Quick Takes on 2013
Per Freddie Mac's latest forecast, as the housing recovery spreads and stabilizes, we’re likely to see less refinancing and more purchase mortgages for homebuying. That’s because so much of the nation’s refi demand already has been met thanks to historically low mortgage rates and the Home Affordable Refinance Program’s success. On the other hand, home prices are poised to outpace inflation (about 3 percent vs. 1.9 percent); jobs, incomes, and household growth are expected to rise; and mortgage rates will likely stay below 4 percent. This should give more families the confidence to buy for the first time and more homeowners the confidence to sell and move up. The big questions for the industry in 2013 are: 1) will rising home sales fail to make up for falling refi volumes, resulting in fewer single-family originations compared to 2012; and 2) how will lenders compete in the new environment? Either way, competition will be fierce and Freddie Mac is working hard on multiple fronts – technology and process – to help our lender customers target this year’s best opportunities.
Rob Lux, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Expectations for 2013 are simple to state: work will continue to create a more standardized and transparent mortgage market grounded in richer and better-managed data. Freddie Mac is enabling the standardization of data and business practices to support Federal Housing Finance Agency efforts such as the Uniform Mortgage Data Program. We are also focused on enhancing our internal data management practices and on recruiting top data talent. Our objective is to leverage our data and skillset to create tools that will improve the mortgage industry and Freddie Mac’s own internal control environment. More than ever, technology is laying the foundations for a new mortgage market, and data management is central to this transformation.
Tracy Mooney, Senior Vice President, Servicing and REO
Compared to 2012, we expect more borrowers in 2013 to avoid delinquency and more delinquent borrowers to achieve optimal outcomes thanks to an improving economy and ongoing enhancements to our loss mitigation efforts. Working together with our servicers, we’ve helped more than 756,000 struggling borrowers avoid foreclosure since 2009. This year we expect to build on that achievement by working closely with lenders and our regulator to further align and improve our servicing policies. Regarding HomeSteps, our REO sales unit, we expect low mortgage rates and a stronger economy to keep the housing recovery well fueled. That means more competition and stronger sales and prices. Nationally, HomeSteps sales prices already average 95 percent of current market value – as sales and market values rise, so should the outlook for our recoveries on sales. (For more information, see HomeSteps.com.)
Dwight Robinson, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Outreach, Diversity and Human Resources
Freddie Mac is ready to engage America’s borrowers and communities on multiple fronts in 2013. Even as the market recovers, our Borrower Help Centers with local non-profit groups will continue to proactively contact delinquent borrowers – to help them avoid foreclosure and, whenever possible, keep their homes. Since 2009, our centers in Phoenix, Chicago, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, the District of Columbia, and California have contacted more than 100,000 borrowers. We are looking to build on that success by targeting new centers in high foreclosure-risk communities. Another key focus is to make vulnerable borrowers more fraud-aware; one highly focused campaign being considered would reach out to homeowners living in known fraud hotspots. Finally, as the market recovery gains momentum, we expect a renewed focus on preparing the next wave of new homebuyers for long-term success. Freddie Mac is supporting this effort by making its newly enhanced version of CreditSmart – our multilingual financial education curriculum – available to consumers on-line (for the first time!) as well as through non-profit groups, real estate professionals, and other trusted intermediaries.
Have a comment or question about this post? Email us to let us know what's on your mind.