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SimpleShowing Inks Partnership with Expetitle to Create a Fully Digital Home Purchase Experience
SimpleShowing, an online real estate startup disrupting the traditional real estate brokerage by changing the way buyers and sellers use real estate services, is pleased to announce its partnership with Expetitle, a Wynwood-based technology-driven startup, to bring a fully digital-first closing solution to reality.
Real Title Services
Existing-Home Sales Rise 0.7% in December, Annual Sales See Highest Level Since 2006
Existing-home sales rose in December, with home sales in 2020 reaching their highest level since 2006, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Activity in the major regions was mixed on a month-over-month basis, but each of the four areas recorded double-digit year-over-year growth in December.
AccuSearch Company
Housing Starts End 2020 Strong; Risks Ahead
While housing starts ended the year on a strong note, rising lumber prices and increasing regulatory cost concerns could affect future production.
Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Mortgage applications decreased 1.9 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 15, 2021.
Builder Confidence Down on Rising Material Prices, Upsurge in COVID-19 Cases
Rising material costs led by a huge upsurge in lumber prices along with a resurgence of the coronavirus across much of the nation pushed builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes down three points to 83 in January, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index released today. Despite the drop, builder sentiment remains at a strong level.
Share of Mortgage Loans in Forbearance Decreases to 5.37 Percent
The Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey revealed that the total number of loans now in forbearance decreased from 5.46% of servicers' portfolio volume in the prior week to 5.37% as of January 10, 2021.
Remodeling Industry Confidence Is Strong Despite COVID-19
The National Association of Home Builders released its Remodeling Market Index for the fourth quarter of 2020, posting a reading of 79. The finding is a signal of residential remodelers’ strong confidence in their markets, for projects of all sizes.
First American Exiting Property and Casualty Business to Focus on its Core Business
First American Financial Corporation, a leading global provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions, announced today that its property and casualty insurance subsidiaries have entered into book transfer agreements with Safeco Insurance, a Liberty Mutual Company, and Heritage Insurance Holdings, Inc.
Quick Links
Pennsylvania Permanently Allows Remote Notarization Of Documents
After temporarily lifting the requirement that notaries public be physically present to witness required signatures, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania became the 30th state in the nation to make remote notarization a permanent option. Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 97 into law on October 29, 2020. Effective immediately, Act 97 gives lawyers and their clients new avenues for getting important documents notarized, but still leaves unanswered some practical and legal questions about executing estate planning documents.

CFPB Files Complaint Against a Former Mortgage Lender
The CFPB recently filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut alleging violations of various federal consumer protection laws by 1st Alliance Lending, LLC, a former mortgage lender. The complaint also names several principals of 1st Alliance as defendants.

Homeowner battles Wells Fargo over mortgage agreement
Kelli received forbearance protection for another three months beginning in July. She was notified again in September by phone she could receive three more months of forbearance, lasting through the end of 2020. But then Kelli received a letter in December from Wells Fargo notifying her she was behind on her mortgage payments and her home could be placed in foreclosure.

Mortgage rates hold steady at 2.77%
The average mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed loan fell two basis points last week to 2.77%, according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Now 12 basis points above the record low set Jan. 7, rates more closely resemble those seen over two months ago. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate also shifted downward to 2.21 from 2.23 the week prior.

Compass investors in line for payday, $100M for a flex-living startup
Title insurance gets white-label treatment -- Digital title startup Spruce has found a way for more people to avoid clunky pen-and-paper closings: The company said it's launching a white-label product that brokerages, iBuyers and others can use for their own title businesses.

Mortgage underwriting challenges in the pandemic
In December, AmTrust Title Insurance Company announced the hiring of seasoned underwriter Mary Shelley as its midwest region agency underwriter. We took the opportunity to talk to Shelley, who has 35 years experience in the field, about the challenges underwriters have faced during this pandemic period.

Advancing the Acceptance of Remote Digital Real Estate Closings
Both homebuyers and sellers have expressed a desire to reduce in-person meetings with settlement service providers and want to have remote digital real estate closing options available even after the pandemic ends. We have the technology to do this, but the laws and business practices need to catch up so that we can provide safe, remote digital real estate closings.


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