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WATCH NOW: Viral videos show Henrico real-estate agent rescuing toddler found wandering dark street | Richmond Local News

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Renee Thompson-Truehart shares how she rescued a toddler who wandered the streets in Highland Springs the night after last week’s blizzard.

Renée Thompson Truehart often posts pictures, videos, and memes on TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram – she shares everything from shots of family members enjoying themselves around the house to more serious comments on cultural topics.

When she was walking down the middle of a dark Highland Springs road on a toddler in freezing temperatures, she began taping videos from her phone even before she even stopped her car to help the child. Eventually she rescued and protected him until the police arrived and took him home.

“Lil ‘baby,” she calls out to the boy in her video, the camera shaking as she parks her car and rushes to get out of the car. “Oh my god. Hey! Come here! Where’s your mommy?”

This was the first of several videos she posted on her rescue social media, which played out on January 4th, the day after more than 3 inches of snow fell on the area. Other video clips of the rescue and their narration of the experience received millions of combined views on TikTok as the story went viral. A company called ViralHog has signed an agreement with Truehart to obtain exclusive licensing rights for some of their videos.

The 57-year-old Henrico County real estate agent and writer has been answering tons of questions and comments of all kinds on social media since it was first published. She also had trouble sleeping because initially she didn’t know how the boy got outside or whether the child was in a safe environment.

A man who opened the door of the house on Monday declined to be interviewed by a reporter.

But Henrico Police Lt. Matt Pecka told the Richmond Times Dispatch that the child was returned home safely and that no charges have been brought against his guardian.

Pecka said the boy, who was around 2 or 3 years old, was a smart kid who wanted to go for a walk, dressed, and left the house through a locked door.

Truehart was relieved on Tuesday when a reporter told her that the police did not appear to have found any criminal neglect of the child.

“I’m going to sleep so well tonight,” she said. “It looks like the story just keeps getting better.”

She posted an update for her viewers later in the day.

On January 4th, Truehart had difficulty deciding whether to go out and see a friend because she was tired and it was about 28 degrees outside. After a few hours she decided to go out just after 9 p.m. and drove down West Washington Avenue, being careful to avoid snow and ice.



Renee Thompson Truehart, a Henrico County real estate agent and writer, rescued this toddler who took to the streets in Highland Springs on January 4, 2022, the day after last week’s snow storm.


RENEE THOMPSON TRUEHEART

Suddenly she saw the silhouette of a small figure in the middle of the narrow, two-lane road ahead of her. As she got closer, she realized that it was a little boy playing in the street. After seeing them, he ran and shortly afterwards a car approached from the opposite direction from which Truehart had driven. She started recording, threw her car in the park before it stopped rolling, and turned on her phone’s flashlight as she got out of the car to stop the other driver.

She grabbed the boy’s arm as he tried to get away and put it in her blue Chevrolet Equinox, where it was warm. While the video was sitting with him in the car, the boy cried hysterically. She tried to calm him down and offered him a fig bar to eat. She was crying too.

“I whined very quickly and then pulled myself together because I didn’t want to scare him any more,” she said later.

She called 911 and told the boy the police were on their way.

When they arrived in less than 10 minutes, she said the boy was starting to calm down.

Outside the car, Truehart’s video shows one of the policemen who bends down to speak to the boy: “All right, little man, where is your home? Do you know which house is yours?” The boy points to a house nearby.

The officers lead the boy down the street to his house, while Truehart follows with the video that is still running. When the officers reached the house, they asked Truehart to resign on privacy concerns. She had to wonder if the boy she had saved was okay at home. Did he get in trouble for leaving the house?

She considered stopping by the house to ask how the boy is doing, but she didn’t dare. She couldn’t sleep well and kept waking up, and the image of the child’s silhouette in the middle of the street – a still from the video she was filming – burned into her mind.

She has tried to process the experience in real time on social media and has posted several videos talking about the incident, including one titled “Explanation # 1 After Finding a Toddler in the Middle of the Street” . She posted more videos – Explanation # 2 and Explanation # 3.

