Chief economist for the National Association of Realtors remarks echoed in Steamboat Springs, CO

Friday, October 7, 2011

Second home buyers paying cash are helping the Steamboat Springs real estate market buck the national trend of a very slow housing recovery. But reluctant lenders are stalling a full recovery in some niche Steamboat markets.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors says

There are more willing buyers of foreclosed properties than there are foreclosed properties coming onto the market… [and this is] part of the national healing process.

So true here. In the immediate vicinity of downtown Steamboat Springs. including the Mountain area, Fish Creek neighborhoods and West of Steamboat’s Heritage Park, Steamboat II and Silver Spur, there are just 2 bank owned single family homes listings today!

Everyone starts their search looking for a bank owned home (that’s perceived as the best deal, right?). There were 50 single family homes that sold in these areas since June 1st, 2011 reported by our local MLS. 15 of those are recent newly accepted contracts listed as Pending Sales.

But, holding back a full recovery, Yun says, are banks.

Right now, banks are not taking any risk. People who qualified in the past don’t qualify today.

Consider New Hampshire or the Seacoast area with 15 to 20 percent additional sales today if underwriting standards went back to normal. But this is holding back the housing market recovery.

In Steamboat Springs, my single family sales would be up by 1 or 2 if banks would loosen up a bit and my condo sales would easily be up by 5 to 10! These are not high risk for the banks because these buyers typically have 10% to 20% down and they have a job and good credit. But qualifying for a condo loan is a delicate and frustrating process, and I’m finding the buyer often can’t qualify even though under previous standards they would be considered “low risk”.

Part of the free market system is that you don’t have to take too high a risk, but still, you need to take risk

says Yun. But banks are able to borrow at near zero cost from the Federal Reserve, and earn a small risk-free return by buying treasuries. The banks just don’t want to take on any risk by loaning money to any entity but the U.S. government.

Most of the Steamboat market are looked upon as Condotels and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac won’t buy those loans; as is the case with banks, they don’t want to and don’t have to take any risk. Therefore, buyers are left to portfolio lending from local banks. The rates are higher by about a point or more, the terms are usually variable after 3 or 5 years and a higher down payment is required. We would see a huge boost in sales of Steamboat condominiums if the banks would just loosen up a bit with all the government money they have been handed and lend to these lower risk buyers.

Do you have cash and looking for a deal on a condo? Contact me as there are plenty! Do you need a loan for a condo? Then call a lender first to see if it’s even possible, then Contact me and I’ll help you find a condo that qualifies.

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