In the latest quarterly survey of independent title agents and other real estate professionals, the First American Real Estate Sentiment Index (RESI) showed that in Q4 2017, optimism is mostly on the rise.
The report finds that confidence for transaction volume growth over the next 12 months increased 0.5 percent from Q3 2017—experiencing an increase by 5.3 percent compared with a year ago.
In addition, confidence in refinancing transaction volume growth increased by 4.6 percent month-over-month. Refinance transaction volume experienced an additional increase year-over-year of 2.7 percent.
As for purchase transaction volume, confidence for growth over the next 12 months decreased 2.7 percent from last quarter. However, the confidence was still up year-over-year—with an increase of 7.6 percent.
The report notes that prices across all property types are expected to decrease by 0.5 percentage points over the next 12 months, compared to Q3.
"Optimism among title agents and real estate professionals increased this quarter, as they expressed confidence that transaction volume will grow in the coming year,” said Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American. "Supply-side challenges may be the reason for the decline in optimism for the residential purchase market.”
Another aspect the report highlighted was the effectiveness in closing real estate transactions with fintech. According to Fleming, title agents and real estate professionals saw clear value in automated loan approval and electronic data collection technology to facilitate the digital mortgage and reduce the burden of document signing.
“Interestingly, the difference in favorable responses to the two different forms of eSigning (in-person or online/remote/webcam) highlights the current debate over the role of a notary public in the closing process,” Fleming noted.
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