I started off this new year with some hope that just maybe the real estate market would show signs of life. Yet, by January 10th, I'm already discouraged by what I'm reading. Even worse, those who are doing the discouraging are those who have the power to change the situation - but still are not.
First, the government. The literally millions of current homeowners who owe more on their current mortgages than their home is considered to be worth at the moment COULD be helped by the HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) which was supposed to have started in December. It is designed to enable many faithful homeowners who have made their mortgage payments on time and in full despite the decreased value of the property to be able to refinance at a lower rate. However, the word is that this program may not be ready to go until March while the technicalities continue to be reviewed.
Of course, I can understand that a thorough review is needed given the potential billions of dollars riding on this Program. However, I cannot understand why this review wasn't done prior to the HARP program being approved. If there are literally more than two months of worth of technicalities to be reviewed, why weren't they clarified by the government and banking officials prior to this? Design it first and THEN review it?
Perhaps government officials should read news stories such as this one:
(The above story is about how the reduction in property values is resulting in lower property
taxes in many areas and how it translates to lower tax revenues for local governments.)
Since the various levels of government supposedly need money almost as much as we as consumers do these days, you would think that government officials would be on top of something that figures to bring in millions of dollars and also stimulate this economy.
Second, there is the "news" that the realty agents keep talking about.
Once again, consumers are being bombarded with negative statistics about the real estate market. Home sales are down compared with prior months and years. This story with more of the same from Buffalo brings my point home:
Frankly, this story is infuriating. "It's the bad economy" is one message. Home sales in 2011 were even worse than from 2010. If this news story was the result of an investigation of the marketplace by a reporter, at least we would know that it is a story with a local angle. Yet, this dose of negativity comes from the Realty Association, which is wholly supported by the area's real estate agents and offices. The same people who are supposed to be paid to SELL those houses.
Even worse, the Realty Association story further reflects the National Association of Realtors' comment that the housing market could be this "bad" for another two years. How does this help to sell homes?
Putting these stories all together, it means that government officials can't get their act together to enact a program that could stimulate the economy. If millions of homeowners can refinance at a lower rate, it significantly lowers the chances of foreclosure down the road. More importantly, many of those "saved" dollars each month would be put back into the economy in the form of retail sales, financial products, and possibly other investments. That could keep some retailers and businesses alive.
Instead, the government needs extra weeks to put their already approved mortgage plan into action? How does this happen?
On top of that, the realty agents who are supposed to be creating home sales are spending their finding negative statistics. Did someone apply force for these Associations to keep putting out the negative and discouraging statistics?
If the people in our government and within the real estate industry who could be making the difference aren't making a 100% effort, those of us who are stalled in our efforts and hampered financially by the current state of real estate need to put the pressure on.
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