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.

The Impact Of The Credit Crunch On Housing Market Potential

By Mark Fleming on April 17, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic continues to take hold of the domestic and global economy. The housing market, although in a better position than it was at the onset of the last recession, will not be immune to the impact. Weekly unemployment claims have soared to record highs, which has already contributed to declining consumer confidence.

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Topics: Interest Rates Potential Home Sales tenure

Why The Housing Market May Weather Coronavirus Impact Better Than The Great Recession

By Mark Fleming on March 31, 2020

As we are all too aware, the coronavirus outbreak has taken hold of the domestic and global economy. The housing market is not immune to its impact but may be in a better position than many believe. Recent data shows that weekly unemployment claims soared to a record, which will, in turn, work to depress household incomes and consumer...

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Topics: Interest Rates Real House Price Index Affordability

Policy And Fintech Innovations Protect Against Fraud Risk In The Uncertain Days Ahead

By Mark Fleming on March 30, 2020

A historical view of overall defect risk, as measured by our Loan Application Defect Index, shows a long-run downward trend since we began tracking defect risk in 2011, with a few exceptions. In February 2020, this long-run trend continued as overall defect risk reached its lowest level in index history. The Defect Index for purchase...

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Topics: Fraud Loan Application Defect Index

Mini Refinance Boom Drives Fraud Risk To New Low

By Mark Fleming on February 28, 2020

Overall defect risk, as measured by our Loan Application Defect Index, has largely trended down since early 2019 with a few exceptions. In January 2020, this long-run trend continued as overall defect risk reached its lowest level since we began tracking it in 2011. While the Defect Index for purchase transactions remained the same after two...

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Topics: Fraud Loan Application Defect Index

Where Wages Grow, Affordability Follows

By Mark Fleming on February 24, 2020

As 2019 came to a close, potential home buyers received a year-end gift as affordability improved relative to one year ago. 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 December.

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Topics: Interest Rates Real House Price Index Affordability

Housing Market Potential Reaches Its Highest Level In Nearly Two Years

By Mark Fleming on February 20, 2020

The housing market started the year off strong, with the market potential for existing-home sales reaching its highest level since January 2018, according to our Potential Home Sales Model. Housing market potential increased 1.4 percent in January 2020 relative to the previous month, and grew 4.7 percent year over year, an increase of 240,050...

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Topics: Interest Rates Potential Home Sales tenure