Local loans not halted

Published 4:47 pm Wednesday, November 19, 2008

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
Local Realtors have seen a slowdown in activity lately - but they believe the problem is more perception than reality.
Sandy English of English Realty agreed.
Hines said 6 percent conventional 30-year mortgage rates are available - and that is still lower than rates have been in previous years.
Both Hines and English said national news of a downturn in the economy and a credit crunch has hurt business. In recent weeks, as the stock market has taken a hit and investment banks have failed or changed hands, headlines have focused on a growing credit crisis.
But those problems have not hit local real estate markets like Brewton's.
Buyers with decent credit should not have a problem securing a home loan, English said.
Many of the national problems in the mortgage industry and housing market came from companies that engaged in sub-prime loans - loans made to home buyers who don't qualify for the lowest market rates because of credit problems. Many of those loans have led to foreclosures, Hines said.
Escambia County has seen more foreclosures than usual in recent months, English said. “We're not accustomed to seeing a lot of foreclosures in this area,” she said. “But those are usually good buys for investors.”
Jack Hines III, also of Hines Realty, said that, unlike metro areas, Brewton has not been affected by deflation of the housing “bubble” - the decline in home values.
But Hines Realty can see that interest in the local housing market is still high, judging by the number of hits to the company's Web site - as many as 40,000 in one week.