October 24, 2017

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

Fannie Mae: Tax Reform Poses Positive Risk to Economy in 2018

The recent hurricanes did not cause a major shift in the outlook on economic growth in 2017 or beyond, according to the Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research Group’s October 2017 Economic and Housing Outlook. The GSE explained that going into 2018, Fannie Mae predicts economic growth will moderate to 1.8%. While it sees an upside risk from potential tax reform, this is offset by the potential downside risk from restrictive trade policy and geopolitical tensions. During the third quarter, the report explained consumer spending growth likely weakened, and residential investment declined sharply. However, this was partially offset by increases in business equipment investment, inventory investment and trade. But despite all these changes, Fannie Mae kept its full-year economic growth forecast unchanged at 2.2%.

MBA: 2016 Multifamily Lending Up 8% 

Multifamily lending rose by 8 percent year over year in 2016, with nearly 3,000 different multifamily lenders providing a record $269.2 billion in new mortgages for apartment buildings with five or more units, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported. MBA Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research Jamie Woodwell said the MBA Annual Report on Multifamily Lending reflected strong lending fundamentals. "In 2016, strong property performance, rising property values and low mortgage rates all meant greater access to mortgage credit for apartment property owners," Woodwell said. "The $269 billion in lending that took place shows the breadth of the market--with loans ranging in size from tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of millions and the largest lender closing more than 7,500 loans while 61 percent of active lenders closed five or fewer loans. Market momentum has continued in 2017, with strong demand from borrowers and a strong appetite to lend by lenders, especially of loans going to government-related entities."

U.S. Senate: Credit Bureaus Data Security and Equifax

The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs met in an open session titled “Consumer Data Security and the Credit Bureaus” to address how credit bureaus intend on protecting consumer data—specifically in light of the recent Equifax data breach. U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chairman of the committee delivered the opening remarks. “As a follow-up to our hearing on the Equifax data breach, we will receive testimony on the protection of consumer data at credit bureaus,” Sen. Crapo said. At the Equifax hearing, Crapo said that members expressed interest in better understanding how credit bureaus are regulated, how they protect consumer data, and whether there are gaps that Congress needs to fill. “It is critical that personal data is protected, consumer impact in the event of a breach is minimized, and consumers’ ability to access credit is not harmed,” Sen. Crapo said. “Credit bureaus play a valuable role in our financial system by helping financial institutions assess a consumer’s ability to meet financial obligations, and also facilitating access to beneficial financial products and services.

Homebuyers Want Online Mortgage Resources, but Still Prefer a Personal Touch

Although homebuyers are relying more and more on online resources to get information, a new study from Fannie Mae shows they still place more faith in real estate professionals and other personal interactions. With the market moving more toward fully digital mortgages, it may appear as though consumers would like more digital interaction and less person-to-person. A new report from the Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research Group shows buyers do, indeed want more online resources during their mortgage-shopping experience. A survey showed respondents want to use mobile devices nearly twice as often in the future. However, that does not mean they place less value on real estate professionals and other person-to-person interactions, the survey showed.

EXCLUSIVE: Nation's Top Mortgage Lenders Reveal Their Secrets to Success

What makes these companies tick? We asked, they answered

The top mortgage lenders of 2016 are sharing their secrets to success, explaining what pushed them into a position in the top 10. The latest Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council shows which lenders are dominating the mortgage origination market. The No. 1 originator’s advice to small lenders just starting their journey? “Focus on your company’s culture,” Walters said. “Whether it’s a good culture or a bad culture, every company has one and it will affect your business.”

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