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Economic Center Blog

What Does The Prime-Age Labor Force Participation Rate Mean To Your Paycheck?

By Mark Fleming on June 2, 2018

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment situation report for May signals good news for the housing market, as the unemployment rate hits an 18-year low, and hourly wages continue to increase.

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Topics: income, employment situation, jobs report

Why The Ability-to-Repay Rules Are Like A Steering Wheel Lock

By Mark Fleming on May 30, 2018

In January of 2013, the mortgage industry witnessed the birth of a new income-underwriting era. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) published new requirements for mortgage lenders to carefully assess a consumer’s ability to repay their mortgage loan. The new standards were dubbed the “ability-to-repay” rules and were set to take effect one year later in January 2014. 

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Topics: Fraud, Loan Application Defect Index, income

The Link Between Wage Growth And House-Buying Power

By Mark Fleming on May 5, 2018

Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the employment situation report for April. Here are the highlights. Total non-farm payroll jobs increased by 164,000 in April. In fact, total non-farm payroll jobs have now increased every month since October 2010. Since that date, the U.S. economy has added more than 17.5 million jobs. The unemployment rate edged down to 3.9 percent, a 17-year low, in April and average hourly earnings are up 2.6 percent over a year ago for production and non-supervisory employees. So, why would an uptick in wages matter to a housing economist? Read on.

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Topics: Housing, income, insider, employment situation, jobs report

Will Wage Growth Continue -- One Number May Tell The Story

By Mark Fleming on April 6, 2018

Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the employment situation report for March. Here are the headlines. Total non-farm payroll jobs increased by 103,000 in March. Total non-farm payroll jobs have increased every month since October 2010. Since that date, the U.S. economy has added more than 17.5 million jobs. The unemployment rate remained again unchanged at 4.1 percent, a 17-year low, and average hourly earnings are up 2.4 percent over a year ago for production and non-supervisory employees. While the number of jobs created may seem disappointing, the data continues to paint a positive picture of the economy, but those are not the numbers that really matter.

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Topics: Housing, income, insider

The Drag On Affordability Explained

By FirstAm Editor on December 21, 2017

First American’s proprietary Real House Price Index (RHPI) looks at October 2017 data and includes analysis from First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming on the market forces that are keeping a lid on affordability.

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

What’s Behind September’s Surprise Increase In Affordability?

By FirstAm Editor on November 27, 2017

First American’s proprietary Real House Price Index (RHPI) looks at September 2017 data and includes analysis from First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming on the market forces that sparked a surprising increase in affordability in September.

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

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

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

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

What Caused Real House Price Growth To Cool In May?

By FirstAm Editor on July 24, 2017

First American’s proprietary Real House Price Index (RHPI) looks at May 2017 data and includes analysis from First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming on the impact of wages and lower interest rates on consumer house-buying power – a brief reprieve from rising real house prices.

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Topics: Interest Rates, Real House Price Index, income