Inman Real Estate News for Realtors and Brokers 2021-05-17T22:11:19Z https://www.inman.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Matt Carter http://www.inman.com <![CDATA[Black Knight acquires analytics firm eMBS Inc.]]> https://www.inman.com/?p=855580 2021-05-17T21:09:57Z 2021-05-17T21:09:57Z Real estate data provider Black Knight has acquired eMBS Inc., a Tampa-based company that tracks the performance of nearly $7.5 trillion in mortgage-backed securities backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae.

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Real estate data provider Black Knight has acquired eMBS Inc., a Tampa-based company that tracks the performance of nearly $7.5 trillion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae.

The deal gives Black Knight “the most comprehensive view of U.S. residential mortgage whole loan and security performance in existence,” the companies said in a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Anthony Jabbour | Black Knight, Inc.

Black Knight CEO Anthony Jabbour called eMBS “the undisputed leader in providing a complete and timely view that combines data from the three agencies that make up this massive asset class.”

As an aggregator of performance data from loan servicers, public records and government data, Black Knight already claimed to have the broadest and deepest database of loan-level mortgage data.

Acquiring eMBS will help Black Knight solidify its secondary mortgage market offerings, Jabbour said, by providing “the industry’s preeminent agency data and analytics to clients of both companies, while helping them make informed decisions around mortgage-backed securities investment and research.”

Larry Gioia, president and founder of eMBS, said his company’s capabilities “will complement Black Knight’s comprehensive, nationwide mortgage data and enhance its ability to provide sophisticated analytics for [Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac,] and Ginnie Mae loan pools,” as well as real estate mortgage investment conduits (REMICs) that package loans into MBS.

Most of the money that funds home loans comes from investors via secondary mortgage markets, with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae providing guarantees to investors.

Last year, Black Knight partnered with a private equity firm, GTCR LLC to purchase Optimal Blue LLC, a marketplace platform that provides services connecting lenders and secondary market investors.

In its most recent annual report to investors, Black Knight said it holds a 60 percent stake in parent company Optimal Blue Holdco, having contributed $762 million in cash and its Compass Analytics business to the venture.

Black Knight is also a major provider of software, data and analytics to real estate professionals, multiple listing services and title insurers. The company says its Paragon MLS system is used more than 200 MLSs and associations across the U.S. and Canada.

Last year, Black Knight announced the acquisition of Collateral Analytics, a provider of real estate analytic products and tools catered to appraisers, appraisal management companies, lenders, investors and government agencies.

Email Matt Carter

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Veronika Bondarenko <![CDATA[Ariana Grande married her real estate agent boyfriend]]> https://www.inman.com/?p=855630 2021-05-17T20:49:16Z 2021-05-17T20:49:16Z The pop star and Dalton Gomez, a Compass agent who has been dating her publicly since last spring, tied the knot this weekend at their Montecito home.

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Ariana Grande’s real estate agent boyfriend is now officially her husband. As first reported by TMZ, Grande and Dalton Gomez tied the knot in secret this weekend.

The wedding is reported to have taken place in the same Montecito home that Grande and Gomez bought from Ellen DeGeneres in June for $6.75 million. A source told TMZ that there was no official “ceremony” – the “I dos” were said in front of an audience of around 20 close family and friends.

“They got married,” Grande’s representative confirmed to People. “It was tiny and intimate — less than 20 people. The room was so happy and full of love. The couple and both families couldn’t be happier.”

It is not known whether the wedding was a spur-of-the-moment decision or something that Grande and Gomez planned. Since the couple announced their engagement in December, they have frequently been photographed together and have shared intimate photos of them on social media — Grande now has 234 million followers.

With more than 40 million monthly listens on Spotify, Grande is one of today’s biggest pop stars. Some of her best-known songs include “Thank U Next” and “Side To Side.”

Gomez, who is a luxury agent with Aaron Kirman’s group at Compass, turned in LA’s celebrity circles and once reportedly sold a home to The Big Bang Theory actor Kunal Nayyar but was not truly launched into the limelight until his relationship with Grande became public. His agent page currently shows eight transactions, all for homes above $1 million, with the most expensive being an $11.025 million Pacific Palisades property that sold last month.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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Marian McPherson <![CDATA[EXp Realty launches brokerage operations in Spain]]> https://www.inman.com/?p=855527 2021-05-17T20:23:25Z 2021-05-17T20:23:25Z EXp Realty's international arm, eXp Global, has launched brokerage operations in Spain. This is the sixth new international market added this year.

