Prediction: Home values will drop by 25% to 50% in decade ahead

The culprit? Stagflation (high inflation and slow growth)

Eye catcher loan program of the week: A 30-year conventional fixed-rate refinance mortgage can be had without closing costs at 3.75%. The lender provides you with a rebate that pays for all lender charges, escrow fees, title insurance, recording and notary fees.

What I think: One loyal column reader inquired last week about what the decade ahead holds for California real estate and mortgage matters.

Here it goes:

1) Real estate agents and mortgage brokers will experience a compensation squeeze as much of their need for labor-intensive research will be disintermediated. Blame it on automation — mass scale machine learning in the artificial intelligence age.

Necessity is the mother of invention. California will be ground zero for a new trade association, combining the work and political interests of real estate agents and mortgage brokers named the California Association of Realty and Mortgage Practitioners (or something similar).

2) Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will get some competition with the inception of new government-sponsored enterprises. In order to compete in the mortgage marketplace, these new entrants will offer things like a “build-your-own mortgage.”

For example, the first two years is no payment. Then, interest-only payments for the next five years. The third leg requires the loan to be fully amortized and paid off within seven years.

Or, they’ll implement an idea that Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide fame raised some 20 odd years ago — creating a mortgage line-of-credit that follows you from property to property-never having to apply for a mortgage again.

3) With the skyrocketing cost of electricity, more than 50% of California homes will become self-contained, never to rely on PG&E, SCE or San Diego Gas and Electric again. It won’t be just solar power. Rather, it will be a new generation of home energy.

4) California home prices are going to take a huge tumble. Median values will drop by 25 to 50%. The culprit? Stagflation (high inflation and slow growth).

The U.S. public debt is about $23 trillion dollars and the political classes keep kicking the can down the road. California will be especially vulnerable to a regional home price collapse because of our extraordinary price gains as well as our high state and local taxes. The median southern California price will be nearly $900,000 before all of this comes crashing down.

5) Roughly one-third of adult children live with their parents. With the desperate lack of affordable housing and the new California granny flat opportunities, the number of California kids who don’t leave their folks’ homes will grow to 45%. And we’ll see 15% of California households as tri-generation households.

6) California mortgage shoppers will land better deals on their mortgages because mortgage-loan originator compensation will be deregulated by the feds.

Dodd-Frank’s mortgage loan originator compensation intent was equal access and equal treatment for all borrowers, regardless of loan size, type of mortgage or credit quality. Too bad it didn’t turn out that way.

Many depository institutions with California branches provide mortgage rate pricing discounts that are incremental to the savings the borrower moves over. Then there are the mortgage brokers.

To my knowledge, more than half of the mortgage brokers have disparate compensation plans that hit consumers in their wallets. For example, broker Billy arranges to get paid 1% of the loan amount if the borrowers’ mortgage is brokered to lender X. When brokering to lender Y, Billy sets compensation at 2% of the loan amount. The game is to send the loan to lender Y when you can get away with making more money. Fair lending enforcement? What enforcement?

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Jeff Lazerson - Mortgage Columnist since 2011