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.

Why Has Defect Risk Reached A Multi-Year Low Point?

By Mark Fleming on October 31, 2019

Declining for the sixth consecutive month, the Loan Application Defect Index for purchase transactions fell 2.6 percent in September compared with August. The Defect Index for refinance transactions also fell, declining 4.5 percent compared with the previous month. The overall Defect Index, which includes both purchase and refinance...

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Topics: Fraud Loan Application Defect Index

The Dynamic Forces That Re-Shaped Housing Affordability In 2019

By Mark Fleming on October 28, 2019

Understanding the dynamics that influence consumer house-buying power, how much home one can buy based on changes in income and interest rates, provides a helpful perspective on the housing market. When incomes rise, consumer house-buying power increases. When mortgage rates or nominal house prices rise, consumer house-buying power declines....

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Topics: Interest Rates Real House Price Index Affordability

What’s The Outlook For Housing Market Potential For The Rest Of 2019?

By Mark Fleming on October 18, 2019

In September 2019, the housing market performed to its potential, as actual existing-home sales were a marginal 0.04 percent, or an estimated 2,340 seasonally adjusted annualized sales, below market potential. Housing market potential decreased relative to last month, but increased 3.8 percent compared with September of last year. Indeed, in...

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Topics: Interest Rates Potential Home Sales tenure

How 2019 Became The Year Of Declining Fraud Risk

By Mark Fleming on September 26, 2019

Declining for the fifth consecutive month, the Loan Application Defect Index for purchase transactions continued its downward trend, falling 3.8 percent in August compared with July. The Defect Index for refinance transactions also fell, declining 4.3 percent compared with the previous month. The overall Defect Index, which includes both...

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Topics: Fraud Loan Application Defect Index

How Did Affordability Change During The Spring Home-Buying Season?

By Mark Fleming on September 23, 2019

School bells ringing don’t just mark the beginning of a new school year, but for those in housing, they also signal the end of the typical home-buying season, which begins in March. As the school year begins, the housing market is finishing the spring home-buying season with strong marks for affordability. Indeed, two of the three key drivers...

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Topics: Interest Rates Real House Price Index Affordability

How Can Existing-Home Sales Exceed Market Potential?

By Mark Fleming on September 18, 2019

The housing market exceeded its potential in August 2019, as actual existing-home sales were 0.8 percent above the market’s potential. Housing market potential increased relative to last month, but declined 1.9 percent compared with August of last year. While down compared with a year ago, existing-home sales have slightly outperformed market...

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Topics: Interest Rates Potential Home Sales tenure