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July New Home Purchase Apps Increased 31.2%

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Builder Application Survey (BAS) data for July 2019 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 31.2 percent compared from a year ago. Compared to June 2019, applications increased by 11 percent. This change does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns.


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“July’s strong new home sales increase on a monthly and annual basis was driven by the ongoing decline in mortgage rates, combined with steady housing demand and a still-healthy job market,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “The average loan size decreased last month, likely influenced by the increase in the first-time homebuyer share, as these buyers are likely to choose lower-priced, entry-level homes.”


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Added Kan, “MBA estimates that the pace of new home sales in July increased over 16 percent.”


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MBA estimates new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 754,000 units in July 2019, based on data from the BAS. The new home sales estimate is derived using mortgage application information from the BAS, as well as assumptions regarding market coverage and other factors.


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The seasonally adjusted estimate for July is an increase of 16.7 percent from the June pace of 646,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, MBA estimates that there were 63,000 new home sales in July 2019, an increase of 8.6 percent from 58,000 new home sales in June.

By product type, conventional loans composed 69.1 percent of loan applications, FHA loans composed 18.1 percent, RHS/USDA loans composed 1.0 percent and VA loans composed 11.7 percent. The average loan size of new homes decreased from $329,593 in June to $325,457 in July.

OpenClose Adds VP Of Innovation

Allen Pollack, a seasoned industry veteran, has joined OpenClose in the newly created position of vice president of product innovation. Allen will assist OpenClose in continuing to expand the level of innovation invested in its customers and the industry to deliver business-altering products and processes, which align to the ever-changing digital lending landscape. 


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“JP and I are delighted that Allen has joined the OpenClose team,” said Jason Regalbuto, CEO and CTO at OpenClose. “We have competed and collaborated with Allen over the years. He has developed a reputation for innovative business and technology strategies in the fintech space. We are excited about working with him to grow and expand our product offerings and solutions into the future.”


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Allen has more than 15 years of industry experience developing and leading strategic initiatives and comes to OpenClose from Fiserv where he was responsible for multiple fintech initiatives focused on delivering omni-channel capability and personalized lending experiences, ranging from conversational AI to digital mortgage lending capabilities across online and mobile banking channels.


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Allen was a co-founder of NYLX, serving as chief technology officer where he introduced new technology models that disrupted the mortgage lending space. He later continued as chief technology officer of LoanLogics, a new RegTech company created by NYLX that continued to introduce new technology and disrupt the old way of doing business further creating solutions to support loan quality, due diligence, and multi-channel loan delivery models.  


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“OpenClose has been a long-time innovator in our space, making multiple contributions to help grow the mortgage industry and continually developing products that empower lenders to help borrowers achieve the American dream,” stated Pollack. “The company is well-positioned and strategically aligned to establish itself as one of the industry’s leading disruptors that significantly advances the lending process. I am excited to play a key role in the focus that speaks customer experience and the commitment to innovation supporting lending and the industry’s ongoing transformation.”

OpenClose recently rolled out the its digital mortgage point-of-sale (POS) solution, ConsumerAssist Digital POS, which offers an integrated solution that marries its end-to-end multi-channel LOS, product and pricing engine (PPE), and state-of-the-art POS technology. The single-source solution dramatically reduces the cost to manufacture loans, heightens the borrower experience, and simplifies managing the entire lending process.

Mortgage Applications Increase In Latest MBA Weekly Survey

Mortgage applications increased 5.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 2, 2019.


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The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 5.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 5 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 12 percent from the previous week and was 116 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent compared with the previous week and was 7 percent higher than the same week one year ago.


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“The Federal Reserve cut rates as expected last week, but the bigger influence on the financial markets was the beginning of a trade war with China. The result was a sharp drop in mortgage rates, which will likely draw many refinance borrowers into the market in the coming weeks,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “The 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to its lowest level since November 2016, and the drop resulted in an almost 12 percent increase in refinance application volume, bringing the index to a reading over 2,000 – its highest over the same time period. We fully expect that refinance volume will jump even higher this week given the further drop in rates.”


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Added Fratantoni, “Lower mortgage rates did not pull more homebuyers into the market, as purchase volume slipped a bit last week, but still remains around 7 percent ahead of last year’s pace.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 53.9 percent of total applications from 50.5 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity remained unchanged at 4.7 percent of total applications.


