Is the U.S. housing market overheating? Within the stability of low mortgage rates and high buyer contention, the housing market continues to be highly competitive. While it is a great time to be in the market for a loan, borrowers don’t quite have their’ pick of the litter’ like in times past. Home prices continue to rise, as does the volume of offers placed on each listing.
“Demand is robust throughout the country, but homebuyers continue to be held back by the lack of homes for sale and rapidly increasing home prices.” – Joel Kan, MBA Economist.
After assessing various expert opinions, knowledge, and studies, we have constructed the ultimate guide to the latest Mortgage industry trends and statistics of 2021. Courtesy of the industry professionals with The Mortgage Banker’s Association, Fannie Mae, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, TIME Magazine, & more!
Mortgage Rates Staying Low
While banks and lenders compete for consumers, the lingering of favorable rates comes much to the delight of borrowers. Mortgage rates have hovered around 3% throughout 2021, and experts predict that trend to continue. While many foresee a gradual incline, the experts in Real Estate at the likes of Bankrate and Next Advisor are still forecasting rates below 3.5% through 2022.
Why are mortgage rates remaining low? Mortgage rates are also influenced by consumer demand for home loans and the lenders’ willingness and ability to adhere to the numbers. According to the Mortgage Banker’s Association & Fannie Mae, the total volume of loan originations (purchase and refinance) in 2021 is on pace for a $250 million decline (10%) from 2020. The current year is on pace to see an 11% increase in purchase mortgage originations at $1.8 trillion, but a 14% decrease in refinance originations at 2.2 trillion. With loans able to derive from any location, banks and lenders are making their best effort to beat out the competition’s low rates and hold on to their newly hired employees.
Inventory Causing High Buyer Competition
Realtors across the country have reported seeing multiple offers come in on nearly every listing, and they expect that trend to continue through the Spring as well. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the U.S. housing market is short 3 million homes, and supply will likely remain tight for the next few years. As a result, we are experiencing the most significant annual growth in home value in over 30 years, including a 14.6% price increase from April 2020 to April 2021. Chief Economist with CoreLogic, Frank Nothaft, details how the low rates “have led to really eye-popping house price gains, and I expect that to continue.”
Why is the current housing supply unable to keep up with demand? In addition to the low mortgage rates that have new buyers emerging from every location, construction of new homes was also severely slowed by COVID-19 and has yet to get back on track. The NJ Lenders Corporation also reports that many homeowners who are removed from the big-city lifestyle are reluctant to sell their homes with the ease and comfortability they’ve found in working remotely. Homeowners are much more likely to explore refinancing to cut their monthly payments, focus on new home projects, and build more equity in their homes. Furthermore, these homeowners are well aware that choosing to reap the benefits of the seller-friendly market means they will become a part of the crowded homebuyer market.
With sellers earning top-dollar for their listed properties, buyers need to be exceptionally savvy in hopes of striking a deal. More desirables homes, such as those not requiring renovations, encompassing ample living space and coveted amenities, are often swept off the market in 1-2 days. The mortgage reporting team at Bankrate implore consumers to enlist the support of a knowledgeable realtor to steer them through the competition. Buyers and sellers have a unique opportunity in the current market, but each must stay aggressive and calculated in their approach to capitalize.
NOTE: In June, the volume of existing-home sales rose for the first time in five months as more houses came on the market. (Courtesy of The Balance)
A Spike in Job Openings
Despite many lenders and banks reporting a decline in the volume of loan originations, hiring is seeing a dramatic increase as the economy heals. Courtesy of the National Mortgage News: “Users of the company’s compensation system found year-over-year processor headcounts in the first quarter were up 58% from a year ago. The number of registered loan officers increased by 32%.” The search consultants at Hunter Hollis confirm this growth and anticipate high demand in the real estate, mortgage, and title industry among those seeking a career change. With interest rates expected to remain low, many organizations are experiencing various career professionals who want to get in on the action.
What The Remote Work Shift Means in Mortgage/Real Estate
Regarding Potential Buyers
COVID-19 has forced employees from all lines of work into temporary or permanent remote working environments. With the ability to operate from a home office for the foreseeable future, homebuyers have reevaluated their priorities and created new arrangements for their futures. They have more freedom than ever before when choosing where and how they want to live. What does this look like in real life? Forget the perk of dodging NYC, Chicago, LA, or other big-city rush hours; employees can ditch their current home’s upscale, costly lifestyle for a more reasonable and desirable one. Whether it is to move closer to family or find peace and safety in a rural or suburban area, people across the country are taking advantage of the opportunity. In fact, a recent study from H.R. Executive revealed that 58% of workers would “absolutely” look for a new job if they were not allowed to continue working remotely.
