Industry Briefs June 4, 2021

Zillow: 83% Growth of Asian-Headed Households Hides Significant Inequality

Zillow, Seattle, said Asian-headed households in the U.S. grew by 83% in the past two decades, far exceeding Latinx, Black, and white household growth. But that broad success masks major challenges to homeownership in the highly diverse community.

New Zillow research reveals the reality the Asian-American population — the smallest but fastest growing racial or ethnic group in the U.S. — faces regarding homeownership and income inequality. Asian-Americans continue to grapple with a difficult immigration environment, unequal access to opportunity and disparate educational backgrounds, the same barriers to housing that many other racial and ethnic groups face in the country.

Asian-American homeownership rate rose six percentage points from 2000 to 2019 to 59%, outperforming the near-flat or falling rates of other racial and ethnic groups and narrowing the gap with the 71% white homeownership rate. At the same time, median household income of Asian-Americans is the highest across all racial or ethnic groups in the U.S., and Asian-owned home values are 3.7% higher than typical home values.

“Asian households are often upheld as an economic success story — high incomes, homeownership rates, and other positive metrics point to a relatively prosperous demographic. But this highly diverse group also has the highest level of income inequality, and housing characteristics across Asian ethnicities differ greatly,” says Zillow economist Alexandra Lee. “As this population continues to grow — faster than any other racial or ethnic group — it will be crucial to recognize the disparities within the AAPI community to understand the opportunities and missed opportunities they are experiencing in the housing market.”

Promontory MortgagePath Adds Industrial Bank, Optus Bank as First MDIs, CDFIs in Minority-Owned Financial Institution Initiative

Promontory MortgagePath LLC, Danbury, Conn., announced Industrial Bank and Optus Bank as the first participants in its initiative to support community development financial institutions and minority depository institutions. The initiative is focused on expanding mortgage credit access in underserved communities.

Promontory MortgagePath’s program offers exclusive pricing, resources and joint marketing opportunities to participating institutions. These services help lower the barriers to entry into mortgage lending and allow these institutions to participate in the mortgage market profitably, with the overall goal of helping build long-term wealth in communities through increased homeownership. Participating institutions also gain access to Promontory MortgagePath’s point-of-sale platform Borrower Wallet, technology-driven, U.S.-based mortgage fulfillment services and compliance support to accelerate their entry into the market and delivery of mortgage services.

FHFA: GSEs Sell 131,000 NPLs with $24.5B UPB

The Federal Housing Finance Agency released the latest report on sale of non-performing loans (NPLs) by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for activity through Dec. 31. The report said from program inception in 2014 through December 31, 2020, the Enterprises sold 130,808 NPLs with a total unpaid principal balance of $24.5 billion. The loans included in the NPL sales had an average delinquency of 2.9 years and an average current mark-to-market loan-to-value ratio of 91 percent (not including capitalized arrearages).

Average delinquency for pools sold ranged from 1.4 years to 6.2 years. NPLs in New Jersey, New York and Florida represented nearly half (43 percent) of the NPLs sold. Fannie Mae sold 86,216 loans with an aggregate UPB of $15.8 billion, an average delinquency of 3.0 years and an average LTV of 89 percent. Freddie Mac sold 44,592 loans with an aggregate UPB of $8.7 billion, an average delinquency of 2.8 years and an average LTV of 95 percent.

The report also noted NPLs on homes occupied by borrowers had the highest rate of foreclosure avoidance outcomes (40.2 percent foreclosure avoided versus 16.8 percent for vacant properties). NPLs on vacant homes had a much higher rate of foreclosure, more than double the foreclosure rate of borrower-occupied properties (76.5 percent foreclosure versus 33 percent for borrower occupied properties).  Foreclosures on vacant homes typically improve neighborhood stability and reduce blight as the homes are sold or rented to new occupants. The average UPB of NPLs sold was $187,587.

RE/MAX Real Estate Associates Launches Adwerx Enterprise Platform

Adwerx launched online listing and retargeting advertisements for RE/MAX Real Estate Associates, providing all of its agents with a means to build their brands and market their properties to consumers who are spending time online.

