There is lots of affordable housing available

Published 8:50 am Friday, October 26, 2007

By Staff
Every once in a while an article or a statement someone has made just requires a response. I feel compelled to comment on not so much the closing of the Niles Community Development Corp, as to the rationalization that the agency closed due to the "lack of affordable housing in the Niles area." You know – I am so tired of the negative attitudes and of the "lets make it worse than it is" press with regards to the housing and mortgage market situation.
There are, unfortunately, some particular regions in the United States that have suffered greatly due to a bursting bubble in the real estate market; the state of Florida for one, California for another. It is sad, but true, that the vision of huge paychecks turned some mortgage brokers into predators, completely laying away those who could afford it the least, those with less than stellar credit. These previously delighted homeowners are now losing their dwellings because they cannot afford the new uncapped higher payments. They also have yet to finish paying back the person they borrowed the money from to pay the high fees just to get the home in the first place. Problems like this example have created volatility in the market for sure.
While the real estate market in our area is not quite as up as it was last year – its also not as down as the media would have you believe. We never had the huge bubble around here. Yes, the market may be slower, but we are not experiencing the major issues like those mentioned above. The ever-occurring bad news we read would have us all just ready to give up, hang it up, dig a ditch and jump in. It's bad enough to read every single day something negative in the national papers about the mortgage market, but to now read a complete untruth in my own home town paper, with regards to our local area just distresses me.
You may say this letter is self-serving, as I am a mortgage loan officer. However, the truth is the truth. One thing I do know since I deal with it every day – there are certainly more affordable homes on the market right now than we have had in a long time.
A customer I spoke with this week said that the Niles area certainly had a lot of good housing stock. I thought that was an interesting way to think of it. Much like cars on a lot or lumber on a shelf, we have a big inventory to pick from. It's a buyer's market! It's a great time to buy a house. Economics 101 folks! Supply is high, demand is lower, prices are forced downwards. Affordable homes are everywhere! It's the very reason so many investors are shopping, scooping up the deals from all the foreclosures and taking full advantage.
Niles and the surrounding area should view this time as an opportunity. We have several competent real estate agents to market these homes to us. We also have excellent, ethical lending institutions to pick from. Mortgage rates are very good, probably better than last year this time. Lenders are developing programs to assist those whose payments have soared. I know I can speak for everyone in this field that the last thing we need are more disillusioned, frightened people. I have conversations most days with folks that are afraid to do anything because of what they hear. The housing market certainly is cyclical and a year from now – there will be fewer homes for sale, the demand curve will shift and prices will rise. We will address that when it happens. Each person needs to evaluate their own situation before making a purchase now, just as they should whenever they are considering a large investment, but do not need to fear a wise decision anytime.
Industry comes and goes, stores open and close. The economy rises and slows. The constant fact is we will always need a roof over our heads. Homeownership has great tax advantages and in most cases sure beats rent.
As for Niles, yes – we will always have some pending issue about money for this or that – but take a good look at downtown and the new places opening up. Look at the housing developments all around us. I chose to see the half full side of things. We have more new construction in our area than in most of the state. And we have lots of existing houses at good prices. I can't be the only one that sees this.
It is very sad that the Community Development Corp had to discontinue operations. It was an asset to many. Government funding may have ended, and programs discontinue for many reasons. I just know we have plenty of affordable houses in our immediate area and do not need the negative publicity indicating otherwise.
We will be as successful as we allow ourselves to be, all of us. People, you can grasp the chance, before the market changes, before the supply diminishes, before your dream house is sold to someone else. Why not before the snow flies?
I personally know there are realtors in Niles having the best year they have ever had selling homes. Must be a reason. Along with their hard work – the inventory is well stocked to pick from. Good for them. Good for the buyers and sellers. Good for the title companies. Good for the system, let's keep the economy moving along. My husband and I decided to buy a new home this summer, too. (Well – it is actually kind of old… but it does have character). We are pleased with the price we settled on. Good time to buy we thought. And it was. Now – the second part of this -guess what! Someone else will get a good deal when they buy the current home we own. And the beat goes on. Why wait?
Carpe diem!