SUCCESSFUL WOMEN LEADERS

Today is the last day of women’s history month and as significant as the support and awareness of women has been these past 31 days, it is important to maintain this solidarity the rest of the year.

In the professional arena, women entrepreneurs are reaching historic achievements. Women are starting 1,100 new businesses every day and the Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced that they are presently awarding 5.05 percent of federal small business contracts to women-owned small businesses. Women-owned businesses grew by 27.5 percent from 2007 to 2012, and women business owners are continually setting the stage for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) released a report this week detailing the state of women in leadership. AAUW asserts, “Women are much less likely than men to be in leadership positions. In universities, businesses, courts, unions, and religious institutions, male leaders outnumber female leaders by wide margins.”
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FUTURISTIC CENTRAL PARK

The future of technology and design is a topic always at the helm of modern discussions. How will the next model of that luxurious car look? When will we see in real life the technology we’ve long observed in films? Essentially, how will the things we know and see everyday change next?

We are surely—at times slowly, other times briskly—moving toward the future. The latest example of this is the New York Horizon Project, winner of eVolo Magazine’s 2016 Skyscraper Competition.

In the project, designers Yitan Sun and Jianshi Wu propose digging Central Park down to the bedrock, thus exposing lakes and mountains, and subsequently constructing a 1000-foot tall structure around the perimeter of the park with mirrored walls reflecting New York’s architecture that would house thousands of apartments.
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THE STATE OF WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES

At the beginning of 2016, the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) released the 2015 annual report detailing the current state and progress of women-owned businesses in the U.S. The report identified several breakthroughs for women entrepreneurs, among them the fact that there are 10 million women-owned businesses in the country, these firms employ 8 million workers and generate $1.4 trillion in revenue, between 2002 and 2012 women-owned companies grew at a rate 2.5 times the national average and women entrepreneurs account for 36 percent of all businesses.
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PREVENTING HOME FORECLOSURES

Today, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a release reporting that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) accomplished a total of 47,769 foreclosure prevention actions in the fourth quarter of 2015. This increases the number of foreclosure prevention actions to more than 3.6 million since the introduction of the conservatorships in 2008. The Enterprises have helped millions of families save their homes and have permanently modified 2 million home loans to date.
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HISPANIC HOMEOWNERSHIP CONTINUES UPWARD TRAJECTORY

The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) and the Hispanic Wealth Project recently released the2015 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report revealing that while the national homeownership rate dwindles, Hispanic homeownership continues its rise.

The report reveals that homeownership among Hispanics outpaces that of all other demographics, achieving a net gain of 245,000 owner households in 2015, 69 percent of total U.S. homeownership growth. As the study articulates, “For the first time in 10 years the Hispanic homeownership rate spiked upward while overall homeownership rates in the country continued a downward trend.”

There was tremendous growth in Hispanic homeownership between the fourth quarters of 2014 (44.5 percent) and 2015 (46.7 percent), marking a net increase of 531,000 owner households. The report clarifies that Hispanic homeownership hadn’t risen by these levels since 2005, gains that were erased by subprime mortgages and the housing crisis. Now, supported by a decrease in poverty and an increase in purchasing power, along with a growing population, Hispanics are situated to impact the housing economy.
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REDUCED MORTGAGE BALANCES

For the first time since the housing bubble, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) may soon begin reducing mortgage balances for homeowners. According to an article from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has approved a plan for the Enterprises to reduce the mortgage balances of strained borrowers.

This development comes after years of affirmation by GSE heads that debt reduction was out of the question. Confirming that the plan will be released within the next 30 days, FHFA director Melvin L. Watt also said that any mortgage reduction decisions would have to benefit both bereft borrowers and the Enterprises.
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SLEEP DEPRIVATION AND ITS EFFECTS ON YOU

A recent survey reveals that over half of American workers feel they are significantly affected by a lack of sleep, a phenomenon that may only worsen with daylight savings time taking effect this past weekend. The study was conducted online on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll and surveyed over 3,200 employees ages 18 and older during November and December of 2015.
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Director Defends CFPB

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray appeared before the House Financial Services Committee yesterday for the first time since September of last year, to provide a semi-annual update on behalf of the agency. In the much-anticipated hearing, Cordray stood by CFPB decisions and was, as expected, flooded with criticisms.
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Getting Creative with Homebuying

Amid the checklist of prospective homebuyers, you’ll find things like saving for a down payment, obtaining a mortgage, desired characteristics for their future neighborhood; one worry current buyers may not be aware about is low inventory. In a market where home prices are appreciating, the harsh reality that after saving for a home you may not be able to even find one you like is sobering.
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