Steven Plaisance: Home Affordability Must Be Addressed


PERSON OF THE WEEK: Steven Plaisance is the president of mortgage banking for Gateway First Bank. He is also currently serving as the chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Mortgage Action Alliance (MAA). 

MortgageOrb recently interviewed Plaisance to gain his perspective on why advocacy and adaption are important to succeeding in the mortgage industry.

Q: How does the MAA help the mortgage industry? What is your top priority as the chairman of the organization?

Plaisance: The MAA is an advocacy group comprised of more than 60,000 professionals who are affiliated with the mortgage industry in some way – loan officers, realtors, title company representatives, appraisers, and so on. The MAA provides a powerful voice for the mortgage industry players to be heard at a national level.  

My top priority as chairman is to help with awareness, grow the membership and encourage MAA members to take action.

Q: What housing trends has Gateway observed across the nation as a whole – and from region to region?

Plaisance: Certainly, the lack of inventory of affordable housing is a huge issue across the country. Adding to the problem is an overall delay in construction due to the difficulties contractors are experiencing in getting materials. Texas and Florida along with other states are dealing with a tremendous influx of people migrating into certain areas. This population shift is adding additional stress to the housing markets.

Q: As interest rates rise, what impact will the mortgage industry feel?

Plaisance: As interest rates begin to rise, the number of people who seek to refinance their homes will decline, but it could cause an influx of buyers into the market who want to buy before any further rate increases. The increase in interest rates could cause adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) to come back into play if rates move high enough.

Q: How do you think the industry can adapt to the housing inventory challenges?

Plaisance: Home affordability must be addressed. Contrary to popular belief, owning a home is often more affordable than renting. Educating potential homebuyers about their finances – and the steps involved in purchasing a home – will empower them to make wise decisions about their future.  

This will help combat the emotional distress that often occurs in today’s competitive home-buying market. Continued efforts to get creative and think outside the box will be necessary to address affordability. Manufactured housing, which has come a long way, may come into play and could be key to filling gaps.

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