ago on their smarter way to build homes. With their comprehensive construction process coupled with a strong technology tool, my clients are at ease in building their dream home.”

Sondra Barrett, president of the National Association of Independent Builders and Real-Estate Services, believes new construction can have an enormous impact on the US housing gap. Ms. Barrett shares “This program alone would bring $400M in Chicagoland new construction product sales and mortgage financing. This brings many economic benefits to our local economy.”

For more information on Proposed Properties or to get a demo of their unique matching technology, please contact [email protected] or Lindsay Kozlowski at (312)-625-8053.

About Proposed Properties 
Proposed Properties LLC was formed in 2018 and is based in Wheaton, IL. The company is focused on creating residential construction opportunities by providing a common platform for industry participants to best serve homebuyers. With its proprietary matching technology, homebuyers are able to customize and expand design options for building on lots and teardowns. The partners of Proposed Properties are experienced leaders from top REALTORS® firms, and Fortune 100 financial services and technology companies.


Since being launched in the fall of 2017, the National Association of Independent Homebuilders and Remodelers has always had strong ties to the real estate community, and other professionals critical to the housing industry. Although rooted in the education and support of builders and remodelers, these other key service providers in the housing industry ecosystem have been essential components in NAIHBR as an organization. In an effort to recognize their contribution to the NAIHBR organization, the National Association of Independent Home Builders and Remodelers has been renamed The National Association of Independent Builders and Real-Estate Services, or NAIBRS!


This change has also been made to be more inclusive of real estate agents, lenders, title companies and other service providers that are key to the housing industry. And the change goes well beyond the name alone. NAIBRS will now be hosting classes and connecting members to other educational sessions for several of these specific groups to educate and promote the housing and contracting business, as well and create a more seamless and transparent experience for consumers.


Housing is a critical component of the US economy. For every single-family home built, 3 full time jobs are created. In additional, there is a significant economic lift and increased stability when new homes are constructed in a neighborhood. We are proud to be a part of this effort and support the housing industry.


To commemorate this change in our membership and organizational scope, NAIBRS will be offering new members a FREE year of membership in the organization until August 31st, 2019. That is a $49.95 value! Invite your friends and colleagues to join NAIBRS, and become a part of the movement that will promote and support the housing initiative in your community.

naihbr now naibrs

NAIBRS welcomes Proposed Properties

NAIHBR is proud to be working with some of the best service partners in real estate, lending, and construction to provide a more transparent and seamless experience for consumers. That is why so many of our members have decided to “Start With Your NAIHBR,” and introduce their clients to us. Clients can now understand the benefits of new construction, interact with the area’s best builders and receive guidance to make the home building process as easy and efficient as possible.


NAIHBR would like to welcome Proposed Properties as a Platinum Partner. Proposed Properties provides a sophisticated software platform that provides the matching services buyers need, allowing them to compare lots, builders, products and pricing. Agents can now register clients with Proposed Properties and the program will smoothly guide them through the home building process. You can even take a class and become certified as a New Construction Specialist (NCS) so you can take advantage of expanding construction opportunity in your market. Did you know over half of ALL buyers consider new construction before they buy? Save time and money by having your new construction homebuyer experience start with Proposed Properties.

For more information about Proposed Properties click below.

reduced image finger with magnifying glass
NAIBRS 150 Logo Final White footer no script

Contact Info

401 North Michigan Ave., Suite 1200, Chicago, IL 60611

(855) 733-8100
[email protected]

© Copyright 2019 NAIBRS © All Rights Reserved