Morning Briefing: New mortgage joint venture for Realogy, Guaranteed Rate

by Steve Randall16 Feb 2017

New mortgage joint venture for Realogy, Guaranteed Rate

Real estate services firm Reology and mortgage provider Guaranteed Rate have announced a new joint venture.

Guaranteed Rate Affinity LLC is expected to begin doing business in June 2017 and will acquire certain assets of the mortgage operations of PHH Home Loans, a joint venture between Realogy and PHH Mortgage.

Those assets include its four regional mortgage origination and processing centers, its relocation division and employees across the United States.

"As we evaluated potential new options for our mortgage origination venture, Guaranteed Rate was clearly the right strategic partner to help our company-owned brokerage business and its affiliated sales associates offer an innovative and streamlined mortgage process built on best-in-class technology," said Richard A. Smith, Realogy's Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President. "Mortgage financing is a service we have provided for more than 20 years. We are delighted to partner with Guaranteed Rate and are excited to embark on this new relationship that will substantially enhance our service offerings to our customers."

The asset purchase agreement is subject to shareholder approval and certain other closing conditions.


Builder confidence eases as buyer traffic slips

The confidence of American homebuilders in the market for newly-built single-family homes slipped slightly this month as buyer traffic reduced.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index was down 2 points to 65 this month but builders remain largely optimistic despite regulatory burdens, which NAHB hopes to overcome by working with the new administration.

“With much of the decline this month resulting from a decrease in buyer traffic, builders continue to struggle to minimize costs while dealing with supply side challenges such as a lack of developed lots and labor shortages,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Despite these constraints, the overall housing market fundamentals remain strong and we expect to see continued growth this year as some of these concerns are addressed.”

Confidence in the market remains highest in the West, followed by the South, Midwest and Northeast.


Mortgage applications down
There were fewer mortgage applications last week, the Mortgage Bankers’ Association says.

Its Mortgage Market Composite Index was down 3.7 per cent on a seasonally-adjusted basis and down 1 per cent unadjusted, for the week ending February 10, 2017.

The share of refinance loans decreased to 46.9 per cent from 47.9 per cent a week earlier and was the lowest since June 2009.

The refinance index was down 3 per cent while the purchase index fell 5 per cent on an adjusted basis and 1 per cent unadjusted.