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The FHA share of total applications decreased to 11.0 percent from 11.3 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 12.8 percent from 12.6 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.6 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) decreased to 4.01 percent from 4.08 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.34 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) decreased to 3.96 percent from 4.04 percent, with points increasing to 0.26 from 0.22 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 3.86 percent from 3.94 percent, with points increasing to 0.38 from 0.29 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.37 percent from 3.48 percent, with points increasing to 0.37 from 0.26 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 3.36 percent from 3.52 percent, with points increasing to 0.36 from 0.31 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

Optimal Blue Launches New Competitive Analytics Solution

Optimal Blue has released their Competitive Analytics solution. With mortgage rates at all-time lows, lenders are experiencing a surge in production, requiring access to real-time business intelligence to understand how well they are performing. Updated with new data daily, this game changing innovation positions Optimal Blue clients ahead of their peers by enabling them to gauge performance through sophisticated visualizations that illustrate market position, compare margins and profitability, and assess the effectiveness of current pricing strategies.


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Competitive Analytics provides three types of sophisticated industry benchmarking capabilities, including:

VOLUME BENCHMARKING

Advanced volume benchmarking allows the user to compare their loan production to the overall market and chart volume trends across specific time periods – by week, month, quarter, or year. In addition, volume benchmarking provides a production percentile market rank by business channel, institution type, state, MSA, loan type, and other parameters, as well as the ability to compare the percentage of their locks that observed change requests or lock extensions to the overall market.


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LENDING PROFILE BENCHMARKING

Lending profile benchmarkingenables clients to compare characteristics of their loan production by charting loan level parameters such as FICO, LTV, loan amount, property type, occupancy, loan type, and loan purpose against the overall market.


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PRICING STRATEGIES BENCHMARKING

Pricing strategies benchmarking provides a market comparison for a variety of secondary marketing metrics that impact profitability. Through this powerful capability, clients can compare margins, concessions, price, and note rate to the market, and filter by business channel, institution type, state, MSA, and more.


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Competitive Analytics joins Optimal Blue’s already established suite of business intelligence offerings including theOptimal Blue Mortgage Market Indices(OBMMI) published earlier this year, as well as the unrivaled Enterprise Analytics solution which provides Optimal Blue clients with compelling visualizations that illustrate highly granular data on their own operation. “The Optimal Blue Marketplace Platform has supported the daily activity of mortgage buyers and sellers for close to two decades,” explained Scott Happ, CEO of Optimal Blue. “This has generated an incredible amount of transactional data that uniquely positions Optimal 

MISMO Approves New Remote Online Notarization Standards

MISMO, the mortgage industry’s standards organization, today announced the release of its Remote Online Notarization (RON) standards, which include an update to the draft standards issued earlier this year. The RON standards allow the use of audio-visual communication devices to notarize documents in a virtual online environment. MISMO’s RON standards were updated to include language to preclude the storage of personally identifiable information.


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With this revision, the RON standards are being released for a public comment period beginning today and ending on August 12th, 2019.  If no substantive comments are received during this comment period, the standards will be moved to Candidate Recommendation status. Candidate Recommendation status means the RON standards have been thoroughly reviewed by a wide range of organizations and industry participants, and are ready for broad use across the entire residential mortgage industry. 


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“With states across the country enacting remote online notarization laws, MISMO’s standards will support greater consistency as the volume of remote online notarial transactions increases,” said Eddie Oddo, Vice President of Corporate Business Solutions at First American Title Insurance Company, and co-chair of MISMO’s Remote Online Notarization Workgroup. “We’re excited about this next stage in the standards process and look forward to seeing lenders, title companies, software vendors, and notaries leverage RON standards to offer borrowers a more secure and efficient closing process.”


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MISMO’s RON standards were created to promote consistency across mortgage industry practices and state regulations.  In the interest of furthering adoption of RON and to encourage consistency in related state regulation, MISMO will make its standards available for free to the public and will not require a license fee to use them. The standards include credential analysis, borrower identification, capturing and maintaining a recording of the notary process electronically, audio and video requirements, record storage, and audit trails.


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MISMO’s RON standards support model legislation that was developed by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and the American Land Title Association (ALTA), which multiple U.S. states are now using to enact RON laws in their jurisdictions. Furthermore, some states that enacted RON legislation have already utilized draft versions of the MISMO RON standards to implement their state law.

