Real Estate

Partners Help Rocket Mortgage Break Purchase Loan Record In Q2

Rocket Mortgage posted its best quarter ever for purchase loan originations during the three months ending June 30, thanks in large part to partnerships with mortgage brokers and real estate agents, the company reported Thursday.

Shares in parent company Rocket Cos. Inc. were up more than 5 percent in after hours trading, as company executives said they expect to break last year’s record of $320 billion in mortgage refinancings and purchase loans.

At $83.8 billion, second quarter mortgage originations were up 16 percent from the second quarter of 2020. Loans originated through Rocket Mortgage’s partner network totalled $38.5 billion, up 45 percent from a year ago, while direct-to-consumer originations were essentially flat at $45.2 billion.

All in all, those loans were less profitable, with gain-on-sale margin falling to 2.78 percent, down from 5.19 percent a year ago. At $2.34 billion, revenue from gain-on-sale of loans was down 51 percent from $4.75 billion during the same quarter a year ago.

Rocket Cos. — the holding company for Rocket Mortgage, Rocket Homes, Amrock and Rocket Auto — posted second quarter net income of $1 billion on $2.7 billion in revenue. That compares to $3.5 billion in net income on $5 billion in revenue during the second quarter of 2020.

During an investor call, Rocket Cos. executives emphasized second quarter revenue and profits to “pre-COVID” 2019 conditions, saying historically low interest rates and limited industry capacity boosted loan originations and profits during the pandemic.

Thanks to Rocket Mortgage’s strength in refinancing, the company was the nation’s biggest mortgage lender last year. Now, the company is optimistic that it can surpass last year’s record originations by growing its purchase loan business through partnerships with real estate agents and mortgage brokers.

“Our record purchase mortgage volume puts us well on the path to our goal of becoming the largest retail home purchase lender in the nation by the end of 2023,” Rocket Companies Inc. CEO Jay Farner said in a statement. “That strong momentum will carry us into the second half of the year, as we expect our 2021 mortgage origination closed loan volume to exceed 2020’s record performance of $320 billion.”

Rocket’s partner channel includes mortgage brokers, community banks and credit unions. Rival United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) has sought to limit Rocket’s growth in that area by refusing to do business with mortgage brokers who refer business to Rocket or Fairway Independent Mortgage.

In addition, Rocket Cos.’ real estate brokerage business, Rocket Homes, referred $2 billion in sales to real estate agents during the second quarter, with Rocket Mortgage involved in 70 percent of closings.

That 70 percent mortgage attach rate, “is among the highest in the industry,” the company said, citing the “increased level of engagement that occurs when clients work with both Rocket Homes and Rocket Mortgage” for driving the higher conversion of leads.

Rocket Homes has obtained real estate brokerage licenses in all 50 states in order to populate a property search site with MLS listings and earn fees for agent referrals. Traffic to the search site, RocketHomes.com, approached 2 million average unique monthly visitors during the second quarter, a six-fold increase from a year ago, the company said.

Rocket Homes is positioning itself as a provider of a comprehensive suite of services, augmented not only by Rocket Mortgage but Amrock, a provider of title insurance, property valuations, and settlement services.

Amrock was involved in 260,300 closings during the second quarter, up 8 percent from a year ago and 193 percent from two years ago.
Rocket said it will roll out an iBuyer program through third-party partner companies “over the next several quarters.”

Rival loanDepot, which also posted record second quarter purchase loan originations, is pursuing a similar growth strategy, using its technology platform to build partnerships and grow ancillary businesses like title and escrow.

Rocket Homes announced this week that it plans to go even further, by hiring on-staff real estate agents and launching an iBuyer program. On-staff agents working remotely from Detroit will provide services to sellers nationwide at a discounted commission rate of 1.5 percent.

Email Matt Carter

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