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Economic Center Blog

What's Keeping The Market Below Potential?

By Mark Fleming on November 20, 2017

First American’s proprietary Potential Home Sales model examines October 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

Five Best Cities For Economic Opportunity

By Mark Fleming on November 16, 2017

Amazon’s very public search to identify the best location for its second headquarters made me wonder - what criteria would be helpful for young professionals when making their personal decision on where to live and work? Affordable housing would be important. For example, you can buy so much more home in Texas or Ohio than you can in California. But, when making the decision about where to live, considering what and how many job opportunities exist is also a critical point. The most attractive places to live for young professionals would be where housing costs are reasonable and great job opportunities are abundant. In other words, the top cities for economic opportunity.

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Topics: Real House Price Index, affordability, insider

Many Experts Miss The Point On Mortgage Rates And Affordability For First-Time Home Buyers

By Mark Fleming on November 6, 2017

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met for the second to last time this year. As most prognosticators expected, the FOMC decided to leave the short-term Federal Funds rate unchanged. While good news for those with credit card debt, car loans and adjustable rate mortgages, the impact of FOMC inaction, or action for that matter, is less clear for the mortgage market. Additionally, Jerome Powell was nominated to be the next Chairman of the Federal Reserve and he is widely believed to hold a similar stance on monetary policy as the current chair, Janet Yellen.

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Topics: Interest Rates, Federal Reserve, affordability, insider, mortgage rates

Will Post-Disaster Mortgage Fraud Risk Trends Play Out In Florida And Texas?

By FirstAm Editor on October 31, 2017

We’ve posted the September 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 decreased 1.2 percent as compared with the previous month, and increased 20.3 percent as compared to September 2016. The Defect Index is down 18.6 percent from the high point of risk in October 2013.

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Topics: Loan Application Defect Index

Will August Uptick In Affordability Continue?

By FirstAm Editor on October 30, 2017

First American’s proprietary Real House Price Index (RHPI) looks at August 2017 data and includes analysis from First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming on what’s behind the surprising increase in affordability in August and whether or not that trend will continue.

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

Hesitant Homeowners And Hurricanes Hit Housing Market

By Mark Fleming on October 20, 2017

First American’s proprietary Potential Home Sales model examines September 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 Is Elevating Identity- And Collateral-Based Fraud Risk?

By FirstAm Editor on September 29, 2017

We’ve posted the August 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 August 2017 as compared with the previous month, and increased 20.0 percent as compared to August 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

Supply Squeeze Tightens Grip On Affordability In July

By FirstAm Editor on September 26, 2017

First American’s proprietary Real House Price Index (RHPI) looks at July 2017 data and includes analysis from First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming on the supply constraints impacting the housing market.

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

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