The Technology You Need to Pivot to Digital, Now and Post-Pandemic

The Technology You Need to Pivot to Digital, Now and Post-Pandemic

 

COVID-19 is fundamentally changing business, and real estate and financing are no exception. As with every industry, builders and real estate developers are being asked to streamline, be more efficient, and do more with less.

Interestingly, however, a digital transformation had already started in the real estate industry even before the pandemic, as forward-thinkers started to realize the benefits of automation— a transformation known as Proptech.

Deloitte’s Real Estate Predictions(2020) describes Proptech as “part of the wider digital transformation of the property industry. It describes a movement driving a mentality change within the real estate industry and its consumers regarding technology-driven innovation in data assembly (and) transactions…”

Forbes describes it as “businesses using technology to disrupt, and improve the way we buy, rent, sell…residential and commercial property.”

What’s driving the Proptech Revolution? Data, Analytics, Service

Greater customer expectations for more real-time and high-quality services are a major challenge for many real estate and financing businesses. Another driver is the growing importance of data and analytics. Automation presents solutions to these challenges across industries, not only during COVID but also in general.

Lower Costs, Higher Resilience

According to a Bain & Company survey, companies that invested more in automation before the pandemic have reported higher revenues than others, with fewer disruptions to productivity or the supply chain. Interestingly, automation is no longer just about lower costs; it’s about resilience. Companies are increasingly deploying automation to strengthen business resilience, reduce risk and generate useful business insights more easily. They’ve generated higher revenues and experienced fewer disruptions to workforce productivity and demand. Enter the Ownest solution.

Transition Your Teams to Working Remotely

Ownest’s proprietary technology is a perfect example of Proptech and Fintech. The Ownest platform allows builders and sales associates to pivot to remote office work during the pandemic. The entire team–from management to marketing and sales can access Ownest’s secure cloud-based solution from anywhere and on any device, 24/7. You’ll never fall behind because the system updates in real-time, so you’ll always know what is happening on any sale, from anywhere. That’s resilience!

The Ownest Solution–Efficient, Automated, Flexible

The solution saves time and resources by automating time-consuming tasks like document gathering and customer communication (executing tasks in70% less time and67% less documentation.) The convenient and user-friendly app guides the customer through the self-managed online loan application. It automatically sends timely reminders on your behalf–increasing the application completion rate and leading to faster closing times. The platform instantly qualifies and ranks applicants and verifies in come using AI. It gathers customer insights to leverage upselling and cross-selling and builds customer loyalty through automated engagement. Data, analytics, service–and all the benefits of this unique Proptech application are accessible remotely.

Bottom Line–AutomationBoosts Sales

Automation has been proven to make a difference by increasing selling time for sales people and channel partners. It does this by streamlining and automating back-office sales support tasks, giving sales people more time to focus on high-value, sales-oriented activities. Moving to automation has benefits beyond saving money and increasing revenue; it can boost overall worker productivity and customer loyalty. It can also build resiliency in a time like COVID.

Whether you are a builder or developer, Ownest’s cutting-edge platform will allow you to automate the most time-consuming manual tasks performed by your sales teams. By joining the digital transformation now, you’ll strengthen your business’ resilience for the future.

 

Mortgage and Housing Industry News – Insight from An Expert

Mortgage and Housing Industry News – Insight from an Expert

 

As part of Ownest’s commitment to staying on top of the latest industry trends and innovations, we recently attended a webinar by economist and housing expert, Will Dunning. We are pleased to bring you some highlights from the presentation along with some interesting statistics.

 

Highlight Summary

  • Lower rates are driving up home prices across Canada, yet home ownership is still affordable in Alberta, where the combination of low interest rates and lower than average home prices makes Alberta a good place to buy.

  • There was a big shift away from variable mortgages in 2020, simply due to extremely low fixed rates.

