Digital mortgage startup Better is taking advantage of the burning-hot housing market to launch mortgage services in three additional states: Minnesota, Vermont, and Virginia, the company announced Tuesday. The company now offers home loans in 46 states and Washington, D.C.
These are markets that have seen a surge in buyer interest as a result of low mortgage rates and the coronavirus pandemic, which allowed many prospective buyers to work from home and move out of major metro areas and into suburbs and smaller cities for their higher quality of life and lower cost of living, the company told Inman.
“The pandemic has underscored the need for the home finance industry to innovate and digitize, and customers need a company that’s on their side,” said Better CEO Vishal Garg in a statement. “Expanding our footprint to Minnesota, Vermont, and Virginia is a natural next step for Better in our mission to help all Americans to afford and own a better home.”
Better’s services include mortgage, real estate, title and homeowners insurance and the company has funded over $40 billion in home loans since it launched in 2016 — $25 billion of that in 2020 and $14 billion of that in the first quarter of 2021, according to the company.
“[T]he pandemic’s impact has driven demand for Better’s digital solution, boasting a 5x increase in invested loan volume over the last year,” the company said.
“The pandemic has also accelerated the shift to e-commerce by two years, with online retail sales in the U.S. increasing more than 30 percent in 2020 and a change in the home buying experience with 63 percent of consumers in 2020 making an offer on at least one property without seeing it in person,” the company added.
Better has raised more than $400 million in equity capital since its founding, including $200 million closed in a Series D funding round in November where L Catterton served as the lead investor and was joined by existing shareholders Activant Capital, Ally Financial, American Express Ventures, Ping An Global Voyager Fund, and 9Yards Capital in the round. SoftBank, Kleiner Perkins, Goldman Sachs and Citi are also backers. Also in November, a Bloomberg report valued Better.com at $4 billion.
In March, Better pledged to hire 2,000 Google Career Certificate graduates by 2024.