March 11, 2021
Is the refinance boom over? Yes, mortgage rates are higher than a few months ago. Yes, the trend line is heading the wrong direction. My experience over the last forty years includes eight or nine “rates will never be this low again” refinance markets. In each one I can recall that refinance volume continued strong for quite a while after rates hit the bottom of that cycle. Some people will always be late to the party.
I still believe that by the fourth quarter, refinance volume will start to return to pre-pandemic levels, which we thought were pretty strong back then. The refinance boom is not over, but we won’t be quite as busy in 2021.
In February, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce named John Bethell Title as one of the top 125 places to work in the State of Indiana. I am especially proud of our team and they are well deserving of this recognition. Each one of them contributes to making JBT a great place to work. And in turn that makes JBT a great place for each of our clients to work with.
Despite last month’s winter storm, we still managed help over 350 people to buy, sell or refinance their properties. Since the pandemic started, we helped over 6000 people. A number that twelve months ago I would have considered unattainable. I am grateful to all our clients for their patience and support during this time. Today, there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t wait to get there!
Enjoy the spring!
~ John Bethell
February 12, 2021
Mortgage activity continued strong through January. Especially refinancing. The purchase market, by seasonal standards, is also active despite the severe lack of inventory. It is still too early to predict how 2021 will turn out, but one thing we can count on is taxes.
The 2020 pay in 2021 real estate taxes will become official and available in a few weeks. Here’s a link to the State Budget Order for Monroe County. It details the levy for each taxing district in the county.
Monroe County Budget Order.
Once the taxes become official and available, we’ll begin using those amounts for all prorations unless otherwise instructed. When able, we will also pay those taxes at closing. Over the next few months, taxes will be prorated, paid and escrowed in a variety of ways. If you or your clients are unsure or confused about how taxes are being treated in a transaction, your Closer will be happy to assist you.
In January our team helped over 400 people to buy, sell or refinance their properties. An amazingly large number for January. We are grateful to all our clients for the opportunity to help so many people move onto new housing opportunities or improve their financial situation.
~ John Bethell
January 22, 2021
What a crazy year we experienced! New mortgage recordings hit a high not seen since 2004 and 2005 when new construction boomed and anyone that could fog a mirror qualified for a no down payment sub-prime mortgage. The effect of rising home prices is clearly evident by the steady increase in average loan amounts. (chart page 8) More evidence of such is the doubling of owner-occupied sales over $200,000 in the last six years. (chart page 19)
The purchase market as evidenced by deed recordings cratered in May after we all stayed at home in April only to rebound twice in the last seven months and finish with an annual total about the same as each of the previous four years. (see charts pages7 & 15) This supports my personal theory that until there is a change in the City of Bloomington’s restrictive work force housing development policies, the resulting low inventory will cap the purchase market at around 2600 sales per year. Even a moderate weakening of demand won’t change that much. Sellers may experience fewer multiple offer situations, but there’ll still be enough buyers to support this level of activity.
I am excited for 2021 and the promise it holds to be very good for mortgage originations. While the number of refinances may drop off over the course of the year, the consistently good purchase market will keep us all busy.
Thank you for all your support and kind words through the ups and downs of 2020. Our team is well prepared for 2021 and will continue to make your closing experience outstanding!
~ John Bethell
November 20, 2020
The challenges of 2020 make me more thankful than ever for the small, normal moments of our lives that in every other year pass without much notice. Sitting in my office, watching friends come in for closings, engaging them in conversation, hugs and handshakes. Just a minute or a few. Connecting. Email, phone calls and Zoom are ok but they are no substitute for face to face encounters. These are the moments that I look forward to returning, for now, I appreciate them much more than ever. And I will give them the importance they deserve when the time comes.
I am thankful for the support and encouragement of our clients. I am thankful for the efforts and success of the JBT team in adapting to completely new ways to produce and deliver our services. I am inspired by the optimism and ingenuity that I witnessed.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and everyone important in your life!
~ John Bethell