Quicken Loans’ next move is into data and analytics

As the nation’s top lender Quicken Loans has tons of data on the nation’s properties and the nonbank mortgage lending giant thinks it can leverage it into valuable industry insight. After the successful launch of its Neighborhood Trends Reports, the company will soon begin releasing a Property Report according to this interview in MReport.

“Our Property Reports deliver ultra-unique insights like: what types of homes are selling in a mile radius of the address, which similar homes are selling, how a certain type of home is trending in my market and what neighboring markets are doing with homes similar to mine,” said Sam Vida is the President and Co-Founder. “So, we’re going to be delivering what we believe is one of the more valuable solutions in the industry.”

Vida uses the appreciation of values in his area, compared with some markets that are really slowing down, to underpin his argument that the ability to localize the information in the reports would be insanely valuable to the industry.

“It is a very precise search area that delivers contextual information about the market around that house, instead of the standard data points found on other home search sites,” he added.

Think tank warns flood insurance could spark foreclosure crisis

Climate change. It should be a concern to anyone who owns a property. Mother Nature is unpredictable. She can – and does – lead to widespread property damage, and recovery can be challenging, time consuming and expensive. The ripple effect rolls right into the insurance segment. According to a new report from the Center for Public Integrity, rising flood insurance premiums could cause a foreclosure crisis in certain neighborhoods particularly at risk. 

“As even more communities reckon with rising sea levels and catastrophic storms, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is encouraging homeowners and renters to “buy as much flood insurance as they can”,” writes environment reporter Jie Jenny Zou. But such protection is becoming more expensive as environmental disasters become harder to predict but no less devastating.

“As the cost of flood protection soars, insurance itself could be what pushes people from their homes long before climate change does,” Zou argues. In the article, the particular risk falls to lower-income neighborhoods, who most feel the squeeze of rising premiums. One proposed solution is to lower premiums for those who “take measures to flood-proof their properties like elevating homes on stilts.” But there’s a challenge there, too. For a household struggling to pay flood insurance premiums, elective remodeling is not going to be an option.

Sales of newly built homes go through the roof

New home sales are at their highest level since the housing crisis, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. MarketWatch said they’ve reached their highest level since 2007.

Sales of new single‐family houses in January 2020 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 764,000. This is 7.9 percent (±17.8 percent) above the revised December rate of 708,000 and is 18.6 percent (±19.2 percent) above the January 2019 estimate of 644,000. 

The median sales price of new houses sold in January 2020 was $348,200. The average sales price was $402,300.  

What is pushing the pace forward? According to Yahoo Finance, one factor is mortgage rates, which are now near three-year lows. Mix that with high consumer confidence and steady employment and voila, you get a winning formula. 

“Stronger demand against a backdrop of lean inventories will probably power residential construction for a third straight quarter and contribute to economic growth as business investment remains tepid and concerns mount about the economic repercussions of the coronavirus,” the report states, citing Bloomberg author Katia Dmitrieva.

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