Monthly Mortgage Market Share Archives

March 2017 Mortgage Market Report

No doubt that the inventory of homes for sale is extremely tight. Most Realtors® that I talk with are scrambling trying to get offers in on properties as soon as they hit the market. It’s probable that some sellers are holding back knowing that their house will likely sell immediately and they’ll have to relocate quickly. Regardless though, during the first quarter the overall purchase market (as measured by recorded deeds) was up 7 ½ % when compared to the first quarter of 2016. (chart page 13)

Where that increase in coming from is interesting. The state sales disclosure data base shows that the number of properties designated to be the buyer’s primary residence was the same this past quarter as the first quarter in 2016. (chart page 14) Properties not designated as the buyer’s primary residence however showed an increase of 35%. (chart page 15) So the overall market increase is coming from investment, commercial and vacant land transactions.

On a sour note, new foreclosures spiked to high level. (chart page 16) The reason for that is not clear. Nevertheless, it’s a trend to follow.

Were you ever wondering about which of our team members to contact about your transaction? No worries. We maintain a companywide email box. Everyone here has access to that inbox and it’s checked regularly throughout the day. When in doubt just send your email to:

customerservice@johnbtitle.com

March was a great month for our team. The average turn time for new Monroe County commitments was 3.73 days with 80% issued in four days or fewer. Our closing team issued sellers side closing statements two or more days prior to closing 96% of the time. We helped 368 people buy, sell or refinance their property.

~ John Bethell

February 2017 Mortgage Market Share Report – REVISED

March 10, 2017

*Please Note this is a Revised version with updated and correct data on report

I am pleased to announce that we’ve become a policy issuing agency for the Chicago Title Insurance Company. Chicago Title is a nationally recognized brand in the title insurance industry. Together with First American Title Insurance Company, we now represent the top two underwriting companies. The flexibility of title underwriters, like other types of insurance companies, tends to reflect their current claims experience. The addition of a second underwriter will give us more choices when trying to solve title issues for our clients.

We’re making an upward adjustment to our closing and administration fees for all transactions closing on or after April 15, 2107. The cost of data security and health care for our team members continue to be driving our expense structure. Another communication addressing the changes more specifically will be sent to you within the next few days. If you have any questions, please let me or Kara Oltman know.

During February our team helped 238 people buy, sell or refinance their properties. We delivered seller side closing statements two or more days prior to closing over 95% of the time. Our turnaround time for new Monroe County title orders averaged 3.01 days. It’s a special accomplishment for our title team because we treat them to pie whenever their monthly turnaround time is better than 3.14 days!

Have a great March!

~ John Bethell

February Mortgage Market Report

March 6, 2017

I am pleased to announce that we’ve become a policy issuing agency for the Chicago Title Insurance Company. Chicago Title is a nationally recognized brand in the title insurance industry. Together with First American Title Insurance Company, we now represent the top two underwriting companies. The flexibility of title underwriters, like other types of insurance companies, tends to reflect their current claims experience. The addition of a second underwriter will give us more choices when trying to solve title issues for our clients.

We’re making an upward adjustment to our closing and administration fees for all transactions closing on or after April 15, 2107. The cost of data security and health care for our team members continue to be driving our expense structure. Another communication addressing the changes more specifically will be sent to you within the next few days. If you have any questions, please let me or Kara Oltman know.

During February our team helped 238 people buy, sell or refinance their properties. We delivered seller side closing statements two or more days prior to closing over 95% of the time. Our turnaround time for new Monroe County title orders averaged 3.01 days. It’s a special accomplishment for our title team because we treat them to pie whenever their monthly turnaround time is better than 3.14 days!

Have a great March!

~ John Bethell

January 2017 Mortgage Market Share Report

2016 Year End Report Highlights

The Monroe County purchase market continued its post-recession improvement in 2016 showing a year over year gain of 13.5%. (deeds on page 13) Transactions reflecting both owner occupied and non-owner occupied sales also reached post-recession highs. (pages 15 and 17) I’m confident that we’re now experiencing a normal market.

In the years immediately following the great recession, the market was suppressed by high unemployment and restrictive lending practices. Federal home buyer tax credits helped some, but the market remained quite weak. Now that we appear back to normal, a reasonable question is just how much pent up demand is there, and what effect that will have on our local market?

The graph on page 19 is my attempt to answer the first part of that question. First, I’m assuming that 2600 transactions is a normal market. Unemployment is not a concern and interest rates are low. That motivates buyers. Ten to twelve years ago, due to the sub-prime phenomenon and strong homebuilding, there were over 3100 transactions a year. The red parts of the bars represent the actual number of deeds recorded for each year. The green parts of the bars are the number of transactions that did not happen.

If you agree that 2600 is a good number without the sub-prime juice, you’ll see that for eight years in a row, the market fell short. So the total of all the green bars represents pent up demand. If you add those numbers to the number in a normal market, you’ll see evidence as to why there are so many more buyers than sellers right now. As a result, even with higher interest rates, the 2017 market will remain strong. On page 20, you’ll see the decline in single family building permits – which also contributes to a buyer’s perceived shortage of homes for sale.

The admittedly unscientific chart on page 23 shows a correlation that I’ve nevertheless always believed. Namely, gas prices affect people’s confidence. And confident people buy homes

December was a terrific month for our team. We helped 465 people buy, sell or refinance their property. We delivered seller side closing statements 2 or more days prior to closing in 92.9% of our transactions. And we averaged a commitment delivery time of 4.0 days.

~ John Bethell

December 2016 Mortgage Market Share Report

December 21, 2016

As we approach the New Year I thought it would be worthwhile to revisit the pitfalls surrounding real estate tax pro-rations.

The commonly used Purchase Agreement provides that taxes will be prorated on the last certified tax amount. As a closing agent, we are bound to complete the transaction on those terms. This does not always result in a fair pro-ration between the parties and can have an adverse effect on tax escrow calculations.

The amount of the 2016 pay in 2017 taxes will not be known until mid-March when those taxes are certified. Tax pro-rations for closings that take place between January 1, 2017 and mid-March will be based upon the 2015 pay in 2016 taxes. It is possible that those taxes will not correctly reflect significant increases in the assessed valuation or the status of homestead and other exemptions.

Transactions especially prone to these circumstances include new construction, sales from an estate, sales of bank owned property and sales where the sellers have relocated and no longer live in the property. After the purchase agreement is accepted, it is difficult to address these problems.

These risks are best addressed when the parties first enter into the Purchase Agreement. Current information can be requested from the Auditor for exemptions or the Assessor for valuations so that the offer accurately reflects the situation. Compounding the problem is the fact that the Property Record Card and the County’s GIS system inconsistently reflect changes to exemptions and valuations. And, the County has no protocol for recording the date that changes are made to the records.


During November, our closing team completed seller-side closing statements two or more day prior to settlement in 86% of our transactions. And during November our title team averaged 3.75 days to produce a title commitment.


Finally, thanks to all our clients for continuing to trust us to help you with your transactions during 2016! We had a spectacular year and are looking forward to more of the same in 2017. Best wishes to all for a terrific holiday season and New Year!

~ John Bethell

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