Fannie Mae is being questioned by a prominent U.S. senators regarding the costs of its new regional headquarters in Plano, Texas.
According to a Dallas Morning News report, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is questioning the expenses related to the 10-story, 330,000-square-foot building leased for 15 years by Fannie Mae last year. In a letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt, Grassely charged that the site represents "$24.2 million in excessive costs," and he questioned the judgment in locating the offices in that particular area.
"Choosing an area of Dallas known as the 'platinum corridor' makes me wonder who's minding the store," Grassley said. "It is inexcusable that neither Fannie Mae nor FHFA have conducted an appropriate review to determine the reasonableness of the lease or the budgeted build-out costs for this project. As an agency charged with oversight of the mortgage market, Fannie Mae has an even greater responsibility to effectively manage its own real estate project(s) and to do so in a manner that is not wasteful of taxpayer dollars."
Grassley further demanded that the FHFA produce a detailed accounting of its decision to choose the Plano location and an analysis of the costs related to this decision.
FHFA Deputy Director Bob Ryan responded on behalf of Watt, stating in a letter that "Fannie Mae's new Dallas office space, which is expected to provide a significant reduction in square footage from the current leased space, have fewer offices, add resiliency operations and have a much higher density design than the space Fannie Mae currently occupies."
Connecticut-based VA mortgage lender Military Direct Mortgage has announced its expansion into Texas and has appointed Alex Halisky as branch manager of the new Dallas office. Halisky is a seasoned direct-to-consumer mortgage professional with more than 18 years of experience in the mortgage banking industry. He will lead a team of licensed VA loan specialists to provide veterans and active duty military with home purchase and refinance options.
“After the start of our Avon, Conn. location, we quickly saw the need for a presence in other regions of the country. We are very happy and fortunate to have Alex run our Dallas branch” said Patti White, president of Military Direct Mortgage. “Alex has the knowledge and experience in the industry to guide a team of dedicated professionals to carry out our mission of ensuring that as many veterans as possible are aware of and can implement the benefits they so rightfully deserve.”
The NAMB on the Road Series comes to Houston, Texas on Thursday, April 6, 2017 for a day of education and networking at the Houston Marriott Westchase, 2900 Briarpark Drive in Houston, Texas.
This day-long session features a series of workshops geared towards helping you be more productive in 2017!
Click here for more information.
Michelle Goldberg is a wholesale and correspondent account executive for Stonegate Mortgage and is the past president of the Central Texas Association of Mortgage Professionals (CTAMP). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with her regarding her work with this association.
How and why did you get involved with the Central Texas Association of Mortgage Professionals (CTAMP)? Can you share the track within the association that led to your leadership role?
I have been involved with the association for approximately 18 years. I have been on the board of directors for about seven or eight years, and fulfilled a number of different roles, including director of membership, director of education, secretary, vice president and president. My term as president ended Sept. 30, 2016.
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state join CTAMP?
There is strength in numbers. We see that in other industry associations, including the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Being directly under NAMB, which does lobbying for mortgage professionals nationwide, we are connected and have a voice on Capitol Hill.
What role does CTAMP play in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environment, and are there any items on the current agenda you would like to highlight?
We have been fortunate enough to send members to lobby in Washington each year. This past spring, we sent three members to attend the NAMB Legislative & Regulatory Conference and lobby on Capitol Hill. For me, it was very important to have that experience, both on a personal and a professional level.
In Austin, we have not done much locally for a few years. There hasn’t been a state mortgage professionals association for several years. There is a new state association in the process of being formed that will enable us to do more in Texas.
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with the association?
My most significant accomplishment has been in connection with our Partner Program, which brings together more of our affiliates—including title companies, lenders, appraisers—which broadens our audience for loan originators. This has cast a wider net across the industry, and the program has taken off.
As the state affiliate for NAMB what do you feel that adds to your association and towards the overall agenda of the mortgage profession nationwide?
When major issues come into play, NAMB is at the forefront … they are the voice for loan originators, small business owners and brokers. Being an NAMB member gives you a direct link to communications and education that impacts our industry.
In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
For our part, we have brought in some younger board members who are actively involved in other associations to cross-pollinate and help us get the word out. These associations include the National Association of Professional Mortgage Women (NAPMW), the Austin Mortgage Bankers Association (AMBA), the Women’s Council of Realtors and the Austin Young Real Estate Professionals (AYREP).
