ALTA Registry completes full mapping to MISMO Schema

A new portal introduced by American Land Title Association (ALTA), will make it much easier for mortgage lenders to integrate ALTA Registry data into their own oversight systems. ALTA announced it has completed fully mapping the land title insurance industry’s ALTA Registry data set to comply with the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO) Schema.

The national ALTA is a searchable online database of underwriter-confirmed title agent companies, real estate attorneys, and underwriter direct offices – “…a unique real estate utility created specifically for mortgage lenders and technology partners,” said ALTA’s CEO, Diane Tomb.

ALTA Registry data is free of “duplicates, typos and closed businesses,” so users can be certain of the identity of title and settlement agents handling their mortgage transactions, ALTA said in a statement.

Tomb adds, “The ALTA Registry is an effective and easy-to-use source of data and information comes at the perfect time to help counter the alarming increase in wire fraud.”

The trade association selected Viking Sasquatch and Closergeist to perform the mapping, opting to “completely outsource the mapping process and complete it in a matter of weeks,” said ALTA Registry director, Paul Martin. “Now that our data is fully mapped to the MISMO standard, we plan to utilize MISMO’s upcoming Application Programming Interface (API) Toolkit to allow lenders to more easily access the ALTA Registry data.”

MISMO’s API toolkit makes it easier for mortgage lenders to integrate Registry data into their own oversight systems, giving lenders “automatic reconciliation of the ALTA ID,” and speeding up the selection of agents in production pipelines and processing of internal scorecards.

Rick Hill, executive vice president of MISMO and vice president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, applauded the title industry for making greater use of the MISMO standards. “The API Toolkit has been intentionally designed to support business services like the ALTA Registry,” he said.

“It is an API economy,” said Pat Carney, president of Viking Sasquatch. “Empowering lenders to utilize MISMO’s API Toolkit to integrate into the ALTA Registry will greatly improve the user experience.”

Founded in 1907, ALTA represents more than 6,400 title insurance companies, title and settlement agents, independent abstracters, title searchers and real estate attorneys.



Sprout resumes correspondent lending

After a nearly complete halt of the non-QM niche due to COVID-19 early this year, a growing number of non-qualified mortgage (non-QM) lenders are fully returning to market, among them, Sprout Mortgage. This week, Sprout Mortgage announced the resumption of its correspondent lending operations, effective immediately.

“Our commitment to make non-QM mortgages easy and convenient for our clients remains a top priority,” said Sprout’s President Michael Strauss. “Our loan programs have been re-engineered for today’s markets.”

Initially, the correspondent channel will offer four loan programs that cater to the needs of a broad spectrum of borrower profiles. The East Meadow, N.Y., based company will once again offer “a complete array of non-QM home finance solutions” to its correspondent clients, Strauss said.

  • Select Jumbo Full Doc serves borrowers who document their income with pay stubs and tax returns, features loan limits of up to $4M and maximum 85% Loan-to-Value (LTV).
  • Select Bank Statement or 1099, designed for self-employed borrowers, also has a $4M loan limit and maximum 85% LTV.
  • Select Asset Optimizer is for high net-worth borrowers, loans of up to $4M, and maximum 80% LTV.
  • Inve$tor Debt Service Coverage caters to 1-4 unit investment property borrowers, loans up to $2.5M, maximum 70% LTV.

The correspondent channel resumes operations after the lender revamped its non-QM product menu.

In May, Sprout launched four non-QM programs including full doc, bank statement, asset depletion, and investor financing, with loan amounts to $4 million. In June, Sprout enhanced all four programs by adding a new maximum 85% LTV on most loan programs; reduced rates across the entire program offering; higher maximum loan amounts at lower LTVs on the Select program series.

The Premier, Select and Inve$tor programs, along with easy to use technology and decades of expertise, help to make non-QM lending easy, Strauss said, while providing “a broad range of solutions for many different home finance scenarios.”

Sprout’s residential mortgage loan programs and pricing engines are accessible through the Sprout Client Portal.

Redfin: Are luxe buyers back? Luxury home prices rise 3.5%

The luxury housing market may be ready to rebound. According to Redfin, the median sales price for luxury home listings (defined as the top 5% of the market) rose 3.5% year over year for the 7-day period ending June 14. Redfin’s new luxury housing report shows the median sale price for luxury homes nationwide fell 2.3% year over year, to $1,099,521 in the 12 weeks ending June 14, marking one of the biggest declines since January 2015.

While the short timeframe has a smaller sample size, and “is less indicative of long-term trends,” analysts wrote, the price increase indicates some luxury buyers are back in the market…

Redfin divided all U.S. residential properties into five price tiers, based on Redfin Estimates of home market values as of mid-June. This report defines as “luxury” all the properties whose estimated market value is in the top 5% listing.

“The pandemic is playing an outsized role in the luxury market, as very expensive homes are particularly sensitive to periods of economic uncertainty,” said Redfin economist Taylor Marr. “Many luxury buyers are nervous about pouring money into an investment that may be difficult to sell if the economy takes a nosedive.”

People buying starter homes they plan to live in for 10 years, explained Marr, “are less concerned with volatile financial markets,” as long as they have money for a down payment and can afford monthly mortgage payments. In addition, he said, while in April and May access to credit is loosening up for other products, “it tightened considerably for jumbo loans.”

Price growth for homes in the top 5% had been on the upswing from October 2019 until March, the report notes, when it took a bigger hit from the pandemic than the rest of the housing market. Comparatively, price growth for non-luxury homes started to reverse in mid-April after an upswing that started at the beginning of the year.

“Luxury home prices have likely already bottomed out. Price growth may continue to be lower than last year through the summer and fall, but with smaller drops as the months go on,” said Marr. “The top end of the real estate market will recover more slowly than the rest.”

Supply growth started to drop pre-pandemic. The number of luxury homes for sale dropped 6.7% year over year during the 12 weeks ending June 14, while new listingsfell 19.3%.

Sales of luxury homes, which had been rising since last September, also reversed course and started to decline in April. Luxury sales were down 29.9% year over year in the 12 weeks ending June 14.

Metro areas with higher declines in luxury home sale prices year over year, during the 12 weeks ending June 14, include in Dallas -12%, Las Vegas -6.7% and Houston -5%.

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