Articles from The Massachusetts Focus
Newsletter of Stewart Title Guaranty Company, Massachusetts Offices
Winter 2005, Volume 4, Number 1
by Thomas M. Flynn, Vice President and New England Division Manager
Stewart Reports Earnings for Third Quarter
Stewart Information Services Corporation (NYSE-STC) reported net earnings of $62.2 million for the first nine months of 2004 compared to $103.0 million for the first nine months of 2003. Total revenues for the first nine months were $1.6 billion, down four percent from the previous year.
Home Sales Forecast
The National Association of Realtors announced that existing home sales are expected to jump 7.9 percent to $6.58 million in 2004, well above last year's record. They also project that for 2005, the second highest level on record at $6.38 million sales is forecasted. Higher median prices are projected as well. The national median new-home price should increase 8.9 percent to $214,600, and the median existing-home price is projected to rise 7.9 percent to $182,500.
Massachusetts Lenders Shy Away from New State Regulations
The Massachusetts Division of Banks, due to pressure from lenders, recently issued emergency regulations that apply to all applications for a refinancing taken on or after November 7, 2004. The decision is in response to lender objections to recent state legislation containing suitability standards for home loans. The enactment of the legislation prompted some lenders to reportedly pull out of the Massachusetts refinance market, as the provision was not limited to high-cost home loans and increased the likelihood of contested foreclosures. The emergency regulation, 209 CMR 53.00, was issued pursuant to G.L.c. 183, §28C, also known as the prohibition on knowingly refinancing a home loan that was consummated within the prior 60 months unless the refinancing is in the borrower's interest. According to the Division, emergency regulations remain in effect for 90 days. During the 90-day timeframe, the Division will conduct a public hearing to receive comments on making the emergency regulations permanent or making any amendments to the regulations.