Monday, June 1, 2009

Mortgages: Still Strong, and Still Available!

Americans have been anxious to get back into the real estate market. They have, however, been naturally skeptical and tentative as the economy struggles with a global crisis. Trust me though, it is not all doom and gloom out their in the world of finance. The credit crunch has not decimated the mortgage industry, in fact – things are looking good for those looking for loans. A “Mortgage Origination” is the creation of a new mortgage. Mortgage originations are tracked as a measure of the health of the mortgage industry. Mortgage originations decreased 16.6% from 2005 to 2007. But, during the first quarter of 2009, the mortgage industry experienced strong origination activity due to a number of factors:

1) The ongoing low interest rate environment. Interest rates are at a record low, this is the time to borrow money and get locked into a percentage that won’t come along again in your lifetime.

2) A drop in the national median home price. Incredible homes all over the area are being sold for next-to-nothing. You can find plenty of sweet properties at incredible bargains.

3) An abundance of homes on the market. As said above, there are some incredible real estate deals out there. But it’s not a land of scarcity, it is still a land of plenty. You can find an inexpensive option that fits your “dream” home.

4) New government programs that are available to ALL to encourage homeownership, as well as refinances.

These fantastic four of reasons have lead to a kind of perfect storm for home buyers. It means that credit and financing options continue to be available to qualified borrowers. Wells Fargo & Company, one of the most solid lenders in the country, issued a statement saying it expects to report record originations in the first two quarters of the year.

Also, the Mortgage Bankers Association, with whom Jamison Realty works closely, now reports that the Federal Reserve's plan to buy up more than a trillion dollars' worth of mortgage assets from the credit markets is actually working. As mortgage rates plummet to levels that haven't been seen in decades, the number of mortgage originations is soaring.

One word of caution, the increased number of mortgage originations and mortgage refinances has caught many lenders off guard and understaffed. Stringent lender guidelines and regulations are essential in order to avoid another mortgage crisis; but with that kind of oversight comes painstaking underwriting that takes time and is labor intensive. Technological enhancements and upgrades are being implemented at many major lending institutions to help speed up the underwriting process, and mortgage companies are hiring more staff. Bank of America recently added 5,000 new employees just to handle the renewed activity. What does this mean for you? Don’t expect to be approved overnight. Do your homework, dot all your “I’s” and cross all your “T’s” and be prepared to relax. Good things come to those who wait!

Rich Ferretti
Mint Hill Real Estate
Charlotte, NC

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