Good housing news: Moms 4 Housing gets housing & First American reports increase in home sales (with a cautionary note)

Great news — we’ve got good news to report. Up first is a happy ending for the Moms 4 Housing, a group of homeless Oakland mothers who were squatting in a home. A judge evicted them, they got out, the owner tried to house them for two months, and they refused. Now, an agreement has reportedly been reached to buy the same home they were squatting in. It sounds like both sides are happy with the outcome. Now, we if we could just find similar solutions for the hundreds of thousands of other families equally impacted by U.S. housing crisis.

Up NEXT, for those who can afford a home, First American is reporting that December’s potential existing-home sales increased to 5.30 million, a 1.7 percent month-over-month increase. This represents a 57.8 percent increase from the market potential low point reached in February 1993.

According to Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American, house-buying power was 12.5 percent higher than a year ago. He said this increase in house-buying power had the greatest impact on housing market potential in 2019, boosting market potential by 316,000 potential home sales. Alas, don’t start celebrating just yet. He says there is a downside to this good news.

“The growth in the market potential for existing-home sales is the net result of several forces that either boost or bash housing market potential,” said Fleming. “However, one market driver is actually both a positive and a negative influence on housing market potential – persistently low mortgage rates.”


RMS closed a record number of mortgages in ’19 and plans to do even better in ’20

Business is booming for Residential Mortgage Services and they seem keenly focused on adding originators and staff. The purchase-focused mortgage lender generated record mortgage loan volume of $5 billion in 2019, a 27.4% increase compared to 2018 when RMS originated $3.9 billion.

Up NEXT is particularly interested in lender growth stories. Why? Because when the industry is in growth mode, lenders need effective ways to attract great talent and retain the superstar players they already have — so execs, watch market activity and prepare. (We’ve covered ROI and company culture at NEXT events and it’s sure to be a key talking point among execs at #NEXTWINTER20, both from the stage and at the networking lunch tables.)

Here’s what James Seely, president and CEO of RMS, says about their hiring plans: “In 2020, we will remain focused on further optimizing our strong origination performance by adding high-quality loan officers, who are committed to both RMS and their personal goals, and operational professionals who are passionate about delivering a frictionless origination experience for our customers”

Be advised, RMS isn’t national. But we love success stories at Up NEXT, so let’s watch and see what happens (i.e. learn). RMS operates in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Eastern Seaboard markets. Last year they closed more than 19,500 loans, an increase of 19% over 2018. Purchase loans represented 73% of total volume, significantly higher than industry averages. And average production per loan officer was $18.4 million, significantly above industry averages.

Currently, RMS employs more than 750 employees companywide, with approximately 275 loan officers and is a licensed lender in 23 states and the District of Columbia. RMS offers a wide range of mortgage products including conventional purchase and refinance home loans, as well as VA, FHA, USDA-RD and many state-sponsored loan programs.

More employee-focused news: Staffing company enters mortgage space

If you’re wondering if anyone else has noticed the mortgage industry’s need for ways to find key employees, wonder no more. We’ve officially caught the attention of non-mortgage staffing folks who apparently see the potential in our segment.

Chances are, you’ve never heard of technology staffing firm CompuGroup Technologies, aka CGT Staffing.  Well, they’re hoping to change that. CGT Staffing has announced its expansion into the mortgage, title, and escrow industry. These efforts will encompass all operational functions across title, appraisal, settlement, and vendor management with an emphasis on both regional and national firms, the company said in a statement.

The move makes sense as the president and CEO Bill Welge has almost 25 years of mortgage industry experience. Welge began his career in 1987 as a mortgage underwriter for Triumphe Financial.  In 2000, Welge assumed the role of COO at Realty Data Corp, providing advanced solutions to local governments and businesses in the title industry. In 2005, he founded RecordFusion, drawing on his experience in the real estate industry to focus primarily on land title records. 

So if you need to ramp up operations, you’ve got another option to consider. Please note that Up NEXT is not making an endorsement here, or anywhere. We’re just reporting on developments in the mortgage, housing and lifestyle industries.

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