Sales of single-family existing homes in Florida totaled 25,518 in May, a 4.5 percent year-over-year increase, according to new data from Florida Realtors
Gino Moro, First Vice President of the Broward Chapter of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals (FAMP)Gino Moro is the first vice president of the Broward Chapter of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals (FAMP); he had previously served in the capacity of president in the 2010-2011 term. National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with him regarding his work with this trade group.
How and why did you get involved in FAMP? Can you share the track within your association that led to the leadership role within your chapter?
Initially, I joined FAMP because I had just moved to Florida, and I was looking for a way to network and make connections with other people in our industry. It was such a great decision! Not only was I able to meet the kind people I was looking for, but a lot of those connections that I made years ago are now great friends and people I continue to do business with today.
I never missed an FAMP meeting, whether it be an education class, a general meeting or just a networking event. Eventually, I decided to volunteer my time and become more involved with FAMP. In those years, I used to teach the Florida Mortgage Broker 24-Hour Pre-Licensing Class, so I thought it would a great idea to participate on the FAMP Education Committee. The other reason I chose that committee was because back then, reverse mortgages were just starting to become popular and FAMP really didn’t pay much attention to them or offer any education on the subject. It was a niche product, and since I was doing so many reverse mortgage loans, I thought I could give a voice to a great product that a lot of folks didn’t know much about.
Eventually, I moved through different committees and was asked to serve as president-elect. Well, I never did hold that position. Our president-elect at that time was unable to fill the position of president, so I took her place. What an eye-opener! When you put so much work into an association as important as FAMP is to our industry, you can never really walk away from that. Our board of directors is comprised of a variety of true professions from all the different parts of the mortgage industry, and I am extremely proud to be part of such an amazing group of people.
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state join FAMP?
Our industry has been ever-changing, and with change, we need to have a unanimous voice so we can make sure our input is heard and considered when decisions are made. Mortgage professionals absolutely must join our association to help protect this incredible industry. As members, they can also take advantage of top tier education and networking events. It is such a small investment with such a huge return.
What role does your association play in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environments, and are there any items on the current agenda you would like to highlight?
We are very fortunate because FAMP has a very good relationship with the Office of Financial Regulation. We are able to communicate effectively and work together because of the professionalism on both sides. There is a mutual respect that comes from experience, and our association has been working at this for more than 55 years.
In addition, all of FAMP’s chapters get together once a year and head to Tallahassee to meet and speak with our legislators about current issues. If you’ve never done this before, I would invite you to join us and see what a big difference we can all make together. Each chapter also maintains relationships with their local legislators throughout the year.
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with the association?
We support each other, and I can tell you first-hand that absolutely nothing happens because of one single person. I have been part of the FAMP Broward Chapter since my first day of membership, and I am very proud of our chapter. Am I biased? Absolutely, but come to our Trade Show and see what our board and volunteers have accomplished together. The FAMP Broward Chapter Trade Show is right in the middle of the highest number of licensees within the state, and we always have a great turnout with lots of relevant education for our members.
What is the synergy that exists between FAMP and NAMB?
I truly believe we need each other to effectively represent our industry. While we are very successful at working with our legislators, we only represent a single state. Having the ability to join forces with all the states and come together with one voice is very powerful and necessary. In fact, some of our current and past FAMP leaders have roles in the NAMB today.
In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
Over-regulation is obviously an obstacle and makes it difficult for a novice licensee to know how to get started. The education requirements for licensing have absolutely nothing to do with the real world—and while we are trained and tested on regulations, there really is no hands-on step-by-step training that we are required to do. That comes from experience and from mentoring from more seasoned mortgage professionals. We need to have more education available specifically for these new licensees.
How would you define the state of the Florida housing market?
Florida has such a diverse housing market. One neighborhood can include low-income housing and a few blocks away, you may find multi-million dollar condos and homes. Condos and co-ops have large footprints in South Florida, and with our beautiful coastlines, we attract many retirees, investors and foreign nationals. We really have a unique market, and frankly, we need to offer more loan products and loan types because of this.
Our housing market is very active and many areas have already surpassed the affordability thresholds for residents. That makes our jobs more important than ever, and when you think about it, we are the solution that makes homeownership achievable. How can you not love doing what we do?

Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@NMPMediaCorp.com.

The FAMP Gulf Coast Chapter Inaugural Golf Tournament will be held Friday, May 5 at Eagles Golf Club, located at 16101 Nine Eagles Drive in Odessa, Fla. with a 12:30 p.m. Shotgun Start.

Click here for more information or visit GulfCoastFAMP.com.

HomeBridge Financial Services Inc. has announced the promotion of Jamie Zeitz to the position of branch manager.

HomeBridge Financial Services Inc. has announced the promotion of Jamie Zeitz to the position of branch manager. Zeitz has received numerous industry accolades since joining HomeBridge in 2012, having consistently been voted one of Jacksonville’s “Top Mortgage Professionals” by Jacksonville Magazine. In this new role, Zeitz will be responsible for the continued success of HomeBridge’s Jacksonville branch location, along with the development of new strategic alliances and recruitment of top industry professionals to join HomeBridge throughout Northeast Florida.

