Matthew Speakman on what’s driving homebuyer demand

Zillow Economist Speakman explains what Zillow’s recent report on homebuyer demand tell us about the current state of the housing market.

Record low mortgage rates hold steady at 2.72%

This is the second week in a row rates have sat at the lowest recorded level in the survey’s near 50-year history.

What Yellen as Treasury Secretary would mean for housing

Experts weigh in on former Fed Chair’s possible impact on GSE reform and how she could jumpstart the economy.

Building the one-touch digital mortgage

As Katherine Campbell drives toward a one-touch mortgage, she’s taking time to share what she has learned along the way.


A far from normal downturn: Originations versus delinquencies

A tale of two markets

Originations versus delinquencies

COVID-19 is a historically unique event for the mortgage industry. Typically, during a crisis or catastrophic event that impacts the housing industry, you’d see a significant downtick in mortgage originations and an uptick in delinquencies, ultimately leading to foreclosures. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a unique crisis to not only live in and learn to work through, but also to follow as it relates to the mortgage business. Many factors have contributed to the type of downturn we’re seeing – one that’s far from normal. 

Pandemic expectations

In trying to wrap our arms around the COVID-19 pandemic, we expected to experience a decline in mortgage originations. Mortgage industry participants ran scenarios reflecting a decline in originations, a decline in overall revenue and generally-speaking, an overall decline in housing activity, along with an increase in loans in forbearance and ultimately in delinquencies. That’s generally how a crisis impacting the housing industry works. As jobs are lost and incomes diminish, people stop buying homes and the rate of requests for forbearance or some type of homeowner assistance goes up. The mortgage industry flips the switch from helping people get into homes to preparing to work closely with homeowners to help them remain in their homes. 

Ultimately, the effect of the pandemic on housing could end up playing out exactly how we expected. We’re keeping a close watch on how the pandemic is impacting customers, employees and the overall business of doing business.  Interestingly, though, what we are seeing so far is not in line with those expectations.

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