Market Oddities

The Artesia Real Estate market is odd. I am reminded of that daily. Our great little city has so much to offer – great people, great schools, opportunity, and a stable economy. Here’s the odd aspect of the housing market here; Houses at the very top of the price spectrum are selling with vigor. Houses at the very bottom of the spectrum are moving to investors and those willing to invest sweat equity in their own home. The area where I see the softest sales is the “middle.” Houses priced where most first time buyers can afford them, sit on the market and languish. The price pressure is heavy and downward, and many of those houses sell for much less than the owners think they are worth. It’s puzzling from the outside, but here in the “trenches” of Real Estate its fairly easy to identify the cause. A whole segment of the economy has been priced out of the housing market – not by home sellers – by the mortgage lenders.

Here is another perfect example of how our culture has evolved into a system that punishes the have-nots for the sins of the haves. The mortgage and housing crisis of the past few years was not created by low income and middle income families. Despite what you hear on the cable business channels, it was the spawn of greed and expediency on the part of the big banks and even our own government. During the housing bubble, young families who wanted to buy a home within their means were approved for loans way above their means. Policies of very loose lending requirements created the belief that any borrower could afford any home. I’m not absolving the borrower of all responsibility, but 15 years ago, folks had an idea in their mind of the type and value of home they could afford. Somewhere between there and here things changed. What was the agent of that change? I have my ideas about that.

As the government decided that home-ownership was only a half-step removed from life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, they backed more and more marginal mortgages. Banks saw an opportunity to make higher margins by charging higher interest for no-risk loans, and the cycle began. Fannie and Freddy bought them up as derivative instruments and the bubble grew to the point of bursting. Here we are post-bubble and who is suffering for those misdeeds? Not the wall-street executives. Not the politicians. Not the Fannie and Freddy management team. No. It’s the young family who has been working and saving and paying their bills on time to get a loan to buy their first home. They have been priced out of the game – not because they took unwise risks, but because someone else did and lost.

We have to inject some common sense into this economy. Middle America deserves to be invited to the party again. It benefits all of us when John Q. Public can buy a home for his family and a home that might sit vacant for years and deteriorate becomes a source of pride. Drive around and see how many vacant, rotting, neglected homes are in our neighborhoods. Somebody would love those houses and bring them back to life, but they that would, can’t.

I have been working with some lenders and advocates in the area lining up programs for low to middle income borrowers. There are still places to go for these people and I’m making it my business to know who and where they are. If you, or someone you know, has been told a mortgage is not possible, call me. Let me put you in touch with some people who may get you back in the game. The answer may still be no, but these professionals can tell you exactly what you need to get a “yes.”

Real Estate is my only business. I love it and work it hard every day. Call me and let me demonstrate how hard. All Real Estate. All The Time.

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