Real Estate Technology, Mortgage and Lending
PRnewswire | July 21, 2023
FirstClose, Inc., a leading fintech provider of data and workflow solutions for mortgage and home equity lenders nationwide, announced today that its home equity origination platform—FirstClose Equity— is now integrated with Encompass® by ICE Mortgage Technology®, part of ICE, a global data, technology and market infrastructure company that designs, builds and operates digital networks to connect people to opportunity.
Through the new integration, Encompass users can seamlessly originate home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and home equity loans (HELs) within their LOS and complete the application through closing process in as few as 10 days versus the industry average of 45 to 60 days. Encompass will continue to be the system of record because all data is secured through the LOS and stored there. Each call to action initiates a data map and an audit trail to Encompass.
FirstClose's one-of-a-kind home equity solution reduces operational touchpoints to elevate the overall customer experience for borrowers. The solution also enables lenders to automate data collection, verification, and continue to order settlement services through FirstClose's existing order management module.
"Home equity lending has become a go-to option for millions of homeowners and is expected to be a significant growth opportunity for the foreseeable future," said Tedd Smith, Chief Executive Officer at FirstClose. "Our integration with ICE Mortgage's platform will give Encompass users a simple, efficient way to either enter this market or to differentiate themselves by significantly improving the customer experience that they are offering."
The end-to-end platform was built modularly so lenders can implement one, two or all modules based on the approach that's right for their organization.
Point of Sale (POS): A private-label borrower-facing point-of-sale solution with a unique borrower experience – single sign on, workflow, and customized branding including domain that gives consumers instant online feedback on their home valuation, available home equity, loan options and delivers credit decisions in minutes. (Borrower eligibility is determined by the credit score and CLTV.)
Borrower Portal: A borrower portal that lets consumers provide consents, upload needed documents, interact with originators, select loan terms, and draw amounts. In parallel, the portal's backend is iframed into Encompass, so loan originators never leave their LOS and are rewarded with a consistent process and streamlined functionality including title decisioning via the lenders' business rules and a credit decision that leverages EPPS and Encompass' Dynamic Data Management (DDM) to deliver findings in minutes.
Order Management: Automated workflows, including triggers enable the ordering of settlement services such as flood, title, valuation and more.
Closing: An option to support hybrid closings and recordings that are compliant with state regulations and lender guidelines.
"Our best-of-breed technology dramatically accelerates decision-making and connects lenders to a broad network of preferred providers with one contract, one bill and one support team," said Craig Austin, Executive Vice President at FirstClose. "Lenders currently originating home equity products can onboard in as fast as 30 days; while new entrants can onboard in as fast as 60 days enabling lenders to pivot and capitalize on the current market which is a bright spot for our industry."
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, FirstClose, Inc. provides fintech solutions to HELOC and mortgage lenders nationwide. The company's mission is to increase profitability and reduce cost for mortgage lenders. FirstClose makes this possible through offering systems and relationships that enable lenders to assist the lender's borrowers more effectively, reduce closing costs, and ultimately shorten closing times.
About ICE Mortgage Technology
ICE Mortgage Technology® is part of ICE, a global data, technology and market infrastructure company that designs, builds and operates digital networks to connect people to opportunity. Backed by ICE's global resources, we offer a truly differentiated digital platform that provides straight-through processing for a more comprehensive end-to-end workflow than any other provider in the market. We reach almost every mortgage in the U.S. by combining the native automation of Encompass® with the e-collaboration and e-recording capabilities of Simplifile®, along with the national electronic registry for nearly 90% of the U.S. mortgage market in MERS®. Ultimately, our technology enables people across the industry to focus on personal connections when they need it most, and support borrowers for a better journey of homeownership.
About Intercontinental Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. is a Fortune 500 company that designs, builds and operates digital networks to connect people to opportunity. We provide financial technology and data services across major asset classes that offer our customers access to mission-critical workflow tools that increase transparency and operational efficiencies. We operate exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange, and clearing houses that help people invest, raise capital and manage risk across multiple asset classes. Our comprehensive fixed income data services and execution capabilities provide information, analytics and platforms that help our customers capitalize on opportunities and operate more efficiently. At ICE Mortgage Technology, we are transforming and digitizing the U.S. residential mortgage process, from consumer engagement through loan registration. Together, we transform, streamline and automate industries to connect our customers to opportunity.
