Friday, January 27, 2017

Economic Recovery Top - Low Country View by: Cal Haupt

I wrote an OP ED back in December 2011 about the relativity of a recession and the best course of action based on my data supported by 3 recessions.  Now the recovery top view.  

As we move into the 8th year of the recovery, a DOW 20116, Commercial Flights Full, Malls Full, Restaurants Full, New Car Dealer Lots Over Flowing, and everyone on your street doing home renovations, everyone should govern their actions by data vs. the euphoric feel of a recovery.

With respect to the Mortgage and Real Estate Industry, I am still confident we are in the 15th month of a 60 – 72 month cycle expansion.  I am confident to the tune of investing millions in a 30,000 sq. ft. operations and life balance center at 3575 Koger Blvd in Duluth.  The growth for the past 15 months is ahead of my projections which provides a large enough sample to proof that my hypothesis is correct.

Now for the Yang to the Real Estate cycle Yin.  The financial markets, various stock markets and other financial derivative instruments, can falter without an impact on the Real Estate Market.  Why?  The primary participants or the 80% of the underlying trades in the above markets are institutions and traders.  When it corrects and it will, the retail consumer in general will not be hit the way they were in the last financial crisis because they are not in the markets as deep as they were in 2008-2009.  As a result, they will be unaltered in their euphoric quest for Real Estate.  Whether their need is trading up, trading down, or new home creation for families this trend has 4-5 years left before a plateau. 

My low country view is we all have to navigate the same rivers in a low tide (2011) that we navigate at high tide (today).  Anyone who has been at the helm of a boat knows rivers can be a mundane transit or a harrowing experience depending on tide and weather.  No matter the size of your boat, the outcome is the same.
 This is relevant in that although there looks like more water and routes to take at high tide, beware that the tide cycle and that route outside the normal river may be mud at a lower tide.   The only constant is the Captain (leadership) must know the tidal pattern and govern voyages based on that data.  Financial Markets are no different.  You just need the tide table. 

Most of the Mortgage Lenders that went out of business in 2008-2009 were all navigating in areas that were not part of the average safe tide and were not paying attention to the data that determines our financial tide table.

My advice to MLOs and other professionals related to the Mortgage Industry is although low score, high LTV, and limited documentation products fit a specific need for a very narrow segment of clients; be careful when a Mortgage Company leads with these unique products.  If they do, be prepared for a change in career. 

The safe river is clearly defined by the regulations and directives of our elected officials.  Fannie, Freddie, FHA, and VA products.  Yes, FHA has some low score parameters and should be ingested carefully given Neighborhood Watch reflects gluttons and common sizes them given low scores correlate to higher default and delinquency.  Prudence dictates moderation and sell to client need which is always a fiduciary's safe path for industry participants and clients at all tides.
Cal Haupt
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Southeast Mortgage of Georgia, Inc.

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