The real estate market along the Coast fluctuates with the season, and right now, it is in full swing. From the looks of it, right now is a good time to be a buyer or a seller, but part of being a buyer is worrying about getting a mortgage, and while many are concerned about restrictions or the amount needed on a down payment, it might not be as drastic as you think.
Stephanie Shaw is the President of the Gulf Coast Association of Realtors and the owner of a local Latter & Blum. She tells News 25 that residential real estate is looking good. Shaw says, “The trends that we're seeing right now, while they're not following national trends of selling out of inventory and multiple offers, we are seeing a really healthy growth pattern on the Coast currently.”
On the Gulf Coast, there has been a considerable increase in sales in the past year, as well as the number of homes on the market. Shaw also says, “Certainly folks have adapted their lifestyle and their financials to accommodate the financial economy problems that have been occurring across the United States. Even globally, we have had issues economically. People have adapted to that. It's been going on since 2008.”
Mortgage loan officers say that the thinking that people need 20% down in order to buy a home is a myth. They offer a variety of programs to serve all of their customers. David Branch, a Vice President of Bancorp and Mortgage Banker, says, “I think that a lot of people just had fear. After Katrina happened, many people didn't know if they were going to be here or if they were going to be able to buy or if they just needed to rent, and then the media was really playing the fact that you needed to have such a large down payment in order to buy a home and once they realized that was not the case, that opened up to a lot of people that wanted to buy.”
When the mortgage meltdown happened, lenders were forced to require more from potential homeowners so they could avoid a government bailout. Shaw closes, “People's tolerance for getting all the data and meeting all the restrictions that lenders have in place has increased. People are keeping better records so that they can lend that data to the bank.”
Bancorp South tells News 25 their programs were always there, it was just a matter of the public not understanding their options. Shaw also tells News 25 that the National Chief Economist forecasts a healthy economy for the housing market as well as the potential for higher interest rates.