BTC - April 2016

couple-buying-home.jpg April 28, 2016
THE NEW CFPB RULES IMPLEMENTED IN OCTOBER 2015 may have delayed some closings, but the overall impact on closing dates was largely tame! While we experienced some delays in getting closings to the table in the first few months as the industry adapted to the new rules, we have had no closings re-scheduled due to re-disclosures as a result of loans being out of APR compliance and lenders not getting the CD to borrowers in time for the scheduled closing. Obviously, the two year period of working toward the new requirements gave lenders and title providers ample opportunity to adjust and be prepared.

DO NOT BE LULLED BY THE SLOWDOWN IN THE ECONOMY and projections for the Fed's continued delay in increasing interest rates. According to the Wall Street Journal, there has been a shift in the view that the Fed won't raise rates again this year! (WSJ, Friday, April 22, 2016) Reductions in unemployment, increases in oil prices, and better than expected profits from publicly traded companies are pushing the stock market to new highs and alerting the Fed that deflation is NOT on the horizon!! Expect at least one increase in 2016, probably after the second and third quarter economic statistics demonstrate a growing - not contracting - economy. I BELIEVE THAT MORTGAGE RATES WILL BEGIN TO INCREASE IN THE THIRD OR FOURTH QUARTER OF THIS YEAR. This may be a blessing, forcing indecisive borrowers and buyers to lock in rates to avoid higher costs.
APARTMENT CONSTRUCTION CONTINUES TO BE WHITE-HOT in our Baltimore and Washington regional markets; this has caused a bit of a drag our first time home buyer market. However, as Millenials begin to grow in confidence about the benefits and stability of owning a home (not to mention the tax advantages as their incomes increase!), we will see a pick-up in this first-time home buyer market, which I expect to accelerate through the remaining years of this decade!! As the demand for housing picks up among this generation, new construction and available housing will not keep pace; so look for rising prices, followed by a re-ignition of apartment-condominium conversions as the vacancies in apartments being to reflect this shifting demographic.

¿¿HABLA ESPANOL?? YOU MAY WANT TO CONSIDER becoming more involved in the expanding Hispanic market! Family solidarity and pride of ownership make this segment of our population ripe for first time home-ownership! Need some statistical support? According to a recent article in the Washington Business Journal, Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of the US population, and will grow by 126% between now and 2060. Even more startling, the Hispanic population in the DC Metro Area is projected to grow 25% to almost 1.1 million from 2014 and 2017! This group is young (average age = 29.4), and families tend to be larger than the US average (3.8 vs 2.4 among non-Hispanic households)!!
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR INVESTOR FINANCING? Rates with some of our "hard money" lenders have grown more favorable. We are seeing some rates as low as 12%, although most are in the 14% to 16% range, depending upon the terms and points. Varying structures are often available to meet the needs of your individual investor! Most lenders lend 100% of acquisition costs (including closing costs) and some provide financing for home improvement!! Our experience is that "hard money" lenders will not make this financing available to inexperienced investors, but money remains available for investors who have experience and track records. If you would like more details, or have an investor who needs financing, contact me directly at 410-224-1400
FOR THOSE OF YOU IN SOUTHERN MARYLAND, particularly in the area around the National Harbor, things are HAPPENING!! The MGM Casino, Hotel, and Shopping Mall project is expected to open later this year and to employ over 2,000 new workers. The casino and 21-story hotel will bring tourists and new homebuyers to the area! Additional growth is expected as the Peterson Companies just announced plans (subject to County approval) to add another 1.28 million square feet of NEW development surrounding the MGM Complex already under construction. By the way, the expansion includes another hotel, apartments and Time Share Rentals!! More on this as it develops! Keep our eye on Southern Prince Georges and Northern Charles Counties!!
THOSE OF YOU IN DC AND NORTHERN VIRGINA will be pleased to know that luxury home sales (homes priced above $3 million) have increased in your area, with McLean leading the way! And last year, Washington, D.C. sold almost twice as many Luxury homes as did Northern Virginia! One reason, according to Mark Lowham, Managing Partner of TTR/Sotheby's International Realty, is "... our average appreciation (in McLean, VA) over the past five years has been just over 5%. So very few investments, particularly ones that you can live in, offer that kind of return." It seems that this logic applies to the local markets overall and not just to Luxury Homes!! Especially when you consider that Baltimore home sales in March 2016 were up 11.2% over the same month last year, and have seen a 3.25% increase in median sales price. (Real Estate Business Intelligence, Rockville)
THE MARYLAND LEGISLATIVE SESSION THAT JUST ENDED resulted in some changes affecting Real Estate. There is a new law making it easier to bring and win a Suit to Quiet Title in cases where unreleased trusts, judgments, etc., can delay and sometimes cancel the sale of a property! Further, the Preservation Tax credit has been given a five-year extension, which supports the preservation and rehabilitation of Historic Properties! Also, a change to Agricultural Transfer Tax, limiting the amount that any County can impose over and above the tax currently imposed by Statute.
ARE YOU A LICENSED TITLE PRODUCER? If so, you may want to consider joining our new subsidiary, Four Seasons Title, which provides complete processing, disbursement, title insurance, and recording services to independent Attorneys and Licensed Title Producers!! This program, launched in March 2015, currently services more than 10 licensed Attorneys and Title Producers and may provide an answer to your plans to "get into" the Title Business. If interested, call 301-261-8177 or email us at
AS ALWAYS, WE AT BRENNAN TITLE COMPANY welcome your questions and your business! We are totally compliant with CFPB rules and have been audited and vetted by four of the major title insurance companies!

Please feel free to call any of our managers and attorneys at any time!!  
Please feel free to contact me at any time by e-mail or phone at or 301-261-8177-my direct line. 
John M. Brennan, Esq.
Brennan Title Company
Phone: 301-261-8177