Neil B. Garfinkel, Managing Partner, Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP, is available to comment on the latest developments in the real estate, mortgage and banking industries and how existing and proposed legislation can affect the real estate and mortgage markets.

The Fed’s decision to increase interest rates has resulted in a recent surge in home sales, with homebuyers looking to get ahead of the increase and the prospect of future rate hikes on the horizon. This also resulted in more mortgage applications for home purchases. RealtyTrac reported that there were 3% fewer foreclosures in the U.S. than in 2014. However, New York City and New York State saw increases in foreclosures at rates of 9% and 24%, respectively. In the Manhattan commercial real estate market, 36.2 million square feet of new and renewal leases were completed in 2015, down 13% from 2014, according to Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF). The real estate analysis firm attributed the decrease to relocation and expansion to other parts of New York City and pending rental agreements with future tenants. Despite the slowdown, asking rents in 2015 were up 12% from 2014, as reported by NGKF.

The national home sale numbers are spurring confidence in those looking to purchase a home which, in turn, will mean more mortgage applications. The Mortgage Bankers Association projects that the volume for purchase originations will be approximately $1 trillion in 2016 — 22% greater than last year — while refinance originations will be 20% lower than last year to nearly $500 billion. However, mortgage volume will be affected by the new Federal mortgage disclosure law called TRID (TILA – RESPA Integrated Disclosure), which has been causing delays in closings.

Mr. Garfinkel concentrates his practice in the areas of commercial and residential real estate, banking and lending law. His clients include national and international banks, mortgage bankers, real estate brokers, developers, title companies and purchasers and sellers of residential and commercial real estate.

Mr. Garfinkel serves as Broker Counsel to the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and hosts the REBNY Legal Line, a daily legal hotline provided exclusively for REBNY members. Through his affiliation and participation with REBNY and the Long Island Board of Realtors, he provides counsel on fair housing matters, commission disputes, licensing and disclosure requirements, agency issues, employment and wage laws, strategic alliances and affiliated business relationships and disciplinary actions instituted by governmental entities. He is also a member of the New York State Board of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors.

In addition, Mr. Garfinkel serves as Counsel to the Empire State Mortgage Bankers Association. He is a Diamond Member of the New York Association of Mortgage Brokers and is a member of the Community Mortgage Bankers Forum, the Mortgage Bankers Association of New York and the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. He has strong knowledge of the requirements of the secondary mortgage market, which enables him to ensure that the loans closed by his firm are saleable, as well as the complex areas of federal and state licensing and lending laws. He has counseled clients on loan portfolio acquisitions and sales.