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Volume 113, 
April 2015



Why is Housing Inventory So Low?
excerpted from Inman 4/19/15


There has been a great deal of discussion regarding the consistently low housing inventory levels throughout the nation. Very little, however, has been written about the reasons why inventory levels are so low, especially following the economic disruption of 2008-2011.


Understanding the why can be helpful in predicting how these factors might influence longer-term supply levels and future appreciation potential. This knowledge might also shed light on why inventory might remain constrained over the long run.


In the second half of 2011 we began to see an acceleration in the decline of inventory levels nationally, and since that time the available housing inventory has continued to remain historically low. ( Read complete article.)



News from PREP Chapters


Here is this issue's highlighted PREP Chapter:


Co-chairs:  Government, Timi Bailey at and Business, Darlene Missler at

The Metro Minnesota PREP Chapter met on April 9, 2015.  Agenda items included: 1) ERERC Updates, including stats on which Minnesota counties record all document types in eRecording format, and an overview of the ERERC's presentations for eRecording doc preparation for paralegals and the Real Estate Institute,  2) Bar Association legislative updates for 2015, 3) Hennepin County discussed their recording procedures and will be discussing their Torrens procedures at future PREP meetings, 4) county and title company work volume increases across the state.  (To see minutes from this meeting, please go to PRIA's PREP Chapter webpage).


Housing Advocacy Groups Call on FHFA, CFPB to Investigate "Pro-Foreclosure" Tactics
excerpted from HousingWire 4/17/15

A consortium of housing advocacy groups is calling on the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate "pro-foreclosure campaigns," which the groups say are being perpetrated by "Wall Street giants including the largest hedge funds, mortgage bond traders, and insurance companies."


In a letter addressed to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, FHFA Director Mel Watt,
and CFPB Director Richard Cordray, the groups say they are "concerned by recent media reports stating that some of the largest hedge funds, mortgage bond traders, and insurance companies appear to be pushing servicers to foreclose on borrowers," instead of offering the borrowers loan modifications or principal reductions.


"These are many of the same Wall Street investors that contributed to the mortgage crisis and have continued their unscrupulous practices," the groups say in the letter. "Once again, they are putting their own economic self-interests above our communities and the sustainable growth of our nation's economy," the letter continues. "If loan servicing companies are restricted from offering effective and common sense modifications, there will be no alternative to foreclosure, which will only aggravate an already untenable situation with blighted neighborhoods, distressed communities, and unnecessarily displaced homeowners." (Read complete article.) 



Fraud Fed the Mortgage Crisis       

Expanded mortgage lending in low-income neighborhoods before the foreclosure crisis was helped along by fraud - namely, the overstating of borrower income on loan applications, according to new academic research.


If that seems unsurprising, given all that has been reported about fraudulent and loose lending activity in the subprime sector during the housing market bubble, it is by no means a given among academics. While they agree that mortgage lending did inflate, they hold different views as to how and why.


A new paper by Atif Mian, a Princeton University economics professor, and Amir Sufi, a finance professor at the University of Chicago, directly rebuts a paper released in January arguing that lending expanded in low-income neighborhoods because higher-income individuals moved in to buy, not because there was disproportionate lending to the poor. (Read complete article.)


PRIA Announces Approval of Best Practices for Indexing
excerpted from GISuser 4/27/15 

The Board of Directors of the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA) has given final approval to the "Best Practices: Indexing Names & Parties" paper produced by the Business Processes and Procedures Committee.

The recorder's property records Index exists in a form very similar to a phone book listing. It is the way to find the necessary citation so that a document itself can be retrieved. The document determines whether ownership of property or an interest in the property may have changed and it is the document that must ultimately be evaluated. The index is the tool to locate document.


Typical, statutory requirements for an index are 1) names of the parties to the document; 2) the date and time of filing or recording; 3) the document/instrument number (or other location data, such as "book and page"); and 4) the type of document/instrument.


