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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

County steady during foreclosure crisis

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The foreclosure crisis has hit hard across the country, but not so much in Clay County.

"Things have stayed pretty steady here," Shirley Louderback, Realtor with Emmert GMAC Real Estate, said.

However, with the foreclosure rate up elsewhere, the restrictions on mortgages have become stricter.

"It is becoming harder to get 100 percent loans anymore," Teresa Harden, Sales Consultant for RE/MAX Homes and Land, said. "Many younger couples tend to go for full financing when buying their first home, but fewer banks are going that route."

Harden also said banks are starting to utilize Indiana Housing and Federal Housing Administration loans, which are government funded, for the first time.

Both Louderback and Harden agreed that the average home in Clay County is within the $80,000-$100,000 range, but the crisis has put such a fear into people that those are becoming tough to sell.

"We are just now starting to feel the effect," Harden said. "Homes in the $60,000-$80,000 range are selling well, but above that it is getting difficult."

Given that ideal, the market is turning more and more to the buyer's favor.

"Homeowners are having to sell for a lot less than they are hoping for, and with interest rates the best they have been in about 40 years, the buyer definitely has the advantage," Louderback said. "But with the strict mortgage restrictions, they buyer still have to have something invested into the home in order to get a loan."

Realtors don't expect the crisis to affect Clay County much more than it has because the gap between the high and low end is small.

"We don't have a huge difference in home values like California, Florida and Texas have," Louderback said. "Places that have the bigger gap seem to have been affected the most."

One aspect that has been hit, however, has been the art of "flipping."

"Flipping" is the act of buying an asset, primarily real estate, below market value, making some repairs and quickly reselling it for a profit.

"It is still out there," Harden said. "However, the number of people 'flipping houses' has gone down because it is harder to turn a big profit."

One thing Louderback and Harden both pointed out was that having good credit is a key when purchasing a home.

"People who have a good credit history are able to avoid some of the potential problems when trying to purchase a home," Louderback said. "It makes it much easier to get a loan."

Harden thinks the market should start to turn around following the November elections, but admits it is up to the consumers to make it happen.

"Depending on who wins the presidential election, I believe things will start to turn around next spring," she said. "A lot of people are getting scared but they shouldn't. However, while we can improve the homes, we cannot change the consumers' confidence in the economy.

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