TitleBytes News & Happenings


Feb 28, 2017

By Allan Dick, Editor

This is the fourth edition of the revamped MLTA newsletter/BLOG, TitleBytes, replacing the two decade old Title Examiner. It will be issued more frequently (bi-monthly. at least for now), electronically, in a more abbreviated format – more concentrated on current developments and industry non-fake news and advisories, while still reporting on MLTA events, personalities and insights.

How are we doing so far? We’d like your feedback. We’d also welcome your participation. As editor of TitleBytes, I welcome your comments, suggestions and input (articles are limited to 750 words ). You can reach me at (248-533-6450) or at alland@wfgnationaltitle.com – thanks. Now, some news …

Having monitored and reviewed 300 metro housing markets for two major factors – affordability and growth, a January, 2017 Forbes article listed the top cities for investors in 2017. Dallas topped the list, followed by Jacksonville, Orlando and Seattle. No. 10 on that list was Grand Rapids. Not only that, it was the lowest priced market on the list. Another January article in Realtor.com also identified Grand Rapids as one of the top ten cities having the biggest housing shortages (#3). Interestingly, Detroit also made that list at #7, partly due to the number of home NOT on the market due to them having little or no equity. But, those conditions are improving, generally speaking.

According to DS News, if the growth in housing prices continues to rise as in 2016, nearly 40% of homeowners who bought a house during the housing bubble could be safely above water by the end of 2017 – this from a Clear Capital Home Data Index Market Report. And nationally speaking, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports that new home purchase loan apps surged in January – up 22% from December and up 9% from January, 2015.

On the downside, mortgage applications dropped 30% for refinance apps, hitting an 8 year low. And, the expectation is that the Fed will raise interest rates again at their next meeting in March, or perhaps later in June. The MBA likewise predicts refis will continue to be lower in the first quarter.

Back on the upside, NAR reports that, nationally speaking, home sales in 2016 hit their highest rate since 2006, and that over half of the metro areas nationwide reported median home sale prices at or above their previous all-time highs. According to MAR’s numbers, 2016 home sales total was the highest since 2005, up 4% from 2015 with a record high average sale price of well over $154,000!

With the recent spate of spring-like weather, it seems most appropriate to peer ahead at the calendar for the upcoming MLTA events (see the MLTA website www.milta.org for more details):

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 – MLTA Boot Camp (Midland)
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 – MLTA Spring Education Seminar (Grand Rapids)
Wednesday, May 10, 2017 – MLTA Legislative Day (Lansing)
Wednesday, May 17, 2017 – MLTA Spring Education Seminar (Livonia)
Sunday-Tuesday, July 16-18, 2017 – MLTA Summer Convention (Traverse City)

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