May 20, 2020
Included with this April’s mortgage numbers are two charts incorporating sales disclosure data for the first quarter of 2020. This data was unavailable to me until recently. These charts show that through the first three months of 2020, Monroe County transfers were about the same as in 2019.
A quick check of sales disclosure data from April 1st through May 15th tells a much different story. The effects of COVID-19 on purchase transactions is now evident. In April 2020, sales disclosures were down 20% from April 2019; 198 from 246. The first half of May shows an even more pronounced decline of 41%; 79 from 133. By May 1st, most of the transactions in process prior to the governor’s stay at home order were completed. Transactions closing now were started after the order was issued.
Nevertheless, the pace of new purchase contracts seems to be starting a recovery. Our own book of business since May 1st reflects that recovery but overall is still less than we’d expect at this time of year. Most of these new transactions are scheduled to close after June 1st.
Fortunately for all of us, the new refinance business is still robust, although less than the levels experienced four to six weeks ago.
Since mid-March, courthouse closures are preventing us from finishing only about 2% of the orders we’ve received. As courthouses start to reopen, we’ll be able to slowly address this situation. We appreciate your continued patience.
Our team is performing well and getting better every day with our COVID-19 protocols and processes. During April our closing team provided seller side closing statements 2 or more days prior to closing in 88% of our transactions while averaging 4.4 days prior to closing. Our title team continues to adjust to working from home. Each of the last few weeks they’ve improved and Monroe County commitments issued last week averaged a 4.5 day turnaround time. In April we helped 526 people buy, sell or refinance their homes. A remarkable number under the circumstances!
We are grateful for your support always, but especially so the last eight weeks.
Be Smart. Be Safe.
~ John Bethell