In one, she says: “I don’t want to judge the parents, mother, father or whoever in this child’s life, because I agree with some of the posts and that means that children are just smart and, above all, children was a smart kid. “



Renee Thompson Truehart

West Washington Street in Highland Springs can be seen on Monday, January 10, 2022. Henrico County real estate agent and writer Renee Thompson Truehart rescued a toddler who wandered onto the streets in Highland Springs the day after last week’s blizzard.


Daniel Sangjib Min / TIMES-DISPATCH

Truehart, who lives about a mile from where she found the boy, has three grown children, including a 37-year-old daughter and two sons, ages 28 and 34. Her daughter and son-in-law live with her, as do three granddaughters and a disabled niece who has lived with Truehart since her brother’s death in 2020.

She has written two books. One, titled “Cement Walls,” is a novel based on her childhood growing up with her mother and six siblings in Mosby Court and Highland Park. The graduate of John Marshall High School also published a children’s book called Good Touch Bad Touch. When she was young, Truehart said she was inappropriately touched and molested. She had hoped her book would be in every children’s home to help them protect themselves, but she said the subject was off-limits and the book didn’t do as well as she’d hoped.

Truehart caught attention in 2020 when her daughter reported on TikTok about plans that she and her mother, as previously stated, had to open a new grocery store in the Meadowood Square Shopping Center on the corner of Richmond Henrico Turnpike and Azalea Avenue on the edge of a food desert from the US – Ministry of Agriculture.

The video went viral on TikTok, but the store never opened due to funding issues.

Since then, Truehart has been a frequent poster on social media, posting her comment in videos titled “I Call ‘BS’ On That !!!” and “When a woman can’t trust you with her heart …” and “Why don’t black people stick together like other cultures?”

In another post to Mothers and Sons, she talks about how a man’s relationship with his mother can cause problems in his marriage. “Mom, you won’t come in front of your son’s wife,” she tells her viewers. “You don’t. I’m sorry.”



Renee Thompson Truehart

Henrico County real estate agent and writer Renee Thompson Truehart rescued a toddler stuck on a dark street in Highland Springs the day after last week’s blizzard. She is shown here off West Washington Street in Highland Springs on Monday January 10th, 2022, near where she found the child on January 4th.


Daniel Sangjib Min / TIMES-DISPATCH

After rescuing the toddler last week, she posted a video titled “Who (but me) will find a toddler in the black snow of the nights in the middle of the street?” with the hashtag “WhyMeLord.” The video received 2.1 million views on TikTok, more than 149,000 likes and more than 4,700 comments. The other videos she posted about the event had a combined total of more than 1 million views.

In one of her latest, she says, “This app is great. And TikTok Nation, you are all special. You don’t play when it comes to children. “

She thanks viewers for their comments and hopes their videos may encourage parents to “go into the room and check on their child”.

“I’m so grateful that I was in the right place at the right time,” she says. “If it protects another child, I’m for it.”

rwilliams@timesdispatch.com

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Bank of Canada real estate study shows investors increasing share of market

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BC saw a record number of new homes registered for construction in 2021, but Bank of Canada data suggests a significant proportion of these are likely to be bought by investors.

The Bank of Canada study used data from mortgage and credit bureaus to determine the percentage of homes in the country that were purchased by first-time buyers, repeat buyers, and investors.

It concluded that investors and repeat buyers account for an increasing proportion of mortgage-backed home purchases in Canada.

“Home purchases are increasingly being driven by existing owners,” write the authors of the study in their conclusion.

“It is within this group that investors have seen the largest increases in their share of home purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Because the study looked at mortgage data, the authors said it doesn’t capture homes bought for cash or by businesses.

The study found that first-time buyers accounted for 47 percent of the market as of June 1, 2021, up from 53 percent at the start of 2015.

Meanwhile, both repeat buyers and investors in the market have increased. In the study, “repeat buyers” are those who buy a new home and sell their old one, while “investors” are those who buy a new home and hold on to their old home, often with the goal of renting out one of the properties as a source of income.

