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Economic Center Blog

How Millennial Home Buying Expectations Unintentionally Reduced Loan Application Defect Risk

By Mark Fleming on July 31, 2018

As the mortgage market has continued its transition away from refinances to a predominantly purchase-oriented loan market, the Loan Application Defect Index for purchase transactions has continued to decline, dropping 3.6 percent in the last month and 12.1 percent in the last year. This officially marks a six-month long decline in defect, fraud and misrepresentation and risk on purchase transactions, which have traditionally been considered higher risk.

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Topics: Fraud, Millennials, Loan Application Defect Index

Good Timing: Loan Application Defect And Fraud Risk Drops As Home Purchases Take Higher Share Of Mortgage Market

By Mark Fleming on June 28, 2018

By now, everyone in the mortgage industry is aware that we are entering a market that will be dominated by purchase demand for the next several years. According to the latest Mortgage Bankers Association forecast, refinance transactions will make up 28 percent of total mortgages originated in 2018 and is forecasted to drop to 23 percent by 2020. This is, of course, due to the current environment of increasing mortgage rates that follows years of persistently low rates. Until last month, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage had remained below 4.5 percent for 80 consecutive months. And since most homeowners have benefited from the low-rate environment, they now have little financial incentive to refinance, or sell and buy again. With mortgage rates continuing to rise, the financial value of keeping their current low-rate mortgages is likely to increase.

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Topics: Interest Rates, Fraud, Loan Application Defect Index

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

What Drives Loan Application Defect Risk At The Local Level?

By Mark Fleming on April 27, 2018

A common adage about real estate is that it’s local. The dynamics of one housing market can be very different from another depending on the local economy and access to natural amenities, like mountains or water. The levels of loan application defect, fraud and misrepresentation risk vary greatly based on local conditions as well. In fact, substantial differences exist among the 100 markets that we track with the Loan Application Defect Index. For example, the riskiest market this month, Little Rock, Ark., is almost twice as risky as the safest market, Rochester, NY.

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Topics: Housing, Interest Rates, Loan Application Defect Index

Will The Return Of ARMs Lead To Surging Loan App Defect Risk?

By Mark Fleming on March 29, 2018

It’s been a long time coming – a rising rate environment. The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage has been below 4.5 percent since late 2013 and is now finally moving consistently higher. According to the consensus of economic forecasts, it is likely to approach 5 percent by the end of this year. This matters for defect, fraud and misrepresentation risk as rising mortgage rates reduce the benefit of refinancing and increase the share of purchase loan transactions in the market. As we have noted before, purchase loan transactions are riskier than refinance transactions.

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Topics: Housing, Interest Rates, Loan Application Defect Index

Does High Rise = High Risk?

By Mark Fleming on February 28, 2018

First American’s proprietary Loan Application Defect Index examines January 2018 data on the frequency of defects, fraudulence and misrepresentation in the information submitted in mortgage loan applications.

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Topics: Loan Application Defect Index

Do Rising Rates Mean Rising Defect Risk?

By FirstAm Editor on February 1, 2018

We’ve posted the December 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 remains the same as compared with the previous month, and increased 20.3 percent as compared with December 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

Where Is Defect Risk ‘Naughty’ Or ‘Nice’?

By FirstAm Editor on December 28, 2017

We’ve posted the November 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 remains the same as compared with the previous month, and increased 22.1 percent as compared with November 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

Loan Defect Risk Stabilizes Nationally, But Surges In Florida And Texas

By FirstAm Editor on November 30, 2017

We’ve posted the October 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 remains the same as compared with the previous month, and increased 22.1 percent as compared with October 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 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