Rocket Mortgage Super Bowl Ad: Let’s Repeat the Bubble!

This ad for Quicken Loans’ “Rocket Mortgage” app aired during the Super Bowl on Sunday:

Wow. It is like the people at Quicken Loans who are responsible for promoting their Rocket Mortgage app somehow completely missed the previous housing bubble and the massive economic fallout when it burst.

Yes, let’s make it super easy for everyone to buy homes! What could possibly go wrong?

Neil Irwin at The New York Times summarizes the issues with this ad: The Super Bowl Ad That Set Off Economic Alarm Bells

The hackles this raised among the economic commentariat was instant. For a while during the Super Bowl, certain segments of Twitter were dominated not by talk of Peyton Manning and Cam Newton, but by snark. “Rocket Mortgage: Let’s do the financial crisis again, but with apps!” tweeted Dave Weigel of The Washington Post.

Reducing paperwork and bureaucratic hurdles to a mortgage are desirable in isolation; the homebuying process is laden with hidden fees and conflicts of interest that can add thousands of dollars to the price of a home purchase.

But the Quicken Loans ad goes a step further, with the narrator asking what would happen if the Internet “did for mortgages what the Internet did for buying music, plane tickets and shoes,” then showing a woman getting a home mortgage with the press of a button on her phone.

If taken too literally, this could get people in trouble. A home mortgage is the biggest financial obligation most people will take on. If you buy the wrong music, plane ticket or shoes, it’s probably not a crippling financial burden, where the wrong mortgage can be.

The current problem with the housing market is that supply is too low, not that demand is too low or that people can’t get a mortgage when they want one. There’s certainly something to be said for simplifying and streamlining the mortgage application process, but it should be focused on convenience for people who are already otherwise buying a home, not somehow luring suckers into buying homes because of how easy you made it with your app.


NWMLS: Pending and Closed Home Sales Slow in January

Get access to the full spreadsheets used to make the charts in this and other posts, as well as a variety of additional insider benefits by becoming a member of Seattle Bubble. January market stats were published by the NWMLS yesterday. Before we get into our monthly stats, here’s a quick look at their press […]


January Stats Preview: A Glimmer of Hope for Inventory

The first month of 2016 is now behind us, so let’s have a look at our monthly stats preview. First up, here’s the snapshot of all the data as far back as my historical information goes, with the latest, high, and low values highlighted for each series: A glimmer of hope for buyers in King […]


Case-Shiller Tiers: High Tier Home Prices Surpass 2007 Peak

Let’s check out the three price tiers for the Seattle area, as measured by Case-Shiller. Remember, Case-Shiller’s “Seattle” data is based on single-family home repeat sales in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. Note that the tiers are determined by sale volume. In other words, 1/3 of all sales fall into each tier. For more details […]


Case-Shiller: Seattle Home Price Gains Power Into Winter

Let’s have a look at the latest data from the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. According to August data that was released today, Seattle-area home prices were: Up 0.5 percent October to November Up 9.7 percent YOY. Down 3.2 percent from the July 2007 peak Over the same period in 2014 prices were down 0.3 percent […]


State of the Seattle Housing Market: 2016

It’s been almost a year since we last took a high-level view of the local housing market and considered whether or not we’re experiencing Housing Bubble 2.0. Let’s step back and take another look at the big picture. Current Market Highlights standing inventory is at an all-time low new listings are at an all-time low […]


NWMLS: 2015 Was the Worst Year Ever for Home Buyers

After setting a new all-time low inventory level in November, listings dropped off dramatically yet again to set another new all-time low in December. Here’s hoping we see somewhat of a turnaround in inventory for 2016. If not, expect another overheated year.