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07/15/2021

Fannie Mae Survey: Homebuyers Remain Satisfied With Mortgage Process

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Consumers remained satisfied with their mortgage experience despite the COVID-19 pandemic and lenders moving to remote working conditions and handling record-high origination volume, according to Fannie Mae’s latest National Housing Survey.

The survey showed that 88% of recent homebuyers expressed satisfaction with the mortgage process during the first quarter of 2021. This remained unchanged from 2020.

More consumers are gradually migrating to a complete digital process. According to the survey, 12% of recent homebuyers conducted their transaction completely online during Q1 2021. This is up from 7% compared to the same period a year ago.

Additionally, 46% preferred reviewing their final loan documents online. This is up from 42% during the first quarter of 2018.

Of those who used digital channels, a majority of recent borrowers (57%) said the pandemic had no impact on their decision to use digital channels, but a reasonable proportion (38%) did indicate that the pandemic had some influence on their decision to use digital channels.

Compared to 2018, there was an increase in recent homebuyers preferring to do early mortgage tasks online, such as learning about the mortgage process or better understanding different terms and options. Tasks involved later in the process—including pre-qualification or getting updates about their loan—showed a decrease in preference for online tools. In 2020, online preference continued to hover around 50% or lower for most tasks—except submitting financial documents—which was nearly 70%. This further confirmed borrowers’ desire for continued in-person help and support as they navigate the mortgage process, according to Fannie Mae.

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Additional differences were illuminated after looking at online mortgage task preferences by race and income levels. Of the recent homebuyers surveyed in 2020, higher-income, Asian, and Black respondents showed a stronger preference for conducting mortgage tasks online, while lower-income and Hispanic consumers demonstrated a stronger preference for conducting tasks with an in-person representative or by phone.

The survey results supported the fact that a “one size fits all” digital process may not be the right approach to best meet the needs of all consumer groups. Businesses should be sensitive to the diverse needs of individuals and groups.

Fannie Mae reported it expected a larger increase in the percentage of homebuyers that wanted to use online channels for mortgage tasks.

“Consumer satisfaction in the mortgage experience remained high during the pandemic, but the change in consumers using online processes was not as large as we expected,” Fannie Mae wrote on its blog. “The shift to digital continues to be a gradual process, with certain segments showing different online servicing/in-person needs. Since buying a home is an infrequent and complicated expense, shifting to online-only channels appears to be an imperfect solution for many borrowers who have questions and want to make the right choices.”

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