Zillow And Redfin Prepare To Do Battle (Redfin to raise $100 mil)

Online real estate broker Redfin is preparing to sell shares to the public, filing on Friday to raise up to $100 million. Goldman Sachs is leading the IPO for Seattle-based Redfin, which specializes in buying and selling homes and uses a mobile app to do tasks like schedule home tours and suggest listings.

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Revenue in 2016 jumped 43 percent to $267.2 million from $187.3 million a year earlier. The company’s net loss narrowed to $22.5 million from $30.2 million. Redfin calls itself a “technology-powered real estate broker.” It’s the human element that leads to a gross margin of 31 percent, much lower than most big internet companies.

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“In an age when the technology economy is increasingly divided from the rest of the world,” the filing says, “we have hired our own real estate agents, not as a disposable labor force, but as partners in this business, with a salary, health-care benefits and the opportunity to earn stock options.”

Technology investors like Madrona Ventures, Greylock Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and T. Rowe Price backed Redfin, which was created in 2004.

Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman, who joined in 2006, told CNBC in May that the company’s sales were being limited by historically low inventories of homes.

“We’re going to be fine in terms of market share, but I think the overall industry for the first time is seeing sales volume really limited by the inventory crunch,” Kelman said.

Zillow, another major player in online real estate, is located just up the road in Seattle. Zillow is more than three times the size of Redfin by revenue and is valued at about $9 billion.

— CNBC’s Diana Olick contributed to this report. Originally published here.

 

 

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Millennials Crash Real Estate Investing Party (moving away from stocks and into tangible assets)

Americans have stashed the majority of their investment dollars in the stock market over the years. But there may be a new trend on the horizon. In 2007, nearly two-thirds of Americans were investing in the stock market; last year, just over half did. A new generation of investors may be turning to real estate instead.

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RealtyShares recently teamed up with Harris Interactive to put out the Real Estate Investing Report, surveying Americans on their investment preferences. And according to the survey results, 55 percent of millennials are interested in investing in real estate, the highest percentage of all demographics questioned. Research from Fannie Maesupports these findings, reporting that 85 percent of millennials think real estate is a good investment. With such a strong preference for real estate, it is important to understand why millennials are interested and how they may invest in the future.

Why is it important?

Well, last year, millennials became the largest generation of Americans. According to a recent Pew report, there are 75.4 million millennials compared with 74.9 million baby boomers. As the largest age group in America, millennials will have the greatest ability to shift the market as their net worth builds, rendering it key to take note of millennials’ views on real estate and investment opportunities overall.

Millennials are skeptical of the stock market

Survey respondents were asked to choose between stocks, real estate, commodities, bonds, and cash equivalents such as oil, gold and cotton as the best-performing investment since 2000. Overall, 40 percent reported uncertainty around which asset class performed best, and 25 percent believed the stock market was the best investment.

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In reality, real estate outperformed the stock market during that time frame. Millennials got it right: over the 16-year period from 2000 to 2016, the S&P 500 yielded a 5.43 percent annual total return compared to 10.71 percent in real estate. And while the S&P has had a slight advantage more recently, both markets have recovered well since the Great Recession, with the S&P and real estate at 12.65 and 11.37 percent, respectively (range from Dec. 31, 2010 – Dec 30, 2016).

In the RealtyShares survey results, 20 percent of millennials indicated they believe real estate has performed the best since 2000. In fact, millennials were the age group with the largest percentage with that belief. The next highest group to believe real estate outperformed the stock market since 2000 is comprised primarily of Generation X (ages 35–44), 16 percent of whom chose real estate as the top performer.

Why are millennials the generation most likely to value real estate over the stock market? Many millennials graduated from college and entered the job market during the Great Recession. This major economic downturn made it difficult for millennials to find jobs. Simultaneously, they watched the stock market undergo the worst crash since the Great Depression. Although the housing bubble burst contributed to the stocks’ crashing, the stocks may have lingered in people’s minds longer than the housing market did.

Millennials have watched real estate bounce back

 

In 2007 and 2008, the subprime mortgage crisis caused a panic to unfold in real estate. Across the country, many Americans took home loans they couldn’t afford, which artificially increased property prices. The resulting bubble led to a major market adjustment — housing prices fell 18 percent in 2008. CNN Money reported that at the end of 2008, home prices had fallen 27 months in a row.

