January 19, 2011 Newsletter

This is the 42nd Colony Title newsletter and we will continue to report news of note to the real estate world. We try to provide positive information, as we are tired of the recession, and from here on choose to not participate.

In a previous newsletter, we discussed the role of MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System) and the challenges to its efficacy. MERS is reflected on many deeds of trusts or mortgages as the lender of record, when in fact MERS is a clearinghouse wherein lenders can buy and sell mortgages without having to record an assignment of the transfer from lender A to lender B. Now members of the Maryland legislature are proposing a bill requiring, at least in Maryland, that lenders record all assignments of a loan. A few other states have instituted similar measures. We will keep you posted on the outcome of the proposal. This is directed at making the mortgage community more responsive to the borrowers, which should clear up the confusion over who is in fact the lender.

Rates today are 4.75% for fixed rate conforming loans, however, the rates have been up and down since November, so moving quickly on purchase or refinance loans would be advisable. Most economic gurus are predicting some rise in rates as the economy improves, but other factors not yet in evidence might affect that.

The market indicates that there is some improvement in purchase traffic, driven by the combination of low rates and bargain prices for property. No one will predict we have hit bottom, as you only know that months after the event occurs, but the signs are good. The overwhelming wild card is still how aggressive will lenders continue to pursue foreclosures, or has the tide turned towards more modifications and short sales rather than foreclosures.

We want to be your law firm and title company. If you have a question or need a referral, or you have a topic you wish us to discuss, feel free to email me at tee.tillman@colonytitle.com or call at 410 884 1160 x3007.