How would you define your state's housing market?
We have not experienced many of the challenges that other states have faced, so our market remains strong and vibrant. The big challenge is inventory—houses sell very quickly, and a lot of people are moving to Austin. I wouldn’t want to be in any other place.
Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@NMPMediaCorp.com.
Texas Mortgage Roundup 2017 is set for Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Dallas Near the Galleria, 4099 Valley View Lane in Dallas, Texas.
Don't miss the exciting, educational, and fun Texas Mortgage Roundup: The only event specifically designed for all mortgage professionals throughout the region. Now in two great locations!
Texas Mortgage Roundup 2017 is set for Wednesday, Feb. 8 at the Hyatt Regency on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas.
The Texas Mortgage Roundup returns to San Antonio in early February. This is a great opportunity for your company to exhibit before hundreds of loan originators and mortgage professionals in one of the hottest housing markets in the country.
The third quarter was a mostly quiet period for housing in the Lone Star State, according to new data from the Texas Association of Realtors.
During the third quarter, 91,248 homes were sold in Texas, a very mild 0.2 percent year-over-year increase. The median sales price for the quarter was $214,000, up seven percent from the third quarter of 2015.
Housing inventory and active listings also saw relatively mild upward activity—a 0.1-month uptick to 3.9 months of inventory and a 4.2 percent increase to 103,109 listings—while Texas homes spent an average of 53 days on the market, only one day more than the same period last year. Nonetheless, the trade group viewed the quarter as a success.
“Texas home sales in 2016 continue to edge out last year’s record-breaking sales volume, and in many local markets, growth is still very strong,” said Leslie Rouda Smith, chairwoman of the Texas Association of Realtors.
HomeBridge Financial Services has strengthened its presence in the Dallas housing market with the addition of Russell Anderson to its developing Dallas Central branch location. Anderson, who brings to HomeBridge more than 20 years of mortgage industry experience, is highly regarded for his ability to create strong teams that surpass the expectations of individual homebuyers, as well as those of the Dallas real estate development community.
“I’ve personally known the HomeBridge leadership team for a number of years and know firsthand their outstanding reputation for excellence in the mortgage industry,” said Anderson. “HomeBridge’s commitment to the builder community, and to individual borrowers, matches my own approach to doing business and I’m excited to help them grow throughout Dallas and the surrounding region.”
While most economists agree that the U.S. economy is improving, not every city is gaining in strength and viability. In a newly WalletHub analysis dubbed “2016’s Fastest Growing Cities,” it appears that the metro areas responding best to the current economic environment can be found (clap, clap, clap, clap) deep in the heart of Texas.
In a data crunch of 515 cities weighing 14 metrics including job and population growth, WalletHub ranked five Texas cities in its top 10, with Frisco and League City in the first and second spots. Other cities in the top were Lehigh Acres, Fla.; Kent, Wash.; Surprise, Ariz.; Meridian, Idaho; Midland, Texas; McKinney, Texas; Concord, N.C.; and Bryan, Texas. Coming in last among the 515 cities was Jacksonville, N.C., just ahead of Detroit.
Texas cities also held top ranking among the highest household income increase (College Station, at 9.07 percent), highest job growth (Frisco, at 5.32 percent), the highest growth in GDP per capita (Midland, at 11.81 percent) and the greatest poverty rate decrease (McKinney, at 9.63 percent).
Alas, the robust Texas economy was not enough to prevent national construction spending from dropping to its lowest point in eight months. The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced that construction spending during August was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,142.2 billion, which is 0.7 percent below the revised July estimate of $1,150.6 billion and 0.3 percent (±1.8%) below the August 2015 estimate of $1,145.2 billion. However, construction spending amounted to $755.0 billion during the first eight months of this year, which is 4.9 percent above the $720 billion for the same period in 2015.
Spending on private construction in August was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $871.6 billion, 0.3 percent below the revised July estimate of $874.6 billion. Residential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $449.2 billion, which is 0.3 percent below the revised July estimate of $450.4 billion, while nonresidential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $422.4 billion, 0.4 percent below the revised July estimate of $424.2 billion.