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Massachusetts Agencies

Manager's Corner

Articles from The Massachusetts Focus

Newsletter of Stewart Title Guaranty Company, Massachusetts Offices Winter 2003, Volume 2, Number 1

Manager's Corner
by Thomas M. Flynn, Vice President and New England Division Manager

As I am confident that you are aware, effective January 1, 2003, we have increased the rate for owners policies to $3.50 per thousand. In connection with this increase we have made a concerted effort to familiarize our agents with the provisions of the ALTA Homeowners Title Insurance Policy and to promote that policy because it offers the most comprehensive coverage for the insured owner. Please note that there is a three-month transition period for the implementation of the rate increase. Please contact your Stewart Title representative for further details.

On the national scene, while the economy struggles to gain momentum, the housing market continues to be strong. New home sales activity in November and December caused the Housing Market Index to rise to the highest level since November of 2000. Encouraged by the Federal Reserve's accommodative stance on interest rates and present home-buying activities, builders' expectations for future sales remained high. The median existing-home price in the Northeast was $165,000, up 14.1 percent from a year ago.

As an update, as many of you know, HUD has proposed a major revision to RESPA, which would drastically affect the way residential transactions are handled. This proposal has been published in the Federal Register. The period for public comment has passed, and HUD could now publish the proposal as a rule. The proposed rule would be detrimental to both the consumer and our industry in many ways.

For additional information on the proposed rule, you can find Stewart comments to the proposed rule on our website, www.stewart.com and American Land Title Association comments at www.alta.org.