Buyers require more resources to navigate mortgage options, costs and purchase decisions
While a record number of homeowners report their most recent home buying experience was excellent, their appetite for resources and guidance throughout the mortgage process is stronger than ever, according to recent research from TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®.
TD's Mortgage Service Index, a national survey of more than 1,800 consumers who purchased a home in the last 10 years, examines perceptions around the home buying and mortgage experience as well as the housing market.
Despite rate uncertainty and limited inventory, homebuyers are optimistic in the current environment. Of those surveyed, 83 percent said it's a good time to buy a home and 30 percent are very or extremely likely to buy a home in the next three years. This was particularly true for the New York City/Long Island market, where 48 percent said they are extremely likely to purchase a home in the next year or so.
Technology Enhances and Advances the Mortgage Process
The number of homeowners who applied for a mortgage online has increased from one in eight (13 percent) in 2014 to more than one in five (21 percent) this year, demonstrating a gradual shift to the online channel. What's more, 60 percent said the entire mortgage process lasted four weeks or less – an all-time high for the number of borrowers completing the process within the span of just a month.
"Digital platforms are speeding up mortgage processing on the front and back ends," said Rick Bechtel, Head of U.S. Residential Lending for TD Bank. "When borrowers leverage online platforms for providing documents and completing necessary forms, we have found it reduces information intake time by more than 60 percent on average."
The proportion of consumers who rated their home buying experience as excellent has doubled from 16 percent in 2014 to 32 percent this year. At the same time, 30 percent said the experience was very or extremely stressful, a figure which has remained stable since 2014.
Advice from Realtors, Bankers and Relatives Tops Buyers' Sources
Despite the proliferation of home buying resources online, fewer consumers today believe they have enough resources to educate themselves on the mortgage process than three years ago (82 percent in 2019 versus 90 percent in 2016). In fact, for the first time in six years, the top three sources of information used by homebuyers did not include online sources. This year’s respondents instead turned to realtors (51 percent), in-person representatives at their local bank (42 percent) and family/friends (38 percent), signaling that prospective buyers are seeking personalized advice and guidance.
"Today, homebuyers can search online for the basics of the mortgage process, leading to remarkably more informed borrowers than we saw even a decade ago. But the reality is homebuying requires navigating financial options, legal obligations, local guidelines and complex processes that occur on tight timelines," said Bechtel. "It's up to mortgage bankers to provide borrowers with expert, personalized guidance to reduce stress and create clarity as they make one of the most significant financial decisions of their lives."
Aligned to TD's expectations, the survey uncovered substantial evidence that homebuyers need guidance on costs, loan options and affordability programs:
- Nearly a third (30 percent) of homeowners incurred $2,000 or more in unexpected charges during the home buying process.
- Nearly three quarters (74 percent) of homeowners took out a 30-year fixed rate or 15-year fixed rate mortgage, yet 52 percent plan to stay in their home for 10 years or less.
- Forty-two percent of homeowners are unaware of affordability programs, which is significant considering the increasing number of buyers contributing less than 20 percent to a down payment. In 2016, nearly half (48 percent) of homeowners said they put down 20 percent or more, as compared to just 36 percent in 2019.
More information about TD Bank’s mortgage offerings can be found at https://www.td.com/us/en/personal-banking/mortgage/.
The study was conducted by research company Maru/Matchbox. Respondents were composed of a nationally representative sample of 1,801 American homeowners, with a margin of error of +/- 2.3 percent. The survey was fielded from April 2 to 17, 2019. Data has been weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the population.
Maru/Matchbox is a professional services firm dedicated to improving its clients' business outcomes. It delivers its services through teams of sector-specific research consultants that have technology in their DNA, specializing in the use of Insight Community and Voice of Market technology. Maru/Matchbox research drives decision-making across all aspects of customer experience, including innovation, product, branding, commercialization and communications.
About TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 9 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,200 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit www.td.com/us. Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank and on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/TDBank_US.
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol "TD". To learn more, visit www.td.com/us.