Access to Credit Plagues Real Estate Market

Access to Credit Plagues Real Estate Market

Limited access to credit continues to plague many builders across the nation. The newly introduced Home Building Lending Improvement Act of 2012 takes aim at helping to restore the flow of credit.

NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen commented, "We applaud Sen. Menendez for sponsoring this bill and leading the effort in the Senate to end the severe credit crunch for home building that is needlessly idling residential construction workers and hampering the housing and economic recovery."

"Without access to financing, small home builders cannot keep their doors open, let alone meet the rising demand that is emerging in scores of markets across the nation," said Nielsen. "The Menendez bill will help address the housing production credit crisis and establish an effective foundation to help housing regain its health, contribute to job growth and strengthen the economic expansion."

Builder's are experiencing at least one bright spot, however. Builder confidence in the 55+housing sector is on the move upward.

While the market is still weak and buyers of any age are waiting to buy, both the 55+ multifamily condo and 55+ multifamily rentals have shown recent improvement. Present sales and production were up and expected sales and production increased 12 points on the HMI scale.

"As with the overall single-family housing market, we are seeing gradual, but steady, improvement in the 55+ market segment," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "A level of 18 in the 55+ HMI is the highest fourth quarter reading since inception of the index in 2008, but still a long way from a healthy housing market. Also, as with the overall multifamily rental housing sector, the 55+ rental market is showing continued strength. All of the index subcomponents are at or above their highs since index inception in 2009."

This gradual improvement is reflected in the latest Mortgage Banker's Association Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, which saw applications rise by 7.5 percent from the week earlier.

In other news, Fed Chairman Bernanke urged Congress last week to address the issue of the expiring Bush era tax cuts and to do so sooner than later.

In this testimony on the economic outlook Bernanke noted that putting off decisions over the expiration of Bush era tax cuts could have unforeseen consequences. "I don't know exactly when the uncertainty would become a factor, but surely as we get closer to January 1 and Congress has not given a clear road map for how it plans to proceed, that would certainly affect planning, business decisions, household decisions, as they look ahead to the next year," he said.

As for housing, it is the tightened mortgage credit conditions as well as uncertain jobs market that holds back growth. "Although low interest rates on conventional mortgages and the drop in home prices in recent years have greatly improved the affordability of housing, both residential sales and construction remain depressed. A persistent excess supply of vacant homes, largely stemming from foreclosures, is keeping downward pressure on prices and limiting the demand for new construction." 


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Phone: 201-669-7520
Dated: February 19th 2012
Views: 954
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