With this new service, digital ads for new listings launch when a property is publicly listed, and appear on popular websites including CNN and ESPN, as well as local news outlets and social media sites. These advertisements contain a listing photo, agent contact details, brokerage branding, and a link to the listing, and are easily customizable. By combining these ads with traditional marketing efforts, agents can reinforce their local brand and maximize the visibility of each listing.

Black Knight: Forbearance Volumes Rise Again

Black Knight, Jacksonville, Fla., reported another increase in forbearance volumes last week, up by 16,000 (+0.73%) from the previous week. However, this is only the third overall increase over the past 12 weeks; Black Knight said after seeing improvement accelerate as early forbearance entrants went through the 12-month review process in March and April, exit activity has since returned to more “normal” levels.

The report said the 1,000 (-0.1%) weekly decline in forbearances among GSE loans was more than offset by a 2,000 (+0.2%) increase among FHA/VA loans and a 15,000 (+2.5%) increase among portfolio-held and privately securitized mortgages. As of May 25, 2.2 million (4.1% of) homeowners remain in COVID-19 related forbearance plans, including 2.4% of GSE, 7.3% of FHA/VA and 4.8% of portfolio/PLS loans.

Redfin: More than Half of Homes Selling Above List Price, Up from 1 in 4 a Year Ago

Redfin, Seattle, said a record high 51% of homes sold for more than their list price—up from 26% the same period a year earlier—for the week ending May 23.

With a record-high median home sale price of $354,250, sales were up 24% year over year, also a record. Asking prices reached a median $361,875, also a record high. Redfin also reported a record-high 101.9% average sale-to-list price ratio, up 3.4 percentage points year over year.

The report also noted a record low of 17 days on market for homes that sold during the period, down from 36 days from the same period in 2020. The share of homes sold in one or two weeks are both just shy of their record high level, which was set during the four-week period ending May 9. Fifty-seven percent of homes that went under contract had an accepted offer within the first two weeks on the market, while 44% of homes that went under contract had an accepted offer within one week of hitting the market.

Redfin: 8 out of 10 People Who Relocated During the Pandemic Are in Similar or Better Financial Position

Redfin also reported nearly two-thirds of surveyed users who relocated over the last year have the same or lower housing costs, and almost as many said their new home is the same size or bigger. Key findings from Redfin’s recent survey of users who moved to a different metro area from March 2020 through March 2021:

•           78% have the same or more disposable income after their move. 

•           68% have the same or lower housing costs than before their move. 

•           64% moved into a home that’s the same size or bigger than their previous residence.  

•           80% have no regrets about their decision to relocate.

•           80% are happier post-move.

Tavant Partners with Hay Group, Expands into Australia

Tavant, Santa Clara, Calif., entered into an alliance with Hay Group, an Australian fintech provider, to deliver the full payment and lending spectrum of capabilities to the Australian financial market.

Tavant’s digital lending suite, VΞLOX, will now be integrated with Hay’s cloud-embedded finance platform, which integrates digital banking services into any customer journey. This joint platform will provide AI-powered financial experiences for lending and banking end-users in the Australian financial marketplace.

Fitch: Global Structured Finance Has Few Remaining Pockets of Ratings Pressure

Fitch Ratings, New York, said global structured finance negative rating signals from the aftermath of the pandemic have fallen from peak levels in all regions except Latin America. The majority of bonds placed on Rating Watch Negative or Rating Outlook Negative globally following the onset of the crisis have been resolved, and fewer than 10% have been downgraded to date. Fitch sees widespread stabilization in ratings, with a few pockets where amplified credit pressures have not yet eased.

The report said commercial mortgage-backed securities are a common area of weakness across regions as retail and hotel assets were particularly affected by shutdowns and travel restrictions. Fitch said while U.S. CMBS may not have the highest percentage of ratings on RON or RWN, the sector has by far the greatest number of ratings by count on RON or RWN, due to the sheer size of the Fitch-rated CMBS portfolio. U.S. CMBS accounts for nearly half of all ratings on RON or RWN within global SF.

White House, HUD Issue June Homeownership Month Proclamation

President Joseph Biden Jr., on behalf of HUD, issued a proclamation June 1 designating June as Homeownership Month.

