The rapid pace of technology shows no sign of slowing down. Overall, recent mortgage consumers seem to be quite comfortable getting things done online. The use of social media continues to grow among repeat buyers, renewers and refinancers, and is holding steady for first-time buyers.

Although most mortgage consumers are keeping up with the pace, they do show some interesting behaviours when it comes to researching information during the mortgage process.

Here’s what you need to know about mortgage consumers’ use of technology, powered by the 2018 Mortgage Consumer Survey.

Homebuyers

Among homebuyers, online research was most popular. Most used a computer to access online mortgage-related information and, while online, their top activities included using an online mortgage calculator and comparing interest rates.

By far, the primary websites used to gather mortgage information were lender websites.

Despite their high comfort level with technology, more than 6 in 10 buyers felt face-to-face discussions were important when negotiating or finalizing their mortgage. About half would be okay using more technology to arrange their next mortgage transaction, but face-to-face interaction was still rated as important.

While about 8 in 10 homebuyers went online to use a calculator or compare interest rates, far fewer went online to:

  • complete a financial self-assessment (51% for first-time buyers and 40% for repeat buyers)
  • submit a pre-qualification (39% for first-time buyers and 26% for repeat buyers)
  • submit a pre-approval application (34% for first-time buyers and 32% for repeat buyers)

Interestingly, one quarter of homebuyers did offline research only.

Renewers

Among renewers, online research was most popular, but one quarter did offline research only. Most used a computer to access online mortgage-related information and, while online, their top activities included using an online mortgage calculator and comparing interest rates.

By far, the primary websites used to gather mortgage information were lender websites.

About half of renewers said they’d feel comfortable using more technology to arrange their next mortgage transaction. Still, face-to-face interaction was rated as important.

However, one quarter of renewers still did offline research only.

Refinancers

Of all mortgage consumers, refinancers were the most likely to conduct offline research only (34%). Most used a computer to access online mortgage-related information and, while online, their top activities included using an online mortgage calculator and comparing interest rates.

About half of refinancers said they’d feel comfortable using more technology to arrange their next mortgage transaction. However, face-to-face interaction was still rated as important.

Bringing the findings together

Although online research continues to be the most popular way to gather mortgage information, it’s clear offline resources shouldn’t be forgotten since about 1 in 5 mortgage consumers still gather information in this way.

There’s a push to ensure websites are mobile-friendly, and many companies invest in mobile apps. In the homebuying space, though, the vast majority of buyers are getting their information on computers, mainly.

It’s very important for mortgage professionals to know how to navigate through their website. Consumers are driven to searching for information online from various sources, and you want your website to be top of mind.

There’s an opportunity for mortgage professionals to clearly feature calculators and interest rates on their website. CMHC also has calculators homebuyers can access online.

As people become more comfortable using technology for financial transactions, mortgage professionals need to add value beyond what technology can deliver. For example, a strong client relationship, listening to clients and offering sound advice related to the mortgage and homebuying transaction.



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Date Published: December 14, 2018