Insellerate Adds AI Expert To Its Board Of Advisors

Insellerate, a mortgage CRM provider, has added Neil Sahota, IBM Master Inventor, United Nations Artificial Intelligence (AI) subject matter expert and noted author to its board of advisors to enhance its AI technology and strategy.


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The integration of AI into the Insellerate platform is helping lenders manage their lead generation, prospecting, engagement, conversion, and the lifetime customer value they provide to their borrowers. Insellerate’s platform reduces the daily inefficiencies that take loan officers away from serving their clients and closing loans and helps lenders consistently connect and engage their borrowers. By optimizing critical workflows, lenders are able to perform their jobs more efficiently and borrowers receive personalized communications for their individual situations. 


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“This technology could save hundreds of mortgage lenders from going out of business due to inefficient workflows and unprofitable, outdated marketing practices that result in high opportunity costs,” said Josh Friend, CEO and Founder of Insellerate. “Leveraging technology isn’t about eliminating loan officers. It’s about supporting them with bias-free, data driven suggestions that can optimize each unique borrower journey, extend customer lifetime value and help lenders operate at their most efficient.” 


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“I’m happy to join Insellerate as a member of their board of advisors and look forward to helping them develop successful strategies that merge their cutting edge technology with the real time business needs of today’s mortgage lenders,” said Mr. Sahota. “Having specific and deep business expertise, knowing where the problems are and where the real opportunities exist is critical to successfully leveraging AI for stronger commercial gains and better customer experiences. And that’s precisely what Insellerate delivers.”   


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“We’re thrilled to have Mr. Sahota advising us on AI technology and strategy,” said Mr. Friend. “It’s our goal to make sure that lenders stay in business in an aggressively changing world. As mortgage professionals we’ve experienced the antiquated technology that prevents lenders from reaching their full potential when it comes to closing loans and managing businesses. AI technology is the next big thing that will impact lenders and that’s why we’re so fortunate to have an expert like Neil joining us on our mission to help bring mortgage lenders into the future — so they’re still in business 5, 10, 20 years from now.” 

Insellerate’s CRM and Engagement Platform are standalone solutions that leverage technology to optimize intelligent engagement that uniquely serves each and every individual borrower throughout the entire borrower journey.

NAMB Marketplace Adds Ability To Directly Connect Brokers With Wholesale Lenders

Lender Price, a provider of digital mortgage technology solutions, and the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) announced today the release of “Send to Lender,” a new feature added to the NAMB Marketplace digital origination tool that provides direct communication between mortgage brokers and wholesale lenders. 


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NAMB Marketplace is an online tool developed by Lender Price that is offered to NAMB members free of charge. It features a pricing engine that allows mortgage brokers to search for loan products and compare pricing between multiple wholesale lenders that participate in the NAMB Marketplace. It also includes the ability to instantly send a digital loan application to borrowers directly from the pricing results, providing mortgage brokers with an advanced point of sale tool that was originally designed for large banks and mortgage lenders.


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The new “Send to Lender” feature adds the option for brokers to send a loan scenario to a lender directly from the pricing results. Mortgage lenders instantly receive a notification that includes the loan scenario, the selected product and price and the broker’s contact information.
“Our goal is to connect mortgage brokers with borrowers and wholesale lenders in an interactive way,” said Dawar Alimi, founder and CEO of Lender Price. “With ‘Send to Lender’ we allow brokers to engage with lenders in an incredibly direct and convenient way. With only three mouse clicks, brokers can send a complete loan scenario inquiry to any lender in the marketplace.”


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Additionally, NAMB and Lender Price released a new website that contains information about NAMB Marketplace, demonstration videos and a fully automated registration process that creates an account for brokers in minutes. The new website can be found at www.nambmarketplace.com


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“We’re very proud to offer NAMB Marketplace to our members at no cost,” said Rick Bettencourt, president of NAMB. “This is the type of technology that mortgage brokers need because it truly simplifies the origination process. One tool connects brokers directly to borrowers and lenders for the sole purpose of obtaining a mortgage loan. We’re grateful to have Lender Price work with us on this amazing solution.”

