More contracts are being settled on time, according to a survey of REALTORS® in the May 2018 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey. The monthly survey asks REALTOR® respondents: “Think of your most recent sales contract in the past 3 months that was either closed or terminated. Please explain how the deal concluded.”
Among respondents who either closed a sale or terminated a sales contract in the past three months (March, April, May), 76 percent reported that their most recent sales contract was settled on time, 19 percent reported a delay, and five percent reported the most recent contract ended in a termination. Broadly, the fraction of contracts that are settled on time has increased since October 2016.
Among contracts that had a delayed settlement, obtaining financing and appraisal-related issues were the major reasons. Among contracts that were delayed, 33 percent had issues related to the buyer obtaining financing, and/or 22 percent had issues related to the appraisal.
Home inspection was cited as a cause in 15 percent of delayed settlements, and titling/deed issues was cited in 11 percent.
Home/flood insurance issues was cited as a cause for two percent of the delayed contracts.
The median days to close a contract has also hovered at 30 days since August 2017, a decrease from about 40 days since NAR tracked this information in July 2015. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been implementing programs to streamline and make the process easier for borrowers, which may account for the increase in contracts being settled on time.
 Responses about the most recent sales contract can be viewed as a random sample of all sales contracts during the three -month period.
 The respondent can cite several issues that caused the delayed settlement.
Fannie Mae introduced the Desktop Underwriter Validation Service and Property Inspection Waiver, and Freddie Mac introduced the Automated Collateral Valuation for certain Loan Product Advisor mortgages, both in 2017.