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Logan Mohtashami on trends in forbearance exits

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How lenders can prepare for increasing regulatory pressures

As compliance becomes an increased focal point for mortgage lenders and investors, staying ahead of state and federal regulations can be the difference between a flourishing business and one mired in fines.

Real Estate

NAR survey details evaporation of homebuyer interest

Buyers are expecting lower prices but most sellers are not obliging

Members of the National Association of Realtors are reporting a severe decline in homebuyer activity during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. According to a survey of 2,291 NAR members conducted April 12-13, 90% of respondents cited decreased homebuyer interest at this time, with 44% reporting buyer interest fell off by more than 50% in their market. Only 8% of respondents stated there was no change in activity and 2% of respondents identified increased activity.

Sixty percent of NAR respondents said their buyers were opting to delay home purchases for the next several months, with 12% stating their buyers have put the process on indefinite hold. But 12% reported they are pushing ahead by using virtual communication and 8% stated they were conducting business as usual. On the flip side, 57% of respondents said their sellers were delaying listings for the next several months while 10% of sellers put their proposed sale on indefinite hold.

For the buyers that are still in today’s market, 63% of NAR members found buyers were expecting home prices to decline at this time, with 23% waiting for a decrease between 5% and 10%. However, three-quarters of respondents said their sellers did not lower their prices, with only 13% reporting price cuts of less than 5%.

As for the transactions that occurred, 33% of respondents reported no closing delays. As for the glitches in the final stretch, problems were attributed to financing (31%), appraisals (27%) home inspections (19%), final walk-throughs (16%) and in-person signature requirements (13%).

One-quarter of the real estate professionals said they were able to complete nearly every aspect of the home-buying transactions while respecting social distancing protocols, with 35% using face masks and gloves to conduct person-to-person interactions. However, 20% of respondents said their local stay-at-home mandates prevented the completion of their transactions and 13% have postponed transactions due to the inability to conduct person-to-person communications.

NAR members also cited their increased reliance on technology to engage with buyers and sellers during this period, with e-signature solutions being used with 81% of their buyers and 77% of their sellers. But videoconferencing has not been fully embraced by real estate agents, with 57% of respondents stating they don’t use Webex or Zoom for their business communications.

“Expect second-quarter home sales activity to slow down with the broad observance of stay-at-home orders, but sales will pick up when the economy reopens as many potential home buyers and sellers indicate they’re still in the market or will be in a couple of months,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Home prices remain stable as deals continue to happen with the growing use of new technology tools. Remarkably, 10% of Realtors report the same level or even more business activity now than before the economic lockdown.”

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