When I read that the demand for home loans hit a 14-year loan, I wasn’t surprised. Investors are buying up most of the foreclosures in my Florida neighborhood. In many cases, they are paying cash. According to a recent Daily Ticker piece, real estate experts that called the housing recovery a sham are finding validation in recent housing data. New home sales went down 14.5 percent in March versus February. What’s interesting to me is the fact that there are still so many homes going into foreclosure in my community. In a real housing recovery, I’d expect fewer and fewer homeowners to lose their homes to foreclosure. I’d also expect more first-time homebuyers would be my neighbors instead of renters who are paying nearly twice as much than people lucky enough to purchase homes at the bottom.
Rising mortgage rates dampen mood
A few of my neighbors are putting their homes on the market in the spring to attract buyers with children. Their Realtor told them families want to get settled for the new school year. Although mortgage rates are still low in my opinion, they may be affecting buyers with tight budgets. First time homebuyers can more easily afford the $120,000 short sale down the street from me versus the $220,000 resale home with all upgrades and a swimming pool.
Waiting for the economy to recover
I don’t agree with financial experts that believe the housing market is holding back the economy. The Guardian’s Heidi Moore made a good point when she said it’s the other way around. Low wages, unemployment and high student debt prevent a lot of people from being able to qualify for mortgages.
Hoping home values stay low
I am not upset that there isn’t a real housing recovery going on. I don’t want my property taxes to rise just because my home is worth more on paper or on Zillow.com. Since most of the homes selling are foreclosures or short sales, it’s not likely my property taxes will go up in the near future. I’d be lying if I said I feel sorry for my neighbors who can’t move because they can’t get quite enough money to fund a step-up home purchase. It may be selfish, but I like the stability of having the original homeowners remain in my 10-year-old subdivision.
Before Zillow.com, the local housing market was a mystery to most people. Perhaps Realtors could do some research to learn about the housing values for clients. With today’s information and technology, I can see which homes are in pre-foreclosure and foreclosure. It’s helpful to know what my home is really worth. At the same time, it’s depressing to know the housing recovery is really a complete sham at least in my neighborhood. When nearly every other homeowner has a home in default or has already gone into foreclosure, the momentum in the housing market isn’t changing.
More from this contributor:
Buying Real Estate Like Our Grandparents
Tighter Mortgage Rules Will Affect my Family
New Foreclosures Don’t Spell Doom