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
October 16, 2020
Recorded mortgages during the third quarter continued at an amazingly strong pace. Fannie Mae recently predicted that by the end of the year, 2020 will be the best year on record for mortgage originations. Our local market shows the same signs. (chart pages 9 & 10)
The average Monroe County loan volume also continues to climb. (chart page 13) No doubt this is a factor of both increased borrowing power of low interest rates and also the significant appreciation of home values creating more equity for refinancers and higher prices for home buyers.
The Monroe County purchase market is only slightly behind last year. (chart page 17) If the fourth quarter deed recordings only equal 2019’s fourth quarter, the market, in the middle of a pandemic, will only be off about 4% from last year. Any improvement during the last quarter will completely erase the effect of the market slowdown in April and May.
In case you’re wondering, there is a reason the Foreclosure and Sheriff’s Deed charts are omitted from this and the previous report. Due to State and Federal COVID-19 related moratoriums and the Monroe County courthouse closing, no new foreclosures were started between late March and late August. Since then only five new foreclosures show up until September 30th. The last Sheriff’s sale conducted was in February. So, there’s nothing really to report.
September allowed us the privilege to help 540 people buy, sell or refinance their properties. Our title team in September averaged 6.2 days to issue new Monroe County title commitments. Our closing team produced seller side closing statements two or more days prior to closing in 89.2% of their transactions.
Finally, we are delighted for Amy Thomas, one of our Real Estate Closers, who yesterday received the Affiliate of the Year Award from the Bloomington Board of Realtors®. Amy’s commitment to making every closing an outstanding experience for our clients is clear to us every day. We are grateful that the BBOR membership chose to recognize Amy for her consistently exceptional efforts.
~ John Bethell
September 21, 2020
The Monroe County purchase market not only continued its recovery from the pandemic induced lows of May and June. In fact, the market appears to be making up for lost time. This is evidenced by the fact that sales in August, as measured by recorded deeds, showed an 11% percent gain over August of 2019, widening the positive differential of the previous month. (graph page 7) Early returns thru September 10th (small sample size alert) show an even larger year over year improvement in excess of 40% – 83 deeds to 58 deeds.
Low interest rates continue to fuel refinancing. Most lenders are enjoying their largest origination volumes since 2013. With the Fed recently stating that it will keep interest rates at this level for several years, these volumes will continue into next year and hopefully beyond.
Our teams are adjusted to these higher volumes. In August, the Closing Team produced seller side closing statements two or more days prior to closing in 91% of our transactions. Even with limited access to the county offices, our title commitment turn time for Monroe County orders averaged 7.1 days. And we helped 603 people buy, sell or refinance their properties.
~ John Bethell