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.

Recent Posts by Mark Fleming

Mark Fleming is the chief economist for First American Financial Corporation and leads First American’s Decision Sciences team.

Rising Rates Unlikely To Substantially Cool Hot Spring Home-Buying Season

By Mark Fleming on April 16, 2021

After hitting its highest point since 2007 last month, housing market potential fell modestly in March, according to our Potential Home Sales Model. Housing market potential remains near the 13-year high point, but the severely limited supply of homes for sale and an uptick in mortgage rates pulled market potential for existing-home sales off...

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Topics: Interest Rates Homeownership Potential Home Sales

Why Affordability Improved Amid Soaring House Prices

By Mark Fleming on March 31, 2021

Soaring nominal house prices dominate recent headlines and for good reason. It is true that nominal house prices are the highest they have ever been, over 22 percent higher than the housing boom peak in 2006, according to the First American Data & Analytics House Price Index. The acceleration in the pace of annual house price growth began in...

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Topics: Interest Rates Real House Price Index Affordability

The Good, The Bad And The Maybe Ahead Of Spring Home Buying

By Mark Fleming on March 19, 2021

In February 2021, housing market potential increased to its highest level since 2007, despite the largest month-over-month jump in mortgage rates since October 2019. Housing market potential rose 1.3 percent in February relative to the previous month, and 12.2 percent year-over-year. While rising average tenure length was the largest drag on...

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Topics: Interest Rates Federal Reserve Homeownership Potential Home Sales

House Prices Are Hot, But Is Housing Overvalued?

By Mark Fleming on February 23, 2021

Punxsutawney Phil may have signaled six more weeks of winter, but in housing, it looks like spring (home buying) has already arrived. Typically, the housing market winds down a bit in the winter, but America’s housing market is booming, even in the colder months. The First American Data & Analytics nominal house price index indicates unadjusted...

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Topics: Interest Rates Real House Price Index Affordability

Why The Housing Market Can Thrive If A New Rising-Rate Era Begins

By Mark Fleming on January 26, 2021

Even though nominal house prices continued to surge, affordability improved in November as two of the three key drivers of the Real House Price Index (RHPI), household income and mortgage rates, swung in favor of increased affordability. Real house prices declined by 6.2 percent relative to one year ago, thanks to the benefit of increased...

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Topics: Interest Rates Real House Price Index Affordability

Why Housing Market Potential May Build On Momentum From Historic 2020

By Mark Fleming on January 22, 2021

In the final month of 2020, the market potential for existing-home sales reached its highest point since 2007, rising to a 6.18 million seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of sales. While the winter months are traditionally real estate’s slow season, the housing market had one more surprise for us in 2020 as our measure of the market...

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Topics: Interest Rates Potential Home Sales tenure