Mark Fleming is chief economist for CoreLogic. Fleming has eight years of experience in the housing finance and property information business and leads the economics and research team at CoreLogic.
For this edition of In This Corner
, Fleming talks about how the spinoff from First American
is going and what the housing market recovery is going to look like.
How is the spin off from First American going, and what new strategies is CoreLogic planning for the future?
The spin off has been a great success for CoreLogic. We are happy for the support generated by our listing on the NYSE and had good responses during both our U.S. and European road shows. Obviously the share price reflects the overall uncertainty in the equity markets, but we know that over the next quarter or so, the first analyst reports will be published. The analysts understand the value proposition of the company and recognize how well positioned we are for the recovery.
We find it very encouraging that our new brand has been accepted in the market, and that our clients have experienced a seamless transition since we spun off from the title company. Equally important, we haven’t missed a beat in the development and implementation of new products, such as Will Cap, which uses real time intelligence and analytics to predict loan performance, forecast loan portfolio losses and resolve distressed assets, and Appraisal 2.0 that will help appraisers and lenders use additional data to determine valuation at time of origination.
What sort of growth is CoreLogic expecting from the partnership with Internet giant Yahoo!, and is it a sign that consumers -- Yahoo!'s main audience -- are becoming more aware of the value in foreclosed and REO property?
This partnership with Yahoo! is important because it lets us expand distribution of our data, the largest (and most comprehensive) real estate database in the country, beyond business and government so that consumers can benefit. Yahoo! is a great partner and provides a perfect platform for CoreLogic to share foreclosure listings with consumers.
Foreclosures and distressed properties are in great demand in the market and, at the same time, demonstrate the importance of our data and analytics. CoreLogic reported recently that in January, 29 percent of all real estate sales were distressed properties. Consumers seeking to participate in this segment of the market need access to solid information, and with tools like CoreScore on Yahoo!, consumers can get an actual “grade” on a foreclosure property based on multiple factors that affect the home’s value, such as crime rates, school systems and surrounding real estate activity. Our core competency––providing superior data and information – has never been more timely or important.
Some expect this summer to be a critical period in terms of reducing excess real estate inventory. Would you agree with that, and are you concerned about a double-dip in cooler months?
Our economists have been more concerned about a U-shaped recovery, rather than a double dip. What they see as more likely is a long bottom drifting up slowly, following the same “U” shape as the 2000 recession, only with a longer, more pronounced bottom.
This summer there are several factors at play. The removal of support put in place by the Obama administration; such as the first time homebuyer credit is already slowing new demand. In addition, the mortgage modification programs slowed down the process of properties going into foreclosure and created a backlog of properties—mostly distressed––that will come to market over the next 2-4 years, making it easier for the market to absorb at any one point in time. Because of these factors, labeling this summer as a “make or break” season for the market may be a little premature. The real estate market may sag through the summer and slower cooler months but will eventually grow in line with economic and income growth as we put the “great recession” further behind us.
Because of the size and scope of our data and analytics, we are positioned better than anyone to monitor the recovery—whatever shape it takes; call the bottom and, help our clients take advantage of the recovery. And, because of our scale and cost structure, we are well positioned to benefit from the recovery ourselves.