Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sequester Eve, and All Thru the Housing Market....

(The original use of the word dates back to the 14th century and defines it better than the common "jury room" usage we use today. According to Meriam Webster: Origin of SEQUESTER Middle English sequestren, from Anglo-French sequestrer, from Latin sequestrare to hand over to a trustee, from sequester third party to whom disputed property is entrusted, agent, from secus beside, otherwise; akin to Latin sequi to follow.)

 The real estate market is seeing a noticeable turn-around in the past few months, but the impending sequestration could have a significant impact on jobs, incomes and ultimately the ability of potential homebuyers to close on a home.

(Collage courtesy Newseum) The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to minus 32.8 in the week ended Feb. 24 as the share of Americans with a positive view of the world’s largest economy matched the highest since March 2008. In spite of this encouraging news, the housing market is once again at risk.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) reportedly guaranteed 23 percent of all mortgages last year, but because of sequestration they can expect job cuts and ultimately less processing of loans, refinances and properties in major distress--all of which need attention for a recovering housing market.

 Federal funding most at risk would be this year's Community Development Block Grants and HOME programs, which may be reduced by 10 to 25 percent. The HOME program helps develop low-income housing.

In the New Jersey area, families who were affected by Superstorm Sandy are bracing for deep cuts to their programs and aid, according to Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development(HUD).

The Patch has just introduced an interactive chart showing the effect of the sequester on jobs in each county. Essex and Morris counties are predicted to take the hardest hit. Job losses created by the sequester would put a damper on th e housing market too. “Borrowers need to be employed to close on their home loan, Craig Strent, CEO of Maryland-based Apex Home Loans, tells Olick. “As a quality control measure, lenders call a day or two before closing to verify an individual is still employed. If a loan is denied during the process due to the borrower losing their job, they are likely to lose their loan lock as well,


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