Repeat buyers represented 33 percent of the market in June 2021, up from 30 percent in January 2015, and investors represented 21 percent of the market, up from 18 percent.

Investor purchases grew the most during the COVID-19 pandemic, as home sales and prices soared. Investors bought twice as many homes in June 2021 as in June 2020, representing a 100 percent increase in the number of purchases.

Repeat buyers increased 66 percent over the same period, while purchases from first-time buyers increased 47 percent.

The Bank of Canada study was released the same week the BC government announced a record number of new enrollments in 2021.

“Data on registered new construction is collected at the beginning of a project, before building permits are issued, making it a leading indicator of BC housing activity,” the province said in a press release.

The latest figures from BC Housing show that 53,189 new homes were registered in BC in 2021. That’s a 67.5 percent increase from 2020 and the highest annual total since the provincial housing department began collecting data on new housing registrations in 2002.

The total includes 12,899 purpose-built rental apartments, a 47.7 percent increase over the previous year.

“This report demonstrates that when cities work with us to quickly secure building permits for these registered units, we can meet the challenge of increasing the supply of much-needed rental housing for individuals, families and seniors in BC,” said David Eby, BC Attorney General and Minister in Charge of Housing, in the provincial release.

“The numbers show that together we can respond to the more than 25,000 new people who have moved to British Columbia in the last three months in search of homes, and the thousands more we know who are still living coming,” Eby added. “We can only successfully meet this great challenge if we have committed partners in cities, the federal government, nonprofit organizations, First Nations and the private sector to get these Registered Homes built and open.”

However, the majority of newly registered homes are not rentals, and Bank of Canada data suggests a significant number of them will be purchased by investors as BC’s housing market continues to slip out of reach of many would-be newcomer buyers.

In an interview earlier this month, UBC director of urban economics and real estate Thomas Davidoff told CTV News that current conditions are benefiting people who already own properties rather than those trying to enter the market.

“If we continue to have an environment of very low interest rates and very high rental growth, then yeah, I think it’s going to get harder and harder for people to accumulate down payments and really be able to amortize mortgages over their working lives,” Davidoff said.

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Roaring U.S. housing market may cool, keep climbing as Fed ends emergency support

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Home prices in the U.S. have risen nearly 20% over the past year, giving home-owning families a major financial boost during the pandemic.

But Wall Street, a major source of home finance, sees major questions ahead for the red-hot housing market after the Federal Reserve shifted its focus to fighting inflation as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

“The increase in house prices contributed significantly to the growing net of households
worth and likely to decelerate due to higher interest rates and falling affordability,” wrote the fixed income strategy team at Brad Tank and Neuberger Berman in its first-quarter outlook.

“In addition, the state’s mortgage forbearance programs have not been extended and households benefiting from the relief must resume paying.”

The Fed’s monetary policy pivot in December includes a plan to raise interest rates faster than expected weeks ago, but also a faster end to its emergency asset purchase program, which is now likely to be March.

That leaves the market with “two key questions,” according to the Neuberger team, about how much mortgage bond supply others will have to absorb as the Fed shrinks its nearly $8.8 trillion balance sheet. And what happens to the surge in home prices and refinancing activity if interest rates rise as much as expected?

Read: Housing construction is in the grip of an inflationary storm – and it is being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic

Why living isn’t like 2008

After the 2008 financial crisis, the government’s importance in the US housing market grew, in part through its mortgage guarantees, but also through the accumulation of borrowings in the $8.2 trillion agency mortgage market.

Agency mortgage bonds accounted for 66% of all housing debt in December, according to the Urban Institute. That made the sector a benchmark for 30-year mortgage rates, even during the recent refinancing boom, when lenders originated more than $1 trillion in home loans each quarter.

The government’s outsized presence in the mortgage market led to swaying in mortgage rates and lending standards after the subprime debacle a decade ago, but it has also guided government housing relief during the pandemic to stave off a wave of evictions and foreclosures.