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EXp is continuing its international expansion streak with the launch of eXp Spain, the sixth new eXp Global market added this year.

Michael Valdes

“We continue to see incredible interest in the eXp model across the globe, driven by its agent-centric focus,” eXp Global President Michael Valdes said while noting the brokerage experienced a 77 percent increase in its global agent count during the first quarter of 2021.

EXp is currently accepting applications and onboarding agents across Spain. EXp has yet to launch the eXp Spain portal; however, they’re working on transferring onboarded agents’ listings so homebuyers and homesellers can begin working with the brokerage.

“We have agents interested in all Spanish territories. As you know, our technology is so scalable that there is no need to limit to one or two regions,” an eXp spokesperson told Inman in an emailed statement. “As soon as agents are onboarded, buyers and sellers can start doing business with eXp agents.”

“New agents can immediately move their pipeline to eXp operations,” they added.

Renata Sujto, the former chief operating officer of virtual brokerage Prontopiso, is leading eXp’s agent operations and services in the country. Sujto said she’s received plenty of interest from Spanish agents, who have embraced the idea of a virtual, cloud-based brokerage model.

Renata Sujto

“The level of excitement we are receiving from agents demonstrates how innovative and entrepreneurial Spanish agents are, and they have become even more so after the pandemic,” she said. “It is incredibly exciting to offer our solution to such an interesting body of professionals.”

During the first quarter of 2021, eXp Global added Puerto Rico, Brazil, Italy, Hong Kong and Colombia for a total of 15 international brokerage operations. By the end of Q3, eXp said they’ll be in 19 countries with impending launches in Germany, Panama and Japan.

“We are solidifying our footprint across the [several] regions and further developing strategic footholds in each,” Valdes said. “Germany has one of the largest and most stable real estate markets in Europe, and is a key component to our growth on the continent, joining the UK, France, Portugal, Italy and today’s opening of Spain.”

“Additionally, Panama has long boasted a vibrant real estate market with attractive opportunities for foreign investment, and Japan has one of the strongest real estate markets in the world in terms of transaction volume,” he added. “We are very confident in the growth potential of each of these countries.”

Email Marian McPherson

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Matt Carter http://www.inman.com <![CDATA[Share of mortgages in forbearance continues to dwindle]]> https://www.inman.com/?p=855619 2021-05-17T20:08:56Z 2021-05-17T20:08:56Z About 2.1 million homeowners remain in forbearance, and close to half of those borrowers haven't made a payment in more than a year.

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The ranks of homeowners taking a break on their mortgage payments during the pandemic continues to thin, with the share of mortgages in forbearance dropping for the 11th week in a row to 4.22 percent.

But about 2.1 million homeowners remain in forbearance, and close to half of those borrowers haven’t made a payment in more than a year, according according to a weekly survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The MBA’s weekly Forbearance and Call Volume Survey shows lower forbearance rates among homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (2.24 percent) compared to loans funded by private investors (8.26 percent).

Share of mortgage loans in forbearance

Share of loans in forbearance, week ending May 9, 20201. Source: Mortgage Bankers Association.

Before the pandemic, only about 0.25 percent of mortgages were in forbearance. But the numbers have shown dramatic improvement since the share of loans in forbearance peaked at 8.55 percent in June.

Mike Frantantoni

“The opening of the economy, as the successful vaccination effort continues, should lead to further reductions in the forbearance share,” MBA Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni said. “However, many homeowners continue to struggle. Borrowers who are reaching the end of their forbearance term should reach out to their servicer to review their options.”

Most of those still in forbearance (83 percent) have already requested an extension, and more than half if that group have been in forbearance for more than 12 months, Fratantoni said.

Borrowers with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA and USDA can be in COVID forbearance for up to 18 months, with many borrowers scheduled to hit their 18-month program eligibility limit at the end of September.

Depending on the type of loan they have, they may be able to enter into a repayment plan, apply for a loan modification, or defer repayment until they refinance or sell their home. Homeowners and renters can learn more about their options on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website.

According to a recent analysis by Black Knight, most borrowers who have already left forbearance have either resumed payment on their loans, or paid them off. That, along with a proposed moratorium on foreclosures through Dec. 31, 2021, helps lower the risk of a wave of foreclosures on the scale seen during the downturn that followed the 2007-09 recession.

