Four Reasons Why Dodd-Frank Will Not Be Repealed

Many worry about the current administration’s pledge to remove regulations relating to financial services and the rollback of the ‘Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’. For those who may be unaware of this very substantial bill, it represented the most comprehensive financial regulatory reform measures taken since the Great Depression, and was a result of the financial crisis and housing crash of 2008/2009.

In effect, the Dodd-Frank Act created an agency to enforce compliance with consumer financial laws, introduced more stringent regulatory capital requirements, and made banking institutions retain some risk associated with home mortgage issuance.

While I believe that it’s safe to suggest that certain aspects of Dodd-Frank will be rolled back, there are four reasons why I don’t think the entire Act will be repealed.

1. Legislative action is needed to overturn any laws, and this includes Dodd-Frank. There is a very rigorous process to do this, and unsurprisingly, no consensus amongst lawmakers. Given these headwinds, and the fact that it took nearly 10 years to implement the rules that are contained within the Dodd-Frank Act, it will likely take the same length of time to roll it back.

2. A presidential executive order repealing Dodd-Frank would trigger a judicial review. An important point to understand here is that executive orders can be nullified upon judicial review if they are deemed unconstitutional or if they are not supported by statute. The courts could deem that legislative action is required if a major policy initiative is the subject of the executive order, and a reform as sweeping as Dodd-Frank is likely to be deemed a major initiative. If so, then it is back to Congress to do the legislative work, which as we all know, is never a quick process.

3. The legislative branch probably doesn’t have a strong desire to tackle another major rules overhaul concurrent with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Given the focused public spotlight on health care, legislators may run short on bandwidth to address a second statute as massive as Dodd-Frank.

4. If financial markets continue to rise (think: Dow Jones 20,000), the focus on financial services deregulation will probably lessen. Wall Street is currently outperforming even the most bullish analysts’ predictions and bank stocks are surging in value against higher earnings and profits. As such, voices within the financial services arena that are crying out for deregulation may have less influence on Congress, and certainly less credibility with the American public.

From a housing perspective, Dodd-Frank addressed the high-risk lending practices that were once endemic amongst banks. Any changes to the Act are highly unlikely to allow Wall Street to go back in that direction. Rather, the moves will take place more around the edges, such as cutting compliance costs, freeing up community and regional banks from the same rules as their bulge-bracket peers, and helping out investment advisors who believe they’ve been targeted unfairly.

For some, any repeal of Dodd-Frank implies a return to the irresponsible lending practices of years past, but the chances of that are close to zero. We may see a modest drop in credit score requirements when it comes to applying for a mortgage, but all that will do is add more potential buyers into an already competitive housing market. As for a resurgence of sub-prime lending? I am confident that will not happen.

Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

This article originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog.

Posted on February 17, 2017 at 9:24 am
Sheri Putzke | Category: Real Estate, Uncategorized

Windermere Neighborhood Update – February 2017

The local real estate market remains very hot with extremely low inventory and prices that are rising faster than anywhere else in the country. However, that rate of price growth appears to be cooling from last year, dropping to its slowest pace in three years. Predictions of more interest rate hikes may further limit price increases. Those considering to sell their home may want to take advantage now of this perfect storm of record-low inventory and record-high prices.

Eastside

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Click image to view full report.


Those looking to buy a home on the Eastside continue to face rising prices and strong competition for limited inventory. With less than a month’s supply of homes, properties here are getting snapped up as soon as they come on the market, and often sell for well over asking price. The median price for homes sold in January climbed 14 percent compared to a year ago to $793,000.

King County

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Click image to view full report.


Buyers scrambling to beat increasing interest rates have depleted an already record-low supply of homes. Fewer than 1,600 single-family homes were on the market in King County in January, beating December’s all-time low. The median price of a single family home was up 7 percent over last year to $525,000, but that is the cheapest home prices have been in 11 months. Time will tell whether that price moderation is an anomaly or the continuation of a trend.

Seattle

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Click image to view full report.


After months of robust increases, Seattle home prices slowed down in January. The median price of a single-family home in the city inched up 3 percent over a year ago to $635,000. Some areas of the city even saw small price drops. That should spell good news for buyers, yet razor thin inventory continues to make it a solid seller’s market.

Snohomish County

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Click image to view full report.


After months of double-digit price increases, Snohomish County may be starting to experience the same market softening as King County. The median price of a single-family home in Snohomish County rose 8 percent as compared to a year ago to $410,000. Tight inventory continues to be a problem. There are 40 percent fewer homes on the market here than the same time last year.

