Visit PREPVisit PRIA

Volume 104, 
mid-December 2014



Housing 2015:  Less Affordability, More Credit Availability?
In a few weeks, 2014 will come to a close. And a pair of new housing predictions issued by Trulia  and CardHub, respectively, for next year's housing market points to a price slowdown, less affordability, improved credit opportunities and a revived interest in private mortgage insurance. For Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia, 2015 will be marked by a slowing in housing price gains.


"Price gains slowed in 2014 and we'll see more of the same in 2015," said Kolko. "In October 2014, prices increased four percent year-over-year, down from 10.6 percent in October 2013. The slowdown has been especially sharp in metros that had a severe housing bust followed by a big rebound. Now, prices nationwide are just three percent undervalued relative to fundamentals. That leaves fewer bargains and scant room for prices to rise without becoming overvalued. What's more, with consumers expecting 2015 to be a better year to sell than 2014, more homes should come onto the market, cooling prices further."


At the same time, Kolko warns, affordability will continue to be problematic. "Despite slowing price gains, homebuying affordability will worsen in 2015 for two reasons," Kolko noted. "First, even these smaller price increases will almost surely outpace income growth. In 2013, incomes rose just 1.8 percent year-over-year in nominal terms, and a negligible 0.3 percent after adjusting for inflation. Second, the strengthening economy and the Fed's response should push up mortgage rates." (Read complete article.)



News from PREP Chapters


In every edition of the PREP Newsletter, we highlight at least one PREP Chapter and post an abbreviated version of their most recent Chapter Meeting minutes.  You can also see what any of the PREP Chapters are talking about by going to PRIA's PREP Chapters webpage.  


Co-Chairs:  Government, Holly Vaughn at and Business, Jason Somers at


The Central Florida PREP Chapter met on November 18, 2014. The meeting began with information and statistics from Volusia, Lake, Osceola and Orange counties and then Jason Somers presented a Title Industry update which included the current market conditions and an update about the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). The primary presentation was a panel discussion given by Carol Foglesong (Assistant Orange County Comptroller), Chris Zeller (Residential Production and Operation Manager from Fidelity National Title Group) and Jerry Morris (Vice President and Underwriter from Fidelity National Title Group). The presentation involved discussion between the panelists and audience about the indexing of public records and whether or not the indexing parameters should change. The next meeting of the Central Florida PREP Chapter will be on February 17, 2015. (Read complete minutes on PRIA's PREP Chapter webpage.)      


eRecording to Usher in Era of Integrated Mortgage Disclosures

More than a decade into the title insurance industry's effort to streamline title processes with technology, eRecording - in its various iterations - will offer even more advantages come August 2015, when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) integrated mortgage disclosures will change the closing process as we know it today, according to a panel at the American Land Title Association's (ALTA) annual convention.

Compliant and accurate documentation of the closing and settlement process will become more important than ever after Aug. 1, 2015, when the new RESPA-TILA forms must be used, the panel told attendees of the trade association's 2014 Annual Convention, held last month in Seattle, in a session titled, "eRecording Overview and Charging Accurate Closing Costs."


"The CFPB is a data-driven organization, and they have indicated that they are ready and willing to take enforcement actions, and they are putting a lot of responsibility on the lenders to make sure they are using the best information available," said panelist Brian Benson, CEO of ClosingCorp Inc. "That clearly trickles downhill to the rest of us, and we are in a situation where we clearly have to employ the technology that is available to provide accurate title pricing and deliver it in a way it can be consumed. Based on the way the rules and tolerance buckets are changing, it's really important that lenders and title companies are in synch and can manage the moving pieces within the closing process."


At the same time, "We're seeing right now that lenders are choosing their providers based on who has invested in technology and can play in that ecosystem," Benson added. "It doesn't have to be a burden; it can be an opportunity, because those who can do it will clearly thrive in that arena."


"People have associated eSignatures, eClosings and eNotarization with eRecording, but none of them are required in order to do eRecording. eRecording can be done regardless of whether the other 'e' items are used," said Jerry Lewallen, president of the E-Recording Partners Network and a member of the board of directors for the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA).  (Read complete article.) 




