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Online mortgage marketplace LendingTree optimizes its digital mortgage application process with the help of bulk property data from ATTOM Data Solutions, which is used to pre-fill and validate property and ownership information along with mortgage and transaction history.

The bulk property data that LendingTree receives from ATTOM includes property characteristics and ownership information obtained from county tax assessors along with property-related transactions recorded with the county such as home sales and mortgages. This information is key to accurately underwriting a mortgage, and the public record data from ATTOM serves to streamline the mortgage application process and to validate information entered in the online application.

Why Property Data is Helpful

The low-friction digital mortgage application process that LendingTree has created sets the platform up for success — even in a market where mortgage rates are rising.

“Our business model can operate efficiently in a rising rate environment when lenders have difficulty in bringing in organic volume themselves,” said Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist. “That’s when they’ll come to LendingTree to fill their pipeline, and we can market into that demand, or pull back if the unit economics don’t make financial sense.”

LendingTree has also diversified its business in recent years to hedge against fluctuations in the housing market and overall economy.

“Over the past few years, LendingTree has been diversifying its business, effectively eliminating dependency on any singular industry, market or business environment,” Kapfidze said. “We’ve added marketplaces for personal loans, credit cards, auto loans, student loans, small business loans, reverse mortgages, deposit products and credit services.”

Kapfidze added that a recession could actually benefit the mortgage industry.

“Most discussions around a possible recession in 2020 center around a decline in government stimulus combined with a long expansion, suggesting the economy will need to rebalance,” he said. “It’s important to note that such a recession would not resemble the financial crisis-induced recession at the end of the last decade. It would likely be a milder downturn similar to that in 1990 to 1991 or 2001.”

If the predicted 2020 recession follows the patterns of those earlier recessions rather than the 2007-to-2009 recession, Kapfidze argues it would likely result in rebound in refinance originations, which have dropped in the last two quarters as mortgage rates have risen.

“During those recessions, the 10-year treasury had peak-to-trough declines of 80 to 120 bps,” he explained. “This is where it gets interesting for the mortgage industry. A rate decline would trigger a mini-refi boom that would address many of the challenges the industry currently faces due to the decline in refinance volume.

“Thus, the net result could actually be an increase in mortgage originations as happened in 2001,” he concluded.

Whether or not such an increase in originations occurs, LendingTree’s platform is set up to help lenders succeed thanks to its low-friction application process enabled by automated property data from ATTOM Data Solutions.

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