Posted on February 10, 2017 at 3:44 pm
Sheri Putzke | Category: Real Estate, Uncategorized

Windermere Foundation Raises $2,246,829 in 2016

The Windermere Foundation had another banner year in 2016, thanks to the continued support of Windermere franchise owners, agents, staff, and the community. Over $2.2 million was raised in 2016, which is an increase of seven percent over the previous year. This brings our total to over $33 million raised since the start of the Windermere Foundation in 1989.

A large amount of the money raised last year is thanks to our agents who each make a donation from every commission they earn. These funds enable our offices to support local non-profits that provide much-needed services to low-income and homeless families in their communities.


SUMMARY OF FUNDS, GRANTS & DONATIONS IN 2016

  • Organizations served: 410
  • Number of individual grants fulfilled: 664
  • Average grant amount: $2,581
  • Average donation to the Windermere Foundation: $122.05

FUNDING BREAKDOWN

  • Total funds provided in 2016: $1,951,878.78
  • Scholarships: 4.79%
  • Youth/Child Programs: 32.65%
  • Emergency Assistance: 25.67%
  • Shelter: 12.85%
  • School Assistance: 6.76%
  • Education/Counseling: 5.10%
  • Administrative Expenses: 2.74%
  • Fundraising Expenses: 9.44%

So how are funds used? Windermere offices get to decide how to distribute the funds their agents raise so that they may help organizations in their communities. Our offices have helped to fund school lunch and afterschool programs, supported non-profits that provide housing assistance to homeless families, donated to food banks, purchased school supplies, provided meals and gifts for families in need over the holidays, fulfilled wishes for children through Make-A-Wish programs, and purchased shoes, clothing, blankets and other items to help keep families warm during the winter months.

This year was also marked by a new partnership between Windermere and the Seattle Seahawks to help #tacklehomelessness. During the 2016 football season, Windermere donated $100 for every Seahawks home game tackle to YouthCare, a non-profit organization that provides essential services to homeless youth. At the end of the season, the #tacklehomelessness campaign raised $35,000, which is being used to help fund YouthCare’s transitional housing program.

Thanks to our agents, offices, and everyone who supports the Windermere Foundation, we are able to continue to make a difference in the lives of many families in our local communities. And not just during the holidays, but throughout the year. If you’d like to help support programs in your community, please click on the Donate button.

To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation.

This article originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog.

Posted on February 3, 2017 at 1:34 pm
Sheri Putzke | Category: Real Estate, Uncategorized

To FSBO or Not?

Have you considered selling your home on your own? There’s no doubt it’s a seller’s market. You’ve been watching Zillow and homes are selling quickly, many within the first week of being listed. How hard can it be?

I was recently showing buyers homes in Renton. We drove past a “For Sale By Owner” sign in a neighborhood my clients were interested in. I called up the seller and scheduled a showing for the next day – it was a perfect fit! The seller received multiple offers and we won the bidding war, paying only $1,000 over the asking price. The seller was happy. They figured they had just saved 3% by avoiding a listing office commission. Well, the appraisal came in $89,000 OVER the purchase price! In actuality, even if they had paid a listing office commission, the seller LOST over $65,000 by underpricing their home! The real winners were my buyers who were thrilled to have so much equity in their soon to be new home!

Bottom line… Please consult a professional when it comes to selling your biggest investment. A Realtor can ensure you’re listing your home at market value and can help you expertly negotiate multiple offers to obtain top dollar.

Posted on January 20, 2017 at 8:00 am
Sheri Putzke | Category: Real Estate, Uncategorized

Windermere Neighborhood Update – January 2017

A record low number of houses for sale in December indicates that 2017 will continue to be a very competitive market for buyers. The good news: those who decide to take the plunge and list their home can count on getting a premium price for their property. Brokers reported that about three-fourths of the homes sold in December involved bidding wars.

Eastside

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Click image to view full report.


Strong demand driven by a booming tech economy and great schools continue to strain the already low inventory on the Eastside. It’s not unusual for a well-priced new listing to receive dozens of offers and to sell for well over asking price. With supply failing to meet demand, the median price for homes sold in December soared 19 percent to a new record high of $803,500.

King County

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Click image to view full report.


King County had only about 1,600 single-family homes on the market in December, an all-time low. With the healthy regional economy, demand remains very strong. Prices, however, appear to be moderating somewhat. The median price for a single-family home sold in December was $550,000, up 8 percent over a year ago, but unchanged from October and November. A traditional uptick in inventory this spring may help keep price increases more modest this year compared to the double-digit increases seen in 2015.