Disruption In Lending – Hailing A Mortgage

The ride-hailing industry demonstrates the speed and  impact of disruption. Disruption occurs quite quickly, and the transformation affects all  industry participants (including lenders!). Let’s take a dive into the ride-hailing industry and see how one company’s innovative adoption disrupted every taxicab in our major cities. 


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In 2015, Uber arrived on the scene and ridership of yellow cabs fell precipitously in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, and Boston. Taxicabs saw competition as never before and two years later, Uber’s ridership surpassed the New York Yellow Taxi ridership. LYFT and other ride hailing services entered the market to capitalize on Uber’s market expansion success. As shown below, more individuals  turned to Uber for transportation. 


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And it’s not over…. Companies like Uber and Lyft continue to innovate and reshape their business model. As mentioned in the book Strategically Transforming the Mortgage Banking industry, “Your Business model works until it doesn’t.”  Uber like many other businesses, has to be innovative and move forward or face the new disruptors and risk being left behind like  taxi cabs, block buster, retail stores etc. For this reason Uber partnered with Daimler and researchers at Carnegie Mellon to work on autonomous cars” (Marketwatch). LYFT has partnered with Waymo and General Motors with the mission to tap into the autonomous car space of the ride hailing industry. 


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Uber’s Advanced Technology Group is solely focused on implementing self-driven cars to cut down cost on each ride significantly, in part by having self-driven cars on the road 24/7. Innovator Elon Musk announced Robotaxis a week before Uber went public. Musk’s goal is to capture the growing profits in ride-hailing industry with self-driven cars. Tesla wants to find a way to increase margins by automating and competing based on price. Today’s cost per mile is $2 to $3, but with Tesla’s ‘The Tesla Network Robotaxi,’ Musk expects a cost of less than 18 cents per mile.  And by the way, this is not a good time to be a legacy taxi cab medallion lender.


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Ride hailing disruption has a direct parallel in the mortgage industry; mortgage bankers are finding ways to drive profitability in a turbulent market. Mortgage bankers are reshaping their business model, ultimately automating, eliminating, outsourcing, or optimizing their current operations. 

Similar to Uber and LYFT, companies like Quicken have reshaped their business model and are looking for ways to lead innovation. In this case, every ride hailing company wants to be like Quicken, who has successfully created an online platform, reducing/eliminating manual efforts of loan officers (taxi drivers) and enabling loan officers to focus more on their customers by implementing disruptive technology- resulting in #1 in Customer Satisfaction for the ninth consecutive year.

 The compensation model for LO’s remains stagnant, and loan officers are still given 120-150 basis points regardless of the size of the loan. As David Stevens, former President & Chief Executive Officer of the MBA noted in Strategically Transforming the Mortgage Banking Industry: “Loan Officers make a couple of hundred basis points for a one-time origination without any obligation or risk downstream for performance or duration risk…” He continues, “If you are building this from scratch, you wouldn’t build the model the way it works today.” 

In today’s highly competitive mortgage market with fluctuating rates and increasing costs, it’s essential for mortgage lenders to know loan officer, branch, and product profitability. But how?  Lenders need a solution that quickly analyzes data and searches for patterns that drive profitability and reduce risk. Teraverde’s Coheus Profit Intelligence Platform is the first of its kind to provide actionable intelligence to drive profitability  and help   mortgage bankers to make effective decisions. Like Uber and LYFT; it’s essential for mortgage lenders to identify areas in high demand. Uber utilizes demand concentration and applies surge charges to increase profitability. Lenders are using Teraverde’s Coheus solution to visually identify product concentration, revenue leakage per area, all the way down to the loan level. Lenders can visualize big data from multiple sources and access visual analytics from a cell phone or desktop. Coheus lets users look at revenue, costs, and profitability by product, loan officer, channel, and branch through easy to use graphical interfaces. This delivers high-powered industry insights, superior workflow management, which allows executives to go beyond cost per-loan to make strategic decision in a timelier manner to drive profitability.

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Median Home Prices Reach A New Peek

ATTOM Data Solutions released its Q2 2019 U.S. Home Sales Report, which shows that U.S. single family homes and condos sold for a median price of $266,000 in the second quarter, up 10.8 percent from the previous quarter and up 6.4 percent from a year ago — reaching a new median home price peak.

