For mortgage lending professionals, now is the time to invest in continuing education. When it comes to career opportunities, mortgage professionals can rest assured they’ve chosen a high-growth industry that will provide a fulfilling and rewarding path. While the housing market is heating up nationwide, mortgage lending professionals are busy fulfilling applications on their clients’ behalf. A low housing supply has turned into a high demand for homebuyers of both existing and new builds.
Though real estate has plenty of career opportunities nationwide, some markets are hotter than others. This means that for mortgage loan professionals, relocation out-of-state may be an enticing venture. However, with certain regulations being administered at a state level, mortgage loan originators will have to comply with their state’s licensing requirements. If you’re looking for continuing education opportunities to fulfill your state’s mortgage loan originators license renewal requirements, StateCE’s nationwide continuing education program can support you in obtaining your state-specific CE credits.
Housing Market Opportunities
In June 2017, the US housing market made its eighth full year of recovery since the recession. Anyone working in the industry since that time has seen dramatic progress in how far we’ve come. Investor confidence is back in full swing, and it’s showing in the monthly numbers.
So far this year, the housing market has hit record highs in sales volume, housing values, mortgage applications and days on the market. The speed at which homes are going under contract is what has astonished most experts this year. Twenty-seventeen has so far produced the highest pace of housing sales on record.
It isn’t just how fast homes are selling. It is also the prices at which they’re selling as well as other promising market indicators. These resulttis combine to reflect a strong housing market forecast for years to come. Here’s a look at some of the growth indicators in the current real estate market:
Days on Market: Fast has been the main theme for 2017’s housing market. Houses are selling at lightning speed, which is great news for sellers. The reason for this comes down to supply and demand. In many of America’s hottest housing markets, there’s simply a shortage of mid-range homes available, including those suitable for first-time homebuyers hoping to break into the market. Because of this, buyers watching the listings go up in real-time snap up average single-family homes quickly.
In March of this year, the average home went under contract in just 49 days. This is down from 60 days at the same time in 2016. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) also reported that 42% of homes sold in less than a month for the first three months of the year. In February, some of the hottest markets experienced sales in an average of just 23 days.
In metro markets, desirable single-family homes and condos are being sold in a matter of days and some even before they hit the listings. In many markets, homes are going well over asking price.
Sales Volume: Another important housing market indicator that shows rising opportunities in real estate is the number of existing homes being sold. In hot markets, it’s fair to say that more homes would be selling if more were available for sale. Experts feel that has been the case with the first half of 2017.
Real estate giant, Redfin reported that in March of 2017, home sales grew by 9% over March 2016. This strong growth was despite the fact that there were 13% fewer homes for sale this year. Redfin also reported that 32 of the 90 biggest metro housing markets saw double-digit increases in sales volume over the previous year. The hottest market in this metric was Poughkeepsie, NY, which was up 41% over March of last year.
In markets with populations of 1.5 million or more, there were 243,800 homes sold in March 2017. Rounding out the top three spots were Atlanta GA, Chicago IL and Phoenix AZ, which sold more than 9,000 homes each in March alone.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that in May 2017, 33% of transactions were from first-time homebuyers, up 3% from May 2016. Investors made up 16% of transactions in May 2017, also up 3% from the same time last year. NAR went on to report that in May 2017, 41% of existing home sales in the country came from the south region, followed by the Midwest at 23%.
Home Prices: In a hot market, the law of supply and demand is at play, which means that housing prices will inevitably climb. In March 2017, the median price of a home for sale grew 7.5% from the previous year to $273,000. According to NAR, 41% of May 2017’s sales were in the $100,000-$250,000 price range, followed by 34% in the $250,000-$500,000 price range.
Redfin reported that in March 2017, 21.7% of homes sold for over their asking price, which only slightly outpaces last year’s over-asking rate of 26.6%. On the west coast, markets grew extremely competitive. In March, 69.6% of San Jose homes sold for over the asking price. This followed by 66.7% in San Francisco, 65.9% in Oakland, 56.6% in Seattle and 44.4% in Tacoma WA.
Mortgage Originations: The residential mortgage market is one of the main driving factors when it comes to real estate prices and transaction numbers in the US. In fact, ours is the largest mortgage market in the world and has a balance of roughly $8.48 trillion outstanding as of the end of 2016. In the fourth quarter of 2016, mortgage originations totaled $617 billion, which was up 41.2% from the final quarter of 2015 when the total was $437 billion in mortgage originations.
Despite fluctuating interest rates, demands for mortgages have been rising steadily since 2015. This includes demand for mortgages on new housing starts. In March 2017, mortgage applications on newly built homes were up 6.7% year-over-year. The Mortgage Bankers Association said this is the highest level of demand they’ve seen for mortgages on new construction since they began tracking this indicator in 2012.
New Housing Starts: New construction rates are becoming increasingly more important as the supply of existing homes remains low in metro areas. New housing starts grew in the first couple of months of 2017 but have since slowed. New housing starts fell 5.5% in May with building permits also declining 4.9%. However, new construction rates are still up 3.2% for the year. With low unemployment, experts expect that a healthy job market will drive up new home construction for 2017.
