Mortgage deals still available in spite of lost incentive

IBR Staff//May 10, 2010

Mortgage deals still available in spite of lost incentive

IBR Staff//May 10, 2010

Finding the right combination is what Sheila Moore does every day.

Each day she sorts through applications, hoping the right numbers match up with the right details and qualifications on a grant, a loan program or a mortgage.
“There are plenty of programs out there for 100 percent financing,” she said. “They have to qualify, and we have to match them up. But they are out there.”

As a residential loan officer at Idaho First Bank, Moore said the end of the homebuyers credit shouldn’t be the end of the perfect homebuyer’s search.

On April 30, the federally backed $8,000 first-time homebuyers credit, and a $6,500 tax credit for homeowners upgrade credit was discontinued. The credits were put into place to help stimulate the real estate market and help turn the economic recession.

Moore is a strong advocate that real estate will remain pivotal to a recovery. She said there are too many unused programs available to homebuyers. A Boise grant, a state-backed loan, and an Idaho Housing Authority grant available to qualified buyers.

She is not alone in the belief there is life out there.
John Walsh, with Total Mortgage.com, said despite the end of the tax credit, the nationwide housing crisis is opening the door for home buyers.

“This generational home buying opportunity is being created by declining housing prices, record inventories and a very favorable mortgage rate environment where a qualified borrower can lock-in a very attractive 30-year fixed interest rater currently around 5 percent,” he said.

And local agents are agreeing.

Laurie Barrera, with Group One, works in the Treasure Valley and has some presence in the McCall vicinity. During the last six months she said she has had a number of prospective buyers – both first-time and step-up buyers – ask about the tax credit.

During that time frame, only two people were able to take advantage of the credit.

“It’s not that we didn’t try to get [the credit],” she said. “It was more of a matter of finding the right home for the buyer.”

She said the last minute crunch was something all agents were aware of, but didn’t feel the urgency to push people into a home they didn’t want.

“We have a large number of homes at reasonable prices on the market,” she said. “Prices are still good right now.”
In Ada County the volume of homes on the market is getting closer and closer to what is considered a healthy level.

After peaking at 15 months of supply in February 2009, the number of homes on the market has fallen to a level that would take about 5.1 months to clear out if no more homes were added, according to an analysis of Intermountain MLS numbers done by Jay Story of Story Commercial.

“As the supply reaches the healthy region, what will happen next? Builders will build homes, and to build homes they’ll need to buy lots to do it,” Story wrote in a market report. “Now may be a good time to start looking for residential building lots as some owners are getting very tired of holding them and can’t do it for another 12 months.”

The median sold price has also dropped in the same timeframe, falling from over $170,000 in February 2009 to $149,000 currently.

For Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Group, in Boise, that’s good enough reason to continue to help homebuyers.
“The federal government did its part to stimulate the recovery of the housing market,” said Larry Laraway, broker for Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Group in Boise. “Now, it’s time for the private sector to pick up where the government left off.”

A buyer bonus program is the brain-child of director of sales and marketing John Holland. He said the idea is to help the buyer – with a 3 percent credit – and seller get the home they want at a price they can afford.
Holland said, “Either they made too much money, hadn’t lived in their homes long enough or they simply didn’t find a home in the allotted time frame.”
Walsh said the federal tax credit accelerated the home buying schedules for many borrowers during the last few months.

“However, even though these attractive tax incentives are behind us, we believe that extremely low mortgage rates, combined with high inventories and affordable prices, make right now an excellent time to purchase a home,” he said.