Real Matters Inc. (“Real Matters” or the “Company”) (TSX:REAL), today shared the latest U.S. mortgage market data and issued its last weekly operations update.
Today, the Mortgage Bankers Association (“MBA”) announced that mortgage applications were down 2.3% week-over-week, and up 72.2% year-over-year. Purchase applications were up 12.7% week-over-week and down 20.2% year-over-year. Refinance applications were down 7.3% week-over-week and up 217.6% year-over-year.
Based on MBA data for the last several weeks, mortgage applications have stabilized since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Industry developments have also abated in the last few weeks. Consequently, the Company does not currently plan to issue further weekly commentary. Real Matters reports its second quarter results on May 6, 2020.
U.S. mortgage interest rates dropped again last week – approaching levels offered in early March. Although there can be volatility in the weekly mortgage market application data, this most recent drop in rates did not create a spike in applications similar to the one we observed in early March. We believe industry constraints in underwriting capacity due to reduced productivity related to COVID-19 has placed a ceiling on the number of applications that can be processed. While lenders are actively recruiting additional underwriters, we continue to watch key indicators for growth in industry underwriting capacity as we believe this remains the most significant hurdle to mortgage market growth in the near term.
Mortgage origination orders in Real Matters’ U.S. Appraisal business are set to be higher in April than any month in 2019. Our U.S. Title business in April is set to surpass any month in 2019, both in terms of mortgage origination orders as well as closed orders. April closed orders in our U.S. Title business are benefiting from the surge in orders that were placed in early March as they typically close 45 days later.
Real Matters is focused on growing market share in both its U.S. Appraisal and U.S. Title businesses over the long term by continuing to focus on operational excellence. Once industry underwriting capacity grows, even if U.S. 10-year Treasury rates increase to 1.0% to 1.2% and remain at those levels for the next few years, we believe this will translate into 30-year mortgage rates of no higher than 3.0% as spreads normalize. We believe this will create a large, multi-year market opportunity for Real Matters and provide a tailwind to its market share growth strategy.
About Real Matters
Real Matters is a leading network management services provider for the mortgage lending and insurance industries. Real Matters’ platform combines its proprietary technology and network management capabilities with tens of thousands of independent qualified field professionals to create an efficient marketplace for the provision of mortgage lending and insurance industry services. Our clients include the majority of the top 100 mortgage lenders in the U.S. and some of the largest insurance companies in North America. We are a leading independent provider of residential real estate appraisals to the mortgage market and a leading independent provider of title and mortgage closing services in the U.S. Established in 2004, Real Matters has offices in Buffalo (NY), Denver (CO), Middletown (RI), and Markham (ON). Real Matters is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol REAL. For more information, visit .
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