  • Usually, past trends give reliable clues about what might happen in the near future. That is not the case in these abnormal times: data on sales has been inconsistent and this may continue. Despite CMHC’s changes to debt ratio policy, which cut homebuyers’ purchase power by up to 11%, and the stress test introduced earlier in the year, there has been a temporary spike in home sales in many places in Canada.

  • What are the implications for mortgage policies of COVID-19? The greatest risk for the mortgage market during the pandemic is loss of ability to pay, not changes in payments.

  • The changes to the stress test were supposed to decrease delinquency rates on mortgages, but the policy has not unfolded as expected. Canadian Bankers Association data shows that of the 795,000 clients who were given mortgage flexibility, 498,000 resumed payments as of September 30, and no doubt more resumed by the end of November. However, a large but unknown number have not yet resumed payments.

  • The direction of ownership rates has reversed due to regulatory changes made in 2016. These changes included lower amortization requirements and higher down payments, which have led to a decline in the overall rate of home ownership.

 

Buyer Insights

  • What is the primary source for down payment for first time buyers? Unlike prevailing thinking, it is not the “Bank of Mom and Dad” but rather it is savings, including RRSP’s.

  • What is the relationship between employment trends and the housing market? The housing market usually takes 3-4 years to catch up to major employment trends. For example, if a person changes employment, they likely will only then begin working towards saving for a down payment, with home ownership following three to four years later.

 

Will Dunning is Chief Economist for Mortgage Professionals Canada and has specialized in the analysis and forecasting of housing markets since 1982. He also operates an economic analysis consulting firm, Will Dunning Inc.

 

New CMHC Lending Criteria

Ownest has in-house mortgage experts

 

 

On June 4, 2020, CMHC announced changes to their underwriting criteria, which will impact sales in some parts of the new home sector. How does this affect home builders, realtors, mortgage brokers – and home buyers?

What are the changes?

  • Credit score requirement increasing from 600 to 680 Beacon;
  • Flex down mortgages are no longer available (no more zero down mortgages);
  • Stricter Debt Servicing Requirements.

When do these changes take effect?

  • July 1st, 2020

Why are they Changing the Criteria?

  • The COVID-19 pandemic, related job losses, business closures and a drop in immigration are adversely impacting Canada’s housing market.
  • CMHC states that these actions will protect home buyers and reduce government and taxpayer risk while stabilizing the housing market.

What do these Changes Mean on a Practical Level?

  • If you have deals in the pipeline, get them to apply for a mortgage NOW. Clients will need to be approved by the lender and insurer (CMHC) prior to July 1st in order to qualify under old rules. After July 2020, there will be more restrictive requirements for credit and debt servicing.
  • For example: For a purchase of a $350,000 house with 5% down the requirement for income is $73,571.13, after the changes the requirement will change to $81,979.26. This will have a significant impact on income requirement.

What can you do to assist your buyers using CMHC?

  • Any clients with lower credit scores, unsure of their direction should firm up purchasing now.
  • Any clients with a little extra debt with the requirement of more flexible guidelines should firm up agreements now.
  • Try to secure new home upgrades as soon as possible to avoid big material changes that require re-approval closer to possession as it may cause an issue.

It is important to note that this is not a directive from the Ministry of Finance, so Canada’s private mortgage insurers such as Genworth and Canada Guaranty are not adopting the new mortgage rules.

Ownest is Here to Help

Ownest’s team of in-house mortgage experts are second-to-none and work with a large network of preferred lenders.

  • We will put in the extra hours necessary to ensure your clients’ needs are met.
  • Any offers submitted where approvals from lenders are obtained, we will ensure CMHC or other insurer approval is obtained;
  • Wherever possible, we will work with lenders that don’t require CMHC or other insurer approval after financing had already been approved, to help ensure your client has approval upon possession (some banks require resubmission closer to possession).

If you need advice or would like us to help you navigate the changing landscape of mortgages, we invite you to contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Contact Ownest for Mortgage Advice