MReport September 2018

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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84 | TH E M R EP O RT SECONDARY MARKET THE LATEST O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T LGBT Equality: Diversity & Equality in Focus at Fannie Mae Roundtable AMDC and NAGLREP also worked to advance equal representation and rights. O n June 26, Fannie Mae hosted a roundtable at their headquarters in Washington, D.C., on initiatives and legislation promot - ing diversity and equality within the housing industry for LGBT individuals. The event was moderated by Bill Fahey, VP, Office of Minority and Women Inclusion, Fannie Mae, who oversaw a wide-ranging dis - cussion that included insights from Charmaine Brown, Director at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Fannie Mae; Derek Templeton, Executive Director of the American Mortgage Diversity Council; and Peter Nguyen, Director of the D.C. chapter of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP). (Brown also serves as AMDC's Vice Chair, partnering with Chair Kathy Cummings of Bank of America.) "The AMDC appreciates the opportunity to be involved in today's event," Templeton said. "We look forward to continu - ing to work with Fannie Mae and NAGLREP to ensure that all Americans have equal access to homeownership, regardless of race, religion, or orientation." Templeton discussed the mis - sion and purpose of the AMDC, which works to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the mortgage industry. In order to further those goals, the AMDC strives to develop and provide tools and strategies to create an understanding and appreciation of individual differences in thought, experience, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, style, sexual orientation, and gender identity and to move business practices forward to embrace diversity and inclusion as essential to innovation and optimal business results. Templeton also provided an update on the AMDC's series of LGBT Town Hall events. The AMDC has so far hosted four of these events—in Dallas, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles. All are designed to bring together servicers and local LGBT commu - nity groups for a day of discus- sion regarding issues affecting the LGBT community, from perspec- tives of both homeownership and workplace inclusion. The AMDC Town Halls will culminate in the creation of a white paper report that will be circulated to thought leaders across the country, includ - ing mortgage industry leaders, housing-policy experts, and par- ticipating LGBT organizations. NAGLREP's Peter Nguyen presented an update on various diversity initiatives, including a legislative update on H.R. 1447, the Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2017. This bill would amend the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to add sexual orientation and gender identity as classes protected against discrimination in the sale, rental, or financing of housing. The roundtable discussion also touched on other relevant topics such as the state of the housing market when it comes to fair housing and equal-opportunity employment for LGBT individuals, the challenges of LGBT homeless - ness, and how Fannie Mae can work with groups like the AMDC and NAGLREP to promote equal- ity, diversity, and inclusion for the LGBT community. The Dual Headwinds of the Mortgage Market Low housing supply and high mortgage rates pinch mortgages and refinances. H igher mortgage rates are weighing on refinance activity and, despite an increase in purchase-origination volume, are likely to slow total originations by 6.4 percent to $1.75 trillion, according to Freddie Mac's June Forecast. While rising mortgage rates are one of the key factors to affect total originations, the ongoing housing supply crunch is the other headwind that's affecting not only homebuyers but the mortgage market also. According to Freddie Mac's forecast, the first of the year has been fraught with weaker affordability, higher mortgage rates and home prices, as well as low levels of new and existing homes for sale. "This, in turn, has kept the sales growth in check despite the fact that the healthy economy is generating solid levels of demand," the study found. The forecast predicts that steady hiring will continue to support higher wage growth, which in turn should spur consumer spending and business investment. It expects the overall GDP growth to be 2.6 percent by the end of 2018. Despite a low season in the first half of the year, the Freddie Mac forecast predicts an increase of 2.8 percent in home sales by the end of the year, whereas home-price appreciation is likely to end the year at 6.6 percent. Homeowners have emerged as winners in this tough, competitive market, according to Sam Khater, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac. "Rising home values continue to build [homeowners'] household wealth, and those who decided to sell likely found a buyer very quickly," Khater said. "Meanwhile, prospective buyers are active and looking in most markets but supply is low, competition is swift, and higher mortgage rates and home prices are squeezing the budget of some prospective buyers." The forecast revealed that supply and demand imbalances are keeping home sales in check and causing prices to increase at a swift pace. In the meantime, the economy is likely to continue to operate in a rising-rate environment, with mortgage rates expected to touch 4.9 percent by the end of 2018, the forecast projected. "For lenders, the shift is underway to focusing primarily on the purchase market because of the year's tumble in refinancing activity," Khater said. The forecast said refinance activity, which already declined by $300 billion from 2016 to 2017, is projected to decline by another $175 billion in 2018. Higher home sales and house-price appreciation will drive purchase-origination volume up by $60 billion, but not enough to offset the decline in refinances. Full-year originations are therefore forecasted to fall in 2018 to $1.75 trillion and stabilize at $1.74 trillion in 2019.

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