Regarding Your Employees & Talent Recruitment
Talent demand is high within the mortgage and title industry, and despite the plethora of job seekers, employers are admittingly finding it hard to fill their open positions with highly skilled personnel. Employers’ ability to adapt to the times plays a significant role in keeping up with competitors and constructing a healthy recruitment marketing model. Being locked down to one location due to a job is a thing of the past. Many employers have opened their opportunities to fully remote and semi-remote positions to adhere to national guidelines and reach a higher quality of talent recruitment.
Tech Trends via The MPA
The Rise of Tech-Savvy Home Buyers: “Where some companies were reluctant to invest in tech advancements prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, most lenders now recognize the need to offer online mortgage solutions.” – Allison Leung, Maxwell Financial
Driven by customers’ developing expectations in “speed, seamlessness, convenience, personalization, and transparency,” here are a few of the MPA’s revealed tech trends that experts presume will shape the future of the mortgage industry:
- Adopting API To Improve Efficiency
Mortgage lenders are taking part in the transcendence of application programming interfaces (API) to streamline business processes. From workflow automation, data accuracy assurance, and facilitated compliance, employers are making a pivotal effort to stay up to date with the latest technology trends. Leung states: “A lack of efficiency in back-office operations not only affects loan processing speeds and loan officer morale, it also has an impact on the saleability of loan products overall.”
- Improving Self-Service & Omni-Channel Capabilities
The digital home-buying experience is here to stay. Allowing consumers to engage with you through their preferred method of communication will open up your lead attraction capabilities. I.T. tech consulting firm, Infosys, believes that if lenders can provide “online calculators, scenario analysis tools, and open mobile communication channels,” they will see lead conversation improve.
“For many, working with lenders that offer an online experience that allows them to get quickly pre-approved, lock in their rate and upload required mortgage documentation is a welcomed departure from the traditional mortgage process.” – Glenn Brunker, Ally Home.
- Increased Machine Learning (ML) & Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)
Infosys suggest that the adoption of ML & A.I. can increase speed and efficiency within the document-intensive process for lenders. Key examples include paperwork organization and analysis and borrowers’ salary and credit history assessment. Completing preliminary mortgage advising tasks and offering product recommendations through the use of an A.I. chatbot will remove tedious, repetitive tasks from your desk.
Homebuyers Statistics: (Pulled Directly From Mortgage Calculator)
- First-Time Buyers– The number of first-time buyers entering the housing market fell to its lowest percentage since 1981.
- Median Age and Income of First-Time Buyers– The average age of first-time homebuyers in the United States stands at 31, showing little to no change over the last few years. Their average annual income was approximately $68,300. The median cost of homes purchased by first-time buyers is $169,000.
- Median age and Income of Repeat Buyers– The average age and income of repeat buyers remain relatively stable, with a median age of 53 and an income of approximately $95,000 per year. The average cost of a home purchased by a repeat buyer is $240,000.
- Household Composition of Homebuyers– The statistical make-up of home buyers has remained unchanged over the last few years, with 65% being married couples, 16% single women, 9% single men, and 8% unmarried couples.
- Financing Profiles– 88% of all buyers financed their purchase, with younger buyers more likely to rely on financing than consumers aged 64 or older. 93% of first-time buyers opted for a fixed-rate mortgage, with 35% financing their purchase with an FHA-backed mortgage. The average down payment for first-time buyers was 6% of the total cost of their home, while the average down payment for repeat buyers was 13%.
- Housing Profiles– 79% of buyers purchased a detached single-family home, while 16% bought a townhouse or condo. The average home purchased had three bedrooms and two baths.
- Average Time Between Moves– The average time a family is expected to stay in their home is approximately 13 years.
In a recent writeup for NextAdvisor, Finance Journalist Jason Stauffer surveyed what mortgage experts project for the coming months/years. Surmised from industry specialists Lindsey Piegza with Stifel Financial; Tian Liu with Enact Mortgage Insurance; Jon Bodan with Perpetual Financial Group; Erin Sykes with NestSeekers International; and Robert Frick with Navy Federal Credit Union, the most commonly relayed messages held true to these three common themes:
- A slight, gradual increase in mortgage rates, but remaining below 5% for the foreseeable future.
- Demand has overwhelmed supply, and the low housing inventory remains the greatest concern for lenders and homebuyers.
- Lenders are pursuing borrowers. While potential homebuyers are experiencing decreased odds at landing their future home, lending professionals and real estate agents are enduring increased workloads.
Learning About NexGoal
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