“For millions of Americans, homeownership is the cornerstone of a life with security, with dignity, and with hope,” Biden said. “The aspiration to own a home is connected deeply to the American dream.  It has driven generations of Americans, in search of a place to call one’s own.”  

The proclamation cited barriers to homeownership in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic as well as ongoing discrimination in the marketplace facing people of color and other minorities. “This is economically and morally wrong, and it is why, as President, I have made it a central priority to expand stability and opportunity within our housing market,” he said. “I call upon the people of this Nation to recognize the enduring value of homeownership and to recommit ourselves to helping more Americans realize that dream.”

Cirrus Adds Treasury Services Capabilities to Document Management Suite

Cirrus, Evergreen, Colo., added treasury workflow tools to its solutions suite. Its cloud-based, API-enabled platform enables bankers to streamline these processes on behalf of their customers and free up valuable operational time for their institutions.

For financial institutions that leverage identity verification tools and document archival resources, Cirrus’ built-in integrations streamline more workflow and further elevate the customer experience.


ENACOMM, Tulsa, Okla., partnered with REDi Enterprise Development Inc., a risk management software provider with a suite of lending, compliance and fraud prevention platforms.

ENACOMM will provide communication channels for REDi’s alerts to all of its customers’ users, and ENACOMM will integrate REDi’s fraud prevention technologies into ENACOMM’s ViA and Fraud Control Module offerings. ViA (Virtual Interactive Analyst) is ENACOMM’s analytics tool that features real-time activity tracking, reporting, monitoring and alerting. The ENACOMM Fraud Control Module allows users to detect, track and respond to fraud across any channel for which ENACOMM’s ViA data collection system is deployed.

Usherpa Updates Functionality to Help LOs Make Calls

Usherpa, Denver, provided an update to the company’s UsherpAlert functionality designed to take friction out of the loan officer’s job of making calls to mortgage prospects.

Usherpa uses Authentic Intelligence, a combination of industry knowledge and machine learning, to comb through the user’s database of past customers and prospects in real-time and serve up past customers most likely to be in the buy zone for a new mortgage.

Zillow: List on a Thursday

Zillow, Seattle, said homes listed on a Thursday sell faster on average and are more likely to sell above list price than those listed on any other day of the week.

The Zillow analysis found homes listed on a Thursday typically go pending faster than any other day of the week, all else equal. Those that are put up for sale on a Sunday tend to sit on the market longest, eight days longer than Thursdays. Saturday and Monday are only marginally better — homes listed on either of those days typically take seven days longer to sell than homes listed on Thursdays.

Thursday listings also are most likely to sell for more money. Zillow research shows that homes listed on a Thursday are more likely to sell above their asking price than those listed on any other day of the week, while homes listed on either Saturday or Sunday were the least likely to sell above list.

Covius Streamlines Bidding, Adds VIP Program to RealtyBid Auction Platform

Covius Holdings Inc., Denver, added additional enhancements to its RealtyBid online auction platform, including bidder and investor benefits and incentives. 

Enhancements include an all-new VIP Investor Program that rewards loyal buyers with automatic perks such as concierge services, dedicated asset managers and customized inventory lists; multiple bidder purchase profiles, which are built to maintain buyer information and auto-populate purchase contracts for several buying entities for each bidder, decreasing manual input and increasing efficiency and closing turn time; and an advanced document library that enables users to upload, store and present documents quickly when bidding and buying.

Fannie Mae Launches ‘Your Own Story,’ Provides Important Facts, Information for Future Homeowners 

Fannie Mae, Washington, D.C., launched “Your Own Story,” a campaign designed to increase consumer knowledge with facts and figures that dispel myths about what it takes to achieve sustainable homeownership.

“Your Own Story” breaks down the path to homeownership in seven interactive steps, including the basic requirements necessary to qualify for a mortgage, factors to consider when choosing a home, and the responsibilities of homeownership. Potential homebuyers will also find strategies for saving money for a down payment; ways to improve low credit scores; an affordability calculator to estimate a maximum home purchase price based on current expenses and income and different types of loans.