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When: 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., March 14
Who: David Stevens, president and CEO, MBA
What: Although Stevens focused much of his keynote speech on the future of the mortgage industry, looking toward that future began with taking a look at the past. Stevens reflected on his own experience coming into the mortgage business in the early 1980s, a time that he said was fraught with its own variety of problems and pessimism.
Stevens recalled that, as he was entering the industry, others were leaving it. "They were telling me, 'What are you doing joining the mortgage business? This is the end. Rates will never come back down, people are not going to buy houses anymore, the population is shifting, the interest in homeownership is changing — what are you doing joining the mortgage industry?' But I looked at it all as opportunity."
The recession, in other words, is no reason for Stevens to be pessimistic. The key to market recovery, he said, simply is recreating confidence in the marketplace, which can be achieved through a number of policy, guideline and servicing reforms.
Although he reminded his audience that the industry still has several years of difficulty ahead of it, Stevens remained positive, citing in particular the next generation of homebuyers. During the next decade, Stevens said, there will be 14 million new families in need of places to live, a population boom that's reason enough for optimism.
"It's never been more important to be aggressive and engaged, in a responsible way, to make sure that we don't eliminate the dream of homeownership in the market coming our way," he said. "[We must be careful not to] restrict their ability to buy a home simply because they don't have a downpayment or because they don't meet some unique credit box that was created out of this environment."
The Future of Housing: Will the 30-Year Mortgage Survive?
When: 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., March 15
Michael L. Vitali Sr., executive vice president, TBI Mortgage Co. (moderator)
Teresa Bryce Bazemore, president, Radian Guaranty
Michael Fratantoni, vice president, single-family research & economics, MBA
Brian Montgomery, chairman, The Collingwood Group
Tim Quinlan, economist, Wells Fargo
What: Taking a mostly statistical look at the past and potential future of the housing market, this panel's outlook was cautiously optimistic about the coming years. Quinlan, for instance, remarked that, "In terms of GDP growth, we're a little below our historical growth [of 3 percent], but we are rising."
Citing a variety of statistics and influences, Quinlan went on to forecast that housing starts will reach normal levels by about 2015. "There is some pent-up demand [for housing]," he added, "but there's also still a massive amount of inventory."
The panel also discussed how that pent-up demand can affect the market in numerous ways, not the least of which is the industry's balance of loan types. "We think that refinance volume is just going to plummet," Fratantoni said. "We're going to move from a refi market in 2012 to a purchase market in 2013."
Turning to the regulatory and guideline changes so widely discussed in other conference panels, the group also forecasted some of the ways in which bankers and brokers' businesses may be affected in terms of enforcement. Looking to the coming few years, for instance, Montgomery predicted a "dramatic increase in RESPA enforcement."
Raymond Fleischmann is an associate editor at Scotsman Guide.
Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or email@example.com.
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