A new year means new trends in the mortgage market and finding more opportunities to reach future homeowners as they make their homeownership dreams a reality. Jornaya’s banking and mortgage market leader, Natalie Mullen, shared insights with HousingWire that illustrate the value in harnessing behavioral data to reach homebuyers with the right message at the right time in their homebuying journey. The key to jumpstarting your mortgage marketing in 2022 is knowing how to personalize the consumer experience throughout the homebuying journey.
Current Housing Market Outlook
The market is seeing mortgage growth rates decline while appreciation rates continue to climb. Supply shortages are putting more pressure on prices while more 30-year rates are putting pressure on the number of owners looking to refinance their homes. Yes - mortgage rates have gone up slightly, but current rates are still at bargain lows for consumers who are seriously considering buying a home.
We know life happens. At its core, buying a home is deeply intertwined with the consumer’s personal life and finances, which tend to impact the consumer experience more than market conditions.
A New Generation of Homeowners
Today's market is seeing a shift away from refinancing a home and more movement toward purchasing a home, and what’s more: there is a significant shift in who is purchasing a home. A study by CoreLogic revealed that millennials accounted for 51% of home-purchase mortgage applications in 2021. For even broader context, millennials dominate with the largest share of home purchase mortgage applications since 2016.
Millennials make up 72 million people within the United States' population, all of which are approaching ages 26 to 41 years old and are the most educated generation in history. The market is also witnessing a higher rate of high-net-worth amongst younger consumers as they buy high-end homes.
Aside from the United States’ younger generation, multigenerational and mixed family households are also more common now, as Americans are “doubling up” to reduce costs of living. This trend could be accelerated by the overall aging of America and the growing desire to age in place. Regardless of the motivations for forming mixed family households, the traditional “nuclear family” is no longer the dominant household structure and the nation’s housing supply has not kept up with this type of demand.
For lenders, these are the consumers to watch in 2022. Now more than ever, lenders need to understand not only the state of the market, but the services that consumers need. With the trend of younger Americans purchasing expensive homes and mixed households is set to continue, lenders should recognize the untapped opportunity to serve this group as they enter a phase filled with major life purchases, and how to create valuable long-term customers within this demographic.
Behavioral Data Needs to Inform Your Marketing
With new generations and styles of homeownership on the rise, consumer shopping behavior and expectations have permanently changed. Our industry now faces the challenge of adapting to those changes to stay competitive. Harvard Business Review conducted their Lead Response Management Study a decade ago, and novel studies by other organizations have also confirmed an overwhelming 78% of customers buy from the first company to connect with them in responding to their queries.
The Cocktail Party Analogy
Imagine you’re at a cocktail party and you’re working the room. There is a decent chance of getting someone’s attention if they step in mid-conversation to engage with a topic that happens to be of interest to them. Your chances of earning their attention are significantly higher if you talk directly to them about something they care about.
Now apply this analogy to the digital experiences consumers are having with your brand. Are you catching your customers mid-conversation, or are you starting that conversation?
Real-time, behavioral data informs lenders when their consumers are visiting mortgage-related websites and aids in seeing specific information about clients and prospects and getting a more holistic understanding of their needs.
Meet Qualified Leads and Current Customers Where They Are
Homebuyers are already in-market for what you are offering, and their activity tells your team (through comparison shopping and engagement) that now is the time to provide them with relevant information. Marketers that harness the power of external data, like intent-based behavior, are best equipped to meet consumers where they are and create personalized, efficiently timed digital experiences that meet consumer expectations and foster more positive outcomes for your business.
Keeping preferences and permissions in mind, mortgage marketers can know and use static, personal information in how they respond to digital consumer events, like form submissions, sign-ups, page views, and more metrics.
The Power of Predictive and Behavioral Data
Mortgage marketers can use predictive data to determine when a borrower is most likely to be shopping for a mortgage and use this information to give buyers the right message at the right time. Behavioral data can also inform lenders when their consumers are visiting mortgage-related websites, giving them the ability to better time their engagements, increase customer retention and capitalize on new acquisition opportunities.
Mortgage lending professionals need to help consumers when and however needed. This sentiment is especially relevant in an unpredictable pandemic market where consumer behaviors are constantly changing. Mortgage marketers can get ahead of the curve by partnering with fintech companies that provide behavioral data. This data allows lenders to see which of their consumers are in-market, approximately 100 days prior to a credit trigger or an MLS trigger, and up to 180 days before a closed loan.
These shopping events are the earliest signs available that indicate a customer has started their mortgage shopping journey. Leveraging behavioral insights inevitably leads to an opportunity for improved customer experiences.
Combine consumer privacy and preference with the Golden Rule of Data — treat consumer data how you would want your own data treated — and there you have the key ingredients to providing an exceptional customer experience. If you're willing to utilize the latest technology to understand consumers’ online shopping behavior, to look to actual intent rather than relying solely on modeled data and educated guesses, you will improve consumer experiences, drive retention, and grow your ROI.