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It has taken eight years for the real estate market to recover, but in some markets, real estate is red-hot. Housing prices in popular millennial destinations like Portland, Denver and Austin have been steeply rising. And while millennials may have waited a bit longer than prior generations to marry and buy a home, Zillow reports that half of first-time home buyers in the United States are under 36 (compared with the median age of around 33 from 1995–2009), and first-time buyers make up 47 percent of all property sales.

Morgan Stanley believes we are still in the midst of a real estate recovery, but there is still more good news ahead in the coming years. According to a study by the American Modern Insurance Group, 86 percent of millennial renters plan on owning a home someday. This equates to roughly 50 million future homebuyers entering the future housing market.

Millennials see advantages in owning a tangible asset

 

Millennials, ever-vigilant on the internet, are paying heed to online financial experts. One of these experts especially popular among millennials is personal finance blogger Financial Samurai, who recently shared his preference for investing in real estate over the stock market.

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Also, stocks, as an intangible asset, are difficult for many to quantify. However, with real estate you can physically see and occupy the investment. This makes for an intriguing investment choice for the more visually minded/image-oriented millennial generation.

While the large down payment needed to invest in real estate is the biggest reason millennials aren’t buying real estate, thanks to online real estate investing platforms, millennials can now invest in real estate without saving tens of thousands of dollars for a down payment.

Real estate may flourish with millennials leading the charge

 

While older generations may be more interested in downsizing, millennials are having children and growing in their careers. Buying a home is the next logical step. With positive returns potentially on the horizon, millennials are on the right track. The data says real estate has the capacity to be the best investment, and millennials are on board.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED HERE

 

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2017 is a Landmark Year for E-Notarization (Here are the holdout states)

The prevalence of digital technology, the trend to reduce paperwork, the goal to save time and money and the need to increase security have converged in the growth in e-notarizations. And the momentum is growing. National organizations are increasingly endorsing e-notarizations and remote notarizations, and their uses are spreading.

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The prevalence of digital technology, the trend to reduce paperwork, the goal to save time and money and the need to increase security have converged in the growth in e-notarizations. And the momentum is growing. National organizations are increasingly endorsing e-notarizations and remote notarizations, and their uses are spreading.

All states are authorized to accept some form of e-notarization in conformance with the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) which was approved in 1999 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law (NCCUSL) as an overlay statute to help reconcile conflicting state laws. The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) Act was passed in 2000 by the federal government and grants legal recognition to electronic signatures and records if all parties to a contract choose to use electronic documents and to sign them electronically, and it also supports e-notarization.

E-notarization adoption, particularly remote notarization, is poised to gain even more traction in 2017. Remote notarization takes e-notarization a step further by using modern technology to expand the definition of “in the presence of” the notary, which is a foundational requirement of notarization in all state laws.

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Last summer, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Quicken Loans endorsed remote notarization for their mortgage closings. This was quickly followed by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) approving an amendment to the Revised Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA), which allows notaries in an enacting state or jurisdiction to perform remote notarizations for signers outside the U.S. for certain documents. The ULC also approved a drafting committee for an amendment that would allow remote notarizations for signers in the U.S.

While “in the presence of” had been traditionally interpreted as meaning “physically in the same place,” some forward-thinking states and organizations have recognized that technology allows people to be virtually in the presence of each other without requiring physical proximity.

shutterstock_325899806A remote notarization includes all the formalities of a traditional paper transaction, except that the notary and the signer are linked together by real-time, audio-video communications. That means signers and notaries have the freedom and convenience to complete transactions from wherever they happen to be, and the capability is revolutionizing many industries.

Plus, the process is actually more secure and legally defensible than wet ink signatures, thanks to authentication methods and audio-video recordings.

Knowledge of this digital process expands and widespread acceptance of e-notarization grows across industries, we can expect to see e-notarization and remote notarization become more prevalent, especially in the mortgage industry.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED HERE

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Record Low Inventory Rocks Housing Market (investors starting to freak out)

The number of homes for sale in America has been falling steadily for the past year, but the situation is apparently getting much worse as spring demand heats up. 

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Originally Published Here:  CNBC

“The inventory is reaching historic lows. It’s never declined faster than it did last month. It’s freaking us out — it’s affecting our business; it’s limiting our sales,” said Glenn Kelman, CEO of Seattle-based Redfin, a real estate firm. “We’re going to be fine in terms of market share, but I think the overall industry for the first time is seeing sales volume really limited by the inventory crunch.”

