Industry Briefs Oct. 8, 2021: Homebuyers’ Average Monthly Mortgage Payment Jumps

Redfin: Homebuyers’ Average Monthly Mortgage Payment Rose $50 in the Past 6 Weeks

Redfin, Seattle, said the average homebuyer’s monthly mortgage payment rose $50 over the past six weeks. At the same time, sellers’ median asking price increased 12% year over year to a record high.

The report said despite rapidly declining affordability, many homes are still selling very quickly—nearly half find a buyer within two weeks. Although homes are still selling for about 1% above asking price on average, the share of listings with price drops is increasing, suggesting that price increases may be easing just slightly.

“Mortgage rates and asking prices are both on the rise, which translates to higher housing costs,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “For now, mortgage rates are still hovering near 3% and demand remains strong. However, we are likely to see rates tick up into the winter months, and that could slow demand just like it did in late 2018. As that happens, sellers will have a harder time getting buyers to bite on their sky-high asking prices.”

The report said asking prices of newly listed homes rose by 12% from the same time a year ago to a record-high median of $365,073. New listings of homes for sale fell 8% from a year earlier, while active listings fell 23% from 2020. Redfin said 46% of homes that went under contract had an accepted offer within the first two weeks on the market, above the 42% rate of a year earlier, while 33% of homes had an accepted offer within one week of hitting the market, up from 30% during the same period a year earlier.

Snapdocs Announces Program to Help Lenders Adopt eMortgages

Snapdocs Inc., San Francisco announced the Snapdocs eMortgage Quickstart Program, designed to enable lenders to more readily adopt eMortgages by providing them with turnkey technology and eMortgage implementation and change management support.

The program offers technology to generate, store, manage and transfer eMortgages that is agnostic to lenders’ existing point-of-sale systems, loan origination systems or doc prep providers; an eMortgage implementation framework; streamlined implementation processes between counterparties to reduce complexity and facilitate eMortgage approval and onboarding processes; an e-Eligibility engine to help lenders determine precisely how digital each closing can be; and a forum to discuss the latest eMortgage developments and share best practices with other program participants.

WFG National Title Insurance Co. Renews Health Insurance Program

WFG National Title Insurance Co., Portland, Ore., renewed its health insurance program, offering access to cost-effective health insurance as a benefit within the company’s WFG Blocks program.

As it has done for products and services within the other five WFG Blocks – Marketing and Sales, Compliance solutions, Title and Settlement solutions, Information Security, and Expense Management – WFG has contracted with a health insurance provider to offer cost savings for plan participants through the Human Resources block.

The proprietary program, available in 50 states for individuals or groups, is available through Youity. There are no set-up fees, administrative costs, or contracts to sign, and policies are billed individually, which means a departing agent’s premiums do not become the responsibility of the group organizing the policies. There is also no deductible. Instead, there is ‘first-dollar coverage,’ so medical costs are paid from the first dollar incurred.

Pacaso: 2nd-Home Transaction Drops, Remains Higher than Pre-Pandemic Levels

Pacaso, San Francisco, a platform that helps people buy and co-own a second home, released its Second Home Market Report, finding second home rate locks increased throughout the pandemic, peaking in summer 2020 and again this past spring, but falling 26.6% year over year this past summer.

The report said despite this recent cooling of the pandemic-fueled second home surge, overall market share of second homes is still up from pre-pandemic levels. From 2017 through 2019, second home transactions averaged a 3.8% quarterly market share of all rate locks. As of summer, that percentage was up from pre-pandemic levels, with second homes comprising a 4.3% market share.

Kauai, Hawaii saw the highest growth, with a median purchase price of $1.25 million, up 83.3% compared to a year ago. Wasatch County, Utah and Gunnison County, Colo., also saw sharp increases, up 53.9% and 53.2% respectively year over year. Of the top 50 second home destinations analyzed, 46 saw a year-over-year decline in transaction activity in the summer months.

DocMagic Launches eSign 3.0

DocMagic Inc., Torrance, Calif., launched its eSign 3.0 platform. Enhancements introduce new tools and features designed to enable lenders to facilitate remote online notarization for paperless eClosings.

Also among its new features is a secure eClose portal that enables notary and settlement service providers to access and update closing document packages. Signer functionality has also been improved.