Important Discussions to be Held at PRIA's 2015 Winter Symposium (February 17-20)

The 2015 Winter Symposium, hosted at the Crystal City Marriott in Arlington, VA from February 17-20, will feature general sessions interspersed with work group meetings and small group discussions offering opportunities to continue developing relationships with all attendees.  And two conference sessions certain to elicit interest are the sessions on a potential uniform law to require all real estate records to be available online and flat-rate recording fees.  Both of these topics have surfaced in the final quarter of 2014 so the first opportunity for face-to-face discussion will be at the February Winter Symposium. For hotel reservations, click here.  A preliminary schedule, along with registration and sponsor information, is also now available.  

Simplifile Selected to Develop Maryland eRecording Pilot 
excerpted from Virtual Strategy 12/2/14

The Maryland Judiciary announced it will launch an electronic recording (eRecording) pilot program in Baltimore County next spring and has selected Simplifile to develop a customized system for the project. The pilot project, which will begin testing in January, will enable recording customers to conveniently and securely eRecord land record documents, expediting the turnaround time for recorded documents and reducing overall paper and mailing expenses.


Currently, those who want to record land documents in Maryland  must go to several locations to move documents through the Department of Assessments and Taxation, local finance offices, and courthouses, but with the eRecording pilot underway, that process will be streamlined into a convenient, simple electronic process. The scope of the pilot will be limited at first to deeds, deeds of trust, mortgages, releases and certificates of satisfaction, and a few other documents. Over time, more document types will be added.


"The true scope goes far beyond electronic recording and can bring about a more accurate and efficient way to transfer real property. Documents will be integrated with the existing land records system, ELROI, and after verification, they will transfer to the Maryland State Archives for permanent preservation and public access," said State Court Administrator Pamela Q. Harris. The eRecording pilot is a collaborative effort by the Judiciary's Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), the Baltimore County Circuit Court Clerk's Office, Baltimore County Department of Budget and Finance, and Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. Simplifile is developing the system at no cost to the Judiciary, Baltimore County or the state. (Read complete article.)


Douglas County Nebraska Chooses PTG Land Records Management System
excerpted from PR Web 12/4/14


The Douglas County, NE Register of Deeds Office has selected the Landmark  Official Records system from Pioneer Technology Group as the office's new recording and public search system. This marks the first installation of Landmark in Nebraska, and continues PTG's national expansion.


"This land records management system project is very important to us," Diane Battiato, Douglas County Register of Deeds, said. "The selection of Pioneer Technology Group is the culmination of a years-long effort to find the best vendor and product to meet our needs." The Landmark Official Records system allows Registers of Deeds Offices, Counties, Clerks of Court, and Recorders to streamline processes and improve public service. The system includes extensive options for public document searching, simple e-commerce payments, and has optional capability for processing County property tax deed sales online.  (Read complete article.) 

ALTA NEWS:  TAN Successfully Pushes Congress to Extend Expired Tax Breaks, Including Mortgage Debt Forgiveness       

excerpted from the December 8, 2014 ALTA Advocacy Update by Michelle Korsmo, ALTA CEO 


In the first week of December, the House of Representatives voted 378-46 to extend more than 50 temporary tax breaks for individuals and businesses that expired at the end of 2013. Despite some public wavering by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), the package which extends these tax breaks for 2014 is expected to pass the Senate this week and to be signed by the president before the end of the year.

The tax provisions range from federal incentives for research and development to support for renewable energy. Importantly for the title industry, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act (MFDRA), which prevents federal taxation of forgiven debt for homeowners who go through a short sale or foreclosure, is included in the package. The MFDRA promotes stability in the housing market by ensuring that families that go through foreclosure or a short sale don't get hit with a double whammy via their tax bill.


Prior to the House vote, the Title Action Network sent an alert to its over 10,000 members asking them to write to their members of Congress to urge them to pass the extension. TAN members responded in force to these alerts, sending messages to over 150 members of Congress.


Hopes for a two-year extension were dashed when the White House threatened a veto because the compromise didn't include enough tax relief for low-income individuals. After the veto threat, the House pulled together a scaled-back one-year plan without much consultation with Senate Democrats or the White House. If you have any questions please contact Ben Lincoln, ALTA director of government affairs, at or 202-261-0308. If you are not a Title Action Network member please consider joining at