Housing Market Forecast
So what can existing market conditions tell us about the outlook and opportunities for employees in the real estate industry? Experts are saying certain factors will determine how the housing market will continue to play out for the remainder of 2017 and throughout the next 12-18 months at least. Here are some of the indicators of a strong housing market with increasing career opportunities for mortgage lending professionals:
- Demand Will Stay Strong: If sales rates do slow down or begin to plateau, it won’t be because of a lack of demand. Experts point to a chronically low inventory being the only factor capping off existing home sales. If the inventory were available, there would be more buyers and investors bolstering the market. To experts, this indicates that it’s still very much a seller’s market and higher home values will continue to support the market.
- Mortgage Originations Will Climb: Mortgage experts feel that application rates will continue to grow in the coming months given the high demand from homebuyers. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage application rates are up despite an increase in interest rates. Well-qualified mortgage borrowers will continue to drive the mortgage market despite further expected interest rate increases.
- Unemployment is Low: Unemployment rates are very low. At just 4.4% in April, more Americans are working more hours and at higher wages. A strong job market means more employment opportunities for families and first-time homebuyers, which are the cornerstone of the US housing market. As more households continue to feel a sense of job security, it will translate into a fuller and stronger housing market.
- Foreclosure Rates Have Dropped: For anyone starting or continuing a career as a mortgage lending professional, it’s important to know that foreclosure rates have reached a 10-year low. After the housing market had collapsed, stricter lending regulations tightened up the mortgage market, which eliminated unqualified buyers and risky loans. The result has been a healthy, stable housing market that can sustain future growth.
- Builders are Optimistic: The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released a report in May 2017 indicating that consumer and developer confidence is increasing when it comes to new home construction. The NAHB and Wells Fargo release an annual Housing Market Index (HMI), which surveys builders and their expectations for the single-family home construction market. This year’s HMI showed the highest result since 2005, demonstrating that builders feel optimistic about the future of the housing market.
Federal and State Licensing Requirements
The mortgage lending industry is tightly regulated when it comes to issuing licenses to mortgage loan originators. The Federal SAFE Act (Secure And Fair Enforcement) for mortgage licensing requires that all individuals who act as residential mortgage loan originators be licensed and registered with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLS).
All individual mortgage loan originators (MLO) must renew their licenses through the NMLS annually between November 1st and December 31st. In August 2012, the NMLS Policy Committee passed a new policy about continuing education (CE). To be eligible for licensing renewals, MLOs must complete at least eight hours of CE during the year after their approved license status. The NMLS designed this policy to ensure more consistency across all mortgage state-licensing agencies.
The NMLS recommends having all eight hours of CE courses completed by their Smart Deadline of Monday, December 18, 2017. Anyone who does not complete their CE requirements by Monday, December 25, 2017, is at-risk of missing the renewal deadline. Additionally, MLOs are guaranteed to miss the NMLS’s renewal deadline if you don’t complete your CE requirements by Sunday, December 31, 2017.
In addition to the eight hours of CE required by the NMLS, many states require MLOs to complete CE requirements before they submit their licensing renewal request. You must also complete these requirements within the license renewal timeline to be registered with the NMLS.
Continuing Education for Mortgage Professionals
As a mortgage professional, you know that time management and efficiency are critical as you develop your career. That’s why StateCE has developed a cost-effective and nationwide solution for continuing education. StateCE offers students a comprehensive selection of CE programs for different states.
StateCE students can rest assured knowing that our solutions make it easy to renew their licenses and stay compliant with all requirements. It’s also affordable and flexible making it a convenient option for working professionals. Here are some of the benefits of choosing StateCE for your continued education requirements:
- NMLS-Approved Programs: StateCE is a credible provider of CE courses for Mortgage Loan Originators. The NMLS and state-specific licensing bodies have approved all of the courses we offer. Our courses offer students up-to-date and relevant materials that cover vital industry topics. StateCE courses have been designed and developed by experienced industry experts. These mortgage professionals have vast knowledge on national and state level licensing requirements, and they ensure students receive the best continuing education available. Choose from a variety of courses including Truth in Lending Act, ECOA and regulation B and many more.
- Flexible Study Options: StateCE understands that each student has their preferred study method. That’s why we’re proud to offer our students flexible course-taking options. One of the most convenient options today is online learning, which allows the freedom to make your own study schedule. We also send out hard-copy course materials via postal mail. If you’re located in Texas, you’re able to attend classes in our physical locations. No matter which option you choose, you’re guaranteed a high-quality learning experience that will prepare you for your final examinations.
- Convenient Online Learning Environment: StateCE believes in making learning as convenient and affordable as possible. That’s why our online learning environment has become a popular study option. You can access your study materials anytime from anywhere through our user-friendly interface. As busy professionals, mortgage loan originators prefer the option of maintaining a flexible schedule so that their CE courses don’t disrupt their work and home lives.
Students can also rest assured knowing that StateCE has fast a processing rate. We submit CE credits to your state licensing body the following business day once you’ve completed your courses. Upon completing your CE requirements, you’ll also receive a certificate of completion, provided this is allowed by your state.
Enrolling With StateCE
StateCE has provided continuing education solutions to over 100,000 professionals and tradespeople nationwide. As the lowest-cost provider of continuing education in the country, StateCE offers a 100% Price Match Guarantee to ensure you get the most affordable programs available.
If you’re looking to renew your NMLS and state-specific CE requirements this year, browse through our course catalog to see the industry-leading courses we provide. Check out more information on StatCE’s affordable opportunities for Mortgage Loan Originators.