Existing home prices have fallen 7.7 percent since their July 2006 high and rates dropped below 6 percent last week for the first time in more than three months. The obstacle for people ready to buy is finding a willing lender, said Suzanne Bach, senior vice president of New York-based Guardhill Financial Corp., and an 18-year home lending veteran.
About 75 percent of U.S. banks tightened standards on mortgage lending to the most credit-worthy borrowers in the three months ended in July, according to the Federal Reserve's quarterly Senior Loan Officer Survey released Aug. 11.
Around the country, homebuyers looking to purchase property for more than $417,000 are facing some of the toughest scrutiny, said Marve Stockert, executive director of the Illinois Association of Mortgage Professionals and a 38-year veteran of the industry.
``The most difficult thing now is the appraisals are being scrutinized so much more than they have ever been,'' Stockert said. ``The higher the sale price, the more scrutiny that is happening. We're talking two or three appraisals on the same property."
The purse strings are being tightened. Lenders have no choice. The big gamble is to jump on a low interest now but risk paying too much for the property versus waiting for the house prices to fall more but risk paying a higher rate. Another risk is finding a lender as time goes on. The pool of lenders, like the pool of buyers, is also continuing to shrink.
But then there is this paragraph that stands out on its own. Its too good and too out there to be part of the rest of the story -
The credit squeeze is contributing to falling home sales. In July, the National Association of Realtors' index of pending home resales fell 3.2 percent, a decline NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun blamed on ``overly stringent lending criteria.'' The index is down 6.8 percent since July 2007.
The plunging housing market, record foreclosures on bad loans that are making financial giants tumble like dominoes and the National Association of Realtors are complaining that the criteria is" overly stringent"? Spin is one thing but this is not even reality.
Maybe Lawrence Yun should start up his own mortgage firm and teach us how to do it right this time. The wonder of no doc loans, pick-a-payment, and piggyback mortgages to anyone who had a pulse - and probably sometimes to those that did not. Requiring any down payment is too stringent! Requiring good credit is too stringent! Requiring an honest appraisal is too stringent! 1