First American Future Transaction Index Finds Title Agents Optimistic For Growth In Residential Property Values And Transaction Volumes In Year Ahead

- Optimism also high regarding TRID preparedness, according to first-ever First American Future Transaction Index says Chief Economist Mark Fleming -


September 24, 2015, Santa Ana, Calif.,

First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF), a leading global provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions, today released its inaugural Future Transaction Index (FTI), which measures title agent sentiment on a variety of key market metrics and industry issues, including expectations for price changes across multiple property types, and expectations for changes in volume for purchase and refinance transactions. The FTI is based on a quarterly survey of title agents that do business with First American. More than 1,100 title agents from 49 states responded to the initial survey, which was conducted in the third quarter of 2015 and also measured title agent sentiment on the impact of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule.

Inaugural First American Future Transaction Index

The inaugural First American FTI found that title agent sentiment at a state-by-state level for residential price increases is overwhelmingly positive. Overall, title agents indicated they expect residential property prices to increase by 7.7 percent on average over the next year.  Sentiment among title agents is similarly positive for price increases over the next year for multi-family properties, but varies by state for commercial property types (retail, office, and industrial).

Title agents also expressed broad-based confidence across all property types in the outlook for growth in purchase transaction volumes over the next year. The FTI value for residential purchase transactions was the most positive at 56. Conversely, the outlook for refinance transaction volume among title agents is consistently negative across all property types.

Property Valuation Issues Expected to Become Leading Cause of Cancellations

Another key metric the FTI measures is title agent sentiment on reasons for title policy order cancellations. The FTI found that title agents expect property valuation issues to be the most likely cause of title order cancellation over the coming year, followed by a higher purchase offer being received and unresolved title issues. Currently, title agents ranked the inability of buyers to obtain a mortgage as the most frequent cause of a title policy cancellation, but title agents expect that to fall to the least frequent reason over the next year. Expectations for title policy order cancellations overall in the coming year are modestly positive with a FTI value of 11.

“By surveying title agents, the FTI produces a geographically diverse and detailed pulse on the future of real estate markets across the country,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for First American. “We now have a detailed picture of how confident these expert real estate practitioners are about the current market, as well as where they expect it to go in the coming year.”

3rd Quarter 2015 FTI Price Expectation Highlights

  • Residential: The five states with the highest expected residential price changes in the coming year are: Virginia (+17.9 percent), Colorado (+12.1 percent), Texas (+12.0 percent), Florida (+10.1 percent) and Mississippi (+10.0 percent).
  • Multi-Family: The five states with the highest expected multi-family price changes in the coming year are: Colorado (+14.3 percent), Missouri (+11.2), Oklahoma (+10.1 percent), Florida (+9.7 percent) and Rhode Island (+9.2 percent).

3rd Quarter FTI Title Policy Cancellation Reason Highlights

  • The five states with the highest expectation for an increase in cancellation rates are: New Mexico (42), New Jersey (35), New York (35), Indiana (27) and Oklahoma (26).
  • The five states with the highest expectation for a decrease in cancellation rates are: Michigan (-7), Colorado (-7), California (-6), and South Carolina (-4) and Ohio (0).

TILA-RESPA Outlook: Title Agents are Strongly Optimistic

The inaugural FTI also measured title agents’ sentiment toward the implementation of the TRID rule this October. Across all states, respondents were optimistic, as opposed to pessimistic, and agents strongly indicated that they believed this was much more than just a simple change of forms.

“Possibly a sign of preparedness, title agents across the nation are expressing a level of optimism regarding the implementation of the new integrated disclosure forms this October,” said Fleming. “Title agents expressed optimism in general, yet also indicated that they view TRID as a dramatic change in the settlement process.” 

Next Release

The next release of the First American Future Transaction Index will be posted in December 2015.

Methodology

The First American Future Transaction Index (FTI) is based on a quarterly survey of title agents that do business with First American, providing a unique gauge on the real estate market from the sentiment of real estate experts. The FTI measures title agents’ expectations for changes in real estate prices across multiple property types and expectations for changes in the volume of purchase and refinance transactions. The FTI also ranks the reasons for title order cancellations and gauges title agent sentiment on important industry issues or events. Sentiment is measured by asking respondents to answer questions on a scale of negative, neutral or positive options. The FTI is calculated for each question as the sum of the positive responses minus the sum of the negative responses divided by the total number of responses, resulting in an index that varies from -100 (all negative responses) to +100 (all positive responses).  Any FTI value above zero indicates increasing positive sentiment and an FTI value below zero indicates increasing negative sentiment. Results are only reported when a sufficient number of survey responses are available to produce valid results. As the survey is conducted in the coming year, an overall market-level FTI will be created as the weighted combination of the underlying component future transaction indices. 

Disclaimer

Opinions, estimates, forecasts and other views contained in this page are those of First American’s Chief Economist, do not necessarily represent the views of First American or its management, should not be construed as indicating First American’s business prospects or expected results, and are subject to change without notice. Although the First American Economics team attempts to provide reliable, useful information, it does not guarantee that the information is accurate, current or suitable for any particular purpose. © 2015 by First American. Information from this page may be used with proper attribution. 

About First American

First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF) is a leading provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions that traces its heritage back to 1889. First American also provides title plant management services; title and other real property records and images; valuation products and services; home warranty products; property and casualty insurance; and banking, trust and investment advisory services. With revenues of $4.7 billion in 2014, the company offers its products and services directly and through its agents throughout the United States and abroad. More information about the company can be found at http://www.firstam.com/.

 

myFirstAm®

Access the powerful online services available only at First American.

Sign In
Forgot Username or Password?

Sign Up

Sign up for a myFirstAm® account.

Other Platforms

  • FASTWeb

    Title ordering, routing and tracking.

  • AgentNet®

    eJackets, closing protection letters, back title, bulletins and more.

  • DataTree.com

    Access the nation's largest land record database.

  • Home Warranty

    Coverage for a home's major systems and appliances.