What Does the Future Hold?
As we start to get a feel for 2022, one word comes to mind — volatile. We have all been affected by the rate volatility, and that has made our jobs a little more challenging than we have experienced in a while. I do not have a crystal ball, but I do not expect the volatility to end anytime soon with the pressures of inflation, mixed in with some challenging world events, and November elections that could determine the direction of our country over the next few years. This can be a scary time in the industry as volume begins to slow down. We are already seeing some layoffs happen as the refinance boom comes to a close (for now). Those originators and companies who kept a focus on purchase business the past few years should not see much of a drop in volume. Even with rates rising, many experts believe the purchase demand will still be strong. Those who relied heavily on refinances last year will need to sharpen their skills and make sure they are working now to build up more relationships with referral partners.
The Iowa Mortgage Association has a number of resources to help stay top of mind when it comes to purchase business. Our Spring Conference is just around the corner on April 4-5 in Coralville. We have some terrific sessions to help enhance your skills and work more efficiently. We also have a Mortgage Bootcamp on April 19 at the Iowa Bankers headquarters in Johnston. This seminar is a great resource for newer loan officers, loan officer assistants and operations staff, who will learn more about the mortgage loan cycle from seasoned experts. Be sure to check out iowama.org for registration details.
Take advantage of these opportunities and put yourself in a position to thrive in 2022!
Association Updates
Register Now for IMA Spring Conference
The Iowa Mortgage Association will host its annual Spring Conference April 4-5 at the Hyatt Hotel in Coralville. This year’s event includes session on personal leadership and productivity, an economic update, and how to be a better mortgage loan officer. Also returning are the IMA loan production awards, an exhibit hall and much more.
Tone Up Your Mortgage Skills at IMA Bootcamp
The Iowa Mortgage Association will host a Mortgage Bootcamp April 19 at the Iowa Bankers headquarters in Johnston. Designed for those who work in the mortgage industry, this seminar will walk attendees through the mortgage loan cycle and everything they need to be stronger mortgage loan officers. This intense session will provide advanced knowledge of each step of the mortgage process and provide you with opportunities to learn from seasoned experts.
Industry News
FHFA Releases Strategic Plan for 2022-2026
The Federal Housing Finance Agency released a draft of its strategic plan for 2022-2026 for public comment. Comments are due March 11. The agency’s strategic goals include securing the regulated entities’ safety and soundness, fostering housing finance markets that promote equitable access to affordable and sustainable housing and responsibly stewarding FHFA’s infrastructure.

The FHFA flagged several challenges that could influence its success in achieving its goals, including the unpredictable path of the COVID-19 pandemic, a changing interest rate environment, supply-side constraints affecting housing affordability and climate change. Disasters like hurricanes, wildfires and floods could increase credit risk and credit related expenses at the regulated entities, the FHFA said adding that “a scenario of multiple simultaneous disaster events could stress the regulated entities and their business counterparties who service mortgages and insure property.”

The FHFA added that the regulatory environment could also affect its ability to achieve its strategic goals, noting that it does not have the power to examine important counterparties of its regulated entities such as nonbank servicers. The agency said this “could interfere with FHFA’s ability to ensure the safety and soundness of the regulated entities.” Read the strategic plan.
Trade Groups: HMDA Costs, Burdens Remain High
As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau undertakes its planned assessment of the 2015 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act regulations and related amendments, several banking and housing groups last month emphasized that the rules continue to place a significant, ongoing cost and compliance burden on mortgage lenders. The groups echoed previous comments from 2019, which detailed how HMDA-related compliance costs have imposed upward pressures on what consumers pay on a per-transaction basis, and have inflated institutional expenditures due to additional staffing and resources needs.

The groups cited data from a survey conducted as part of the 2019 response, noting that “although we have reason to believe that multiple cost figures have increased” since then, “the data remain the most accurate cost data available on a marketwide basis.” They added that this data would be difficult to obtain from 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, and encouraged the CFPB to rely on the 2019 data as it undertakes its assessment of the HMDA rules.

Among other things, the groups urged the bureau to preserve exemptions to HMDA reporting requirements for small mortgage lenders. Read the letter.
Existing Home Sales Decline in December
Existing-home sales fell 4.6% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.12 million, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales decreased year-over-year, down 7.1% from December 2020. First-time buyers were responsible for 30% of sales in December, up from 26% in November but down from 31% in December 2020.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, states that “December saw sales retreat, but the pull back was more a sign of supply constraints than an indication of a weakened demand for housing.” Despite the lessened demand, “sales for the entire year finished strong, reaching the highest annual level since 2006.”

The total housing inventory in December was 910,000 units, down 18.0% from November’s inventory and down 14.2% from one year ago (1.06 million). The median home price was $358,000, up 15.8% from December 2020 ($309,200), as prices rose in every region. This marks 118 straight months of year-over-year gains.

Distressed sales represented less than 1% of sales in December, equal to the previous month’s percentage and equal to December 2020. Learn more.
Published by Iowa Mortgage Association.