Email Matt Carter

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Veronika Bondarenko <![CDATA[2 more indicted in kidnapping and murder of Minnesota agent]]> https://www.inman.com/?p=855533 2021-05-17T19:49:05Z 2021-05-17T19:49:05Z Two more people have been indicted in the 2020 murder of Minnesota real estate agent Monique Baugh, who was lured into a fake home showing and then shot to death last January.

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Two more people have been indicted in connection to a New Year’s Eve murder of a Minnesota real estate agent who was lured into a fake showing and then shot to death.

Kris Lindahl agent Monique Baugh, 28, had come to a home showing in northern Minneapolis suburb of Maple Grove in her car on December 31, 2019. As later discovered through surveillance camera footage, a U-Haul truck pulled up to the garage. Baugh was seen being pulled inside the truck and driven away, to be found later in an alleyway with multiple fatal gunshot wounds.

On January 4, 2020, police arrested 41-year-old Cedric Lamont Berry in connection with the murder, and last week, two others — 29-year-old Elsa Segura and Lyndon Wiggins, 36 — were indicted on four counts of aiding and abetting first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, kidnapping and first-degree felony murder while committing kidnapping by a Hennepin County Grand Jury.

Berry and another co-defendant, Berry Davis were indicted on the same charges much earlier, in January 2020. Charges of second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder and kidnapping were added earlier this month.

Prosecutors believe that the showing was fake and staged specifically to lure Baugh in. According to the Associated Press, Baugh received a voicemail from an unknown phone number on Dec. 29 from a woman named “Lisa.” The woman claimed to want to see a house and kept calling multiple times.

The number was later tied to Segura, who had worked as a Hennepin County probation officer from 2014 to 2019. She was also a child survivor of the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse in Minneapolis that killed 13 people in 2007. Her voice was “verified by law enforcement personnel who were personally familiar with her.”

Police believe that Baugh’s death stems from a rivalry between Berry and Baugh’s boyfriend, Minnesota rapper Jon Mitchell-Momoh. A day prior, he had been shot in his Minneapolis home in front of their two young daughters and survived.

“I cannot begin to describe how vicious the behavior was in this case,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement last year. “We have charged Mr. Berry with setting a trap for Ms. Baugh, assassinating her at close range, and shooting at her boyfriend while in the same house with two small children.”

At the time of her death, Baugh was described as a dedicated Realtor and a loving mother. In memorials, colleagues remembered Baugh helping them when they first entered the industry and became first-time agents. Others discussed how agents can help protect each other when going to showings — going to them alone can put one at risk for some extremely dangerous situations.

“We’re devastated by the passing of one of our agents, Monique Baugh,” Kris Lindahl said at the time. “Monique leaves behind two young daughters. We’ve created a fund to help support them. Kris Lindahl Real Estate will match the first $10,000 donated.” The GoFundMe page ended up raising over $36,000 for Baugh’s family.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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Craig C. Rowe <![CDATA[Marketing content manager Aryeo raises $3.65M]]> https://www.inman.com/?p=855436 2021-05-17T22:11:19Z 2021-05-17T17:30:16Z Aryeo, the 2021 class member of NAR's REACH program, started in real estate photography before graduating to the greater need of helping agents control their data and content.

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Aryeo, a marketing content management solution for the real estate industry, has raised a seed round of $3.65 million led by Hyperplane Venture Capital and Amplo.

Other investors in the company include Contrary, Shutterstock founder Jon Oringer and WePay founder Bill Clerico.

Aryeo is a class of 2021 member of NAR’s REACH program.

The company’s roots are in real estate photography and photography vendor management, which led to its founders uncovering the industry’s greater need to quickly produce and manage high-quality marketing content for listings and branding.

Aryeo’s web-based software facilitates workflow for creating and organizing an agent’s property photos, videos, floorplans and documents. It also helps agents by automatically producing single-property websites with custom domains and calls-to-action, and uses an in-app design experience to build listing flyers and social media content.

It also provides listing feed APIs for websites, MLSs and property portals.

“It’s very similar to a Dropbox system, but it’s more tailored to the real estate industry,” co-founder Branick Weix said in the press release.

“How things normally work for many of these agents, they just have content emailed to them and they have to download it to their computer and then they have to go to all these sites separately,” Weix said.

Aryeo will use the funds to focus on talent in sales and customer service, according to Weix. The intent of that staffing will be to better serve agents and brokers.

Aryeo states it works with more than 30,000 agents and real estate photographers around the country. It also does business in Canada, Belgium, Australia and South Africa.

