Hidden and not so hidden trends, conclusions and questions from the 2011 full year mortgage and deed recording data:
- Lenders with a local presence and local employees continue to dominate our market. Take that dot com lender! Page 4.
- Indiana University Credit Union and German American were the most active residential and business lenders, respectively. Page 3.
- Record low mortgage interest rates resulted in the smallest number of recorded mortgages between $50 and $500 in the last seven years (and probably since the mid-1990?s). Something else must be holding back the market, Mr. & Ms. Regulator. Chart Page 14.
- The number of recorded deeds representing a transaction was almost identical to 2010. Does this indicate a market bottom? Chart Page 14.
- Possibly. But the number of sales disclosures marked as the Buyer?s Primary Residence was down considerably. Again despite record low mortgage interest rates. Chart Page 16.
- Sales NOT marked as the Buyer?s Primary Residence increased last year. Indicative of more investor activity? Chart Page 17.
- Foreclosures continue to decline. Good for our community and for housing price stability. Charts Pages 18 and 19.
And on the national front it seems to me that positive stories about real estate are out numbering the negative stories by as wide a margin as I can remember in the last five years. Let?s hope these are self fulfilling prophecies!
Have a great and successful 2012!
?All objects lose by too familiar a view.?
~ John Dryden
Sometimes you?re so close to something that you forget that not everything is obvious. Recently I was asked some questions about the data in our report, what it means and where it comes from. So I thought that I?d start the New Year with an explanation.
The Mortgage Market Share Report has been published monthly by John Bethell Title Company, Inc. and its predecessor All American Title, Inc. since 1996. The report is a summary of the total mortgages recorded in Monroe County for the month and for the year to date. Both the number of mortgages and the aggregate stated original loan amounts are tracked by lender.
At the end of each quarter the report also includes data presented to give a more complete understanding of the real estate market in Monroe County. Historical trends, total sale transactions, the breakdown of primary residential sales by price, new foreclosures started and recorded Sheriff?s deeds are included.
The data comes from our proprietary in-house property records data base. This data base is an index to every real estate related document recorded in the Monroe County Recorder?s office and the Clerk of Courts? office. The data base is updated daily as documents are placed of record in the county offices. The primary use of the data base is to enhance the speed and accuracy of the title work that we perform for our clients. The statistical information is a useful by-product. The sale data is supplemented by Indiana Sales Disclosure information maintained by the State Department of Local Government Finance.
One of my resolutions for 2012 is to improve the timeliness of the report by a week to ten days. Wish me luck!
“Mommy! Make Them Stop!”
Many things to be keeping an eye on these days . . .
The new Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) is testing forms. We?ve seen a number of versions of a combined Good Faith Estimate and Truth in Lending disclosure. In November, we saw a combined Settlement Statement (f/k/a HUD-1) and Truth in Lending disclosure. In the name of simplification this new form if adopted will have morphed into six pages. Six pages are simpler than two. Seriously? What?s most disturbing is that the CFPB is promulgating the forms before they?ve promulgated the rules that the forms are supposed to implement. And they?re hoping for a July 1 2012 effective date. Oh joy.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is developing a statistical reporting system for title agents. The NAIC hopes that by gathering specifics about the transactions title agents insure, they can develop a better understanding of the title industry and how best to regulate it. It?s unclear at this stage what increased administrative burden will be created by this initiative.
Beginning January 1, 2012, the RREAL Licensing Data base that closing agents report to will be expanded to include all residential transactions. Not just transactions involving a first mortgage. Based upon our own book of business this requirement will result in our having to report about twenty five percent more transactions.
On a more positive note, Fannie and Freddie have revised their standards for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). Estimates are that between one and two million additional borrowers may qualify under this revamped program. I?m hoping that it?s all of that and more. The new standards ease appraisal rules for borrowers with negative loan to value ratios. This change makes it easier for responsible homeowners to qualify for a refinance as long as they are current with the payments on their existing loan. In my opinion, this reform is a long overdue.
Our company goal at the beginning of this year was just to try and get better at what we do and minimize change. As the year progressed we were able to take advantage of several unexpected opportunities to grow significantly and improve our company. We couldn?t have done this without our client?s support and encouragement. For this we are truly thankful. Have a great holiday season. You deserve it!
?Silent gratitude isn?t much use to anyone.?
~ Gladys Brown
Instead of using this space for ranting again about misguided efforts to regulate and stimulate the housing market, I want to say ?Thanks!?
September has been a terrific month for us at John Bethell Title Company, Inc. Record low mortgage interest rates (yet again) are producing robust order counts for the third straight month. This portends a successful fourth quarter for us and for all of you. Being busy is always the preferable alternative!
Our closing team grew in September with the addition of ten year finance industry veteran Liz Bunton as a transaction processor and the return of real estate closer Laura McKinney from maternity leave. We are now fully staffed and well prepared to handle the challenges of the latest refinance mania.
Two weeks ago we announced our acquisition of Best Title Company, LLC and the addition of Dan Stewart and Julie Vonderschmidt to our team. Dan will be our Senior Vice-President and Title Counsel. He will supervise the title department and join me and Kara Oltman on our leadership team. Julie will lend her well rounded experience to our client services team. Dan and Julie will be in our office starting Monday October 3rd.
On September 22nd we were honored to be named Business of Year (small business category) by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. We always conduct our business in a manner that meets the needs of our clients with the highest degree of professionalism. This recognition by our peers in the Bloomington business community confirms to me that we not only meet that goal, but that our efforts are both noticed and appreciated.
The last three years has been one of the most challenging periods in the history of the real estate and mortgage finance business. Thank you to all of our clients, associates, business partners and friends for helping us not only survive these difficult times, but to prosper and grow. We are committed to meeting your changing needs and to providing you with the extraordinary title and closing service that you deserve.