April 12, 2018
The purchase market is starting later in 2018 than last year. Our first quarter measures of recorded deeds and primary residence sales disclosures show year over year seven percent declines. Non-primary residence sales disclosures indicate a 17% decline. (charts pages 13-15). Most of this decline occurred in March when deed recordings fell from 214 in March 2017 compared to 166 last month ? a 22% decline! Mortgage originations are also lagging year ago numbers. Refinances as a percentage of our new title orders are at the lowest rate that I can remember. Now that spring is finally making brief and occasional appearances, hopefully the market will accelerate.
The 2017 pay in 2018 real estate taxes are certified as of April 3rd. We are paying these taxes at closing and using the amounts as the basis for pro-rations ? unless, of course, the Purchase Agreement provides otherwise.
Our relocation to 2626 South Walnut Street (The former AT&T Store behind Chase Bank, CVS & The Grease Monkey) will occur between May 1st and May 5th. We will conduct closings at our current location through May 4th. Closings scheduled or anticipated for May 7th or later, will occur in our new location.
It?s easy to remember. Cinco de Mayo is Saturday, May 5th. Closings before Cinco de Mayo will take place in our downtown location. Closings after Cinco de Mayo will take place in our new digs.
Monday morning May 7th is the only time that we anticipate less than full capacity to conduct closings. Both our main and direct dial phone numbers and all of our email addresses will remain the same.
Most importantly our WIRE TRANSFER instructions and procedures WILL NOT CHANGE. Any communication to the contrary that might be received is totally bogus! Please alert your clients.
In March we helped 336 people buy, sell or refinance their property. Our closing team produced seller side closing statements two or more days prior to closing in 96.6% of our transactions. We produced Monroe County title commitments in an average of 5.46 days. Our title team recently adjusted its back-end process and we?re confident that as a result our production time will decrease in the coming weeks.
~ John Bethell
February 14, 2018
Despite the continuing acute home inventory shortage, the Monroe County 2018 purchase market is off to a good start. Through February 12th, our property records data base shows 189 recorded transactions so far this year. This compares favorably to the same period in 2017 when there were 183 transactions. The numbers of new contracts upon which we?ve received title orders show a similar comparison. Although it?s too early in the year to be one hundred percent confident about the market, indications are pointing to another great year!
The State of Indiana Department of Local Government Finance approved Monroe County?s 2017 pay in 2018 real estate tax budget on February 9th. Next, the county must publish the rates three times and make the new tax amounts available to us. Then they will be official and can be used for tax pro-rations. Most likely this will occur in the next four to six weeks. If you?re interested in the new tax rates, here?s a link: http://www.in.gov/dlgf/files/Monroe%20County%202018%20Certified%20Budget%20Order.pdf
Effective with all closings in our office on or after March 19th, 2018 we will be applying a twenty-five dollar increase to our search, examination and clearance fee for owner?s and refinance loan policies. We are preparing new rate sheets for dissemination to our clients that will be forwarded within the next week or so.
Our important team metrics continued to be good in January. And the seasonal slowdown allowed us to make real headway on a few important projects, as well. Our closing team produced seller side closings statements in two or more days prior to closing in 100% of our transactions. Our average title commitment production time for Monroe County orders was 3.7 days. And we helped 206 people buy, sell or refinance their properties.
~ John Bethell
I always look forward to completing the year end Mortgage Market Share Report. It affords me the opportunity to do some apples to apples comparisons on the market and our business.
The 2017 Monroe County purchase market was virtually identical to 2016. The overall market continued to move along at a ten year high. (deed chart page 7) Digging deeper though, I found that sales of property that would be the buyer?s primary residence actually fell by over five percent. (chart page 15) I suspect that this decline is a result of the continued historically low inventory of homes on the market.
Other sales, which would be primarily investment, commercial and vacant land, increased almost 11% Last year was this segment?s best performance since sales disclosure data became available. (chart page 16). When I examined the specific data, it appeared to me there were more lot transactions than in previous years. Also, the inventory problem may not be as pronounced in the investment property sector.
Mortgage originations in the $50K to $500K category followed the residential side of the market, declining at a seven percent clip. (mortgage chart page 7) Loans in the conforming amount category showed a similar decline. (Charts pages 10 & 11)
All in all, 2017 was a great year, and I expect that to continue in 2018. While the inventory shortage is no doubt frustrating to people, I think this continued supply and demand imbalance affords our market a measure of protection against higher interest rates and the effect of tax law changes.
Our team?s performance improved in December as our business volume approached seasonal lows. Our closing team provided closing statements two or more days prior to closing in 94% of our closings. Our title team?s average turn time on Monroe County orders was 2.72 days. And we helped nearly 300 people buy, sell or refinance their properties.
Happy New Year!
~ John Bethell
December 27, 2017
I?m excited to announce that next spring John Bethell Title will be relocating to 2626 South Walnut Street. (That?s behind Chase Bank where Cellular One and the AT&T Store used to be.) You may recently have noticed that our current downtown location is going to be redeveloped. We?ve known this for a while and I spent much of this year locating and securing a new location for the JBT World Headquarters. J
While much work needs to be done, the location offers us plenty of space for more closing rooms, ample parking and pizza next door! How cool is that?!?!
Look for occasional updates throughout the winter and early spring.
Nearly 5000 people allowed us to help them buy, sell or refinance their homes in 2017. We couldn?t be more grateful for the opportunity to participate in their important moment. Thank you to all for helping make 2017 such a rewarding year for us. We expect 2018 to be just as awesome!
~ John Bethell
I?m happy to announce that Sarah Doering, one of our awesome real estate closers, recently accepted a promotion to Closing Team Manager. Sarah joined our team about two years ago with significant supervisory experience in banking and financial services. She quickly learned to provide an outstanding experience to our clients. This past summer Sarah directed most of the Closing Team?s processes contributing to one of the best summers that we?ve ever enjoyed. In addition to her current responsibilities, Sarah will directly manage the Closing Team. Sarah will also join our Leadership Team and represent the Closing Team as we pursue strategic and operational opportunities.
Our team continued to shine in October. Our closing team set a new bar excellence by providing seller side closing statement two more days before closing for every single transaction that we closed! Just incredibly outstanding! We helped 447 people buy, sell or refinance their properties. Our title team just missed out on pie by posting an average turn-around time for new Monroe County title work of 3.17 days with 86% turned around in four or fewer days.
~ John Bethell