AEA NEWS:  CFPB Extends Invitation to AEA        

excerpted from the December 10, 2014 AEA Broadcast Newsletter


The American Escrow Association (AEA) through its Executive Administrator, Art Davis, was asked, by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau staff (CFPB), to participate in interviews to review a booklet they will require to be presented to the consumer.  They contracted with a company to conduct these interviews with consumers and settlement agents to comment on this new publication tentatively named, "Your Mortgage Toolkit".  It is written in plain language and is meant to give the consumer a basic understanding of the home buying and loan processes.  The lender will be required to provide this booklet when the consumer makes application for a new loan.
The contractor carried out interviews directly with consumers throughout the United States.  AEA was involved with the Settlement Agent practitioner interviews which took place in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area on October 27, 2014.
Three practitioners were invited to participate in the interviews which lasted between an hour to an hour and a half each.  They were given the booklet to review and then asked a series of questions.  Some of the questions were very general in nature, such as, "Did you like the graphics and colors of the booklet?" and "Would this booklet help the consumer to be more aware of less aware of the process?"  After responding to the set of the standardized questions, they were given the opportunity to provide suggestions about the information and terms included in the booklet and the way that it is presented to consumers.  They also provided corrections to erroneous information along with differentiations in round-table versus escrow closings. 
Overall, the practitioners felt that the booklet will be a great tool to educate consumers.  This was a wonderful opportunity for the Settlement Agent to have a place at the table and AEA, along with the participants were honored to be part of the decision making process.


Links to National News

The Biggest Reason Home Buyers Are Holding Back
The Motley Fool | December 6, 2014
The financial crisis and Great Recession began with the bursting housing bubble, and the disappointing growth in the economy since then is largely correlated with the lackluster rebound in housing.

Mortgage Professionals Support Reducing Presence of GSEs in Market
DS News | December 8, 2014
As policymakers continue to mull over the possible dissolution of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a new survey shows industry professionals support the continued-albeit reduced-presence of the two mortgage giants in the market.

4 Predictions for the Housing Market in 2015
Fortune | December 9, 2014
Experts polled by Fortune expect home prices and mortgage rates to rise slowly next year.

The Three Percent Solution: Will the GSEs Revitalize Housing?
National Mortgage Professional Magazine | December 10, 2014
On Monday, Mel Watt, the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), officially confirmed the implementation of a significant change that was first previewed in October: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will enable first-time home buyers to qualify for loans with downpayments of three percent.

Advertise in all of PRIA's Newsletters for One Bundled Rate

Consider advertising in the two PRIA publications, In Touch and PREP's "Working Together" Newsletter. In Touch is produced and distributed 12 times each year, while PREPs "Working Together" is distributed 24 times a year.  It's a lot of exposure with a wide audience, now up to 13,000 readers, for just a few dollars. To claim your space click here
Join the PREP Blog and the PREP LinkedIn Group


On most business days, we post national news articles, and PRIA and PREP Chapter information on the PREP Blog and the PRIA/PREP LinkedIn Group. You are able to stay in touch by subscribing to both sites and automatically receiving updates daily or weekly. 


The views and opinions expressed in the media, articles, comments, or links in this publication are those of the speakers or authors and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA) or its members.  PRIA does not warrant the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of the information contained in this publication. If you have a complaint about something you have found in this publication, please contact PRIA by email at
This publication may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. PRIA believes this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this publication is distributed without profit, to those who have expressed a prior interest in such information, for comment and nonprofit educational purposes.
Newsletter Sponsors

If you'd like to advertise in this newsletter please contact:
In This Issue
Housing 2015: Less Affordability, More Credit Availability?
News from PREP Chapters - Central Florida
eRecording to Usher in Era of Integrated Mortgage Disclosures
Important Discussions to be Held at PRIA's 2015 Winter Symposium
Simplifile Selected to Develop Maryland eRecording Pilot
Douglas County NE Chooses PTG's Landmark Official Records System
AEA News
Links to National News
Advertise in PRIA's Newsletters
PREP Blog and PREP LinkedIn
Examples of PRIA's Products 
PREP Chapter Meetings
  December -  March 2015    

      Central Florida


      Metro Minnesota 

      SE Minnesota





Contact Information

Do you have questions or suggestions for this newsletter or any updated information on co-chairs, emails, phone numbers, etc. please contact us:
Carolyn Ableman
PREP Coordinator

Mark Monacelli
PREP Committee Government Co-Chair, Recorder
St Louis County, Minnesota

Madeleine Nagy

PREP Committee Business

Co-Chair, ALTA

State Government Affairs


Join Our Mailing List
Find us on Facebook
View our profile on LinkedIn