Are We Moving Toward A Buyer’s Market? Maybe

By CHUCK GREEN As the average mortgage rates decline and markets slow in parts of the country that were red-hot during the pandemic, we at The Mortgage Note decided to ask who is currently in favor during negotiations – the buyer or the seller? It seems that the current consensus on the ground is that there are benefits to being either. Aaron Kozikowski is a loan officer at Ross Mortgage Corporation. The company is headquartered in Troy, Michigan, and serves customers in Michigan, Kentucky, Florida, and Virginia. Kozikowski said “in this market, we’ve been seeing homes sit on the market longer, which allows buyers to take their time instead of having to put in an offer immediately. Sellers are also…

Sellers Feel The Pain Of Price Drops

By CHUCK GREEN Next time you run into someone in the local Starbucks who happens to have their home on the market, be a sport and plop an extra scone into their bag, huh? A little butter and jam, too? After all, sellers probably aren’t riding the wave of a sugar high induced by whatever they will pocket in their real estate transactions as experts say the price of an average home in the United States is decreasing. The cities expected to be the most heavily hit include: San Francisco: -10.36% Seattle: -9.55% San Diego: -7.24% Los Angeles: -5.61% Denver: -5.60% Dallas: -4.34% Portland: -4.25% Las Vegas: -3.69% What is contributing to the drop in housing prices? B. George Ratiu,…

United Wholesale Mortgage Closer To Having America’s Moneyline Claims Dismissed

By KIMBERLEY HAAS A United States district court judge in Michigan has granted in part United Wholesale Mortgage’s motion to dismiss complaints in an ultimatum lawsuit filed by America’s Moneyline. According to court documents, on Dec. 22 Judge Laurie Michelson dismissed fraud and promissory estoppel claims, as well as all but one declaratory-judgment subclaim. Lawyers for America’s Moneyline say that in 2021 leaders at United Wholesale Mortgage issued an ultimatum that forced a number of mortgage brokers, including their client, to choose between doing business with UWM and two of their competitors. AML leaders, relying on alleged promises that UWM would not enforce the ultimatum against it, continued to do business with both UWM and Rocket Pro. After UWM sued…

Homelessness Report Released By HUD Officials

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Homelessness has risen for individuals and people with disabilities, according to the 2022 Annual Homeless Assessment Report released on Monday by officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Homelessness among single individuals increased by 3.1%. The number of people with disabilities experiencing homelessness for long periods of time increased by 16% between 2020 and 2022. The report found 582,462 people were experiencing homelessness on a single night in January 2022. States with the highest numbers of people who were homeless in 2022 include California (171,521), New York (74,178), Florida (25,959), Washington (25,211), and Texas (24,432). Officials say the Biden-Harris Administration is working to reverse the post-2016 trend of rising homelessness. Their goal is to…

California Broker Sentenced To Years In Prison For Mortgage Loan Fraud

By KIMBERLEY HAAS A Los Angeles broker convicted of defrauding lenders to obtain more than $8 million in mortgage loans has been sentenced to five years and four months in prison. Alex Ashod Dadourian, 61, was a licensed mortgage loan broker whose company, Success Funding, doing business as Pride Funding, was located in Northridge, California. Investigators claim that Dadourian received more than $254,000 in fees and commissions by taking out 17 mortgage loans based on fraudulent applications and supporting documentation between 2017 and 2019. Dadourian was convicted on 91 felony charges of mortgage fraud, grand theft, identity theft, and conspiracy, according to a press release issued on Dec. 7. “We won’t stand idly by when bad actors take advantage of…

Hitting The Market During The Holidays? What Sellers And Buyers Need To Know

By KIMBERLEY HAAS The housing market traditionally cools during the holiday season as people focus on family and friends but industry leaders say it is a good time for potential sellers and buyers to weigh their options. After mortgage rates recently surged above 7%, real estate activity and consumer sentiment took a nosedive. Home delistings hit a record high in November as sellers and buyers pulled out of the market, according to journalists Lily Katz and Ben Walzer at Redfin. Markets where home prices skyrocketed during the pandemic are now cooling the fastest. In Sacramento, Calif., an average of 3.6% of active listings were delisted per week during the 12 weeks ending on November 27, up 1.6 percentage points from one year earlier.…

With The Holidays Here, Industry Leaders Share What They Are Grateful For

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Industry leaders are sharing their thoughts as 2022 winds down and they are expressing gratitude despite challenges in the current market. Bill Banfield, EVP of Capital Markets at Rocket Mortgage in Detroit, Michigan, said he appreciates the mental stimulation of navigating a tough market because people are forced to get creative in finding solutions for customers. “Your company, your teams, you get to try to figure out how you can help people or how you can improve your company. It’s actually a much more fascinating time than when you’re in a super boom and all you can do is talk about rates and payments,” Banfield said. Banfield had just sat down with The Mortgage Note to talk…

You Can Get A Mortgage At Walmart

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Leaders at Lenders One Cooperative are planning to open branch locations at select Walmart stores in seven states. The company, established in 2000, is a national alliance of independent mortgage bankers, banks, and credit unions managed by a subsidiary of Altisource Portfolio Solutions. President Justin Demola said in a recent interview with The Mortgage Note that opening branches inside Walmart stores makes sense for their members and customers who will have access to lending services in the same place they shop. “Walmart is an interesting opportunity for us and our members,” Demola said. “The timing has lined up nicely. This project started almost two years ago when the mortgage market was buzzing. Interest rates were super low…

Researcher: The U.S. Needs 4.3 Million More Apartments

By KIMBERLEY HAAS The vice president of research at the National Multifamily Housing Council says 4.3 million new apartments will be needed by 2035 to meet demand. Caitlin Walter spoke at the National Association of Real Estate Editors conference on October 13. She is primarily responsible for conducting NMHC’s research on apartment industry trends, according to the council’s website.  Walter said there were 737,000 apartments under construction in 2021. “The issue is that it takes a long time to build an apartment community, and we’re not actually seeing those under-construction numbers turn into completions. And that is largely due to the delays that started during the pandemic that have continued to persist,” Walter said. Walter referred to a study the…

Rapper Sentenced To Prison For Multi-Million Dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Officials at the U.S. Department of Justice say that a Bay area rapper was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for his role in orchestrating a complex loan fraud and identity theft conspiracy. Mark “Kafani” Hicks, aka Amir Rashad, 42, of Oakley, Calif., allegedly admitted to being at the center of a conspiracy in which he directed a team of criminals who stole approximately $2 million from banks and lending institutions. According to a press release, during a two-year period, Hicks impersonated victims in over a dozen phone calls with banks, lending institutions, and gold dealers. Over $480,000 of the illicit gains were recovered from a safe deposit box controlled by Hicks’s relatives, authorities said.…