Housing Market Predictions for 2018: More Inventory, More Sales, Fewer Mortgage Delinquencies

Newsletter – January 2018

Happy New Year from Blue Streak Docs!

Last year was quite a whirlwind for the U.S. housing market (at times, literally a hurricane!), but by most accounts, it was a good one. In a December report, Freddie Mac called 2017 “the best year in a decade by a variety of measures.”

What will 2018 bring for buyers, sellers, investors, and real estate professionals? Let’s see what the experts are predicting:

Home prices will continue to rise, but at a slower pace. Realtor.com projects home prices to slow to 3.2% growth (compared to 5.5% in 2017) as more inventory becomes available. Cities like Detroit, Nashville, Philadelphia, and Kansas City, MO, will see their inventory recover first, they predict – particularly in the $350,000 and higher range.

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The Battle over CFPB Rages On, but to What End?

Newsletter – December 2017

The drama continues at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), but it’s starting to look like Democrats are just delaying the inevitable.

Last month, when Obama-appointee Richard Cordray stepped down as director of the CFPB, he named Democrat Leandra English his successor by appointing her as deputy director.

It was a “parting shot” that “will likely miss its mark,” said Edward Lenci, a partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP.

Within hours, Donald Trump announced that Office of Management and Budget Director and CFPB critic Mick Mulvaney would lead the agency until a permanent replacement is nominated and confirmed.

Two days later, English filed a lawsuit seeking to block Mulvaney from taking control of the agency, but a federal judge sided with Trump.

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Natural Disasters Clobber the Housing and Mortgage Industries

Newsletter – November 2017

Three disasters in three months created a nightmare for homeowners in some parts of the United States, and wreaked havoc on the housing and mortgage industries as a whole.

First, there were the hurricanes.

In late August, the Category 4 Hurricane Harvey stalled out over Texas, dropping more than 50 inches of rain on the Houston area. The storm affected more than 200,000 homes, causing an estimated $180 billion in damage.

In early September, after battering the Caribbean and the Florida Keys, Hurricane Irma, tore through the southeast, causing as much as $65 billion in commercial and residential property damage.

Then, in October, historic wildfires in Northern California burned more than 245,000 acres and destroyed an estimated 8,700 structures that analysts say will take years to rebuild.

“The housing market can’t take the shock of a natural event,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist at real estate company Redfin. “It can’t take any shock because we are so tightly wound with inventory.”

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How We Beat Irma

Newsletter – October 2017

As you probably know, we had a very unwelcome visitor by the name of Irma blow through our town last month. Though she lost a lot of her punch by the time she got to Clearwater, she was still pretty tough. Our county (Pinellas) was the worst hit for power outages in the state of Florida!

However, we were very fortunate to be one of the first to get power back on at our office Tuesday morning, two days after the storm. As I write this – nearly a week later – there are still thousands of homes and businesses without power in Clearwater, and I pray for their relief after this terrible storm.

Starting in August, I make the National Hurricane Center (NOAA) the first page that I open on my browser in the morning, and watch… every day. I do this for the next 61 days, when I feel I can relax a bit on October 1st. I’ve done this for years.

I have to say that there seems to be something about the Tampa Bay area that deflects these storms (or the worst parts, at least) from us year after year – but of course, you can’t plan on that. In 2004, Charlie was barreling up the west coast of Florida, predicted to hit Clearwater dead on. At the last minute, it turned east and hit Punta Gorda (about 140 miles south of us) and for the most part, left us alone. (We did lose power for over a week though, so you can imagine my fears with Irma!)

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Mortgage Servicing Experts: Simplify and Standardize the Rules to Help Lenders – and Borrowers

Newsletter – September 2017

In the debate over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, all sides seem to agree:

While the regulations created in the wake of the housing bust were well-intended, they are unnecessarily complex and costly and have suppressed lending – and change is needed.

So the Urban Institute opened a dialogue this summer by hosting an online discussion where industry leaders could talk about ways to reduce the costs of regulation and servicing without increasing risks to consumers and the housing market.

“First and foremost, the multitude of distinct federal, state and agency policies should be harmonized and unified into a single set of practical standards and requirements,” said Meg Burns, SVP of Mortgage Policy at Financial Services Roundtable.

In fact, the overriding theme of the discussion was the need for consistency, an idea mirrored by the proposal recently sent to the CFPB by the National Mortgage Servicers Association, looking to standardize key definitions, guidance and best practices surrounding the maintenance of vacant properties.

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