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Author Archives: Scott_Morgan

Scott Morgan is a multi-award-winning journalist and editor based out of Texas. During his 11 years as a newspaper journalist, he wrote more than 4,000 published pieces. He's been recognized for his work since 2001, and his creative writing continues to win acclaim from readers and fellow writers alike. He is also a creative writing teacher and the author of several books, from short fiction to written works about writing.

Fannie Mae Releases 2013 STAR Results

Fannie Mae released its annual Servicer Total Achievement and Rewards (STAR) results, naming Fifth Third Bank as its sole Five STAR designee for overall performance and customer service. "We are pleased to see servicers' continued efforts to improve their operations, help homeowners and meet Fannie Mae's goals," said Leslie Peeler, SVP of the National Servicing Organization at Fannie Mae.

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Agents Predict Competitive Spring Season for Buyers

A survey released by Redfin showed that nearly half the company's Northeast agents and about 40 percent of its Midwest agents believe competition among buyers will be far more fierce this spring. The bedrock of these beliefs lies in a combination of low inventory and an end to the winter hibernation among potential buyers in areas hit hard by the 2013-14 winter.

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Housing Barometer: Recovery ‘Staggering’ Forward; Headwinds Persist

Recovery in the housing market is stumbling back to solid ground, thanks to a rise in home prices and existing home sales, as well as a drop in foreclosures, according to the latest Housing Barometer report released Wednesday by Trulia. However, growth in these sectors is dragging disproportionally weaker growth in young adult employment and stagnation in the new home construction sector in its wake.

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Does the Labor Market Have What It Takes to Boost Housing?

In its latest Economic and Housing Market Outlook, released Wednesday, Freddie Mac expects home sales to grow along with wages this year, despite a still-tough job market in most sectors. Freddie is projecting a 3 percent rise in home sales and a 20 percent rise in new home construction in 2014, which the agency expects to level out to a 5 percent overall growth.

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Report: Buyer/Seller Balance a Matter of East vs. West

A look at buyers' and sellers' markets around the country from Zillow shows that the better job market in the West is drawing more buyers and driving up competition for homes in more economically stable cities, thus giving sellers the upper hand in home sales negotiations in western metro areas. Meanwhile, leverage for buyers is strongest in cities in the East and Midwest, where less competition for homes will likely give them more room for bargaining on prices.

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Treasury Official Chimes in on Housing Finance Reform

Amid calls from the Obama administration for a more stable housing market—particularly where affordable housing is concerned—Michael Stegman, counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury for Housing Finance Policy, Thursday called for top-down reforms that would rewire how the federal government funds and regulates both government and private-label securities. He also criticized a pair of "implausible scenarios" that would either leave the GSE system to amend itself or rely on minor revisions.

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Fannie Mae Undeterred by Housing Cold Snap

Fannie Mae released its latest economic forecast, which acknowledged that atypically harsh winter weather in much of the United States has slowed new home construction and sales in Q1 2014. But the report also reaffirms Fannie Mae's position that the economy and housing markets will improve on 2013 growth by the end of the year's fourth quarter.

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Declining Affordability: Shock or Not?

Yes, affordability (as measured by the National Association of Realtors' Housing Affordability Index) is down as much as 22 percent from its January 2013 peak, but is still far higher than it was in the early 2000s, says CoreLogic chief economist Mark Fleming in the company's February MarketPulse report. Moreover, Fleming notes the problem of "unaffordable housing" is one that only really exists for first-time homebuyers.

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Housing Optimism Continues to Climb

A report released by Prudential Real Estate finds that the number of consumers--particularly young ones--who are optimistic about residential real estate took a healthy step higher in December. According to Prudential, 78 percent of consumers (and nearly 90 percent of Millennials) surveyed look favorably toward the residential market in 2014. This is a full 5 percentage points more than the company's third-quarter 2013 results and 15 points more than its end-of-year 2012 results.

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