If you have noticed that your volume is down this year, you are not alone. With a fairly robust winter, I thought we were finally coming back from the recession and I expected a better 2014 than 2013. That however has not been the case. The county I live in (ONONDAGA)in upstate New York is much slower than last year. In fact about 40% slower.
I have spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what caused the slow down. My local bank branch manager tells me that their home equity mortgage market is "anemic" because of the rise in interest rates. My attorney says sales are about average. My stock broker says the older retired population are not getting home equity loans and the middle upper class are choosing alternative methods of getting a loan. For example,the big investment firms allow you to get large "home equity type" loans without having to file the mortgage which saves mortgage tax and filing fees. You also have no title insurance or PMI required. The rates can be lower as well.
I am also finding that with more clerks offering records on line, there is less need for the independent abstractor. Many of these searches are being done half way around the world.
While we cannot change the way that people borrow money, we can have conversations with our local county clerk and explain to them that they have fundamentally changed our industry and not for the better. The way they give access to the records determines whether we stay in business.