Articles by Mark Fleming

From HW Magazine

How will the tug-of-war between competing trends impact the housing market in 2019?

4 trends to watch for
Competing trends heavily influenced the housing market in 2018. We witnessed a surge in Millennial demand against the backdrop of a strong labor market. But mortgage rates rose consistently, increasing the squeeze on affordability and furthering the supply shortage to a historically low level. This made both buyers and sellers increasingly hesitant to participate in the housing market.
Read More

What would happen to mortgage lending if interest rates doubled?

It happened once before in the 80s, remember?
[Op-ed] At its most extreme point in 1980, mortgage rates experienced a 50% year-over-year increase. What would happen to home sales if the same, albeit unlikely, scenario were to occur again? First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming answers that question for our readers.
Read More

2 reasons the housing market is underacheiving

Thoughts ahead of Thursday's NAR numbers
This graduation season, many an overachiever is excitedly entering the labor market with big expectations. First a job, then a rental household, most likely with a friend or two, and eventually, a homeowner? So,will the housing market also an overachiever this spring? It's not likely.
Read More

Is risk retention the least intrusive regulation?

Thoughts on Barney Frank's latest speech
The private sector should be free to innovate and the public sector should set rules that prevent the negative externalities with minimum impedance of the private sector. In my opinion, don’t fix what (the market) didn’t break.
Read More

Remind me again what the "R" in "RMBS" stands for

Maybe it should be "rental"
The homeownership rate has fallen recently and all the panelists agreed that it seemed unlikely to return to its prior peak any time soon. The only question is: over time will the "R" in RMBS stand for Rental instead of Residential?
Read More

Non-prime in a QM world?

The mortgage market is still going
Where could the private market go next? How about sub, excuse me, non-prime loans. Remember that the QM regulation sets no requirements for credit scores or LTVs. A non-prime borrower with a low credit score and a small down payment seeking a fixed-rate 30-year loan could very well fit within the QM guidelines.
Read More

Regulating irrational expectations

No regulation could have prevented blind trust in rising home prices
Today at ABS East, the mortgage investor conference I am attending in Miami, the topic du jour is regulation. The opening panel discussed the regulatory environment and whether it is helping or hindering the asset-backed securities market. This conversation has made me ask the fundamental question—why do we regulate in the first place?
Read More

Making mortgage lemons

Tighter underwriting doesn't make up for strong oversight...it just limits the market
Requiring very high credit scores may reduce the risk of default, but it doesn’t prevent us from making a mortgage lemon and only serves to dramatically reduce the pool of eligible borrowers, writes Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.
Read More