“HomeBridge is very unique in the mortgage industry,” said Zeitz. “The company’s depth of resources, entrepreneurial spirit and service-focused platform provide me with all the resources I need to help local home buyers and the professional real estate community secure the best mortgage solutions tailored to their individual needs.”

A key component of HomeBridge’s success the last 25 years has been its inherent belief that its people are the company’s best asset. Zeitz embodies this operating principle, spending a significant amount of time to mentor new associates on his team, as well as producing educational events for the benefit of local Realtors and other professionals throughout Northeast Florida.

“Jamie represents everything that HomeBridge strives for as a lender,” said Chris Wasinger, regional vice president for HomeBridge. “In addition to his entrepreneurial spirit and drive, he takes a personal approach that matches HomeBridge’s vision for how lenders should operate in every aspect of the mortgage industry. The extra effort he puts into mentoring new associates and producing educational events, has helped him build one of the top mortgage teams in the entire industry.”

An active participant in the professional Florida housing community, Zeitz is part of the sales and marketing council for the Northeast Florida Builder’s Association, and is a member of the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors (NEFAR), Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals (FAMP), as well as the Northeast Florida sector of the Women’s Council of Realtors.

HomeBridge recently announced that it would be purchasing the operating assets of Prospect Mortgage. Once finalized, HomeBridge will become one of the largest non-bank mortgage lenders in the country, originating loans nationwide with approximately 900 retail mortgage loan originators in nearly 250 branches.

With the Northeast Florida housing market showing signs of a strong revitalization, internationally-known author and speaker Jon Gordon spoke to a group of 300-plus real estate professionals at the Elevate The Elite event on Tuesday at the University of North Florida’s Adam W. Herbert University Center. Gordon, the author of Wall Street Journal best-seller, “The Energy Bus,” is one of the most sought after speakers in the world today, and has had his principles put to the test by organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to professional sports teams and non-profit organizations.

The invitation-only event is the brainchild of three Jacksonville housing professionals, Jamie Zeitz, David J. Heekin Esq. and Billy Wagner, who fully believe that the further growth of the local housing market requires a team approach and personal investment in helping their colleagues be the best they can be. The invitees for Elevate the Elite were hand-picked because the three felt that these individuals had the potential to play a key role in the health and continued resurgence of the Florida real estate market.

While Gordon will be the crux of the event for attendees, many may also find inspiration from Zeitz, Heekin and Wagner, each of whom have had their own share of success in the Northeast Florida real estate industry. Zeitz, Northeast Florida Market Leader for HomeBridge, has been listed in the top one percent of mortgage loan originators in the country by Mortgage Executive Magazine. Heekin, founder and president of Landmark Title Insurance, has led his company as the top title company by share in Northeast Florida for the last three years in a row. Wagner, agency owner of Brightway Insurance Ponte Vedra Beach, holds a similar accolade, having led his Brightway office to become the number one branch in the Brightway network for the last three years.

“There is a massive opportunity on the horizon for the entire Northeast Florida housing industry, but we know it takes a true team effort to take advantage of it,” said Zeitz. “Elevate The Elite is a rare opportunity for housing industry professionals to learn from one of the most sought after speakers in the world today. We’re holding this event to help realtors and industry professionals be the best they can be next year, for the benefit of the Northeast Florida housing industry and the homebuyers we serve together.”

Element Funding, a division of Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. (PRMI), has opened its first branch office in Sarasota, Fla.

Element Funding, a division of Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. (PRMI), has opened its first branch office in Sarasota, Fla. Gary Tuorto, area sales manager; Brody Wiseman, sales manager; and Christopher Schultz, senior loan officer, will manage the new branch.

“We are pleased to welcome this new branch led by Gary and Brody,” said Larry Sutton, division president of Element Funding. “Our goal at Element Funding is to stay true to the culture of each community as we continue to expand in the state, and to help families achieve their goal of homeownership through a positive and personal experience.”

Wiseman was previously a loan officer with Regions Bank before joining the Element Funding team. He is joined by Schultz, who has 16 years of experience in both the wholesale and retail mortgage industries.

“We are proud to be part of a team of professionals who truly care about hard work, the customer experience, and being a leader in the industry,” said Wiseman.

​The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) has announced that Rick Arvielo, chief executive officer of New American Funding, has been appointed chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association Political Action Committee (MORPAC) for the 2017-2018 election cycle

New American Funding has announced that it is expanding its Central Florida territory with a new location in Orlando. To lead this expansion, New American Funding has enlisted the expertise of mortgage originator Miguel Mouriz, who will serve as a licensed branch manager.

