Fix-and-flip mortgage originator LendingHome is rebranding in the coming months as Kiavi, a name that represents the unlocking of value in the nation’s aging housing stock.

The new name is the English phonetic representation of the Italian word “chiave,” which means “key.”

“As we look ahead, we see an opportunity to continue to expand the ways we support real estate investors as we feel that all aspects of the investment lifecycle can benefit from our approach,” said CEO Michael Bourque. “LendingHome is becoming Kiavi to better express our dedication to real estate investors, beyond solely being seen as a lender.”

The company expanded from fix-and-flip in 2019 to lend to investors purchasing properties to rehabilitate and rent. It next launched the Property Marketplace in 2020 for investors to buy and sell homes.

This year, it started a pilot for portfolio rental property loans; among its originations was a $9.3 million refinance of a single-family rental community in Florida for Pintar Investment. That loan helped drive LendingHome’s volume to $219 million in March, the first month it exceeded $200 million in production.

In August, LendingHome closed a $388 million revolving securitization of unrated residential transition loans. It’s the company’s sixth deal of this type, with the first occurring in 2019. It also did six fix-and-flip loan securitizations throughout 2016 and 2017.

Flip-and-fix activity, among the types of investor purchases that have been cited as competition for both low-to-moderate income and first-time home buyers, shrank during the first quarter.

The first quarter ended with 32,526 properties flipped, or 2.7% of all home sales — one in every 37 transactions — during the period, the fewest since 2000, according to Attom Data Solutions. That was down from 4.8% or one in 21 sales in the fourth quarter and 7.5% or one in 13 one year prior.

Gross profits on the typical home flip nationwide declined in the first quarter of 2021 to $63,500. That amount was down from $71,000 in the fourth quarter of 2020, although still up slightly from $62,000 in the first quarter of last year.

Flippers used financing to acquire the property in 40.8% of these transactions in the first quarter, compared with 42.3% in the fourth quarter and 40.1% one year prior.

Of the $8.2 billion in properties investors bought to rehab and resell in the first quarter, $3.3 billion was financed. This compared with $13.7 billion and $5.8 billion in the fourth quarter and $14.6 billion and $5.7 billion respectively in the first quarter of 2020.

But the average time to flip sped up to an average of 159 days in the first quarter, the lowest since the third quarter of 2013. That was down from an average of 175 in both the fourth quarter and first quarter of 2020.

Since its inception in 2013, LendingHome has raised $241 million in capital, including $75 million from Benefit Street Partners in a Series E round last December, according to Crunchbase. It has funded $7.8 billion in loans over that time.

“We wanted a name that expressed our intelligence, agility and innovative tech foundation,” Bourque said. “Our new brand name and look that, like our technology, is custom built for our future and driven by our desire to help real estate investors reach new horizons.”

The rebranding to Kiavi will happen over the next several months, which allows the company to have a smooth transition for its internal teams as well as customers and partners, he added.





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