“This is our way of bringing a totally streamlined experience to each major contributor in the property marketing process,” said co-founder Matt Michalski in the press release. “Aryeo automates the traditionally manual tasks of uploading photos, creating property websites and generating ads, which saves everyone time.”

Michalski was previously an aerial photographer and broker.

Another co-founder, Brendan Quinlan, said in the release that his company can put agents in control of their marketing content and business data.

“Many people fail to realize that by the time properties make their way to the national real estate portals, they have gone through a complex web involving inconsistent data feeds, manual inputs and disconnected parties. This results in a poor quality of media and, often, an incomplete representation of a home,” he said.

Founded in 2019, Aryeo’s platform hosted content for more than 1 percent of all U.S. home sales last year, or about 1 percent of the total annual home sales in the United States, according to the release.

An Inman review of Aryeo will publish later this summer.

Email Craig Rowe

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Marco Del Zotto <![CDATA[5 ways to track and predict market changes]]> https://www.inman.com/?p=854784 2021-05-17T16:45:04Z 2021-05-17T16:00:51Z Agents often get questions about the future of the market from curious consumers. Knowing how to answer them is key to building trust and establishing yourself as an expert in your field. Here are a few ways to stay in the know and spot patterns and trends.

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Market trends are ever-changing. During the past few years, cyclical patterns were proved wrong by global events and technological advancements.

One of the most popular questions for a real estate professional from a consumer standpoint is, “What is the market going to look like in X months?” Answering questions in an educated and smart way could boost your business and build immediate trust.

1. Data analysis

Analyzing data such as interest rates, inventory, days on the market and absorption rates are some of the business basics for a real estate professional. But how do we use the data and patterns to predict the days ahead? 

Most economical trends are cyclical, but that pattern was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which drastically altered the curve. By looking at the data from the past, a pandemic should have sent the real estate market into a downward spiral. However, because of technology and the ability to work from home, it has actually boosted the real estate industry.

With this in mind, historical data is a great way to create a pattern; but to actually improve accuracy on predicting the future, it is also essential to be fully immersed in local and global news. 

2. Subscriptions and memberships to news outlets

Media is everywhere these days, and it comes in all sorts of formats. Although the algorithm of targeted news may be fairly accurate, it is important to proactively learn about global and local information specifically related to your field of work. Finding customizable news outlets is a great way to save time and search for relevant material. 

A few examples of news outlets specifically created for real estate professionals are Inman, RIS Media and Forbes RE. Inman’s slogan is: “Real estate news and analysis that gives you the inside track.”

For those of you who don’t know: Although Inman charges a yearly membership fee, it is the most comprehensive source for real estate professionals who want to stay up to date on market-related news as well as analysis and trends. 

On the global news level, FlipBoard offers a fully customizable experience. FlipBoard’s slogan is: “Stories curated for you.” This app allows you to quickly catch up on daily updates without scrolling through pages of information that may not be relevant to you. 

Reading the news on a daily basis is fundamental, but it’s also important to remember that market trends are typically cyclical or secular. A daily analysis on news and historical data will allow for you to create a pattern and even predict future trends. 

3. Mastermind groups

What is the definition of a mastermind group? Tony Robbins, author, coach and speaker, states that a mastermind is “a group of peers who meet to give each other advice and support.” 

There is often a misconception about mastermind groups. Most professionals will only choose to join or create such groups with the ultimate goal of coming up with new ideas or ways of doing business.

However, mastermind sessions typically start with an evaluation of trends and data. Being involved in those evaluations is an incredible skill set to possess and can definitely aid in predicting real estate market changes in the future. 

For example, a mastermind group with the intention of brainstorming ideas for new cutting-edge real estate marketing and advertising can turn into a meeting where pertinent information is divulged.

To be more specific, a member in the group could announce a new development is coming to the area, and such knowledge could give you an immense edge when it comes to predicting the future real estate trend of that specific neighborhood. 

4. Connect with experts in alike markets

Although real estate markets could differ based on location, it is likely that another market with similar characteristics is experiencing similar patterns. This is where you can leverage your connections with real estate professionals in other markets.

The best way to do this is to arrange a trip and pay a visit to our network partners, but a phone call or a Zoom meeting would be a good starting point. Face-to-face meetings are always best as they will also serve as a way to preserve and nourish relationships with the referral network.

This approach is also a golden opportunity for someone who’s new in the business to learn new things and create new connections. 