According to PRIA President Mark Ladd, vice president of regulatory and industry affairs for Simplifile, LC, "Over the past 75 years, many recorders adopted practices of adding information to the index.  The recorders did so to make it easier for customers (often individuals in the property records industries) to determine whether they might be interested in reviewing the particular document.  Examples of information added to the typical index include:  abbreviated legal descriptions, cross-references to related documents or court-case numbers, multiple variations on a name appearing in a document and an ever-expanding category of types of documents." (Read complete press release on PRIA's webpage.) 


CSC Adds eRecording to Several Jurisdictions Across the Country
excerpted from 4/27/15

Several counties and jurisdictions across the country are now electronically recording real estate documents through Corporation Service Company┬« (CSC┬«).  These jurisdictions include Cedar and York counties in Nebraska, the Town of Salem in Connecticut,  Madison County in New York and Sussex County in New Jersey. ( Read complete press releases.)


ALTA NEWS:  Mortgage Choice Act Passes the House but May Face Uphill Battle in the Senate               
excerpted from ALTA Advocacy Update 4/20/15 by Michelle L. Korsmo, ALTA CEO 

The House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 685, the Mortgage Choice Act of 2015, by a 286-140 vote. H.R. 685 amends the Ability-to-Repay/Qualified Mortgage provision (Section 1412) in Dodd-Frank to exclude title and certain escrow charges if they are paid to an affiliate of the originator under the law's calculation for the three-percent cap for points and fees. Title fees paid to a non-affiliated title company are already exempt. After the vote, the bill came under fire from critics in the Senate Banking Committee, indicating that it could have difficulty in passing the Senate.

Since ALTA has some members that have affiliated relationships and other members who do not have affiliations, we are not advocating for or against the Mortgage Choice Act (H.R. 685). However, it is appropriate that ALTA respond to requests from our members about how they can advocate on the legislation to ensure Congress has accurate information about title insurance. If you have any questions please contact Justin Ailes, ALTA's vice president of government and regulatory affairs, at


Links to National News
'Underwater' Homes Inch Up in First Quarter
Realtor Mag | April 24, 2015
The share of seriously underwater home owners took a surprising turn in the first quarter of 2015, posting its first increase since 2012. However, the number of seriously underwater home owners is still down more than 4 percentage points compared to a year ago, according to RealtyTrac's U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report.

Consumers Show Shift in Home Ownership
Realtor Mag | April 24, 2015
The majority of consumers are upbeat when it comes to the housing market. Low interest rates and a strengthening economy have prompted this consumer optimism, according to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices' Homeowner Sentiment Survey, a survey of about 2,000 consumers' attitudes toward home ownership.

Home Prices Up 4 Percent from Last Year
The M Report | April 27, 2015
U.S. home prices for February were up by 4.6 percent year-over-year and 0.7 percent for the month, according to a home price index report released by Black Knight Financial Services this morning. This is the largest monthly gain in home prices since June of last year.

The Story of Why People Haven't been Buying Homes: Fear of Rejection
Inman News | April 27, 2015
More than half of homebuyers who were interviewed said they'd like to buy a home within the next two years, but hadn't even applied for a mortgage because they were afraid they wouldn't qualify.

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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.
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In This Issue
Why is Housing Inventory So Low?
News from PREP Chapters - Metro Minnesota
Housing Advocacy Groups Call on FHFA, CFPB to Investigate "Pro-Foreclosure" Tactics
Fraud Fed the Mortgage Crisis
PRIA Announces Approval of Best Practices for Indexing
CSC Adds eRecording to Several Jurisdictions
Links to National News
Advertise in PRIA's Newsletters
PREP Blog and PREP LinkedIn
Examples of PRIA's Products
PREP Chapter Meetings
  May -  August 2015    

      Central Florida


      Metro Minnesota 

      SE Minnesota

      Idaho (new)

      Red River Valley MN 

      SE Pennsylvania 


      Virginia (new)



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


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