Many borrowers, rocked by job losses in 2020, stayed in their homes rather than face late fees, collections and worse until the economy could get back on a firmer footing.

Now, forbearance rates on all home mortgages, even those held by banks, have fallen sharply since their pandemic peak, recently set at a low 1.7% in November (see chart), on higher wages and low unemployment.

Declining home loan arrears

Deutsche Bank

In terms of households, that means only about 835,000 homeowners were in forbearance in November, according to Deutsche Bank researchers, compared to 4 million before the pandemic.

Other key departures from the crisis of the last decade are a current housing shortage rather than an oversupply, coupled with a new era of institutional landlords in the single-family home market.

That means deep-pocketed private equity owner Zillow Z, -2.21%,
and other Wall Street-funded firms compete with families looking for property.

Mortgage experts say the momentum could help home prices continue to normalize in 2022, even as 30-year mortgage rates rise and homes become harder for families to afford.

See: High-poverty neighborhoods in Twin Cities are seeing an explosion of investor-owned homes. The Minneapolis Fed is now keeping track

“Rising interest rates won’t make house prices go negative, but they can certainly slow house price increases,” Scott Buchta, head of fixed income strategy at Brean Capital, said in a phone call.

His forecast says prices will rise 6% to 10% this year, depending in part on where 30-year mortgage rates are headed.

Which rate is too high?

As it did after the 2008 crisis, for the past two years the Fed has loaded its balance sheet with government bonds and agency mortgage-backed securities during the pandemic to maintain liquidity flow and creditworthiness.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell is now hoping for a “soft landing” by raising interest rates and tightening funding conditions to curb inflation without damaging jobs or triggering a recession.

Many on Wall Street now expect short-term interest rates to rise potentially four times this year, from 0% currently to 0.25%. However, longer-term rates are likely to depend on how aggressively the central bank reduces its holdings of mortgage bonds, Buchta said, particularly as the Fed works to bring annual inflation closer to its 2% target of 7% in December.

“I don’t think they want to shock the markets,” he said, noting that historically, house price inflation has been about 2% to 3% faster than inflation, or about 5% growth per year. “20% is not sustainable.”

However, every 100 basis point increase in the 30-year mortgage rate means a loss of purchasing power of about 13% for a homeowner who needs financing, Buchta estimates.

In other words, affordability, which is already an issue for many families looking beyond the market price, could get a lot worse.

See also: Interest rates are rising – but the Fed’s actions could make it easier to get a mortgage

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Naples’ Real Estate Market continues to boom but for how long?

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According to the Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR), the average selling price in Naples by the end of November 2021 was up 31% compared to November 2020, while inventory was down 76%.

Adam Vellano, Sales Manager in Naples at Compass Florida, states in the November 2021 NABOR report: “Year-on-year business growth of the kind we saw last year is simply not feasible in today’s market. But our topic is exactly what all other industries are facing right now: supply. We just become the store that sells out.”

Will the real estate market collapse?

“Adam’s observation is spot on. Stock is becoming very scarce which means it is a seller’s market. If you’re 65 or older, there’s never been a better time to start selling your home,” notes Tom Mann, Vice President of Moorings Park Communities and Senior Living Expert, “I’m seeing the ‘data’ in real time. In 2021, Moorings Park Communities saw record sales. And everyone who moved in sold their previous home in record time and for record prices.” Mann continues, “Most boomers and seniors that we deal with saw it as an opportunity to take money off the table before this real estate market collapses.”

Luxury keeps Naples’ boomers close by

“Obviously when you sell your home you have to move somewhere, and luckily for us, that choice was overwhelmingly a Moorings Park community. With prices ranging from just $421,000 to over $5 million, Moorings Park’s three communities were designed for those with sophisticated tastes – those who want a lifestyle surrounded by beautiful scenery, delicious meals, life-enriching activities and amenities, and the first and want the nation’s first prize-winning health and wellness programs,” notes Mann.

“One of the reasons we were drawn to Moorings Park Grande Lake was the clubhouse. You really feel like you are in a resort. The three restaurants, the pool, the fitness center, the salon and spa, the theater…everything. It’s spectacular!” says Marvin Easton, who recently sold his home in Port Royal.

