Economic Center Blog
Welcome to the First American Economic Center Blog, a top source for the latest housing market research and analysis driven by Chief Economist Mark Fleming.

Post by Mark Fleming

Recent Posts

What’s Behind The Two-Month Decline In Fraud Risk?

By Mark Fleming on June 28, 2019

Last month, we predicted that if mortgage rates continued to fall, it may help ease the pressure on fraud risk. Indeed, the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell to its lowest level since January 2018, and fraud risk has fallen alongside it. The Loan Application Defect Index for purchase transactions declined 6.3 percent in May compared with April,...

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Topics: Fraud, Loan Application Defect Index

The Five Cities Where Affordability Improved The Most And Why

By Mark Fleming on June 24, 2019

Two of the three key drivers of the Real House Price Index (RHPI), household income and mortgage rates, swung in favor of increased affordability in April. The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell by 0.33 percentage points and household income increased 2.7 percent compared to April 2018. When household income rises, consumer house-buying power...

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Topics: Interest Rates, Real House Price Index, Affordability

Why The Housing Market Has Entered An Unprecedented Homebody Era

By Mark Fleming on June 20, 2019

The housing market outperformed its potential in May 2019. Actual existing-home sales are 0.2 percent above the market’s current potential, according to our Potential Home Sales model. Even as mortgage rates have decreased, and household income has increased, the market is underperforming compared to it’s potential from a year ago. What are the...

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Topics: Interest Rates, Federal Reserve, homeownership, Potential Home Sales

The Unexpected Surprise Boosting Demand And Supply In 2019

By Mark Fleming on June 18, 2019

In late 2018, many experts believed the housing market in 2019 would behave very similar to the 2018 housing market, characterized by rising demand for homes and limited supply driving house price appreciation, while mortgage rates continued their steady ascent. Then, December 2018 brought a sudden drop in mortgage rates, a decline which has...

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Topics: Housing, Interest Rates, Millennials, Real Estate Sentiment Index

Expect The Unexpected -- Faster House Price Appreciation

By Mark Fleming on June 6, 2019

In our most recent Potential Home Sales Model analysis, we noted that the housing market’s potential improved in April because falling mortgage rates and rising household income combined to increase consumer house-buying power more than enough than to offset house price appreciation. In other words, house-buying power won the tug of war with...

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Topics: Real House Price Index, Affordability

How Lower Mortgage Rates Helped Reduce Defect Risk For The First Time In Eight Months

By Mark Fleming on May 31, 2019

The frequency of defects, fraudulence and misrepresentation in the information submitted in mortgage loan applications declined 4.2 percent compared to last month. Notably, this marks the first month-over-month decline since July 2018, thanks to lower mortgage rates. Decreasing mortgage rates contributed to an increase in inventory, reducing...

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Topics: Fraud, Loan Application Defect Index

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