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Twitter Chat Recap: New Home Sales, Antonakes, and More

On Thursday afternoon, MReport hosted its first-ever Live Twitter Chat, in which industry experts answer questions from all comers. Joining us for the first session was Rick Sharga, EVP for Auction.com and one of the preeminent voices in the housing industry today.

In case you weren’t able to make it, here are just a few of the topics tackled in the discussion:

Existing-home sales are down [1], loan production is down, construction is down [2]... but new home sales [3] have spiked—what gives?


“I do think that new home sales will increase at a higher rate this year than existing home sales. But keep in mind that new home inventory is near a 40-year low, and new home sales are still 60 percent off peak,” he added.

Where do you believe homeownership rates will land when the dust settles?


“But it’s going to be a bumpy ride for the next few years—tight credit, wage stagnation, and low household formation. Bad mix.”

Now that we’re a few months into 2014 and have seen some early numbers, are you optimistic or pessimistic of where the market is going?

“Overall, I think existing home sales will be flat, new home sales up 5-10 percent, home prices will appreciate 3-5 percent. Slow recovery.”

Which areas nationally are performing well and why?

“Also, markets that had the largest drops have rebounded: Phoenix, SoCal, parts of Florida ... Follow the creation of good-paying full-time jobs, and you’ll find good housing stats there.”

What do you see as trends in access to mortgage loans for low/middle income families today and over the next five years?


“FHA loans are sometimes too expensive, due to the new higher insurance premiums. We’ll see non-agency loans from non-bank lenders ... over time, but not right away.”

What are your thoughts on recent comments [13] that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Deputy Director Steven Antonakes made about mortgage servicers?


“Also counter-productive. We need borrowers to work w/servicers. Casting them as villains doesn’t exactly build trust. But the comments sure were productive in terms of generating headlines, weren’t they?”