Good news for home buyers and sellers this Spring, a realtor’s perspective
Posted on 16 Feb 2009 by Sabrina Brown
photo: James Willamor; view this photo on Flickr
It’s hard to imagine there is good news amidst all the negative media reports about our economy; but in fact there is, if you put today’s economic and real estate challenges into proper context.
There is tremendous opportunity for buyers to obtain 5% interest rates on 30-year fixed mortgages, and to negotiate home purchases in a soft market within Charlotte. This is truly a rare period.
It is a myth that you have to have perfect credit to purchase a home today. Homebuyers can get FHA loans with a score under 600, the only difference is they have to make a 3.5% down payment. However, first time home buyers in North Carolina can take advantage of, among other things, NCHFA down payment assistance, or apply for the federal $7500 tax credit with a home purchase. Current agreements on the economic stimulus package suggest improved tax credits as incentive for first time home buyers (defined as someone who has not owned for 3 years or more). Some lenders also offer home buyer protection programs, at competitive prices, if someone wants to buy a home but still unsure of his/her job situation.
Don’t panic! The media reported Mecklenburg leading the state in foreclosures. What it didn’t mention is we have the largest population in the state and with that the most homeownership. In this context, you would expect we would lead in foreclosures in almost any market climate. Effectually, only 1% of homes purchased last year were through foreclosures. (Keep in mind that foreclosure filings due to a missed mortgage payment are not the same as foreclosures; banks want to avoid foreclosures as much as possible.) Also, if your neighborhood has experienced a loss in value from the time you purchased your home, you may be able to negotiate with your lender a loan modification or short sale approval (where the lender accepts less than what is owed on the mortgage at the point of sale). There is a process of course to each of these efforts, but in many cases, you don’t have to be stuck with an inflated mortgage affected by current market conditions.
Finally, there is more good news. Charlotte is expected to experience continued population growth in 2009, which in the past has always been a good indicator for our economic and real estate growth.
So while the media may continue to paint negative images of our current state, take comfort that you live in an exceptional city.