5. Creating trends

Another great way to stay ahead of the competition is to “be the news.” If you are noticing a substantial change in patterns, write an opinion piece, and submit it to local and global publication sources.

If the piece doesn’t get picked up and published, you can always add it to your personal blog and send it to prospects via digital and printed formats. 

The five items mentioned above can seem overwhelming, but in reality, they are all part of the real estate professional’s essential toolkit to succeed in the industry. Setting aside some recurring reminders to complete these activities is likely to not only increase your expertise but also position you above the competition.

Marco Del Zotto is a Global Real Estate Advisor for LIV – Sotheby’s International Realty Breckenridge, CO. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

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Inman http://www.inman.com <![CDATA[What to expect tomorrow at Connect Now]]> https://www.inman.com/?p=855526 2021-05-17T17:04:54Z 2021-05-17T15:40:45Z Inman’s May Connect Now has been curated to unearth the most effective marketing strategies from top real estate professionals and decode the latest innovations in finance. Join us for interviews, workshops and analysis that will elevate your growth strategy.

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Inman’s May Connect Now has been curated to unearth the most effective marketing strategies from top real estate professionals and decode the latest innovations in finance. Join us for interviews, workshops, and analysis that will elevate your growth strategy.

register now

An effective marketing plan is a prerequisite for continued business growth, thanks to inventory shortages, increased buyer demand, an ever-changing financial landscape, and the proliferation of new marketing technologies. To create lasting relationships with your clients, it is key that you make sense of it all, choose what is right for you, and differentiate yourself constantly.

For our virtual event on May 18, our editorial and leadership teams have compiled content, curated sessions, and organized workshops to help you create that agile marketing strategy that simply gets results.

Start on the right note: Laura Monroe, Inman’s global head of community, will kick off the day with the Inman Connect Now Morning Show, full of inside information on what to expect throughout the day and how to make the most of it. Plus you’ll connect early with fellow attendees. 

Tune in for informative interviews: Brad Inman will start the General Session with Side CEO Guy Gal and Mosaik Real Estate’s Michelle Kim with a discussion on how agents can uncover the most profit-building opportunities in the current technology marketplace. Clelia Peters is hosting the first of a three-part series on disruptions in finance and will dive in with leaders in transaction facilitation, and Katie Kossev will bring insights from top agents on how to grow your social media presence.

Participate in interactive workshops: Spend your afternoon learning about tips to keep your messaging agile, how to maximize your Instagram engagement, creative tactics and tools to generate listings and leads, and how to keep track of your data by reading the fine print.

The line-up is impressive, and the agenda is packed. We look forward to seeing you online. Head on over here to reserve your spot before prices go up.

register now


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Lillian Dickerson <![CDATA[‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ home available to rent for first time]]> https://www.inman.com/?p=855509 2021-05-17T17:10:46Z 2021-05-17T15:31:54Z The property made famous in director Wes Anderson's 2001 film is now available for a 12-24 month lease at $20,000 per month.

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The Harlem brick castle made famous by director Wes Anderson in the film The Royal Tenenbaums is available to rent for the first time since the 2001 movie hit theaters.

The grand six-bed, four-and-a-half bath home is now available to rent for $20,000 per month for the first time since being featured in Anderson’s movie, according to Realtor.com. Perhaps inspired by the former steps made by Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller and Luke Wilson to make amends with their estranged father portrayed by Gene Hackman, another family can find their own quirky form of peace too.

The four-story walkup, originally built in 1899, comes fully furnished with a lease term of 12 to 24 months. Sadly, no pets are allowed.

In addition to its claim to fame from the movies, the historic property has played a prominent role in New York City history as home to U.S. attorney Charles H. Tuttle who ran against Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930 New York Governor’s election, according to the listing description.

The Flemish Revival mansion encompasses 6,000 square feet of space, which includes a formal living room, formal dining room, butler kitchen, family room, chef’s kitchen and a foyer. An elevator also services the first three floors of the home.

[Inman Slideshow]

“Unlike the average townhouse, the entrance is on the side of the home, which rises on a corner lot, and boasts three exposures (N, E, W) with over 50 windows,” the listing description notes. “Other home features are original stained windows, extensive original woodwork throughout the house, and six gas-operated fireplaces.”

