Mortgage banks dispell housing bubble notion

Mortgage banks dispell housing bubble notion

Mr. Duncan said that the impetus for the paper was a “crescendo” in inquiries about the existence of a housing bubble. The MBA paper cited a Lexis Nexis search for the term “housing bubble” for July 2005 that yielded 650 articles.  According to Inman News, "The purpose of the 30-page analysis of housing and mortgage markets, Duncan
said, is to put the flood of housing market commentaries and analyses into
perspective, review the risks and discuss the systems in place to help mitigate

Though the landscape has changed in recent years, Mr. Duncan emphasized the paper’s conclusion that, “there are risks but they are far less dramatic than the hyperbole of recent months.”

“House price growth will slow and there could be a flattening or even a slight uptick in delinquencies and foreclosures in coming months and the U.S. economy could slow.”

A full 35 percent of Americans own their homes outright and an additional 51 percent hold fixed-rate mortgages. In all, Mr. Duncan said the paper estimated that a scant 7 percent of homeowners were exposed to interest rates sensitivity, which did not include data on home equity borrowing.

According to the National Association of Realtors, condo inventories shot up from a 3.5-month supply in June to a 5.3-month supply in July. Though inventories for single-family homes also rose for the month, the increase to a 4.6-month supply from June’s 4.3 months was far less dramatic.

“The appropriate stance,” the paper concluded, “is one of caution, not of panic.”

"There are risks, but they are far less dramatic than the hyperbole of
recent months," said Doug Duncan, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers
Association. Duncan co-authored a report, "Housing and Mortgage Markets: An Analysis," released today.

Inman News say, "While the trade group is not predicting a housing-price crash, it does
predict a sharp decline in housing-price growth next year, with average appreciation
levels dropping to between 4 percent and 5 percent from this year’s double-digit
appreciation rates, Duncan said."

Inman:  But there are a number of factors that work to mitigate these risks, according
to the MBA analysis. For example, there is an alignment of incentives among
the borrower, lender and the investor, Duncan said. Each has a stake in the
borrower making mortgage payments and the alignment limits the extent of
problems caused by any potential downturn.

Inman:  Duncan said sharing of incentives is why the trade group suggests mortgage
borrowers see a lender before seeing a real estate agent. Agents have no
stake in loan delinquency once the house is purchased, he said.


Compare NAR watch list to MBA watch list:

Inman:  Duncan noted six risk factors MBA monitors in examining housing and mortgage
markets. They are a high and sustained rate of home-price growth, declines
in employment, a significant share of investor and speculative activity,
a significant share of condo sales relative to total sales, an unusually
large proportion of loan products that expose borrowers to potential payment
shocks, and an unusually large proportion of Alternative-A loan products,
which offer variances in the amount and quality of documentation required
to borrow money.

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