Seattle

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Click image to view full report.


According to the Case-Shiller home price index, home prices are rising faster in the Seattle metro area than in any other major region in the country. One issue is space. The city’s existing density means that virtually no new single-family homes are being built in Seattle. As new residents flood in, more people are competing for the already tight inventory. As a result, home prices are up. The median cost of a single-family home rose 6 percent from a year ago to $635,000.

Snohomish County

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Click image to view full report.


While home prices in Snohomish County are well below those of King County, the gap is closing as prices here are increasing at a faster pace than neighboring counties. The median price of a single-family home in Snohomish County rose 12 percent as compared to a year ago to $400,000. Like King County, inventory is very slim, indicating a market heavily favoring sellers.

Posted on January 12, 2017 at 2:33 pm
Sheri Putzke | Category: Real Estate, Uncategorized

Windermere Neighborhood Update – December 2016

Buyers spooked by a spike in mortgage interest rates gave rise to the busiest November for homes sales in over a decade. Prices rose accordingly. Case-Shiller ranked the area as the housing market with the fastest rising prices in the country. Sellers can expect to get a premium for their homes as we move into 2017, but they need to consider how an expected further increase in interest rates may impact the market.

Eastside

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Click image to view full report.

There hasn’t been a stronger seller’s market on the Eastside in recent memory. Record-setting home sales, combined with record-low inventory, has resulted in a significant imbalance of supply and demand. It’s no surprise that home prices surged upward. The median price of a single-family home sold on the Eastside was $759,400, an increase of 13 percent over last November.

King County

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Click image to view full report.

Home sales in King County soared nearly 30 percent over a year ago. With frenzied demand gobbling up inventory, most homes received multiple offers. Median home prices here were up 10 percent over the same time last year to $550,000. Brokers expect the market will continue to be extremely active through the winter.

Seattle

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Click image to view full report.

A severe inventory shortage continues to make multiple offers the norm in Seattle. Even the uptick in mortgage interest rates has done little to moderate demand. The median home price here increased to $615,000 in November. If it’s any consolation for buyers facing sticker shock, that was just a 3 percent increase over the same time last year.

Snohomish County

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Click image to view full report.

Snohomish County experienced the same boost in buying and bust in inventory as the rest of the region. Prices climbed at an even faster rate than in King County. Compared to a year ago, the median price of a single-family home was up over 14 percent to $400,000.

Posted on December 14, 2016 at 3:49 pm
Sheri Putzke | Category: Real Estate, Uncategorized

Local Holiday Light Shows

december-16-web-header

Ready to lift your spirits? Shimmering light shows are a brilliant way to celebrate the winter holiday season. Grab a warm coat and go exploring in gardens, zoos and even on the water. Here are five local venues that are worth braving the cold to see…

1. WildLights at Woodland Park Zoo

5500 Phinney Ave. N, Seattle WA 98103
www.zoo.org/wildlights | click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/25/16 – 1/1/17 | 5:30-8:30 pm
  • Cost: $7.95-$9.95 per person (ages 2 and under are free)
  • Promotion: Zoo members who purchase tickets by 12/9 get a $2 discount off each adult ticket
  • Parking: Free parking at the north (Bear Lot), inner north (Otter Lot) and and northwest lot (Penguin Lot)
  • Food: Refreshments are available at food kiosks, Pizza Corner, the Rain Forest Pavilion and at the Pacific Chowder House (with covered seating). Outside food and non-alcoholic drinks are permitted.
  • Special Events and Activities
  • Holiday Closures: 12/24 & 12/25

Wildlights at Woodland Park Zoo

 

2. Garden d’Lights at Bellevue Botanical Garden
12001 Main Street, Bellevue WA 98005
www.gardendlights.org | click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/26/16 – 12/31/16 | 4:30-9:00 pm
  • Cost: $5 per person (ages 10 and under are free)
  • Promotion: Free admission on 11/28, 11/29, 11/30, 12/1, 12/5, 12/6, 12/7 and 12/8
  • Parking: $5 per car in the Garden’s lot (cash only) as space allows OR park for free at Wilburton Hill Park
  • Food: Hot drinks and snacks are available at the Aaron Education Center
  • Holiday Closures: None

Garden d'Lights at Bellevue Botanical Garden

 

3. Snowflake & Celebration Lane at the Bellevue Collection
Bellevue Way & NE 8th Street, Bellevue WA 98004
http://bellevue.com/snowflake-lane

