Housing Markets’ Split Personality

To speak of the United States housing market in singular terms would be a huge mistake. The different regions of the country have their own housing dynamics. The strengths and weaknesses within the local economies have a huge impact on the strength or weakness of housing.

All this said, there is no doubt that the number 417 has the greatest impact on housing in the United States. Why and how? 417k is the cutoff for individuals looking to receive a conforming mortgage. Above that level, individuals enter the realm of the Jumbo market where rates are appreciably higher and credit standards are significantly tighter. Additionally, Jumbo product is not eligible to be underwritten or purchased by Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) or Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM). That restriction was waived and Freddie and Fannie have purchased some Jumbo product, but it has had no meaningful impact on the dynamics within the Jumbo space. Overall, the 417k level remains an enormous line of demarcation.

That line of demarcation is further defined by the ability to modify loans. Loan modifications for Jumbo mortgages are significantly more challenging to accomplish. On top of that, mortgage servicers are now under ENORMOUS pressure by Uncle Sam to produce increased numbers of mortgage modifications. Where is Uncle Sam targeting? Conforming mortgages.

While market analysts may believe housing is turning, they are not looking at the total picture. The Jumbo market remains under real pressure while the conforming market is showing signs of stability. Under the heading of ‘a picture speaks a thousand words,’ high five to our friends at 12th St. Capital (the leading mortgage broker-dealer on Wall Street) for providing an overview of the housing market in Los Angeles. One can see the ’split personality’ based on sales volumes between the downtown neighborhoods and those in the upper incomes. Please click on the map to view year over year sales volumes in respective Los Angeles neighborhoods. A few miles makes a world of difference.

About Larry Doyle 522 Articles

Larry Doyle embarked on his Wall Street career in 1983 as a mortgage-backed securities trader for The First Boston Corporation. He was involved in the growth and development of the secondary mortgage market from its near infancy.

After close to 7 years at First Boston, Larry joined Bear Stearns in early 1990 as a mortgage trader. In 1993, Larry was named a Senior Managing Director at the firm. He left Bear to join Union Bank of Switzerland in late 1996 as Head of Mortgage Trading.

In 1998, after 15 years of trading and precipitated by Swiss Bank’s takeover of UBS, Larry moved from trading to sales as a senior salesperson at Bank of America. His move into sales led him to the role as National Sales Manager for Securitized Products at JP Morgan Chase in 2000. He was integrally involved in developing the department, hiring 40 salespeople, and generating $300 million in sales revenue. He left JP Morgan in 2006.

Throughout his career, Larry eagerly engaged clients and colleagues. He has mentored dozens of junior colleagues, recruited at a number of colleges and universities, and interviewed hundreds. He has also had extensive public speaking experience. Additionally, Larry served as Chair of the Mortgage Trading Committee for the Public Securities Association (PSA) in the mid-90s.

Larry graduated Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1983 from the College of the Holy Cross.

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