February 2017 - Making Millennials Move

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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16 | TH E M R EP O RT COVER STORY their goals are to learn which type of loan works best. Many millenni- als, who grew up with customiza- tion, come to the bank with the notion that there is only one home loan product: the 30-year loan that their parents had. We help them learn that it's not the default loan anymore. For each purchase, loan originators look at the buyer's financial situation and goals, and might suggest a 15- or 20-year loan. It might be better for a millennial to get a 20-year loan now to build eq- uity and then move into something bigger in a few years." It's All in the Incentives O ver the past few years, lenders and servicers have developed specific mortgage lend- ing programs that cater to a mil- lennial audience. Fifth Third has been offering the FHA loan to its millennial customers. The intro- duction of the company's Down Payment Assistance Program has helped lenders better serve millen- nials by offering 3 percent of the purchase price in down payment assistance for low-income bor- rowers, or those purchasing in a designated low-income area and financed through Fifth Third. Similarly, JPMorgan Chase's new program Agency and DreaMaker allow first-time home- buyers to utilize low-down pay- ment products for only 3 percent down, making homeownership more attainable for millennials. Quicken Loans' Rocket Mortgage has combined a focus on technology with lending programs retooled to appeal to millennials. They recently burst onto the mort- gage scene with advertising cam- paigns aimed at this demographic. By contrast to Dr. Gudell's advice to preserve the personal touch, Rocket Mortgage is a technology- driven lender that enables millen- nials to forgo paperwork. Rocket's seamless digital lending applica- tion process can be completed at any time via mobile device or online—an advantage that directly competes with the limited hours provided by banks and traditional lending institutions. Bill Banfield, VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans, is responsible for credit and margin management, product develop- ment, and other functions related to capital markets. He said Rocket Mortgage has a strong appeal with first-time homebuyers, and the company has seen an increase in online activity since the implementation of the mortgage program. "While millennials are more likely to use Rocket Mortgage, the product's user base spans every age group," Banfield said. "Since we launched Rocket Mortgage a year ago, we've seen a strong homebuyer population, with two-thirds of clients who use the product being homebuyers. Of those users, 72 percent are first-time home buyers. This is proof that a completely online and on-demand experience directly appeals to this demographic." Wells Fargo's is also getting into the millennial game with its yourFirst Mortgage program, which provides young homebuy - ers with an educational resource that also aims to make homeown- ership seem more attainable. In conjunction with Fannie Mae and Self Help, the program allows cus- tomers to lower down payments and out-of-pocket costs, work with Home Mortgage Consultants to assist with mortgage decisions, offer additional income and credit guidelines, and expand on their responsible lending history. Some resources are being devised to help mortgage lenders and servicers figure out how best to serve millennials. One such resource is Ellie Mae's Millennial Tracker, which brings data about the homebuying millennial straight to mortgage lenders and servicers. The monthly tracking tool is designed to give lenders insight into the millennial genera- tion, so they can better address their needs. Assuming Accountability T he housing industry remains uncharted territory for many millennials. Facing financial chal- lenges, this generation of Americans is determined to better under- stand the market before diving in themselves. But they do intend to do that; according to a recent survey by the Demand Institute, 60 percent of respondents expect to become homeowners in the future. Perhaps the way forward is through personal agency. Millennials who resolve to steer their own fate will surely face more success when it comes to buying a home and managing a mortgage. A Harvard Joint Center for Housing Study on Homebuying Trends found that millennials are forced to succeed in an era of low incomes and high rent prices and are more attentive when it comes to credit scores and homeownership. Britney Miller, a 28-year-old sales representative living in Tucson, Arizona, feels that in order to succeed in today's hous - ing market, she has to take more responsibility for improving her financial situation. "I have to admit, I wasn't the best when it came to my finances when I was younger," Miller said. "I didn't take anything my parents or financial professionals said seriously, and in turn, I saw my finances dwindle before my eyes. It's taken years for me to rebuild my savings and improve my credit score, which are two factors that matter when applying for mortgag - es. As I got older, I began to under- stand the value of financial literacy, and there are so many resources out there to educate yourself about your personal finances and what it means in the long run." The essential human desire for shelter and sovereignty, expressed as the American Dream, re - mains even as normal Americans struggle to attain it. Mortgage lenders and servicers who can tap into that desire, and help their customers fulfill it, will prosper. Millennials are certainly not bereft of the desire for Virginia Woolf's "room of one's own." For example, newlyweds Ines and Bruce Lower have always dreamed of being homeowners. After renting two apartments, they've made the decision to step into homeownership and are on the search for their perfect home: a three- or four-bedroom property in either Lake Nona or Winter Park/ Maitland, all located in Central Florida. Ultimately, they want a place where they can raise a family. Since starting their journey toward homeownership, they've frequented Zillow, The Wall Street Journal, and local news publications like the Orlando Sentinel to stay abreast of market trends. They've also sought advice from friends and family who have gone through the homebuying process before. As it turns out, the Central Florida market has been booming recently, with multiple cities boast - ing higher median home prices and more closing sales, according to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association. And according to Zillow, the median home value in Winter Park has increased more than 13 percent over the last year and is expected to rise another 4.6 percent this year. Though the Lowers have not yet chosen a mortgage lender, they are currently looking at multiple options and have met with vari - ous lenders and financial advisers throughout the past few months. They're an example of millions of American millennials who aspire to become homeown - ers, falling right in line with the latest National Association of Realtors' Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study. You won't be surprised: the main rea - son millennials purchase a home is simply the desire to own their own place. MIRASHA BROWN—a millennial—is a graduate of Florida A&M University and is pursuing a master's degree at Syracuse University. Born and raised in Florida, she has contributed to public relations and marketing campaigns for Rent The Runway and Billboard. She is a staff writer with MReport magazine. BEST IN ORIGINATION Waterstone Mortgage Corporation

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