Market Outlook, Real Estate Investment
Businesswire | July 06, 2023
Workspace Property Trust (Workspace), the preeminent US suburban commercial office property owner and partner for the Fortune 1000, announced today that it successfully modified and extended its approximately $1.3 billion CMBS facility, securing a two-year extension for loans supported by its nearly 10 million square foot portfolio of 146 suburban office and light industrial, R&D and flex industrial properties in 14 major metropolitan markets across the US. In additional to this portfolio, Workspace owns an additional nine million Class A square feet of commercial office portfolio across 59 properties in the US.
The successful refinancing of this Workspace’s Class A portfolio is a major accomplishment in one of the most difficult commercial real estate and capital market environments in decades and reflects the strength, experience and operating performance of the Workspace management team. Iron Hound Management Company LLC served as financial advisor to Workspace.
Workspace Strengthens Its Balance Sheet To Invest in Growth
“We are thrilled to have successfully modified and extended our $1.3 billion CMBS facility with a two-year extension and significant equity participation,” said Thomas A. Rizk, co-founder and CEO of Workspace. “Getting this deal done in what many have described as the most challenging real estate market in decades was no small feat and is testament to the underlying strength of our portfolio, the resilience of the suburban office sector, the promise of our pipeline and the capabilities of Workspace’s vertically integrated national platform. With the strengthening of our balance sheet, we are now in the enviable position of driving growth by investing in our leasing operations and deploying state-of-the-market enhancements in key market locations as we double down on the opportunities in the suburbs. We appreciate the support of our lenders, partners and investors and are focused on the tremendous opportunities in front of us.”
Workspace owns and operates suburban office buildings in 14 of the top 20 US metropolitan areas, including Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, Charlotte, Tampa, Phoenix, Silicon Valley, South Florida, Houston, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago and St. Louis. Approximately 40% of the Fortune 500 have headquarters in Workspace markets and nearly seven million square feet of the Workspace portfolio is leased by companies included in the Fortune 1000.
Workspace Suburban Markets Outperform Central Business Districts
In addition to the financing news, Workspace also released the findings of a recently conducted analysis of national real estate data that highlight the meaningful outperformance of suburban commercial office markets over downtown commercial office locations. The data set, compiled for Workspace by CBRE Strategic Investment Consulting, a global leader in commercial real estate services and investments, underscores the strength, vitality and energy of suburban office markets as employers across the country reinvent how and where people work today.
At the national level—and in key markets driving US economic growth— suburban office submarkets have outperformed central business district submarkets during each of the past three economic downturns, with smaller declines in rent growth and absorption rates and much steadier vacancy rates. This pattern has been particularly pronounced since the onset of COVID-19 and is leading to a fundamental reset in how corporate America is thinking about where and how their people should work. Based on the CBRE data, this resiliency is largely expected to persist through the current cycle, as many suburban locations continue to benefit from a rising number of occupiers and employees prioritizing the value of working closer to home.
“Workspace Property Trust is differentiated by our proven core strategy – to provide innovative and responsive real estate solutions to the Fortune 1000 in fast-growing, highly desirable suburban commercial markets across the country,” said Roger W. Thomas, co-founder, President and COO of Workspace. “In the last year, we transformed our business by doubling our footprint to more than 19 million square feet of commercial and light industrial assets in some of the most vibrant markets in the US, offering our customers lifestyle oriented, community-based working environments that are fundamental requisites for corporations today. The CBRE data we are highlighting today is a clear and resounding affirmation that today’s most progressive companies – large and small – are investing in suburban markets, reversing decades of legacy thinking.”
Mr. Rizk further stated, “New patterns of work and new demands by our tenants and their employees directly translate into the need for new long-term real estate innovation. We know the biggest single issue for our tenant partners is reducing the commuting time for their employees, allowing them to spend more time with their families. Our commitment to service and convenience and relentlessly focusing on delivering on our promise of “Work. Life. Balanced.” has solidified our partnerships with a number of Fortune 1000 organizations as they double down on their suburban footprints, investing significant dollars and resources in the lives of their team members. When Roger and I started Workspace, suburban office was a contrarian bet. The CBRE data validates what we’ve been experiencing on the ground over the last few years coming out of the pandemic: suburban office is benefitting from a foundational demographic shift to suburban submarkets in gateway metropolitan areas across the country where the quality of the work experience is the defining factor in leasing decisions.”
Suburban Markets Outperformance: National and Local Metrics
Nationally, suburban commercial office outperformed central business district commercial office in several key metrics, including vacancy, net absorption and rent growth. In 2022:
By year-end, the national vacancy rate for suburban office was 17.2% vs. 17.6% for central business districts, the first time the suburban rate has been tighter since 1989.
On net, the amount of suburban office space absorbed by occupiers in 2022 was equivalent to 0.3% of total suburban inventory. Meanwhile, downtown space was put back on the market (negative net absorption) at an amount equivalent to 0.2% of downtown inventory.
