A real estate analytic and forecasting firm is sticking by its predictions for a significantly smaller mortgage and real estate market in 2011 over 2010.
The firm, iEmergent, made its initial forecast in November 2010 and said it has had a better record of predicting mortgage trends than others in the industry.
"If you're a cockeyed optimist, business-is-about-to-boom cheerleader or a deficit hawk who believes the economy is on the cusp of rapid recovery and austerity is the now the operative word, when it comes to housing you're living in an alternate reality that the latest trends don't support," the firm wrote in November. And it has not backed away from its prediction that the U.S. mortgage market for both new financing and refinancing will not hit $1 trillion this year.
"No one wants to hear about crippled communities and dire housing situations," the firm added. "We'd rather not forecast a floundering home financing depression, either. But we believe that those who trumpet a burgeoning housing recovery for 2011 are grasping at very elusive straws," it added then and has reiterated recently.
The firm is predicting U.S. mortgage originations, both refinance and new finance, will fall by just over a million loans, from just over 5.8 million in 2010 to just under 4.8 million this year on the low end. On the high side, loan volume may drop by over 1.2 million loans, the firm said, from just over 6.5 million last year to just over 5.2 million this year.
Low side dollar volume dropped to almost $904 million compared to almost $1.1 trillion last year and high side dollar volume dropped to almost $991 million, compared to almost $1.2 trillion in 2010.
Of particular note to CUs, the biggest hit the firm expects the mortgage market to take is to refinancing of existing loans.
The firm said it based its dire predictions on the U.S. ongoing economic performance and housing market fundamentals and demand, which it called "weak and unstable."
"Welcome to the fifth year of what will likely become known as ‘the lost decade of mortgage lending,’" the firm wrote.
But the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors is sticking with his more optimistic assessment.
Lawrence Yun said existing-home sales have been underperforming by historical standards and will rise gradually but unevenly. "If we just hold at the first-quarter sales pace of 5.1 million, sales this year would rise 4%, but the remainder of the year looks better," Yun said. "We expect 5.3 million existing-home sales this year, up from 4.9 million in 2010." Mortgage interest rates should rise gradually to 5.5% by the end of the year, he added.