RSS From Economist Mark Flemming

  • The Five Cities Where Affordability Declined the Most November 23, 2020
    Affordability declined month over month in September for the second month in a row, even as two of the three key drivers of the Real House Price Index (RHPI), household income and mortgage rates, swung in favor of increased affordability. The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell by 0.05 percentage points and household income increased 0.2 percent […]
    Mark Fleming
  • Why the Student Loan Debt Burden is Overstated November 19, 2020
    Student loans are often cited as an insurmountable barrier to homeownership for young home buyers. It is true that student loan debt levels are higher today than a generation ago, but is it preventing potential home buyers from saving for a down payment? The recently released 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances data highlights some important […]
    Odeta Kushi
  • What Does the Housing Market’s Historic Pandemic Rebound Mean for 2021? November 18, 2020
    The housing market’s historic rebound since bottoming in the spring has been nothing short of amazing. After falling to a near-decade low in May, existing-home sales hit a 14-year high in September. In October, our measure of market potential for existing-home sales increased 9.0 percent compared with one year ago to a 5.98 million seasonally […]
    Mark Fleming
  • What a Pandemic-Driven Shift in the Labor Market Could Mean for Housing November 12, 2020
    The October jobs report exceeded consensus expectations for job growth, yet the labor market’s rebound continues to slow. Higher frequency data from weekly jobless claims confirm the slowdown, as the level of new jobless filings is not falling as quickly in recent months. COVID-19 cases are on the rise and there is increasing likelihood of […]
    Mark Fleming
  • Interview with Yahoo! Finance: Explaining the Housing Market’s Resilience in the COVID-19 Era November 9, 2020
    First American Deputy Chief Economist Odeta Kushi was interviewed on Yahoo! Finance earlier this month, discussing why the housing market is better positioned in this recession than it was heading into the Great Recession, and how low rates and millennials are driving demand.
  • Homeownership Remains Strongly Linked to Wealth-Building November 5, 2020
    Economists study homeownership and policymakers often emphasize it because homeownership is an effective way to build wealth, especially for low-income households. In fact, quantifying the wealth-building power of homeownership shows that home is not only where your heart is, but also where your wealth is.
    Odeta Kushi
  • REconomy Podcast: Housing Affordability in the COVID Era November 3, 2020
    In this episode of the REconomy podcast from First American, Chief Economist Mark Fleming and Deputy Chief Economist Odeta Kushi break down housing affordability trends, discuss the economic forces that influence house-buying power and explain why housing is actually more affordable today, even amid the pandemic, than it was at the peak of the housing […]
  • Has the Affordability Boost From Falling Mortgage Rates Run its Course? October 27, 2020
    Throughout 2020, falling mortgage rates have been the strongest influence on housing affordability trends, even helping fuel the housing market’s impressive recovery and resilience to the continuing economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Mortgage rates began declining in January 2020 and even dropped below 3 percent for the first time ever in August. But, as […]
    Mark Fleming
  • Why Housing Market Potential Remains at 13-Year High Point October 16, 2020
    The housing market’s impressive “V-shaped” recovery has thus far shown significant resilience to the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Demographically driven millennial demand has continued unabated, low rates have fueled house-buying power, and historically low inventory has increased competition, leading to rising prices.
    Mark Fleming
  • Myth or Reality? The Pandemic-Driven Acceleration to the Suburbs October 15, 2020
    Several reports indicate that the pandemic has triggered a mass flight from urban centers to the suburbs. It’s true that a move to the suburbs usually offers more space for telework and stay-at-home activities. But, as millennials have been aging into the key lifestyle decisions associated with a greater likelihood of purchasing a home (marriage […]
    Odeta Kushi