  • Dates/Times: Nightly 11/25/16 – 12/31/16 | 20 minute show starts at 7 pm
  • Cost: Free
  • Parking: Free parking at Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place and Lincoln Square.
  • Food: A variety of dining options (from happy hour, to kid fare, to gourmet meal) are all within walking distance
  • Special Events & Activities: Ice Skating, Santa Parade & Tree Lighting
  • Holiday Closure: 12/25

Snowflak Lane at the Bellevue Collection

 

4. Christmas Ship Festival
Launch locations include Lake Union Park, Kirkland City Dock, Leschi Marina, Des Moines Marina, Poulsbo Marina, Seattle Waterfront – Pier 55, Tacoma (Dock Street Marina), Port of Edmonds Marina, Fishermen’s Terminal, AGC Marina, and Shilsole Bay Marina
www.argosycruises.com | click here to get tickets

Christmas Ship at Lake Union, Photo Courtesy of Seattle Parks

 

5. Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
5400 N. Pearl Street, Tacoma WA 98407
www.pdza.org/zoolights
click here to get non-member tickets OR click here to get member tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/25/16 – 1/1/17 | 5-9 pm
  • Cost: $8.50-$10.00 per person (ages 2 and under are free)
  • Promotions:
    -$5 tickets for zoo members
    -Combo Pass that includes daytime zoo admission ($12-$16)
    -Military Nights ($8 for US Veterans): 11/28, 11/30, 12/5, 12/7, 12/12 & 12/14
    -Scout Night ($8 for registered Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts): 12/6
  • Parking: Free parking in zoo lots (entrance on Pearl Street)
  • Food: Hot drinks and treats are available at the café and kiosks throughout the zoo
  • Activities
  • Holiday Closure: 12/24

Zoolights at Point Defiance

©Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island

This blog post originally appeared on the MercerIslandPulse.com blog.

 

Posted on December 2, 2016 at 1:21 pm
Sheri Putzke | Category: Real Estate, Uncategorized

Windermere Neighborhood Update – November 2016

Home sales outgained new listings again in October, further squeezing already tight inventory and pushing prices higher. Since new listings traditionally decrease in the fall, that inventory shortage is expected to last until spring. Sellers willing to put their home on the market now can expect plenty of interested buyers, and a highly favorable chance of getting the best possible price for their home.

Eastside

Click image to view full report.

Click image to view full report.


Home prices on the Eastside took a big leap in October, fueled by record low inventory. The median price of a single-family home sold that month was $768,000, a jump of 15 percent over the same time last year, and the fastest price growth in several months. With the market so strongly favoring sellers, brokers are hopeful more consumers will opt to list their homes.

King County

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Click image to view full report.


The amount of inventory in King County fell to levels not seen since the 1990s with just one month of available inventory. With supply falling well behind demand, prices jumped significantly. The median price of a single-family home sold in October jumped 15 percent over a year ago to $550,000.

Seattle

Click image to view the full report.

Click image to view the full report.


There is no place where the supply of homes is tighter than Seattle, particularly in areas close to the city center. Just three weeks of inventory has kept this market in solid multiple-offer territory. Prices in October increased accordingly. The median price of a single-family home in Seattle rose 13 percent to $625,000.

Snohomish County

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Click image to view full report.


Inventory in Snohomish County dropped more than 20 percent from a year ago. With just over a month of available inventory, prices climbed. The median price of a single-family home was up 6 percent over last year to $386,599. Even with that increase, buyers continue to be drawn to the area by home prices that average 30 percent less than King County.

Posted on November 14, 2016 at 2:23 pm
Sheri Putzke | Category: Real Estate, Uncategorized

The Trump effect. How will it impact the US economy and housing?

Blank Real Estate Sign & New Home

The American people have spoken and they have elected Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States. Change was clearly demanded, and change is what we will have.

The election was a shock for many, especially on the West Coast where we have not been overly affected by the long-term loss in US manufacturing or stagnant wage growth of the past decade. But the votes are in and a new era is ahead of us. So, what does this mean for the housing market?

First and foremost I would say that we should all take a deep breath. In a similar fashion to the UK’s “Brexit”, there will be a “whiplash” effect, as was seen in overnight trading across the globe. However, at least in the US, equity markets have calmed as they start to take a closer look at what a Trump presidency will mean.

On a macro level, I would start by stating that political rhetoric and hyperbole do not necessarily translate into policy. That is the most important message that I want to get across. I consider it highly unlikely that many of the statements regarding trade protectionism will actually go into effect. It will be very important for President Trump to tone down his platform on renegotiating trade agreements and imposing tariffs on China. I also deem it highly unlikely that a 1,000-mile wall will actually get built.

