As per the ATTOM’s Q3 2018 U.S. Home Affordability Report, the home affordability index in the third quarter has reached the lowest in the last decade. The home price index in the third quarter was at 92, down from 95 from the previous quarter and 102 in the third quarter of last year. This is at the lowest level when the home price index in 2008 was at 87.
Almost 80% of the counties analyzed in the report showed homes are less affordable in the third quarter than the long-term affordability averages in the country.
The annual home price appreciation outpaced the wage growth in 64% of counties examined by ATTOM solutions. That directly reduces home affordability. Homebuyers would need to make $100,000 or more to buy a median-priced home in the third quarter. The median buyer is now able to bid considerably less than before, as the buyer’s budget is based on monthly payments at each price point. So the number of buyers is dipping, diminishing the demand.
In parallel, the lower home price affordability has increased competition amongst mortgage lenders to acquire these borrowers. One major issue that lenders face is the amount of time it takes to process an application & originate a loan – the time send out a conditional loan approval, and the time to close. Today’s homebuyers are millennials – they demand speed and are not used to unnecessary paperwork or waiting. Mortgage lenders know this and advertise speed and efficiency of their approval and funding process. Consequently, lenders demand the same from their vendors too.
An important part of the mortgage approval process is a clear property title search and paid property taxes. Critical information like property title search reports, municipal lien search reports, real estate tax reports or certificates have to be delivered by title agents quickly, but without compromising on quality. This puts immense pressure on title agents to respond quickly, requiring a heavy investment in technology and manpower. But it is very important that they provide quick response, with nationwide coverage, to support lenders and realtors to close loans quickly and promote business.
Title agents are moving more and more towards partnering with service providers with proven title insurance support experience – someone with a robust nationwide network that can provide technology-enabled products & solutions which can help in achieving operational efficiency and can help in delivering reports faster, while being cost-effective and complying with the information security, quality and other compliance requirements.
SLK Global is one of the few such providers, with 17+ years of title insurance support expertise, serving 150+ title insurance & tax customers nationwide, including the Top 5 largest title insurance underwriters. SLK’s wide variety of transformative products & solutions for the title insurance industry includes the SmartProp® platform that provides property title search reports in 4 hours* & the SmartTrak® tax solution that can get property tax certificates with guaranteed accuracy.