Move My Realty - Real Estate News

Aug.6 Update

August 6th, 2007 9:50 AM by Ron Mastrodonato

MLS Survey: Data Security, Consolidation Hot Issues
Data sharing, security, and consolidation of multiple listing services are top concerns for real estate practitioners and MLS executives, according to the 2007 REALTOR® MLS Technology Survey.

The survey was released Thursday by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Center for REALTOR® Technology.

The fifth annual survey showed respondents have a strong interest in expanding MLS service territories, with nearly one-third of practitioners and MLS execs saying they favor a statewide MLS, up from 19 percent last year. Twenty-seven percent said that a market area or metro statistical area would be ideal, while 21 percent preferred a larger market region within their state.

MLS service regions commonly expand through consolidations, which the survey also shows are on the rise. Thirty percent of those surveyed said their MLS has already consolidated with one or more MLS, up from 15 percent last year, and another 38 percent are considering consolidation.

Consolidation among MLSs will most likely continue in overlapping markets and where it’s most appropriate, says NAR President Pat V. Combs. “This will help bring down costs and enhance service,” she says.

Demand Grows for Data Sharing

While the trend of consolidation continues, MLSs are currently working to address the needs of brokers who are operating in multiple MLS regions through increased data sharing.

The survey revealed that nearly one-third of respondents have reciprocal data sharing agreements with other MLSs. Another 23 percent have considered data sharing.

“REALTORS® have invested a lot of time and millions of dollars in building and advancing real estate technology,” Combs says. Improvements in technology have made it easier for real estate practitioners to expand their geographic territories, which often results in greater demand for data sharing and integration among MLSs.

The survey also revealed the growing use of technology among MLSs for sharing data. Nearly two-thirds of MLS respondents said their MLS makes use of a RETS interface, which allows brokers, third-party software vendors, REALTOR® associations and MLSs to share real-time data, regardless of the type of software they use. This figure is up nearly 47 percent since 2005.

The most popular places for MLSs to place listings are, their local public MLS site, and the local REALTOR® association Web site; practitioners identified the same three sites as the best places to send their property listings.

The most commonly shared property information that MLSs send to third parties are photos, amenities, address, and tax information.

Security a Hot Issue

As data sharing continues to rise among MLSs, more can be done to help protect content, according to the survey.

Only a third of MLS respondents watermark their property photos and six out of 10 said they do not make use of data tagging or seeding, a process that helps MLSs identify themselves as the original source of listing information.

Three-fourths of respondents believe their MLS has taken security issues more seriously this year than in the past, but only 42 percent said their organization has a written security policy.

“For several years we’ve continued to see a wide gap between awareness of information security issues and the implementation of practices to address those concerns,” says Mark Lesswing, NAR senior vice president and chief technology officer.

NAR continues to develop software applications and certification programs to ensure the continued quality and security of the data contained within the nation’s MLS systems, he says.
Keeping Out Intruders

The survey also revealed an increase in security to protect unauthorized access to MLS systems. Twenty-seven percent of MLS respondents said they are currently using two-factor authentications, such as a key FOB or USB device, which are more secure methods for users to access MLS systems than the traditional user ID and password combination. This is up from 2 percent last year.

Most MLSs implement two-factor authentications to stop account sharing (47 percent) and increase data security (45 percent).

The level of data integration is also improving. More than half of MLS respondents can integrate tax data into MLS listings, and many now have the option of entering and attaching documents to records on the MLS system, storing contact data and integrating maps with tax and public record data.

For more information, read the entire survey on the CRT section of

— REALTOR® Magazine Online


Mortgage-Rate Drop Is Good News for Home Buyers
Freddie Mac reports a modest decline in mortgage rates during the week ended Aug. 2, with the 30-year fixed rate falling to a one-month low of 6.68 percent from 6.69 percent.

Interest on 15-year fixed loans, meanwhile, dropped to 6.32 percent from 6.37 percent.

The five-year adjustable mortgage rate slipped to 6.29 percent from 6.30 percent, and the one-year ARM slid to 5.59 percent from 5.69 percent.

Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft attributes the decrease in borrowing costs to an increase in investors snapping up Treasury securities as they move away from mortgage-backed bonds.

Source: Mail Tribune (Ore.), Jeannine Aversa (08/03/07)

Browse all of today's news


Paying Off Credit Cards Take Priority Over Mortgage
Historically, home owners opt to pay their mortgage over their credit card debt because they traditionally view their home as their most valuable asset. But a recent analysis of payment behavior by Experian, a risk analysis and information firm, finds that consumers with low credit scores are reversing conventional payment patterns and putting credit card debt first.

A turnaround in that traditional trend of building equity in a home means it's becoming much easier for consumers to walk away from their home, observes Stan Oliai, Experian’s vice president of Decision Sciences.

More Familiar with the System

Additionally, he adds, “consumers are also more aware of the process. They know that if their credit card account is delinquent, it will be shut down pretty quickly, while depending on what state they live in it will take much longer for them to be affected by a foreclosure.”

In particular, the study finds that subprime borrowers — those with an Experian credit score of 620 or lower, on an 850-point scale — are 30 days or more delinquent on mortgage payments than they are on unsecured credit card obligations. In fact, the delinquency rate on their mortgages has grown at 13.2 percent over the past four years, while credit card delinquencies have fallen, according to the study.

Meanwhile, consumers with credit scores above 680, which Experian considers prime borrowers, continue to follow traditional patterns of paying mortgages over credit card debt.

Lending Rates Increase

But the expansion of lending in the subprime sector has not been limited just to mortgages, according to the study. Over the past four years, according to Experian, credit card lending to subprime consumers rose 137 percent, while mortgage lending to subprime consumers grew by 58 percent.

In the last year, from the fourth quarter 2005 to the fourth quarter 2006, delinquency rates for both mortgages and credit cards were on the upswing nationwide. The sharpest increase occurred in the West where delinquencies were up 15.3 percent for mortgages and 6.4 percent for credit cards.

— By Camilla McLaughlin for REALTOR® Magazine Online

Posted in:General
Posted by Ron Mastrodonato on August 6th, 2007 9:50 AM


Sites That Link to This Blog: