Monthly Mortgage Market Share Archives

October, 2019 Mortgage Market Share Report

November 22, 2019

The rapid drop in interest rates beginning in late spring is the biggest surprise from 2019. A year ago, most financial gurus were predicting mortgage rates would be pushing 5% about now. I don’t recall anyone predicting then the drop of rates that actually occurred. The lesson is that we might want to remember that I once heard is that economists were created so that astrologers would look good!

The refinancing that resulted from lower rates is at the highest level since 2013. That actually made up for the approximately five percent drop so far in Monroe County purchases from 2018. There doesn’t seem to be anything on the near-term horizon that will cause rates to increase significantly.

A realistic planning approach to 2020 might be that the Monroe County purchase market will be in the same range as it’s been the last four years and that refinances will be somewhere between this year and 2018.

Of course, 2020 is an election year . . .

In October we helped 551 people buy, sell or refinance their property. Our Closing Team provided seller side closing statements an average of 4.15 days before closing and two or more days prior to closing in 92% of our transactions. Our title team averaged 5.4 days to issue a title insurance commitment on Monroe County orders.

Have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!

~ John Bethell

September 2019 – Mortgage Market Share Report

October 24, 2019

Lenders in Monroe County may be as busy now as they’ve been since 2013. Whether looking at the broader market (chart page 7) or a slightly narrower slice of mortgages securing loans in the conforming dollar range (charts pages 9 & 10), the increased volume is clearly shown. The third quarter mortgage recordings in the $50K to $500K range were up almost 30% from 2018. This is a substantial improvement from the first half of this year which showed a five percent decline from last year.

Also quite clear is that this increased volume is not a result of new purchase mortgages but refinances. The sale market as shown by either recorded deeds or sales disclosures (charts pages 13, 14, & 15) is flat to slightly off. Recorded deeds through nine months of this year at 1965 are down about six percent from last year when 2065 deeds were recorded.

There are two important changes to our team this month. First, Wendy Kitchel, our Title Counsel is relocating with her husband to Florida. She secured a position with a title company there already. We will miss Wendy. She contributed significantly to our success in her four years as a team member.

Secondly, I am delighted that Dan Stewart is rejoining our team. Dan returns still brandishing a wealth of historical knowledge about the title business in Monroe County. Dan will assume those portions of Wendy’s former role that are best handled by an attorney.

In September we helped 535 people buy, sell or refinance their homes. Our team is grateful for the opportunity to help that many people with such an important event in their lives. Our title team’s average turn-around time for new Monroe County orders improved to 5.3 days. Our closing team produced seller side closing statements two or more days prior to closing for 89% of our transactions and averaged 5.24 days prior to closing.

~ John Bethell

August 2019 Mortgage Market Share Report

September 26, 2019

Summer is {{technically}} over. Fall is beginning. And paying the November 10th installment of property taxes is right around the corner. Below is a recap I wrote a few years ago about how closings are prepared at this time of year.

As we approach the due date, lenders require that the November 10th installment of real estate taxes be paid at closing. If the seller is currently escrowing taxes and the closing takes place shortly before the 10th, we are not always able to confirm payment. This usually occurs because the lender’s payment from escrow is in transit and unable to be verified with the Monroe County treasurer. In these situations, we will hold in escrow from the seller an amount equal to the tax payment plus ten percent. Post-closing, if we confirm that the payment was made on time, we’ll refund the escrow to the seller. If the payment was not made, we’ll pay the taxes due plus the penalty from the escrow.
While the process is less convoluted than in the spring, there is still a bit of uncertainty that we want our clients to understand.

In August, we helped 469 people buy, sell or refinance their homes. That makes over 3000 people we’ve helped so far in 2019. Our closing team completed seller side closing statements two or more days prior to closing for 92% of our transactions and averaged 4.1 days prior to closing. Our title team produced new title commitments on Monroe County properties in five or fewer days for 61% of our transactions and averaged 5.8 days.

Thank you for the continued opportunity to help you and your clients. Enjoy the fall season!

~ John Bethell

July 2019 Mortgage Market Share Report

August 9, 2019

Refinance orders continue to be a rising percentage of our own book of business. And with interest rates seemingly more likely to fall than rise in the short term, I won’t be surprised if this trend continues. Now is certainly a time to be paying attention to rates so that you will provide your clients with the best advice. It’s also an opportunity to do a few more loans this time of year than in recent past years.

Sales transactions were identical in July and June at 272 each month. Through the end of July the sale market is off about four percent at 1523 transaction this year compared to 1587 transactions the first seven months of 2018. I will be watching that difference the next few months to see if the market regains some of its positive momentum.

I’m proud of our team. In July we helped 487 people buy, sell or refinance their homes. For the year we’ve helped 2884 people with their transactions. Our Closing Team provided seller side closing statements an average of 3.5 days prior to closing. Even with an increasing number of last minute closings, they still provide the seller side statement two or more days prior to closing in 84% of our transactions. Our Title Team issued commitments within five days for 90% of our transactions and averaged a four day turnaround time.

Enjoy the remaining summer!

~ John Bethell

June 2019 Mortgage Report

July 26, 2019

The number of recorded sale transactions in the 2nd quarter ended down considerably from a year ago (see graph page 13). The quarterly decline started modestly and accelerated in the month of June. In the first quarter, this year’s recording numbers showed a five percent increase over 2018. In April that positive margin started narrowing and by the end of the second quarter the deed recordings were down over five percent for the year. Perhaps the inventory issue is becoming worse. Or perhaps, the monsoons of May and June tempered demand. I will be watching this trend in the coming months.

An examination of sales disclosure data from the Department of Local Government Finance shows a continuing trend of property valuation increases (charts pages 14 & 15). Sales priced below $200,000 are declining while sales above that price are increasing for primary residences. Sales of non-primary residential properties are mostly unchanged. The numbers of mortgages securing loans in these price ranges also show the same increase at the higher end (see charts pages 9 & 10).

It was a busy month for us in June, as we expected. We helped 557 people buy, sell or refinance their properties. That brings our year to date total over 2300. In June, our closing team provided seller side closing statements two or more days prior to closing in 91% of transactions. We averaged 4.28 days prior to closing for all of our transactions. Our title team issued title commitments an average of 4.58 days after receipt of the order and produced over 80% of our commitments in fewer than five days.

Enjoy the second half of summer!

~ John Bethell