All three Moorings Park communities not only offer the best and most diverse housing options in the entire Naples area, but also some of the most incredible views in all of Southwest Florida.

Location remains important

Location, location, location. When it comes to real estate, location is the most important variable. All three Moorings Park communities are just minutes from the wonderful restaurants and shops of 5th Avenue South and beautiful Naples beaches. And while location still reigns supreme in the real estate world, luxury accommodation and views come second.

Take Moorings Park, for example, which is just off Goodlette-Frank Boulevard. In a rare opportunity, a limited number of residences are currently available. Located just steps from the infamous clubhouse, these residences offer some of the finest panoramic views in the entire community.

Homes range in size from 882 to 2,700 square feet. They are perfect for those seeking a low-maintenance lifestyle while living in a residence that overlooks the lushly landscaped grounds, parks and shimmering lakes. Moorings Park admission fees range from just $421,000 to over $4 million, with a 50% refund option available. “I expect all 12 of these residences will be reserved by May,” confides Mann. “So if you are interested in attainable luxury, now is your chance!”

Located directly on the Golden Gate, the residences at Moorings Park Grande Lake offer a magnificent view of a 75-acre lake framed by the manicured fairways and greens of the Naples Grande Golf Course just beyond.

Moorings Park Grande Lake offers two-bedroom plus den or three-bedroom plans ranging from 2,230 to 2,735 square feet under air, each with the area’s largest lanais creating stunning indoor and outdoor living perfect for entertaining.

Two fabulously designed penthouses measuring over 6,000 square feet were also recently released, one of which has already been sold. Moorings Park Grande Lake admission fees start at $1.6 million to over $5 million and are 70 percent refundable, a portion of which is tax deductible.

Moorings Park in Gray Oaks, located directly at Pulling Airport, offers the best of both worlds. In addition to all of the amazing amenities and services found at the luxurious community clubhouse, residents of Moorings Park in Gray Oaks also receive a sports membership at Gray Oaks Country Club, which includes access to three championship golf courses, eight tennis courts, bocce ball , pickleball, casual and fine dining restaurants, resort style swimming pool and spa, wellness center and much more.

“With so many great amenities available to residents of Moorings Park in Gray Oaks, they may have trouble deciding where to start their day — or how to end it,” comments Mann. “But that’s just one more reason why our Moorings Park at Gray Oaks members are having twice as much fun.”

Moorings Park at Gray Oaks consists of stunning residences overlooking three themed gardens as well as penthouse style residences in the clubhouse. The square footage of these spacious homes ranges from 2,067 to over 7,000 square feet. Entry fees start at $1 million, with a 50% refund option available.

Internationally renowned for the very best in wellness

In addition to on-site social and recreational facilities, Moorings Park Communities has also been driving innovation in retirement living for over 41 years, including the latest medical advances, wellness trends for baby boomers and what retirees could be doing to live their best life.

This month, the International Council on Active Aging recognized Moorings Park Communities as the top wellness-based communities in the Americas.

Seeing is believing

Moorings Park Communities will host an informational presentation explaining why the three Naples area campuses, Mooring Park, Moorings Park at Gray Oaks and Moorings Park Grande Lake, are simply the best in Southwest Florida. And you’re invited!

The presentation, hosted by Mann, will touch on the three campuses, all ideally located just minutes from downtown Naples, with an emphasis on the value of each and how accessible the good life is. Guests will be socially distancing and receive a gourmet packed lunch to go at the end of the presentation.

The informational presentation will take place on Wednesday, January 19 at 11:30 am at the Sheffield Theater at Mooring Park’s prestigious Center for Healthy Living® at 132 Moorings Park Drive. Moorings Park is located on Goodlett-Frank Road and adjacent to the Country Club of Naples.

Those interested in attending the informational presentation on the 19th are asked to call 239-232-3903 or visit MooringsPark.org/Events by Monday, January 17th.

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