Highwoods Office Park

The Highwoods Office Park in Cool Springs just welcomed a rapidly expanding mortgage brokerage from Illinois amid economic tumult.

Compass Mortgage — headquartered in Warrensville, Ill. — just leased an office in in Suite 110 at 720 Cool Springs Blvd. last month. The newly acquired space holds 20 workstations, three private offices and two appointment rooms.

The firm focuses on residential mortgages, and its new office opens as the housing market in the Nashville MSA suffers low inventory against robust, out-of-state demand and affordability challenges that made affordable housing a greater concern than COVID to Nashvillians even at the height of the pandemic.

Despite the pandemic impinging on several sectors to varying degrees, the housing market continues to defy all odds even as trade journals contemplate when and whether COVID’s effects will catch up to it. Compass Mortgage is one example of that resilience in housing as it has demonstrated only a pattern of expansion during this period.

The opening in Franklin follows new licenses acquired in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington since Q3 last year. Compass cites mortgage industry projections from Fannie Mae to justify optimism according to National Mortgage Professional. In late 2021, Fannie Mae still anticipated an uptick in residential mortgage originations by as much as $4.1 trillion, and the federal enterprise predicted refinancing loans would make up $2.7 trillion thereof. These predictions were the product of many revisions last year with the pandemic as a major variable, and final confirmation of fiscal performance in 2021 has yet to be published.

Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research Group has, however, published forecasts this week that 2022 will mark “transition for both the economy and the housing market” to the sales rate of the immediate pre-housing bubble market with the second fastest annual pace since 2006 but with greatly attenuated inventories causing “hypercompetitive bidding wars.” Average debt-to-income ratios among homebuyers is rising on the wrong side based on mortgage-backed security issuance data, which suggests affordability will only become a bigger problem from here based on the ESR’s report.

Tennessee ranked third against all 50 states on U-Haul’s One-Way Growth Index for 2021 behind only Texas and Florida respectively. All the states Compass Mortgage has recently targeted ranked among the top 20 except Virginia, which ranked at 31.