Is The Banking Industry Killing The Housing Industry?
Many states are trying to work their way out of what’s been deemed a housing industry crisis. To say that things have been bad across the country would be an understatement. In 2009, the top housing markets were those that weren’t in a freefall, including my home area of Syracuse, which was flat yet considered as the 2nd best in the country.
Whether or not you believe unemployment has improved (it hasn’t), things have definitely stabilized in a fashion. And in some states there are plenty of houses that are available for purchase. And yet, not including places like Chicago, which has rebounded fairly well, those homes aren’t being purchased, and home ownership isn’t growing, or at least not growing enough to overcome the bad times.
What’s the problem? In my opinion, it’s all in the hands of the banking industry. True, I blame the banking industry for causing the problem in the first place, and now I’m blaming them for keeping it down. There are many reasons I’m blaming them; let’s take a look.
1. Not giving up the loans. I understand that banks have had a hard go of it, but many of them have gone too far in the other direction and are looking to loan people money who don’t really need it. When rich people with credit scores over 800 can’t get home loans, you know that banks have become skittish on who they want to loan money to.
2. Bank closings. So far, 102 banks have been closed in 2010; this is about 45 more banks than were closed at this point last year. Many more banks are projected to be closed this year. Many of the banks that have been closed are in states that are still having major problems with housing. As other banks are taking over, they’re being a lot more judgmental in who they’re going to give loans to.
3. Banks holding on to foreclosed homes. In some states that have had high foreclosure rates, banks are artificially trying to keep home prices up by keeping some homes off the market. Picking and choosing which homes they want to put on the market means there are many homes that someone might want that they can’t buy. Florida has many homes at low prices, and many of those homes are starting to be snapped up. It’s better for everyone if they can buy whatever home they want, even if the prices are lower, because it helps stimulate the entire industry. Banks, let up on the foreclosed properties.
4. Not processing loans quicker. The reason the federal government had to extend the time for people to finish qualifying for loan modifications is because banks could care less whether people qualify for it or not. They got called out for not processing more of these loans in a timely matter, but the truth is that it didn’t work in their favor, or at least they didn’t perceive that it did, so they didn’t have any reason to try.
That’s enough for the moment. To be somewhat fair, banks do have to change up their criteria a little bit. Some people who purchased homes before weren’t really qualified to buy those homes at the prices they got them for. Low interest rates don’t protect banks from people with risky credit, and that’s understood as well. However, as long as banks in areas with depressed housing markets won’t work with brokers and consumers to try to get them into homes, those markets will continue to suffer, which means the entire country will suffer along with them.