Donnell Spivey, Real Estate broker and owner of EXiT Spivey Professional Realty, serving Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., has had a busy year. In August, he was appointed as president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), and was recently featured in The Baltimore Sun for his work to educate minorities about the long-term benefits of home ownership.
“African Americans lost their wealth in home ownership because of a lack of education,” he said. “NAREB’s position is that we need to educate them, which will prevent them from using exotic loan products and using their home’s equity as an ATM machine.”
Spivey, 61, has nearly three decades of experience in professional Real Estate. He founded EXiT Spivey Professional Realty in 2004, which has been honored as the first African-American-owned Real Estate brokerage in Howard County, Maryland.
He shares with us his list of top priorities for growth in the Real Estate market in 2014: “To achieve full recovery, the market value has to return to where it was prior to 2006. We are making progress,” he said. “For example, here in Maryland, there are fewer foreclosures and short sales than there were a year ago. With the improving of available credit as well as loan products, home ownership will become more accessible to all buyers.”
To sustain positive growth, several key areas need to be addressed, he said. These include:
- Increasing consumer confidence in home ownership. The best ways to do this, Spivey said, are reaching consumers through radio and television media, as well as advocacy groups such as the NAACP, Urban League and faith-based organizations. Social media has also become a useful resource for educating consumers about the Real Estate market, he said. Who does he see shaping Real Estate in 2014? “First-time home buyers. Specifically, the Hispanic market as well as the African-American market.”
- Ensuring that there is access to credit for all levels of qualified home buyers. It’s a situation that may prove difficult this year with the implementation of new federal rules defining a Q.M. – or “qualified mortgage,” he said. These rules limit the debt-to-income ratio of the borrower to 43 percent, and cap the total points and fees paid to the lender at 3 percent of the loan, among other standards intended to protect consumers. The expected rise in mortgage interest rates in 2014 will also affect affordability. “If you can afford to buy now, you should buy now,” Spivey said. “I don’t foresee a relaxation in lending standards anytime in the near future. As a result of the financial crisis, lenders have over-adjusted and need to come back in line with today’s market.”
- Continuing the involvement of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The recent confirmation of Mel Watt as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency will help restore consumer confidence in Freddie and Fannie, which guarantee the majority of residential mortgages in the U.S. “He has the vision, passion and understanding that Fannie and Freddie must remain in place,” Spivey said. Watt, a former Democratic congressman from North Carolina, has long supported federally backed mortgage lending.