Dart Board Newsletter – SEPTEMBER 2018
Welcome to the September issue of our Dart Board newsletter. Hard to believe it’s fall already! Where has summer gone? Seems like it flew by (so cliché – but so true). This summer was an interesting one for our industry. Normally, we see volume spikes in April through October and a quick July break, but that was not the case this year. Some lenders are reporting record years, but many are experiencing and managing lower mortgage volume. As predicted, overall mortgage volume for our industry this summer was down due to huge reductions in refinance activity as a result of recent rate hikes. 30 year fixed rate mortgages are approaching 5% this week and 10 year treasuries are above 3% (currently highest rate in 7 years). While the purchase market has been stronger than recent years, it has not been able to apex the reduction on the refinance side. This along with continued inventory challenges and affordability issues has really tempered the typical summer volume surge. As an industry, we are accustomed to these cycles and are conditioned for their arrival. On the bright side, mortgage applications for both refinance and purchase activity has increased each of the last two weeks with the most recent increase of nearly a 3% rise per MBA’s latest weekly survey. New home sales, which according to Reuters, had fallen to an 8 year low in June, have shown modest increases last month. As an industry, we’ll take all the positives we can get right now.
Dart On The Go Despite lower volume than a typical summer, Dart Appraisal has been very active this summer on the conference scene. After MBA’s Secondary Conference, we participated in MBA’s Chairman’s Conference, Michigan Mortgage Lenders Conference, FAMP, CUREN events in FL, TX and SoCal, and TMC’s Summer Conference. We also spent time in the field with our appraisers hosting networking and recruiting events in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Houston, Northern Michigan, and central Texas. We feel these in person meet and greets are a great way for us to get to know our appraisers and what we can do better for them. We’ve had great success with that initiative and increased appraiser loyalty, as well as lowering turn time for our clients in those markets as a result. We’re committed to continuing that strategy in other markets across the country.
Acquisition/New Office Earlier this year, Dart acquired another AMC, Atlanta-based Valuation Management Group. That has been a great experience and we’ve gained so many great client and appraiser relationships as a result, as well as many key employees. It’s been a truly wonderful experience. As a result of the acquisition, we have a new office in Atlanta…right next to the beautiful new Braves stadium. As a lifelong Cubs fan and a current resident of metro Detroit and a Tigers fan, it’s tough to root for another team…but I may have found my “third” team.
Commercial Appraisals In addition to the new clients, employees, and appraisers…and office, the acquisition added commercial appraisals to our offerings. As a result, we built a brand new system for managing that part of our business and are in process of rolling that out to our clients in October. We’re really excited about this addition and the ability to provide additional services to our clients. Our services in that area are comprehensive. With the recent change to the de minimis rule, we are well positioned to help lenders nationwide with commercial restricted appraisals and commercial evaluation services in addition to traditional full appraisals. The final rule allows a financial institution to use an evaluation rather than an appraisal for commercial real estate transactions exempted by the $500,000 threshold. Evaluations provide a market value estimate of the real estate pledged as collateral, but do not have to comply with USPAP and do not require completion by a state licensed or certified appraiser. While we always believe the best and most accurate solution is a full appraisal, we acknowledge that some lenders need additional solutions and are proud to offer those. Please let us know if you would like samples or more information.
Looking forward to a bright Q4 and finishing the year strong. I’ll be at MBA’s National Convention in DC in October and look forward to connecting with many of you there. As always, please let me know if there is anything we can do to help. Appreciate all of you. Have a great night!