Challenges for Modern Housing Markets

Professor Barnes

Professor Boyack










I will be speaking in a free American Bar Association webinar tomorrow, Challenges for Modern Housing Markets:

Our current housing system is not sustainable in terms of the market, residential tenure, cost stability, and neighborhood inequality. Our panelists will discuss some key areas in which housing must be stabilized in order to strengthen our economy and society. Our panelists will address ways to lessen the volatility of housing prices and home mortgage lending, the importance of and ways to improve stability of residency, ways to improve the sustainability of affordable housing, and recent lawsuits that have reframed the problem of distressed and inequitable communities.

The other speakers are

The program will be moderated by Professor Wilson R. Freyermuth, University of Missouri School of Law.

My remarks will be drawn in part from my work on the Federal Housing Administration.

The webinar is free and open to all.  It will take place Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. Eastern/11:30 a.m. Central/9:30 a.m. Pacific.

Register for the webinar at

The webinar is sponsored by the ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section Legal Education and Uniform Laws Group. It is part of a series of webinars that features a panel of law professors who address topics of interest to practitioners of real estate and trusts/estates.


S&P on Jumbos

Last week, I discussed an up beat S&P report on the overall RMBS market. Today I discuss and S&P report on the jumbo mortgage market. This report sees much slower growth in the private-label jumbo residential mortgage-backed securities market. It opens,

U.S. housing has been recovering, and residential mortgage collateral performance continues to improve, a trend that we expect to continue in 2015. However, housing finance still faces challenges and relies on government support. Private capital has been slow to reenter the residential mortgage market, and nonagency securitization volume remains relatively small, with diversity and growth mostly coming from nontraditional transactions in recent years. Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services believes nonagency securitization—-utilizing private capital–could be a key contributor to a more healthy housing finance market while limiting risk to taxpayers.

A revival in the U.S. nonagency residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) market has not followed measured recoveries in the broader economy, employment, and housing. RMBS not guaranteed by one of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs)–such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac–hit a high of $1.2 trillion in 2006, but we expect that figure to be near $50 billion in 2015, up approximately $12 billion from 2014. Clearly, even with the ongoing recoveries in the overall economy and housing market, nonagency U.S. RMBS-related issuance remains negligible in the $10 trillion housing finance market.

We believe the slow pace of non-agency securitization reflects a market still grappling with the changing economics of complying with new regulations, a lack of standardization in nonagency securitization provisions, anticipated interest rate hikes in mid-2015, and a cautious investor base in newly originated nonagency RMBS. Considerable clarity has emerged regarding new regulations this year, but other limiting factors persist.

Hopefully, S&P has correct identified the cause of the slow growth in this sector. But we need to be vigilant to ensure that there is not a more fundamental problem with the jumbo private-label MBS market. it is vital that this sector of the market develops in order to provide a private capital alternative to the existing market which depends to a very large extent on government guarantees.

(Non-)Enforcement of Securitized Mortgage Loans

Professors Neil Cohen and Dale Whitman, two important scholars who know their way around the UCC and mortgage law, will take on a highly contested topic in an upcoming ABA Professors’ Corner webinar: “Ownership, Transfer, and Enforcement of Securitized Mortgage Loans.” I blogged a bit about this topic a couple of days ago, in relation to Adam Levitin’s new article. There is a lot of misinformation floating around the blogosphere relating to this topic, so I encourage readers to register.

The full information on this program is as follows:

Professors’ Corner is a FREE monthly webinar, sponsored by the ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section’s Legal Education and Uniform Law Group.  On the second Wednesday of each month, a panel of law professors discusses recent cases or issues of interest to real estate practitioners and scholars.

December 2013 Professors’ Corner
“Ownership, Transfer, and Enforcement of Securitized Mortgage Loans”
Profs. Neil Cohen and Dale Whitman
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
12:30pm Eastern/11:30am Cental/9:30am Pacific
Register for this FREE program at

Our nation’s courts have been swamped with litigation involving the foreclosure of securitized mortgage loans.  Much of this litigation involves the appropriate interaction of the Uniform Commercial Code and state foreclosure law. Because few foreclosure lawyers and judges are UCC experts, the outcomes of the reported cases have reflected a significant degree of uncertainty or confusion.

In addition, much litigation has been triggered by poor practices in the securitization of mortgage loans, such as robo-signing and the failure to transfer loans into a securitized trust within the time period required by the IRS REMIC rules.  This litigation has likewise produced conflicting case outcomes.  In particular, recent decisions have reflected some disagreement regarding whether a mortgagor — who is not a party to the Pooling and Servicing Agreement that governs the securitized trust that holds the mortgage — can successfully defend a foreclosure by challenging the validity of the assignment of the mortgage to a securitized trust.

Our speakers for the December program will bring some much-needed clarity to these issues.  Our speakers are Prof. Neil B. Cohen, the Jeffrey D. Forchelli Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, and Prof. Dale A. Whitman, the James E Campbell Missouri Endowed Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Missouri School of Law.  Prof. Cohen is the Research Director of the Permanent Editorial Board for the Uniform Commercial Code, and a principal contributor to the November 2011 PEB Report, “Application of the Uniform Commercial Code to Selected Issues Relating to Mortgage Notes.” Prof. Whitman is the co-Reporter for the Restatement (Third) of Property — Mortgages, and the co-author of the pre-eminent treatise on Real Estate Finance Law.

Please join us for this program.  You may register at