“This has been an amazing adventure shared with an extraordinary group of industry professionals,” said Mouriz. “I feel blessed to have the opportunity to represent such a dynamic, forward-thinking organization as New American Funding and to have the privilege of making a positive impact on our community.”

New American Funding plans to provide this Central Florida community with the same industry-leading closing times, award-winning services, and high-level customer support that has become a hallmark at its other national locations.

“We are 100 percent committed to our agents and clients,” said Mouriz. “Our quality of service is what sets us apart in the mortgage industry.”

​Hunt Mortgage Group has announced the opening of a new office in Tampa, Fla

Hunt Mortgage Group has announced the opening of a new office in Tampa, Fla. Anne Stewart has been hired as director to lead the local effort and will focus on originating agency debt, primarily small balance loans under the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Small Balance Loan Programs for clients in the Southeast. Hunt Mortgage Group also offers bridge financing through their Proprietary Loan Group. Stewart will report to Managing Director Owen Breheny.

“Our decision to open an office in Tampa is in direct response to the area’s strong market dynamics,” said Breheny. “A local presence enables us to better serve the growing needs of area developers.”

Stewart comes to Hunt Mortgage Group from Guggenheim Commercial Real Estate Finance LLC, where she was a managing director, responsible for sourcing commercial real estate mortgage transactions for the small balance CMBS program. Prior to that Stewart held senior origination positions with Credit Suisse/Column Financial, Potomac Realty Capital and Ocwen Federal.

“Anne is a seasoned financial service executive with a solid background originating and closing small balance deals in the local commercial real estate market,” said Breheny. “We are excited she has joined our team and are confident she will greatly extend Hunt Mortgage Group’s capabilities in the region.”

Stewart earned her BA in business economics from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.

The sun is certainly shining on the Sunshine State’s housing market

The sun is certainly shining on the Sunshine State’s housing market, or at least it is unusually bright in Ten-X’s Top Single-Family Housing Markets Report for Fall 2016, which ranks four Florida markets—Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach County, Tampa and Orlando—as the top four areas for this sector of the homeownership world.

Ten-X pointed to “solid economic and demographic expansion, in turn stimulating robust price gains and increasing home sales” as key to Florida’s housing market success. The only non-Florida market in the top five, Las Vegas, was also praised for similar housing market activity.

"Florida's housing market continues to set the pace for the nation, with five of the top ten metros on our report," said Ten-X Executive Vice President Rick Sharga. "While all of the top five markets took substantial hits during the housing crash, especially Las Vegas, the continued road to recovery for these destination cities is looking even brighter."

If the Ten-X ranking were expanded into a top 20 list, two other Florida markets would be included: Jacksonville at 10th place and Miami in 19th. The market that was ranked dead last among the 50 metros analyzed for this report was Baltimore, with Central New Jersey, Cleveland, Chicago and Northern New Jersey among the bottom feeders.

Element Funding, a division of Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. (PRMI), has opened its first branch office in Sarasota, Fla.

Element Funding, a division of Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. (PRMI), has announced the opening of a new branch office in Tampa, Fla., as Gary Tuorto, sales manager, and Seth Robbins, retail branch manager, will manage the new Tampa branch.

“The new Tampa office allows us to increase our footprint in the Tampa Bay area to provide the highest level of service to our clients and partners in the area,” said Tuorto.

The new branch is part of an effort to strategically expand Element Funding by adding eight new Florida branches in the next year. In this expansion effort, it hopes to employ more than 30 team members.

“The new space will bring our sales and operations teams under one roof allowing for quicker turnaround times,” said Larry Sutton, division president of Element Funding. “Since establishing our presence in the Destin, Sarasota and now the Tampa areas, we have helped numerous families obtain homeownership and gained a high level of loyalty in the communities we serve. Our goal is to provide a positive customer experience and opening this new office will take this experience to an even higher level.”

The homeownership rate in Florida’s Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Palm Beach metro measured at 57.5 percent during the second quarter, significantly below the 63.6 percent national average and 80 basis points below the second quarter of last year, according to ne

The homeownership rate in Florida’s Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Palm Beach metro measured at 57.5 percent during the second quarter, significantly below the 63.6 percent national average and 80 basis points below the second quarter of last year, according to new data from Ten-X.

During the second quarter, Miami’s existing home sales registered a 3.2 percent year-over-year rise to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 61,800, while the inventory of homes for sale jumped 16.3 percent from a year ago. But Ten-X’s analysis noted that home construction “remained low by historical standards” while the median existing home price jumped 8.1 percent year-over-year to $244,196 while affordability levels for home buying fell 6.5 percent for the same period.

"The Miami housing market continues to climb back from the devastation it suffered during the Great Recession, although both sales volume and pricing are still far below the peaks they reached during the housing boom," said Ten-X Executive Vice President Rick Sharga. "The long-term outlook for the market is strong, as population growth and employment trends are both positive. But there are some hurdles in the near term, as price appreciation has outpaced wage growth, and volatility in international markets may be slowing down purchases by foreign buyers."