It is crucial that some of the more inflammatory statements that President-Elect Trump has made be toned down or markets will react negatively. However, what is of greater concern to me is that neither candidate really approached questions regarding housing with any granularity. There was little-to-no-discussion regarding housing finance reform, so I will be watching this topic very closely over the coming months.

As far as the housing market is concerned, it is really too early to make any definitive comment. That said, Trump ran on a platform of deregulation and this could actually bode well for real estate. It might allow banks the freedom to lend more, which in turn, could further energize the market as more buyers may qualify for home loans.

Concerns over rising interest rates may also be overstated. As history tells us, during times of uncertainty we tend to put more money into bonds. If this holds true, then we may see a longer-than-expected period of below-average rates. Today’s uptick in bond yields is likely just temporary.

Proposed infrastructure spending could boost employment and wages, which again, would be a positive for housing markets. Furthermore, easing land use regulations has the potential to begin addressing the problem of housing affordability across many of our nation’s housing markets – specifically on the West Coast.

Economies do not like uncertainty. In the near-term we may see a temporary lull in the US economy, as well as the housing market, as we analyze what a Trump presidency really means. But at the present time, I do not see any substantive cause for panic in the housing sector.

We are a resilient nation, and as long as we continue to have checks-and balances, I have confidence that we will endure any period of uncertainty and come out stronger.

Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

This article originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog.

Posted on November 11, 2016 at 3:24 pm
Sheri Putzke | Category: Real Estate, Uncategorized

The Gardner Report Q3 2016


The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. I hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Economic Overview

Annual employment growth in Washington State slowed somewhat in the third quarter of this year, but still remains well above the long-term average. Additionally, the jobs that are being created are primarily quality, high-paying positions, which is important for the health of our economy. Unemployment in the state remains at levels that are somewhat higher than I would like to see, but this continues to be impacted by a growing labor force and modestly slowing job growth. I still expect to see the rate drop a little further as we move through the final quarter of the year.

Home Sales Activity

  • There were 24,277 home sales during the third quarter of 2016—up by an impressive 7.9% from the same period in 2015, and 6.8% above the total number of sales seen in the second quarter of this year.
  • Skagit County saw sales grow at the fastest rate over the past 12 months, with transactions up by 25.6%. There were also impressive increases in home sales in Thurston, San Juan, Pierce, and Grays Harbor Counties. Sales fell slightly in Jefferson and Kittitas Counties.
  • Overall listing activity remains low with the total number of homes for sale at the end of the quarter 11.2% below that seen a year ago. That said, I’m happy to report that listings have been slowly trending higher in 2016.
  • I’ve been thinking about how sales can continue to rise while inventory remains so low. I believe this is due to an uptick in first-time buyers. These buyers have no home to sell, so they don’t add to the number of listings; however, they do cause sales to increase when they buy. This is a good trend to see!

Home Prices

  • As demand continues to exceed supply, we are continuing to see upward pressure on home prices. In the third quarter, average prices rose by a substantial 10.2% and are 3.2% higher than seen in the second quarter of this year.
  • The current rate at which homes are appreciating cannot continue, and I anticipate that we will see a “cooling” start to take place in 2017.
  • When compared to the third quarter of 2015, price growth was most pronounced in Lewis County. In total, there were nine counties where annual price growth exceeded 10% and prices were higher across the entire region when compared to a year ago.
  • Although supply levels are slowly starting to creep higher, we are still solidly in a seller’s market. Rising inventory levels should start to do a better job of meeting demand next year, which when combined with modestly higher mortgage interest rates, will see the region move closer toward becoming a balanced market.

Days on Market

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped by twenty-two days when compared to the third quarter of 2015.
  • All the counties that comprise this report saw the length of time it took to sell a home drop.
  • In the third quarter of 2016, it took an average of 52 days to sell a home. This is down from the 74 days it took in the third quarter of 2015, and down from the 67 days it took in the second quarter of this year.
  • King and Snohomish Counties remain the only two markets where it took less than a month to sell a home. Even though King County saw days on market rise slightly from 18 to 20, it remains the hottest market in the region.

Conclusions

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, sales velocities, interest rates, and larger economics factors. For the third quarter of 2016, I am moving the needle very slightly toward the buyers. This is entirely due to the recent increase in inventory levels that I believe will continue through the rest of the year. That said, the region remains steadfastly a seller’s market.

 

Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

 

This blog originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog.

Posted on October 28, 2016 at 11:44 am
Sheri Putzke | Category: Real Estate, Uncategorized