Year-over-year rent growth in the suburbs was a full percentage point higher than in central business districts -- 1.6% vs. 0.6%.
Additionally, when ranking U.S. suburban office markets across a variety of performance metrics, every Workspace market was represented within the top 15 for at least one metric, with several markets ranking in the top 15 multiple times. For example, over the past two years (Q4 2020 – Q4 2022):
Fort Lauderdale and Miami tied for the sixth-highest increase in post-pandemic rent growth among all suburban office markets, with asking rent increases of 1.7% in both markets.
Charlotte and Phoenix tied as the 11th highest in rent growth, with increases of 0.8% in both markets.
San Jose ranked second for the most square feet of suburban office space absorbed and seventh for absorption as a share of total inventory.
Other Workspace markets appearing in the top 15 for one or both of these absorption metrics were Chicago, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami.
Based on forecasts for the next two years (Q4 2022 – Q4 2024):
Workspace markets represented five out of the top eight suburban markets with the strongest near-term rent growth projections.
These markets include Milwaukee, Phoenix, Houston, Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Dallas was the third-highest ranking market for the expected gap between the suburban and central business district vacancy rate – 22.4% in the Dallas suburbs vs 27.1% in the Dallas CBD.
Other Workspace markets in the top 15 across this metric include Seattle, Houston, Kansas City, St. Louis, Fort Lauderdale and Minneapolis.
About Workspace Property Trust
Workspace Property Trust is a privately held, vertically integrated, full-service commercial real estate company specializing in the ownership, management, leasing and development of office and light industrial, R&D and flex space across the US. Founded in 2015, as combined Workspace owns and operates approximately 19 million square feet of suburban office and light industrial, R&D, Flex (IRDF) properties in markets across the country, including 14 of the top 20 US metropolitan areas. For more information on Workspace, please visit www.workspaceproperty.com
Market Outlook, Real Estate Technology
PRnewswire | July 19, 2023
MRI Software, a global leader in real estate solutions, announced that it has expanded its offerings to the Canadian market through the launch of its first cloud instance in Canada. MRI clients in Canada can now easily access the latest solutions from MRI and host their data in country, ensuring compliance with privacy and security regulations.
"We're thrilled to grow our footprint in Canada, demonstrating our continued commitment to ensuring our clients' success and supporting the larger Canadian market," said John Ensign, president and executive managing director of North America for MRI Software. "In fact, MRI was actually one of the first PropTech companies to support property management businesses in Canada, and in recent years, we've significantly expanded our portfolio of solutions in the region. The new cloud instance marks an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to deliver the best services and products to this market."
Through the new cloud instance, Canadian clients can take advantage of MRI Agora™, the company's next-generation real estate platform. Built on an AI-first foundation, MRI Agora empowers businesses to automate mundane tasks through connected data and shared services, and MRI Agora Insights unearths actionable portfolio trends to drive better business decisions. The hyper-connected platform bridges MRI's solutions with partner and third-party systems, providing users with the flexibility to control their technology strategy and embrace their applications and processes in a unified experience -- ultimately driving competitive advantage. Additionally, Canadian clients using MRI Property Management X and MRI Angus can now leverage MRI Agora to access the broader range of advanced capabilities from MRI and the PropTech ecosystem.
"MRI clients in Canada can now enjoy enhanced performance, security and compliance," says Terry Keller, MRI's senior vice president of information technology. "The ability to access the most advanced solutions from MRI and host data within Canada will give clients unprecedented insights into their property portfolios and clear the way for future scalability."
MRI has grown its longstanding presence in Canada, and the number of employees in the region has increased by over 400% within the past two years. In addition to extending access to the MRI Agora platform in the region, MRI has also expanded its facility management and energy management solutions. MRI's cloud instance in Canada is part of the Microsoft Azure data center footprint in Toronto and Quebec.
MRI's clients can learn more about today's announcement by registering for its upcoming Canadian Client Summit, which will be held July 27 at the Delta Hotel by Marriott in Toronto.
About MRI Software
MRI Software is a leading provider of real estate software solutions that transform the way communities live, work and play. MRI's open and connected, AI-first platform empowers owners, operators and occupiers in commercial and residential property organizations to innovate in rapidly changing markets. MRI has been a trailblazer in the PropTech industry for over five decades, serving more than six million users worldwide. Through innovative solutions and a rich partner ecosystem, MRI gives real estate companies the freedom to realize their vision of building thriving communities and stronger businesses. For more information, please visit mrisoftware.com.