DS News

DS News August 2022

DSNews delivers stories, ideas, links, companies, people, events, and videos impacting the mortgage default servicing industry.

Issue link: http://digital.dsnews.com/i/1475522

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Page 49 of 99

48 until at least August 31, 2020, and allowing the right to request a forbearance for up to 180 days. Section 4024(b) of the CARES Act provides for a 120-day moratorium (beginning on the day the Act was signed, March 27, on eviction filings for rental units in properties that participate in federal assistance programs, or have a federally backed mortgage or multifamily mortgage loan. In the CFPB's "Characteristics of Mortgage Borrowers During the COVID-19 Pandemic" report released in May of 2021, it was found that, despite protections being equal for all under the CARES Act, experiences differed substantially by race, with roughly 3.7% of white borrowers in some stage of forbearance, and 0.5% deemed delinquent. e same CFPB analysis found that Black and Hispanic borrowers were much more likely to experience either of these outcomes, with Black borrowers 2.5-times more likely to end up in forbearance (9.2%) and two times more likely to end up delinquent (1.0%) compared to white borrowers. Hispanics were 2.3-times more likely to end up in forbearance (8.4%), and nearly 1.5-times more likely to end up delinquent (0.7%). Other-race borrowers were also more likely to experience forbearance compared to whites, but were less likely to end up delinquent. As variants of COVID-19 began to emerge, the proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel" grew more and more distant, but the industry again jumped into action and worked hand-in-hand with the government to ensure Americans remained in their homes during this unprecedented time. e Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued Mortgagee Letter 2021-15, Freddie Mac issued Bulletin 2021-23, and Fannie Mae updated Lender Letter 2021-02, all of which extended the previously announced foreclosure moratoriums through July 31, 2021. As programs geared to assist borrowers during the pandemic began to wind down, the current housing situation could be best described as challenging for many. First-time buyers are still challenged by record-high prices, as Redfin reported that the median sale price for U.S. homes during the four weeks ending July 10 was up 12% year- over-year at $393,449, down just 0.7% from its record-breaking June peak. e U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) found the annual inflation rate accelerated to 9.1% in June 2022, up from May's reported rate of 8.6%—marking the highest rate recorded since November of 1981. e National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports that volatility in the lumber market since April 2020, has sent builder confidence into a tailspin, as softwood lumber prices have increased enough to add $14,345 to the price of an average new single-family home, and $5,511 to the market value of an average new multifamily home, as builder confidence dipped for the seventh straight month. DS News recently had the opportunity to chat with a cross-section of the industry to gauge the current state of the marketplace. And while "uncertainty" remains the theme of the day, lessons learned over the past 24-plus months since the outset of the pandemic are proving valuable as the market chases a state of correction. From servicers to subservicers, to tech providers and credit unions, all were impacted and here are their insights. JIM ALBERTELLI, CEO, Voxtur Responsible for the overall vision and direction of Voxtur, Jim Albertelli has more than 25 years' experience in the real estate and technology sectors, having developed multiple technology platforms that support real estate investors and servicers. Voxtur offers targeted data analytics to simplify tax solutions, property valuation, and settlement services throughout the lending lifecycle, for investors, lenders, government agencies, and servicers. As the pandemic set in, the industry increasingly embraced tech operations, whether it be for social distancing reasons, streamlining ops, or just staying in touch with team members, and Albertelli noted that Voxtur saw many other advantages of tech throughout. "I think underwriters having digital certainty around the income and assets and employment and having digital certainty around a particular property is going to make their job less risky, and more efficient," Albertelli said. "I think that will turn into a reduction of costs for consumers and originators, and ultimately, investors as well. I see this new digital world transforming itself, and I see the Biden administration, the FHFA, GSEs, and regulators supporting change now, which is great to see. I see the GSEs embracing the change." Albertelli and the Voxtur team analyzed the events of the pandemic, saw some gaps in workflow, and developed methods to simplify and smooth out these processes to get through the present and future industry turning points should they arise. "e lenders, large banks, and large independent mortgage banks will survive," Albertelli said. "ey will engage vendors like Voxtur to continue to reduce costs. Right now, you have got remote online notarization, e-recording, alternative title insurance—efficiency gains all throughout the process. I could certainly see that future. We will continue to work in the ecosystem to continue to innovate and continue to try to reduce closing costs, while increasing home affordability and transparency. I think the firms that align themselves with those goals are going to be successful long-term." Cover Story "We will continue to work in the ecosystem to continue to innovate and continue to try to reduce closing costs, while increasing home affordability and transparency. I think the firms that align themselves with those goals are going to be successful long-term." —Jim Albertelli, CEO, Voxtur By: Eric C. Peck

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