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Mortgages: North watches North Texas grow

🕐 6 min read

Bank of Texas

With more than 15 years of experience in the mortgage industry in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Bill North knows the local real estate market.

That expertise translates into insight on market trends and has also made him a valuable asset to Bank of Texas, where he has worked as a producer and manager since 2011.

In his most recent role as manager of operations in Plano, mortgage loans grew dramatically, and his team produced $155 million in loans during 2017.

For North, that success has translated into a promotion to regional mortgage manager for the Dallas-Fort Worth area sales teams. In his new role, he will drive growth of Bank of Texas’ mortgage sales throughout the region.

Company leadership at Bank of Texas, said North is the perfect choice for the role because of his success in Plano, his knowledge of the market and his relationships with homebuilders and Realtors.

“Bill is a high-engaged leader who is committed to supporting mortgage origination and fostering strong partnerships throughout our north Texas markets,” said Ed Adams, director of retail mortgage for BOK Financial (BOK is the parent company of Bank of Texas). “I’m confident that under Bill’s leadership our team of talented mortgage professionals number of satisfied clients will continue to grow.”

North, 46, grew up in Richardson earned his bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Arizona with a minor in sociology and an emphasis in Spanish.

After graduating, North found his career niche in sales. He worked as a business development and marketing manager for Nortel Networks for three years and then became a global account manager for AT&T for the following two years.

Then North decided to make a career pivot that allowed him to parlay his sales experience into another field.

“I had a friend in the mortgage industry and I was always kind of interested in it,” he said. “My friend got me in as a mentee.”

North worked as a mortgage loan officer for Washington Mutual Home Loans from 2003 to 2006 and then joined Bank of America as a home loan sales manager in 2006. He was promoted to home loans manager the following year.

In 2011, he joined Bank of Texas as a vice president and branch manager in Plano.

North is a member of the MetroTex Association of Realtors, Collin County Association of Realtors and Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors. North and his wife, Stacey, and their two daughters live in Dallas. He is active community service through the March of Dimes and the United Way or Metropolitan Dallas.

Through relationships he has built with builders and Realtors, North said he expects to be able to help Bank of Texas’ market share in Dallas-Fort Worth.

“This is an exciting opportunity for me,” he said. “My goal is to continue expanding our reputation, offer great rates and outstanding customer service.

We recently caught up with North to talk about his predictions for the Dallas-Fort Worth housing markets.

The North Texas housing market continues to be hot, but where do you see gaps? Too many high-end homes? Not enough supply at the right price or in the right place?

The largest gap is in the entry-level market, less than $300,000. It is becoming difficult for builders to price homes in this range and still be profitable based on rising land, material and labor costs.

Currently, inventory is less than two months in this price range. A balanced market is one that includes six months of inventory. It can be difficult to get a home under contract with such low inventory.

Multiple offers in the entry-level market is not uncommon. Inventory improves as values increase, but we do not see balance in the market (more inventory) until the $750,000 price range.

Affordability is a big issue in the North Texas market and some housing analysts, homebuilders and realtors see this as troublesome if prices continue to rise and demand continues to outstrip supply.

I believe we will continue to see limited supply in 2018. While builders are working to produce more homes, we are still behind demand for the market in both resale and new construction. Most areas in DFW are less than two months’ supply versus six month considered stable/equal. Less inventory means higher prices and we see many contracts over list price in certain markets.

What do you see as the hottest home buying areas in 2018? In Fort Worth, Collin County and in adjacent areas like Johnson and Parker counties and Denton?

We’ve seen a significant lift in North Fort Wort Worth, including Keller, Southlake, Alliance, Texas Motor Speedway areas. Additional growth areas include southwest Fort Worth and Parker, moving toward Aledo, Weatherford and Benbrook; Mansfield; Midlothian; Johnson; Cleburne,

We have seen a huge lift in Prosper, Celina and growth in Aubrey in Denton County.

Looking further ahead, what areas will heat up in 2019-20 that aren’t quite ready yet?

We will continue to see builders move further out of the metro area to produce affordable products.

However, the challenge with homes further out is less development meaning limited restaurant choices, fewer businesses, smaller roads and generally less infrastructure.

How has the move of Toyota to Plano impacted your business there?

DFW will be one of the hottest housing markets in 2018. We have welcomed the addition of many new corporate headquarters including Toyota, Fed Ex, regional JP Morgan Chase, Liberty Mutual, State Farm and many others. These additions certainly impact housing inventory and do drive prices up. However, it is important to remember our housing prices are still significantly less than most large metro areas.

Are there any recent changes to the mortgage business you – and/or buyers – are having to deal with?

Compliance and regulations still remain tight. We follow strict guidelines to ensure borrowers have the “ability to repay” and meet “qualified mortgage” standards. However, we have seen some loosening of the underwriting guidelines in recent months. We are able include more income than previously allowed, seeing less reserve requirements, etc.

Technological advances also make gathering information easier than ever and more conveniently for the client. We can now collect income, assets and, in some cases, collateral/appraisal documentation electronically.

We are also seeing more first-time home buyer loan options with higher loan-to-values. FHA is not the only option for new home buyers. These programs help new home buyers with lower down payment and lower mortgage insurance, coupled with great rates.

Higher rates may spell trouble for some lenders. Many lenders were focused on refinance production, which is expected to drop up to 30 percent this year. Now, these refinance lenders must shift their business to purchase to survive. Profitability for mortgage lending has dropped, so we may see more lenders exit the business.

What is your perspective on interest rates this year and ahead?

Although the Mortgage Bankers Association has predicted higher rates for years, 2018 has already seen a shift to slightly higher rates. Low unemployment and a strong economy, coupled with the new personal and business tax cuts will pump the economy thus moving rates up in 2018 and beyond. It is important to note that rates remain very low from historic standards.

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