Industry Briefs Jan. 12, 2021

Verus Commercial Real Estate Finance Introduces Single-Family Portfolio Loan Product

Verus Commercial Real Estate Finance, New York, launched a new product for financing of Single-Family Home Rental Portfolios.

Lending Parameters of the Single-Family Portfolio product include:

  • Minimum of 5 (SFR – 1 Unit) properties or 3 (2-4 unit) properties
  • 5-20 unit properties, warrantable condominiums, modular homes, leaseholds
  • 5, 7 and 10-year fixed loan with both interest only and amortizing options
  • Loan sizes of $500,000 – $15 million
  • Purchase, Rate/Term Refinance, Cash Out Refinance
  • Up to 75% LTV
  • Non-recourse or Limited recourse

SitusAMC Acquires ReadyPrice

SitusAMC Holdings Corp., New York, acquired ReadyPrice and its mortgage technology that connects mortgage loan originators and lenders to facilitate more efficient loan originations. The ReadyPrice management team will be retained by SitusAMC.

Launched in 2020, ReadyPrice’s mortgage technology enables MLOs to manage and choose pricing, run automated underwriting and deliver approved loans to lenders at no cost to the MLO. For lenders, ReadyPrice provides a way to scale their businesses, ensuring wholesale lending rates are included in every pricing engine search while providing brokers with a path to directly transfer DU approved loans.

The acquisition of ReadyPrice continues SitusAMC’s expansion of its residential loan origination support offering following the acquisition of ComplianceEase in September and the launch of the firm’s loan fulfillment offering in late 2020.  

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Black Knight Expands Expedite Close Platform

Black Knight Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., delivered new capabilities in the company’s Expedite Close digital closing platform to more easily facilitate fully digital real estate transactions.

Expedite Close now offers detailed, document-by-document guidance to help borrowers through the closing package, allowing for a more efficient, contactless process, up to and including the remote online notarization of all necessary paperwork.

Upon initiating an eClosing process through the Expedite Close platform, borrowers are now provided a clear overview of documents to be reviewed and signed, as well as individual tags within documents to help them make informed decisions as they complete the required tasks. These tags are configurable by the lender and help the borrower understand information within each document, such as monthly principal or interest payment amounts, prepayment penalties, and other items of importance.

Redfin: Home Prices Up 13%, Pending Sales Rise 38%

Redfin, Seattle, reported the median home sale price increased 13% year over year to $319,000 during the four-week period ending Jan. 3. The report also said pending home sales rose by 38% year over year.

Redfin said new listings of homes for sale were up 7% from a year earlier—the smallest increase since July. Active listings (the number of homes listed for sale at any point during the period) fell 32% from 2020 to a record low. Thirty-eight percent of homes that went under contract had an accepted offer within the first two weeks on the market, well above the 25% rate during the same period a year ago.

The average sale-to-list price ratio declined slightly to 99.3%—still 1.5 percentage points higher than a year earlier. For the week ending January 3, the seasonally adjusted Redfin Homebuyer Demand Index—a measure of requests for home tours and other services from Redfin agents—was up 32% from pre-pandemic levels in January and February 2020.

Ginnie Mae Closes 2020 with December MBS Volume at Record $81.7 Billion

Ginnie Mae, Washington, D.C., said December mortgage-backed securities issuance surged above $81.7 billion, financing housing for more than 289,000 households. December was the sixth consecutive month that MBS issuance exceeded $70 billion. A record 57 Ginnie Mae Platinum securities transactions occurred in December, totaling more than $3.5 billion.

A breakdown of December issuance of $81.7 billion includes $76.7 billion of Ginnie Mae II MBS and $4.96 billion of Ginnie Mae I MBS, which includes $4.88 billion of loans for multifamily housing. Ginnie Mae’s total outstanding principal balance as of December 31 was $2.11 trillion, essentially flat with November and down slightly from $2.118 trillion a year ago.

Black Knight: Loans in Forbearance Down 92,000

Black Knight, Jacksonville, Fla., issued its latest Black Knight Blog, reporting mortgages in active forbearance fell by 92,000 (-3%), the largest weekly drop since early November. The decline was driven by the large volume of quarterly forbearance plan expirations at the end of December, many of which were reaching the nine-month mark.

However, the 3% decline in the first week of January fell short of the 9% seen at the start of July, during the first quarterly wave of expirations, or to the 18% reduction in the first week of October when plans began to reach six-month expirations.

Black Knight said as of January 5 – 5.2% of all mortgages (2.74 million) are in forbearance. Together, they represent $547 billion in unpaid principal.

Blend Expands Partnership with Freddie Mac

Blend, San Francisco, expanded its partnership with Freddie Mac with integration of the company’s automated underwriting system, Loan Product Advisor. Blend and Freddie Mac are collaborating on technology to drive faster assessment of data and reduce the amount of paperwork, simplifying the process for both their lender-clients and those clients’ borrowers — ultimately improving borrower experience and reducing the origination cycle time.

With this integration, Blend expands its AUS workflows to more lenders, including its Dual AUS functionality to deliver a better borrower experience. The Dual AUS functionality reduces risk by automating the AUS findings report and approval so lenders have a clearer view of available borrower options without sacrificing operational efficiency so they can maximize their secondary market execution.

CENTURY 21 AllPoints Realty Expands its Digital Advertising Strategy with Adwerx

CENTURY 21 AllPoints Realty implemented the Adwerx Automated Advertising Platform for each of its sales offices.

Digital ads for new listings launch as soon as properties go on the market. These ads appear on Facebook, popular mobile apps and across premium websites that consumers and potential home buyers visit on a daily basis, including local and national news outlets. The Adwerx Automated Advertising Platform further boosts awareness through impactful retargeting technology. Once a prospect visits an agent’s website, custom branded ads accompany them throughout their online journey, elevating the agent’s profile by optimizing visibility and keeping them top-of-mind with potential clients.

New American Funding Hosts Bridging the Gap in Black Homeownership Jan. 14

New American Funding, Tustin, Calif., will host a digital event, “Bridging the Gap in Black Homeownership,” where experts will discuss strategies and techniques to increase Black Homeownership.

Keynote speaker is Kristy Fercho, Wells Fargo’s Executive Vice President and Head of Home Lending and Vice Chair of the Mortgage Bankers Association. Joining Fercho will be Gwen Garnett, Program Director at the Center for Financial Advancement; and Antoine Thompson, National Executive Director of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers.

The event is Thursday, January 14 at 3:00 p.m. Pacific/6:00 p.m. Eastern and accessible to all. To register, click

Ncontracts Acquires QuestSoft Corp.

Ncontracts, Brentwood, Tenn., acquired QuestSoft Corp., Laguna Hills, Calif., a provider of compliance software and services for the mortgage, bank and credit union industries.

Combining Ncontracts with QuestSoft creates an end-to-end risk and compliance suite enabling financial institutions to grow and succeed in the evolving regulatory environment.  

Guaranteed Rate to Acquire Stearns Holdings LLC

Guaranteed Rate, Chicago, entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Texas-based Stearns Holdings LLC from funds managed by Blackstone.

A national top 25 lender with more than $20B in origination volume in 2020, Stearns was founded in 1989 and operates in all 50 states through retail, joint venture, partnership and wholesale channels. The acquisition will enable Guaranteed Rate to bolster retail loan origination and further scale its JV platform, while also developing new multichannel capabilities.

In the future, Guaranteed Rate plans to integrate and rebrand Stearns Holdings’ retail operation as Guaranteed Rate. The company’s wholesale and partnership businesses will remain as stand-alone operations, with current Stearns CEO David Schneider continuing to lead those operations.