Issue Four: Wrapping up 2019 – December 18th, 2019

On why a slightly unpredictable 2020 can work to your advantage


For the last post of 2019, I want to ahead to 2020 which is only days away. Based on what we’re reading and hearing out there, it should be another good year. Only…different.
Most of us will agree that 2019 brought a pleasant surprise with the return of the refinance. A couple of federal interest rate cuts and Voila!…instant volume. But if the talking heads and prognosticators are correct, 2020 will see some very different developments:

• The return of FHA and VA loans as workhorses. Housing Wire ran a nice article about the revived popularity of the VA loan recently. Hopefully, we’re past talk of churning and can get back to the business of putting veterans and first-time homeowners into homes. This would suggest that’s a real possibility.

• The move beyond “vanilla loans.” We’re seeing a new focus by lenders on “Non-QM” borrowers. Whether this has been fueled by a moderation of hyper-enforcement by key regulators or other factors is not that important for now. Instead, it means more purchase business.

• The reawakening of the builder and a renewed focus on builder-lender relationships. Just open your favorite trade publication or business journal and you’ll see it. Builders are gearing up again, and lenders know that their volume could depend on strong relationships with them.

• A presidential election nationwide. No, this is NOT about to take a hard turn into a political discussion. But let’s agree that every four years, national elections tend to have an unpredictable impact on our economy, including real estate and mortgage.

In combination with what’s likely to be a mildly slowing national economy, these factors (unpredictability, change of market conditions) all point to one thing: purchase business. We’ve already touched on the fact that the latest refi spike is likely to run its course shortly. Our clients are gearing up for it. And this time around, we suspect the market will be better prepared for it. You may recall that on the last test drive of a predominantly purchase market (somewhere around 2018 and early 2019), not everyone was quite sure how to aggressively capture business. After all, it had been years (decades?) since the purchase mortgage was the market driver. (And no, we’re not counting 2007 – 2009 as much of anything in that regard.).

Final Thoughts on 2019:
This time, things will likely be different. Our industry has continued to consolidate over the past few years. The key indicators suggest housing and real estate will not be unduly damaged by the expected global economic slowdown. And all of this means that opportunity is there for the taking…if you’re ready.

I’d like to end this year by wishing all our readers a happy holiday season and new year!

Until Next Week,


P.S. If you made it this far in the article I would love to hear from you! As we are building out this blog, I am always looking for feedback and some potential collaborators moving forward. You can reach me at

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