Kelman considers Redfin more as a technology company and touts his ability to track closely the more than 80 metropolitan markets it covers. He blames the lack of inventory on a new dynamic in housing.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 8.21.14 PM“It’s a new landlord nation where everybody is renting out their basement. When somebody moves up they don’t sell their old place, they rent it out to somebody else, and it’s because they want to keep that 30-year mortgage for 30 years, and it’s because they can easily find somebody on Airbnb who will take the place,” Kelman said.

Homes in April sold the fastest since Redfin began tracking the market in 2010. The typical home went under contract in just 40 days, 10 days faster than April 2016. As a result, 1 in 4 homes sold above their list price, which is the highest percentage Redfin has recorded.

Home prices continue to move higher as well, but, “It’s not a bubble,” said Kelman emphatically, who cites tight credit as keeping the bubble at bay.

shutterstock_282393257Inventory of homes for sale fell about 7 percent nationally in March, compared with a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. Like most, Kelman blames the problem on a lack of new construction. On the single-family side, homebuilders are still putting up 18 percent fewer homes than the 25-year average.

Cranes fill the sky in every town, but they’re building office buildings,” he said, noting that while employment is going up, there’s no commensurate increase in the number of houses. In fact, he added, when people do construct housing, they’re opting to build apartment complexes because tight credit is keeping many would-be buyers out of the market. “There is so much demand in terms of rent that it doesn’t make sense to build properties for sale.”

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Is A Recession Coming? (The Truth About Today’s Housing Market)

While On the third day of Mortgage Bankers Association National Secondary Market Conference and Expo in New York City, three economists took the stage to explain their view of the housing market, and their forecast for 2017. Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti, Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan and MBA Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni gave their projections over the chance of a recession within the next 12 months.

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Originally Published Here:  Housingwire

Becketti emphasized that while the chance of a recession increased, it would need to be driven by a specific event.

“Recessions are event driven, the economy doesn’t just run out of gas and slow down,” Becketti said. Fratantoni predicted a 15% to 20% chance of a recession over the next 12 months, while Duncan pushed it to a 30% chance. He listed several factors including a peak in consumer credit card usage, auto sales and corporate debt, which could point to a looming recession.

The three economists pointed out that while employment is rising, there are still gaps in the growth. What we’ve seen has been a polarization of jobs, Becketti said. Jobs have left the mid-skill level and gone to the high-skill level, and low skill jobs have also seen growth. The reason for this shift is that mid-skilled jobs are easier to automate.

lead_960But even as jobs polarize, the growth between urban and suburban areas leveled out, becoming more equally distributed between the two areas, Duncan said. However, this leveling out in the location of jobs is creating more problems in the housing market.

“But now urban areas are the most difficult area to build entry-level housing due to cost of land,” he said. As the year goes on, Fratantoni predicted the market will see two more rate hikes – one in June and one in September, saying the year would finish with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate of 4.5%.

Becketti predicted slightly more, saying the Federal Open Markets Committeecould raise rates from two to three times this year, but said the year will end with a 30-year FRM of about 4.4%.

Duncan, who predicted the highest chance of a recession in the next 12 months, agreed the Fed will raise rates twice more this year, however kept it’s rate for the end of 2017 more conservative at 4.2%. “We’re not convinced that inflationary pressures are enough to make the Fed more aggressive,” he said.

 

 

Economic Outlook

(Source: Freddie Mac)

But for now, the housing market continues to boom as home prices hit their previous peak nationally, and even significantly surpassed it in some states.

This map shows the states in relation to their former peak:

 

Economic Outlook

(Source: MBA)

All three economists were puzzled by the substantial increase in Texas, saying they could only venture to guess that while there is plenty of land to spread out in the state, the jobs are more centered, driving home prices up in key areas, such as Dallas.

And what about the rumored housing bubble? Fratantoni asked: Is San Francisco in a housing bubble? Becketti’s answer, to put it simply, was no. He answered that the city is subject to a tech collapse, but said it will not collapse on account of affordability.

 

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Most Homes Remain Priced Below Pre-recession Peak (See what the data is telling us)

While many reports show that home prices in many markets surpassed their previous peak, Trulia’s new study shows this is just the average, and more homes than not have yet to recover their full value lost in the recession. When it comes to individual homes, the U.S. housing market has yet to recover, according to the study. It shows just 34.2% of homes reached values surpassing their pre-recession peak.

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Originally Published Here:  Housingwire

While a full 98% of homes in Denver and San Francisco surpassed their pre-recession peaks, this is not the case across other metros in the U.S. In Las Vegas and Tucson, Arizona, for example, less than 3% of homes reached their pre-crisis peaks.