DataVerify Integrates with Rocket Companies’ Nexsys Technologies

DataVerify, St. Louis, announced an integration with Rocket Companies’ Nexsys Technologies. DataVerify will directly connect with Nexsys Clear HOI, a tool from Nexsys Technologies that automates the verification of homeowners insurance for mortgage lenders.

The integration with DataVerify allows lenders to access information directly from a single data source. Clear HOI can be integrated into a lender’s loan origination system through an application programming interface or lenders can use Nexsys Technologies’ online portal.

Florida Agency Network Merges with International Title Partners

Florida Agency Network, Plant City, Fla., completed its merger with International Title Partners, a full-service title agency in Clearwater, Fla.

FAN is a strategic alliance of members and vendors assembled to provide a customized, streamlined closing experience. The merger brings the total number of FAN offices to more than 30, with nearly 300 employees located in Florida. The network is also the developer of multiple proprietary, settlement services technologies.

Kelly Kepler, previously ITP’s CEO, will stay on with ITP.

HUD Releases Agency Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan

HUD released its climate adaptation and resilience plan to ensure its facilities and operations adapt and are increasingly resilient to climate change impacts.

Through this approach, agencies developed adaptation and resilience plans, called “climate action plans,” to address their most significant climate risks and vulnerabilities. HUD’s plan seeks to drive innovation, increase resilience to climate change, and support the President’s commitment to implementing his Justice40 Initiative. The climate action plans were developed in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. 

As part of these efforts, agencies will embed adaptation and resilience planning and implementation throughout their programs and operations and will continually update their adaptation plans.

All plans are available at  

Fintech IntroLend Launches

IntroLend, Salt Lake City, Utah a broker-owned digital lending platform, launched recently. 

IntroLend is installed inside a real estate brokerage and allows agents to launch their client’s digital mortgage journey with just a few taps on their IntroLend agent mobile app. This sets in motion a rapid loan pre-approval and leads to competitive mortgage bids from a network of wholesale and retail lenders.

Fannie Mae: High Home Prices Continue to Weigh on Homebuying Sentiment

The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index decreased by 1.2 points to 74.5 in September, as survey respondents continued to report divergent opinions of homebuying and home-selling conditions.

Overall, three of the index’s six components decreased month over month. Most notably, an even greater share of consumers reported that it’s a bad time to buy a home – with that number now sitting at 66 percent, up from 63 percent last month and significantly higher than the 28% of respondents who believe it’s a good time to buy. The home-selling conditions component remained mostly flat, with a strong majority of consumers maintaining that it’s a good time to sell. Year over year, the full index is down 6.5 points.

“Consumers feel it’s a bad time to buy a home but a good time to sell – and they continue to cite high home prices as the primary reason,” said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan. “Across all consumer segments, renters and younger consumers were slightly more likely to indicate it’s a bad time to buy, perhaps a reflection of their generally lower incomes and their observation that the availability of affordable homes is lacking. We’re also seeing a softening in consumers’ expectations that home prices will continue to increase; however, in our view, other housing market fundamentals remain supportive of further home price appreciation – including low levels of inventory and low interest rates.” 

Black Knight: Forbearances See Largest Weekly Decline in a Year

Black Knight, Jacksonville, Fla., said its McDash Flash data reported a 177,000 drop in forbearance plans, the largest weekly decline in a year.

Declines were reported across all investor classes, led by an 84,000 plan drop among FHA/VA loans. Plans among GSE loans and those held in bank portfolios and private label securities also fell, seeing 50,000 (-11%) and 43,000 (-8%) declines, respectively.

As of October 5, 1.39 million mortgage holders remain in COVID-19 related forbearance plans, representing 2.6% of all active mortgages, including 1.4% of GSE, 4.3% of FHA/VA and 3.6% of portfolio held and privately securitized loans.

Mortgage Quality Control Powered by BaseCap Available on Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services 

Beginning November 1, BaseCap’s platform will be available on Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services. The integration drives collaboration without requiring employees to context switch, immediately notifying and resolving critical business issues in Microsoft Teams.

The moment a loan is identified for review, its entire dataset is subjected to a 100% automatic review: validating first whether all required documents are in hand, comparing against all captured document data attributes, performing guideline checks, and reviewing specific investor requirements – all summarized by an overall portfolio health score. The Platform also provides intelligent root cause analysis and remediation suggestions, while supporting a collaborative approach to resolve data issues at the source.