In a feature about the home published in The Observer in 2001, the same year Anderson’s film was released, Anderson said he stumbled across the mansion while driving around the city with a record producer-friend and left a letter in the mailbox inquiring about it. The property’s owner, a private equity manager named Willie Woods, had purchased the home one year earlier for $460,000 in a foreclosure sale and was planning to renovate it. But, Anderson dissuaded Woods from starting renovations (with much help from the film’s $25 million budget, no doubt) and started making his own alterations for the film.

According to The Observer, once Anderson found “his dream house,” he was able to finish the film script. The home became, in effect, one of the film’s leading characters.

“It’s almost like a character in the movie — it’s like half of the movie,” Tom Whelan, location manager for The Royal Tenenbaums, told The Observer.

Woods and his wife Lana Woods still own the property, and will be landlords to the new tenants.

The property is being represented by Spencer Means at Compass.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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Matt Carter http://www.inman.com <![CDATA[Demand for mortgages sagged in April even as rates remain near historic lows]]> https://www.inman.com/?p=855449 2021-05-17T16:35:09Z 2021-05-17T13:53:05Z New data from Black Knight shows drop in rate locks for purchase loans and refinancing.

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Demand for mortgages sagged in April to the lowest level in almost a year, despite the fact that rates eased somewhat and remained near historic lows.

That’s according to a new report from data and analytics firm Black Knight, which shows a major shift in the mortgage industry continues as lenders get more and more of their business from originating purchase loans and less from refinancing.

Black Knight’s Originations Market Monitor shows purchase loans accounted for 55 percent of mortgage originations last month, up from 52 percent in March.

March was a significant milestone in that it marked the first time since December, 2019 that lenders originated more purchase loans than refinancings.

Although that might sound like good news for real estate brokers and agents, the new data from Black Knight shows demand for both purchase mortgages and refinancing fell during April. But because refinancing took a bigger hit, purchase loans picked up additional market share.

Trends in mortgage originations, April 2021

Source: Black Knight Originations Market Monitor

Rate locks for purchase mortgages fell by 6 percent from March to April, Black Knight reported. But cash-out refinancings were down 13 percent over the same period, and rate-and-term refinancings plummeted 20 percent.

Looking back a year, purchase loan originations were up 114 percent. But that’s largely because April 2020 was a dismal month for home sales, with the pandemic got underway in earnest.

Across all loan types, rate locks were down 11.3 percent from March to April, bringing mortgage originations to the lowest levels seen since May 2020, Black Knight reported.

As demand falls, lenders are reacting by extending credit to borrowers with lower credit scores, and putting more customers into FHA, VA and USDA loans, said Scott Happ, president of Black Knight Secondary Marketing Technologies.

Scott Happ

“As volume has tightened, we’ve seen average credit scores decline across all products and purposes, and conventional loans lose share to government-backed mortgages,” Happ said in a statement. “Neither are unexpected developments given that, when rates begin to rise, higher-credit borrowers tend to simply not engage.”

But that doesn’t bode well for the future, since rates are still not far off historical lows. Black Knight estimates there are 14.5 million qualified homeowners who could still benefit by refinancing at a lower rate.

“It will be interesting – and telling – to see both how rates move in the coming weeks, and whether or not we see refi volumes increase as a result,” Happ said.

Realtors will be watching rates closely as well. With listings in short supply, rising prices in many markets have created affordability challenges for buyers, which rising rates could exacerbate.

Whether rates surge or not in the months ahead depends largely on whether wages and consumer prices rise sharply and trigger worries about inflation at the Federal Reserve. Most forecasters expect at least a modest rise in mortgage rates.

In an April 12 forecast, economists at Fannie Mae said they expect rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to hit 3.4 percent by the end of the year, and average 3.6 percent in 2022, up from 3.1 percent last year.

That would put rates back about where they were before the pandemic, when quick action by the Fed and a flight to safety by investors into bonds and mortgage-backed securities brought mortgage rates below 3 percent.

Nevertheless, Fannie Mae economists see home sales falling by 5.3 percent next year, to 6.49 million, as homes remain scarce and builders struggle to keep up with demand.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, agrees that the national housing market may be topping out due to inventory shortages.

Lawrence Yun | Photo credit: NAR

“The cumulative effect of 14 years of under-production is we simply don’t have enough homes for sale,” Yun said at the trade group’s midyear conference.

He’d like to see the government looking at opportunity zones, tax credits, infrastructure spending dedicated to housing, and tax relief for investor sales.

“Whatever it is, we need to bring more inventory because you can see that we will not fix this housing shortage in a simple one-year time frame,” Yun said.

Email Matt Carter

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