The study studied property-level home value recovery nationally and in the 100 largest metro areas by comparing the nominal value of each home as of March 1st to the nominal peak value of that home prior to the onset of the Great Recession, December 1, 2009. If the current value was greater than the pre-recession peak, the study considered that home to have recovered.

Since the recession, the share of homes that reached their pre-crisis levels has risen about five or six percentage points each year. At this rate, the study shows the market won’t see 100% of homes reach their pre-crisis levels until about September 2025.

This map shows the percentage of homes that recovered their pre-recession peak value by zip code:

 

home values

 

 

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Home Sellers Gain Average of $44k in Q1 2017

ATTOM Data Solutions today released its Q1 2017 U.S. Home Sales Report, which shows that homeowners who sold in the first quarter realized an average price gain of $44,000 since purchase, representing an average 24 percent return on the purchase price — the highest average price gain for home sellers in terms of both dollars and percent returns since Q3 2007.

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Originally Published Here:  Realtytrac

Meanwhile the report also shows that homeowners who sold in the first quarter had owned an average of 7.97 years, down slightly from a record-high average homeownership tenure of 8.00 years in Q4 2016 but still up from 7.68 years in Q1 2016. Homeownership tenure averaged 4.26 years nationwide between Q1 2000 and Q3 2007, prior to the Great Recession.

“The first quarter of 2017 was the most profitable time to be a home seller in nearly a decade, and yet homeowners are continuing to stay put in their homes longer before selling,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with ATTOM Data Solutions. “This counterintuitive combination is in part the result of the low inventory of move-up homes available for current homeowners, while also perpetuating the scarcity of starter homes available for first-time homebuyers.

“There are some early signs this inventory logjam may be loosening up in some markets, with the average homeownership tenure down from a year ago in nine of the 66 markets we analyzed, including Memphis, Dallas, Boston, Portland and Tampa,” Blomquist added. “Sky-high potential price gains may be finally prompting more homeowners to sell.”

Markets with biggest home seller price gains

Among 97 metropolitan statistical areas with at least 1,000 home sales in Q1 2017 (and with previous sales price information available), those with the highest average price gain since purchase realized by home sellers during the quarter were San Jose, California ($356,500 average price gain); San Francisco, California ($276,750 average price gain); Los Angeles, California ($187,000 average price gain); Honolulu, Hawaii ($161,110 average price gain); and Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California ($160,000 average price gain).

“Across our Southern California markets, low listing inventory has continued to drive multiple-offer scenarios,” said Michael Mahon, president at First Team Real Estate covering the Southern California market. “We have noticed many buyers now leveraging investment accounts, as well as some leverage of reverse mortgages, to enable their ability to negotiate in competitive multiple-offer scenarios. This level of competition, as well as continued signals of a growth economy, has created momentum particularly in the luxury market of over $1 million in sales price.”

Metro areas with the highest percent return on the previous purchase price were San Jose, California (71 percent average ROI); San Francisco, California (65 percent); Seattle, Washington (56 percent); Portland, Oregon (52 percent); and Modesto, California (51 percent).

“Thanks to Seattle’s robust economic and job growth, home prices continue to rise at well above average rates and have now surpassed their pre-housing bubble peak. Because of this, it’s no surprise that distressed sales continue to fall,” said Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, covering the Seattle market. “The increase in all-cash home sales in Seattle is likely not a result of investors, but rather all-cash buyers who are using this tactic to win homes in what it is a hyper-competitive housing market.”

Counter to the national trend, there were six markets out of the 97 analyzed (6 percent) where first quarter home sellers realized a loss since the previous purchase on average: Baton Rouge, Louisiana (10 percent average loss); Huntsville, Alabama (5 percent average loss); Milwaukee, Wisconsin (3 percent average loss); Columbia, South Carolina (3 percent average loss); Winston-Salem, North Carolina (2 percent average loss); and Augusta, Georgia (1 percent average loss).

Cash sales share down from a year ago, still above pre-recession levels

All-cash sales represented 30.0 percent of all single family and condo sales in Q1 2017, up from 29.1 percent in the previous quarter but down from 32.1 percent in Q1 2016. The 30.0 percent share in the first quarter was well below the peak of 44.7 percent in Q1 2011 but was still above the pre-recession average of 20.4 percent from Q1 2000 to Q3 2007.