Meanwhile, the report also shows that homeowners who sold in the second quarter had owned an average of 8.09 years, reaching a new peak, up 3 percent from last quarter and up 4 percent from Q2 2018. Homeownership tenure averaged 4.21 years nationwide between Q1 2000 and Q3 2007, prior to the Great Recession.

“As warmer weather brings a rush of house hunters to the market, the latest spike in median home prices marked the largest quarterly increase since the second quarter of 2015 and the third biggest increase since the market started climbing out of the Great Recession in 2012,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions. “However, in looking at historical trends, the second quarter of every year has always shown a quarterly increase, going as far back as 2005. So, with mortgage rates dipping to new lows, it’s no surprise that people were wanting to buy a home, even if prices were at their peak. We expect to see milder home prices in the coming quarters.”

Annual home price appreciations rising in Milwaukee, Boston and Salt Lake City

Median home prices in 133 of the 149 metro areas analyzed in the report (89 percent) saw an annual home price appreciation in the second quarter of 2019, led by Atlantic City, New Jersey (16.0 percent increase); Boise City, Idaho (14.0 percent increase); Chattanooga, Tennessee (13.9 percent increase); Mobile, Alabama (11.2 percent increase); Madison, Wisconsin (10.8 percent increase).

Those major metros with at least 1 million people that saw annual home price appreciations occurring in the second quarter of 2019 included: Milwaukee, Wisconsin (9.0 percent increase); Boston, Massachusetts (9.0 percent increase); Salt Lake City, Utah (8.7 percent increase); Columbus, Ohio (8.1 percent increase); and Birmingham, Alabama (6.3 percent increase).


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Prices in Denver, Austin, Dallas and Nashville 50+ percent above pre-recession peaks

Median home prices in 110 of the 149 metro areas analyzed in the report (74 percent) were above pre-recession peaks in the second quarter of 2019, led by Greeley, Colorado (87 percent above); Shreveport, Louisiana (81 percent above); Denver, Colorado (80 percent above); Austin, Texas (77 percent above); and Fort Collins, Colorado (76 percent above).

Including Denver and Austin, other major metros with at least 1 million people and with Q2 2019 median home prices at least 40 percent above pre-recession peaks were Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas (72 percent above); Nashville, Tennessee (71 percent above); San Antonio, Texas (58 percent above); Houston, Texas (54 percent above); and San Jose, California (54 percent above).


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Average home seller gains increase quarterly and annually

U.S. homeowners who sold in the second quarter of 2019 realized an average home price gain since purchase of $67,500, up from an average gain of $57,706 in Q1 2019 and up from an average gain of $60,100 in Q2 2018. The average home seller gain of $67,500 in Q2 2019 represented an average 33.9 percent return as a percentage of original purchase price.

Among 149 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed in the report, those with the highest average home seller returns in Q2 2019 were San Jose, California (85.0 percent); San Francisco, California (71.6 percent); Seattle, Washington (65.6 percent); Salem, Oregon (62.3 percent); and Salt Lake City, Utah (60.7 percent).

Average homeownership tenure drops annually in Tucson, Portland and Phoenix

Counter to the national trend which saw the longest homeownership tenure to date, the average homeownership tenure in Q2 2019 decreased from a year ago in 28 of 108 metro areas analyzed in the report (26 percent), led by Merced, Colorado Springs, Vallejo, Springfield and Bremerton.


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Among major metropolitan areas that have a population of at least 1 million and where tenure decreased in the second quarter of 2019. The longest average times sellers lived in their homes were in Tucson, Arizona (8.88 years); Portland, Oregon (9.04 years); Phoenix, Arizona (8.17 years); San Francisco, California (10.26 years); and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida (7.85 years).

Share of cash sales decrease annually

All-cash sales represented 25.0 percent of all single family and condo sales in Q2 2019, down from 27.7 percent of all sales in the previous quarter, and down from 26.9 percent of all sales in Q2 2018.

Among major metropolitan areas with a population of at least 1 million, those with the highest share of all-cash sales in Q2 2019 were; Miami, Florida (40.5 percent); Detroit, Michigan (36.7 percent); Birmingham, Alabama (34.9 percent); Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida (34.2 percent); and Jacksonville, Florida (33.9 percent).


