For the past six months -- after more than two years of declines -- the number of home loan offers sent to Americans has been flat, according to Mintel Comperemedia. From December 2008 to May 2009, lenders sent an average of 38 million direct mailings per month, approximately 31 million for mortgages and 7 million for home equity products.
This steady direct mail volume stands in sharp contrast to trends of the previous three years. As the credit crunch and declining home values dried up the housing market, lenders steadily reduced marketing direct mail. In first-quarter 2009, the total number of mortgage and home equity direct mailings tracked by Chicago-based Mintel was 84% lower than the volume seen in first quarter 2007.
Lenders have also dramatically changed their direct mailings to better suit today's market. Reduced home values and an increase in foreclosures have dried up the once-robust home equity market. So unsurprisingly, in first quarter 2009, 83% of secured loan direct mail offers promoted mortgages only, up from just 65% in first-quarter 2007. Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) have also fallen out of favor in direct mail. Mintel reports that in first-quarter 2009, only 15% of mortgage direct mailings advertised ARMs, down from 38% in first-quarter 2007.--Tanya Irwin