“With a stronger market and overall sales increasing, we are seeing a decrease in foreclosure sales across the markets we serve, as well as seeing a decrease in institutional investors purchasing homes,” said Matthew Watercutter, senior regional vice president and broker of record for HER Realtors, covering the Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati markets in Ohio. “With the stronger market and availability of money from institutional lenders such as mortgage companies and credit unions, we are seeing a decrease in cash purchases, as more properties are being sold to owner occupants and fewer to investors.”

Among 150 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000 and at least 100 all-cash sales in Q1 2017, those with the highest share of cash sales in Q1 2017 were Salisbury, Maryland (61.2 percent); Raleigh, North Carolina (60.6 percent); Naples, Florida (56.6 percent); Binghamton, New York (54.3 percent); and Spartanburg, South Carolina (53.3 percent).

Counter to the national trend, 51 of the 150 metro areas analyzed in the report (34 percent) posted a year-over-year increase in share of all-cash sales, including New York, San Francisco, Riverside-San Bernardino in Southern California, Seattle and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

 

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Meet Trump’s New HUD Deputy Secretary (Housing Industry Praises the Move)

Pam Patenaude was originally shortlisted to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That position ended up going to Ben Carson, as HousingWire first reported. Now, President Donald Trump plans to install Patenaude in the true position of power at HUD – deputy secretary.

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Originally Published Here:  Housingwire

Back in November, rumors began to emerge that the Trump administration was considering Patenaude, who currently serves as the president of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families, to serve as the HUD secretary.

The HUD secretary, like many other Cabinet positions, is the public face of the department, conducting meetings with housing leaders around the country, listening to local concerns, and celebrating milestones.

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 10.04.10 AMThe deputy secretary, however, handles most of the day-to-day operations. And the Trump administration announced Friday that Patenaude is its choice to serve in that key role.

Readers of HousingWire will likely be familiar with Patenaude, as she was featured on the cover of HousingWire Magazine last year, and previously recognized as one of HousingWire Magazine’s Women of Influence in 2013.

In fact, Patenaude’s inclusion as a HousingWire Woman of Influence was actually noted in the White House’s announcement of her appointment. From the White House:

Ms. Patenaude is currently the President of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for America’s Families. Previously, she served as Director of the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission. Ms. Patenaude earned her B.S. from Saint Anselm College and her Master of Science Community Economic Development degree from Southern New Hampshire University. Her awards include: HousingWire 2013 Woman of Influence and the Saint Anselm College Alumni Award of Merit 2006.

Patenaude is a former adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. During the younger Bush’s administration, Patenaude served as HUD assistant secretary for community, planning and development.

Here’s a more complete look at her bio:

  • Executive vice president of the Urban Land Institute and founding executive director of the ULI Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing
  • HUD assistant deputy secretary for field policy and management
  • HUD assistant secretary for community, planning and development
  • State director and deputy chief of staff for U.S. Senator Bob Smith
  • Vice president of Manor Homes Builders
  • Administered the Section 8 rental assistance program at the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority

Patenaude will now go through a Senate confirmation before taking over officially at HUD, if approved.

 

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US Existing Home Sales Hit 10 Year High

U.S. home resales rose more than expected in March to the highest level in more than a decade, The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced on Friday. Existing home sales climbed 4.4 percent for the month, while economists were expecting a smaller increase of 2.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates.

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Sales have now increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million units as of last month, the NAR said. This is the highest level the gauge has seen since February 2007.

While the number of homes on the market rose 5.8 percent to 1.83 million units last month, housing inventory was down 6.6 percent from one year ago, implying that demand is outweighing supply.

Properties typically remained on the market for 34 days in March, compared to 45 days in February, the NAR added.

shutterstock_71006383“The early returns so far this spring buying season look very promising as a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market and were successfully able to close on a home last month,” Lawrence Yun, a chief economist for the industry group, said in a statement. “Sales will go up as long as inventory does.”

U.S. home resales fell more than expected in February amid a shortage of houses on the market, which pushed prices up and sidelined potential buyers. The NAR reported February existing home sales declined 3.7 percent, missing analysts’ estimates, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million units.

Prior to that data being released, January’s sales pace remained unchanged at 5.69 million units.

The NAR’s existing home sales data measures sales and prices of existing single-family homes for the nation overall, providing breakdowns for the West, Midwest, South and Northeast regions of the U.S. These figures also include condos and co-ops.

Originally published here:  CNBC

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