LendingTree: Small town living pricier than top metros

Small-town living may not be as affordable as once thought, according to a LendingTree analysis. The study found small towns Vineyard Haven, Mass., where the median home price is $667,400, followed by $598,900 in Summit Park, Utah and $563,100 in Jackson, Wyo., have the most expensive home prices of the country’s small towns.

Data show both the median price in Vineyard Haven and in Summit Park, are more expensive than the median price in Los Angeles, primarily due to their location. The report notes that, at the same time, Americans living in the most expensive small towns are likely to earn less income than their larger city peers.

LendingTree analyzed the top 50 towns in the United States with populations under 50,000, that had the most expensive home values and compared that ranking to home values in the nation’s 50 largest cities, based on the 2018 American Community Survey with 5-Year Estimates.

“Many towns across the country are chock full of expensive real estate, with prices that rival those common in big cities,” wrote Tendayi Kapfidze, vice president, chief economist at LendingTree and author of the report. “These findings suggest that small-town living may not be as affordable as once thought. The real estate mantra, “location, location, location,” holds true even for small towns, but some of them can be pricey.”

Real affordability however largely depends onthe median home value-to-income ratio.

The report found the median home prices in Vineyard Haven, Mass., Breckenridge, Colo. and Jackson, Wyo., are an average of 7.5 times higher than the median area income, and the most expensive in the nation. 

The least expensive homes are in Los Alamos, N.M., Gillette, Wyo. and Rock Springs, Wyo., where the median home price is an average 2.7 times higher than the median area income.

On average, buying a home in one of the nation’s 50 most expensive towns costs $271,224, slightly more than the $269,180 average price of buying a home in one of the top 50 metros, the report notes.



MGIC integrates with Lender Price on PPE cloud platform

Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC)continues to digitize operations including via two new integrations. Most recently, MGIC announced it has fully integrated with Lender Price on its cloud-based mortgage finance product, pricing and eligibility (PPE) platform, giving loan officers instant access to MGIC’s risk based MiQ pricing on PPE.

After providing private mortgage insurance (PMI) successfully for 60 years, “today we rely on integrations like these to continue to live up to that legacy,” said Margaret Crowley, MGIC VP of marketing and customer experience. The Lender Price platform will provide MGIC customers “with a streamlined and efficient PMI quote experience.”

The integration aligns with our commitment to provide lenders and their loan officers “quick access to competitive private mortgage insurance quotes,” said Dawar Alimi, co-founder and CEO of Lender Price, a big data and digital mortgage lending fintech for lenders, banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers.

Based in Milwaukee, MGIC is the principal subsidiary of MGIC Investment Corporation that serves lenders throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and other locations.

Earlier in November, MGIC announced a digital integration partnership with Mortgage Coach, which specializes in borrower education and digital marketing solutions for mortgage loan officers, to bring real time PMI quotes to the Mortgage Coach platform optimizing pricing speed and accuracy.

Through a suite of enterprise, online and mobile applications, such as charts of mortgage and PMI options, video narration, and live updates, Mortgage Coach connects borrowers with mortgage lenders and realtors on any device, the company said.  

The MGIC technology integration automates the delivery of MGIC’s PMI rate quotes giving mortgage loan officers live access to insurance information they can immediately include in their loan scenarios, without leaving the Mortgage Coach home loan strategy and virtual presentation platform.

“The best customer service is fast and reliable. This integration will ensure quick and accurate mortgage insurance quotes for loan officers and their borrowers,” said Crowley.

The Mortgage Coach MGIC integration is available to any lender with access to Mortgage Coach Enterprise Edition and an active MGIC Policy account.  

“More than twenty percent of our loans have mortgage insurance, translating to thousands of units per year,” said Paul Anastos, chief innovation officer at Guaranteed Rate, Inc. “Clearly communicating MI benefits early in the borrower conversation is a significant competitive advantage for our team. Having our specific MI quote available instantly within Mortgage Coach saves time on every presentation.” 

Geneva hires Tiffany Graves as head of underwriting

Privately owned mortgage lender Geneva Financial Home Loans based in Chandler, Arizona, announces that Tiffany Graves has joined the company as national head of underwriting, responsible for identifying risk policy and processes, to protect and support the company’s risk management goals.

In her role, Graves “will focus on achieving industry-leading rapid underwriting turn-times” while maintaining the integrity of the company’s underwriting policies and standards, the company said in a welcoming statement.

An industry veteran based in Cleveland, Ohio, Graves brings more than 20 years of mortgage, credit risk and management experience and executive leadership to Geneva, a full-service lender with over 130 branches in 43 states.

“We are very excited to have Tiffany join our management team,” said Telle’ VanTrojen, CEO at Geneva Financial. “A capable and seasoned professional, she will bring a level of integrity and efficiency to our underwriting, risk management, and quality control systems that is required to meet the extraordinary trajectory of growth we have been on for eight straight quarters.”

Graves joins Geneva from JP Morgan Chase where she served for eleven years, most recently as the underwriting site manager.

“I’m excited to join a company that is on-trend for multiple record-breaking years in a row,” said Graves. “This allows great opportunity for me to build the infrastructure required to meet Geneva’s growth pattern and make the impact my experience in the industry has prepared me to execute.”

In her hometown of Cleveland, along with her family, Graves enjoys hosting game nights, paint and sips, and dinner parties, and looks forward to hosting again post-COVID.

“I speak for the entire Geneva family when I say we are looking forward to Tiffany structuring our underwriting efforts to support our growth,” said VanTrojen.

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