February 2014

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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Th e M Rep o RT | 9 online for properties. Use of the Internet to search for homes rose slightly to 92 percent. Eighty- eight percent of buyers purchased their home through an agent or broker—a share that has steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001. Meanwhile, 42 percent of buyers found their agent through a referral from a friend or family member, and 12 percent used an agent they had worked with before. While the search time for buy- ers stayed the same as in previous years, the selling time for sellers dropped substantially. The typical homebuyer searched for 12 weeks and viewed 10 homes. Thirty- eight percent of recent homebuy- ers were first-time buyers, which is less than the historical norm of 40 percent. The typical seller lived in their home nine years. The median tenure has increased from six years in 2007. Recent sellers typically sold their homes for 97 percent of the listing price, and 47 percent reported reducing the price at least once. Eighty-five percent of sellers reported that their home was listed or advertised on the multiple listing (MLS) website, and 88 percent of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent. Nine percent sold their home without an agent—usually to avoid paying a commission; of that group, 40 percent said they knew the buyer prior to selling. Thirteen percent of respondents had to delay selling their home because the value of their home was less than their mortgage. The share of brand-new homes sold was only 16 percent. These buyers wanted to avoid renova- tions and liked customizing their home. Buyers who chose previ- ously owned homes purchased their residence for a better price and value—and for charm and character, they said. The typical buyer was 42 years old; the typical first-time buyer was 31, and the typical repeat buyer was 52. As for financing, 88 percent of buyers financed their recent home purchase, typically financing 90 percent of the cost. The study also revealed that buyers continue to face tighter credit standards than in previ- ous years. It showed an elevated share of married couples with combined incomes at 66 percent— the highest share since 2001—and reduced levels of single buyers compared to 2012. WEB AT WORK Optimal Blue Purchased LoanSifter Dallas-baseD company aDDs proDuct eligibility anD pricing company to its suite of services. O ptimal Blue, a cloud- based services provider headquartered in the Dallas area, announced its acquisition of LoanSifter, Inc., a leading provider of product eligibility and pricing, point-of-sale, and marketing solutions for lenders. The acquisition adds more than 1,500 customers, 200 employees, and three nationwide offices to Optimal Blue's operations. "Optimal Blue and LoanSifter are leaders in this industry. This is a rare opportunity to combine the strengths of two organizations with exceptional track records and capabilities and focus on the same mission, which is to more effectively provide innovative products and services to our com- bined investors," Optimal Blue co-CEOs Larry Huff and Ivan Darius said in a joint statement. "LoanSifter's commitment to innovation has helped lenders grow their business and streamline their origination process," added Bruce Backer, former president of LoanSifter. "That commitment continues with this acquisition. By becoming part of Optimal Blue, our customers and partners will benefit from the combined exper- tise and creativity of two highly successful, market-focused teams." Data collected by the National Association of Realtors revealed that buyers continue to face tighter credit standards than in previous years. on the web

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