Using NAR Research to Address Prospective Buyer Concerns “Credit Is Tight. Can I Get a Mortgage?”

Credit availability is currently easing—but is still tight for many people.  Work by Dr. Laurie Goodman of the Urban Land Institute (summarized in a REALTOR® University presentation)  shows that the proportion of potential home buyers with credit under 660 is currently much lower than was the case in normal credit markets in the year 2000 time frame.  Prime credit borrowers are generally able to get credit; this is much more difficult for people with lower credit scores.

Interest rates have been relatively low, but low interest rates are not particularly valuable if one cannot get a loan.  One of the more spectacular stories associated with the current levels of tight credit was the credit turndown received by Dr. Ben Bernanke to refinance his mortgage:  He was Chairman of the Federal Reserve!

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At this time some of the major financial institutions which were badly burned in the last credit crisis appear to have reduced their home mortgage lending efforts.  Informed observers have been suggesting that regional and local banks as well as credit unions may be more receptive to potential buyers.  A REALTOR® can help with questions about buying a house and may be able to make some suggestions about credit availability in the local area.

Jed Smith, Managing Director, Quantitative Research

Jed Smith is Managing Director, Quantitative Research with the National Association of Realtors®. He has worked on real estate issues for the past 20 years, providing input on a variety of housing, commercial real estate, tax, and planning issues. Recently he has been involved in several international studies.

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