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Economic Center Blog

Will Quantitative Un-Easing Make Housing Unaffordable?

By Mark Fleming on September 20, 2017

This month, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will consider again whether to increase the benchmark Federal Funds Rate for a third time this year. As I stated when the FOMC was contemplating a rate increase earlier this year, increasing the short-term Federal Funds rate has little impact on longer term rates like the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. But, more importantly, the FOMC may start reducing its $4.5 trillion portfolio of bonds purchased during the global financial crisis through various rounds of quantitative easing (QE). Almost 40 percent of that portfolio is mortgage backed securities (MBS) that the Fed started buying in 2009. As explained by the FOMC in June, the “Quantitative Un-Easing” plan, could begin at any point this year with the reduction of $4 billion a month in MBS. The pace of MBS sales would increase by $4 billion each quarter up to a maximum of $20 billion per month.

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Topics: Housing, Interest Rates, Federal Reserve, insider

How Will Hurricanes Harvey And Irma Impact Housing Market Potential?

By Mark Fleming on September 19, 2017

First American’s proprietary Potential Home Sales model examines August 2017 data and includes analysis from First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming on how the real estate market is performing versus its potential.

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Topics: Interest Rates, Homeownership, Potential Home Sales, mortgage rates

We Crowd-Sourced The Reason For Housing Supply Shortages

By Mark Fleming on September 15, 2017

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – the shortage of houses on the market is making it difficult for Americans to find homes to buy, which is especially concerning for the Millennial first-time home buyer. There are many possible reasons for the housing supply shortage, ranging from fear of paying a higher mortgage rate to insufficient equity keeping sellers at bay. Frequent readers of this blog will be familiar with our “prisoner’s dilemma” theory for the housing supply shortage.

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Topics: Housing, Real Estate Sentiment Index, insider

Outlook For Real Estate Falls In Third Quarter Amid Rate Uncertainty

By FirstAm Editor on September 12, 2017

We invite you to browse the third quarter 2017 First American Real Estate Sentiment Index, which is based on a quarterly survey of independent title agents and other real estate professionals, providing a unique gauge on the real estate market using the crowd-sourced wisdom and expertise of real estate experts.

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Topics: Homeownership, Real Estate Sentiment Index

What The Post-Katrina Real Estate Market Can Tell Us About Hurricane Harvey’s Impact On Houston

By Mark Fleming on September 8, 2017

As Hurricane Harvey’s flood waters finally recede, the degree of damage is becoming more apparent. The most recent estimates indicate that flood damage could be assessed as high as $37 billion and that 70 percent of that damage is to property that is uninsured. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), more than 30 counties and more than 100,000 properties have been impacted in some way. Harris County alone accounts for 68 percent of the affected or damaged properties. FEMA estimates that more than 12,000 properties in Harris County have major damage or are destroyed. When the flood waters are finally gone and all the costs are accounted for, Harvey is likely to be the costliest hurricane in U.S. history.

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Topics: Housing, insider

Will The Fed’s Actions In September Increase Loan Defect Risk?

By FirstAm Editor on August 31, 2017

We’ve posted the July First American Loan Application Defect Index, which estimates the frequency of defects, fraudulence and misrepresentation in the information submitted in mortgage loan applications. The Defect Index remained the same in July 2017 as compared with the previous month, and increased 20.0 percent as compared to July 2016. The Defect Index is down 17.6 percent from the high point of risk in October 2013.

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Topics: Loan Application Defect Index

The Fundamental Underlying Issue In The Housing Market

By FirstAm Editor on August 28, 2017

First American’s proprietary Real House Price Index (RHPI) looks at June 2017 data and includes analysis from First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming on the prevailing issue facing today’s housing market.

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Topics: Interest Rates, Homeownership, Real House Price Index, income, affordability

The Struggle Is Real For First-Time Homebuyers

By Mark Fleming on August 23, 2017

First American’s proprietary Potential Home Sales model examines July 2017 data and includes analysis from First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming on how the real estate market is performing versus its potential.

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Topics: Interest Rates, Homeownership, Potential Home Sales, mortgage rates

What Are The Prospects For Future Homeownership Demand?

By Mark Fleming on August 17, 2017

We’ve posted the annual First American Homeownership Progress Index (HPRI), which measures how a variety of lifestyle, societal and economic factors influence homeownership rates over time at national, state and market levels. The HPRI declined 0.4 percent year-over-year, and is down 6 percent from the pre-recession peak. Potential homeownership demand is at the same level it was in 1990.

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Topics: millennials, Homeownership Progress Index, HPRI

Streak Of Consecutive Months With Rising Loan Application Defect Risk Reaches Seven

By FirstAm Editor on July 31, 2017

We’ve posted the June First American Loan Application Defect Index, which estimates the frequency of defects, fraudulence and misrepresentation in the information submitted in mortgage loan applications. The Defect Index increased 1.2 percent in June 2017 as compared with the previous month, and increased 16.7 percent as compared to June 2016. The Defect Index is down 17.6 percent from the high point of risk in October 2013.

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Topics: Housing, Home Sales, Fraud, Mortgages, Loan Application Defect Index