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Institutional investor sales highest in Atlanta, Charlotte, and Memphis

The share of U.S. single family home and condo sales sold to institutional investors (entities buying at least 10 properties in a calendar year) was 2.2 percent in the second quarter of 2019, up from 1.9 percent in the previous quarter but down from 2.4 percent a year ago.

Among the metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 1,000,000 and at least 50 institutional investor sales in Q2 2019, those with the highest share of institutional investor sales in the second quarter were; Atlanta, Georgia (7.9 percent); Charlotte, North Carolina (6.7 percent); Memphis, Tennessee (6.4 percent); Birmingham, Alabama (5.6 percent); and Raleigh, North Carolina (5.5 percent).

Share of FHA buyers increase annually

Sales to FHA buyers (typically first-time homebuyers or other buyers with a low-down payment) represented 11.6 percent of all U.S. single family and condo sales in Q2 2019, up from 11.1 percent of all sales in the previous quarter and up from 9.9 percent in Q2 2018.

Among metro areas with a population of at least 1 million, those with the highest share of sales to FHA buyers were Riverside, California (18.6 percent); Indianapolis, Indiana (18.4 percent); San Antonio, Texas (18.2 percent); Providence, Rhode Island (17.8 percent); and Kansas City, Missouri (17.6 percent).

Share of distressed sales continuing downward trend

Total distressed sales — bank-owned (REO) sales, third-party foreclosure auction sales, and short sales — accounted for 11.4 percent of all single family and condo sales in Q2 2019, down from 14.0 percent in the previous quarter and up less than one percent from the same time last year.

Among 149 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000 and at least 100 total distressed sales in Q2 2019, those with the highest share of total distressed sales were Atlantic City, New Jersey (27.6 percent); Trenton, New Jersey (25.3 percent); Norwich-New London, Connecticut (22.2 percent); Erie, Pennsylvania (22.1 percent); and Macon, Georgia (20.7 percent).

Counter to the national trend of a slight annual uptick, 110 of the 150 metro areas (73 percent) posted year-over-year decreases in share of distressed sales. Those major metros with a population greater than 1 million that saw an annual decline were Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas (down 25.7 percent); Boston, Massachusetts (down 24 percent); Portland, Oregon (down 23.6 percent); Buffalo, New York (down 22.1 percent); and Tucson, Arizona (down 21.2 percent).

New Solution Helps Real Estate Agents Succeed

According to the National Association of Realtors, seven in ten home buyers select the first real estate agent that connects with them. To help real estate agents quickly and intelligently connect with potential buyers, Equifax, a global data, analytics and technology company, today introduces Lead Accelerator, a new solution designed specifically to help agents become the first contact for prospective home buyers.


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“If 79 percent of Millennials use their phones at least three hours a day, you can guarantee they will expect a technology-driven home buying experience that is fast and intuitive. In order to meet this demand, real estate agents need sophisticated data and analytic tools at their disposal to move at lightning speed,” said Tyler Sawyer, vice president of rental and real estate, Equifax.


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Lead Accelerator leverages proprietary data and analytics to provide lead-specific insights via three unique modules:

>>The Personal Wealth module provides real estate agents with anonymized insights of a lead they have not previously met in addition to an overview of the lead’s likely financial capacity and estimated household income. Also, the Personal Wealth module includes visibility into the household economics, further helping real estate agents differentiate leads, match offers and deliver relevant marketing messages.


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>>The Property Value module uncovers property data to determine whether a lead is likely an existing property owner or a prospective first-time home buyer. For existing property owners, additional data is provided relative to property value, time-in-home, home equity and other property attributes indicating a buyer’s estimated financial health.


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>>The Propensity Score module identifies the likelihood that a lead will purchase a home within the next six months. Likewise, real estate agents can prioritize similar looking leads based on those most likely to convert and determine a preferred approach to contact.

“Lead Accelerator enables real estate agents to qualify leads faster using data to make prioritization decisions; utilize the propensity score to help understand a lead’s transaction likelihood; and convert more leads to closed deals by identifying and prioritizing top lead clusters, connecting the right buyer to the right home,” added Sawyer.

In an internal analysis of the solution, Equifax found that the top 10 percent of the propensity scores captured between 2.4 to 4 times more mortgage applicants than a randomly selected sample of equal size. As a result, real estate agents can expect improved productivity and a reduction in time spent with leads by as much as 75 percent.

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