MReport December 2021

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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24 | M R EP O RT FEATURE instead, think of it as the real estate market shifting to a more normalized pace. How's the Market Holding up Against the Pandemic? T he spikes in COVID-19 cases we saw in the second half of this year due to the delta variant have not had any additional impact on buyer demand. Buyers can continue to search for homes online, take virtual tours, and schedule tours (with masks) as needed. People who are con- cerned about high prices or safety have likely already stepped out of the market. Going forward, if vaccinations prevent deaths, then businesses may never again see the full shutdowns of 2020. More people in the U.S. are willing to get the vaccine because of the variant; this could be a good thing if it prevents hospitalizations. Many are looking to the U.K.; with a similar percentage of their population vaccinated and facing a surge in delta variant cases, as of July 26, they were not seeing hospitalizations increase, accord- ing to the Washington Post. The downside of this is that some are concerned that delta variants may just be the start of the mutations that could prove resistant to vaccines. This could push the U.S. into future lock- downs, though this would be a last resort; mask mandates may return (as we are already seeing in some regions) but few seem to have a taste for the full quaran- tines we saw in 2020. Even with full shutdowns on the horizon, social distanc- ing may limit growth in certain industries (especially hospitality). Additionally, if people become afraid to go back to more normal circumstances, this may affect both consumer demand and labor supply. The result could still create a lingering drag on the economy. A rise in variants may also raise concerns about city living just as people were settling back in. This may increase demand for suburban and rural areas again. On the other hand, some may think that cities are safer; they tend to have higher percentages of vaccinated people. Whether in the city or the country, buyers may be scared into avoiding home listings. With uncertainty surrounding the future, they may want to stay put, and this could serve to reverse the improvements in housing inventory. If inventory levels shrink further, this would continue to pinch home sales, no matter how strong demand is. In a worst-case scenario, if things go south because of a new variant, or if the U.S. and the world economy fail to recover, mortgage rates could again reach the low levels of 2020 and early 2021. This would likely result in another refinancing windfall for loan officers and the industry. The more we look at pos- sibilities and variables, the more it seems 2022 may prove to be a rerun of 2021. SHASHANK SHEKHAR is an No. 1 best-selling author and the CEO of digital-first mortgage lender InstaMortgage, one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. He is frequently quoted in national media for his mortgage expertise. Shekhar has been named as one of the "most influential" and "most connected" mortgage professionals in the country. DS News is the only publication in the country solely dedicated to providing default servicing professionals with news and content focused on their industry. SUBSCRIBE NOW! Connect with us online at SUBSCRIBE TO THE LEADER IN DEFAULT SERVICING NEWS THEFIVESTARINSTITUTE If people become afraid to go back to more normal circumstances, this may affect both consumer demand and labor supply. The result could still create a lingering drag on the economy.

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