Is the Impending Election Affecting the Housing Market?

The housing market affects people of all political persuasions, income brackets and ages all over this country. We need to figure this out!

Is the impending election affecting the housing market?

In fact, I believe it is — it’s been a little quiet out there. No matter which candidate you’re leaning towards we all can agree the economy and housing market needs to be addressed. How do they envision housing as a part of our economic recovery and growth in the future? Many of us own homes or dream of owning in the future. Many owners are under water or have already lost their home to foreclosure. I get many calls from desperate home owners that just don’t know what to do or where to turn for help.

As I watch the presidential debates I’m disappointed there hasn’t been more time dedicated to discussing housing market issues. The word "foreclosure" has been uttered only once during 180 minutes of combined discussion between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, as well as Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. (So far that is. I’m writing this Monday and there is the final debate tonight.)

So why haven't the candidates debated the topic? Both candidates have struggled to find a clear answer on this complicated issue and housing policy tends to be less exciting than, for instance, Iran's obsession with getting nukes or the many other International challenges taking place. These issues concern me very much, but I am also interested in topics that hit closer to home. The housing market affects people of all political persuasions, income brackets and ages all over this country.

I received a call just yesterday from a nurse that works at one of our local hospitals. She told me she needs to sell her town home but she’s underwater. She said, “This is not what I planned for. I bought my home seven years ago and got an interest-only loan. I pay my bills. I pay my taxes, but I just have to let it go.” Luckily I’ll be able to short sale her property and her credit won’t be completely destroyed. She’ll feel a great sense of relief to not have to pay that huge mortgage that doesn’t even apply towards the principle. However, it will be hard for her to secure a rental. Rental prices are increasing astronomically in this area and there is a lot of competition to even find one in your price range. The short sale will not destroy her credit, but will definitely bring her score down. I inquired where she will move and she told me luckily her parents live in the area so she will move back home. She is an independent 30-year-old, but sometimes we need to make hard choices.

I hear these types of stories every week here in Northern Virginia, and we have a strong housing market in comparison to many other areas of the United States.

So what’s the plan? People are waiting to hear. People are waiting to buy or sell homes until they have an understanding of where the housing market is headed. Yes, it’s true — the housing market is improving in the DC metropolitan area. I believe it will continue to improve yearly, but I would still like a clear understanding of what the presidential candidates plan to do. I’m sure my client the nurse is curious too.

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Don Joy October 24, 2012 at 02:31 PM
One of the most frustrating aspects of it all was that the entire Wells Fargo team, including underwriters, showed themselves to be unable to comprehend the most basic of entries on Veterans Administration forms--they rejected some of my forms many weeks after I'd submitted them and our closing date had already passed, saying that I'd filled them out improperly or failed to enter data on certain lines, when the fact was that they simply couldn't--even after I explained the entries or non-entries to them--understand the most basic aspects of why, for example, someone who is not on active duty should not reply at all, should neither check "yes" nor "no," on a statement which explicitly pertains only to someone who is on active duty. This kind of problem happened more than once. Rather than accept that they were wrong, they had me alter the form itself--cross out the VA's own printed text on the line. I felt like I was dealing with derelicts! This is their JOB, to know what the hell they are doing in their actual profession, not to repeatedly get it wrong and then insist that the customer pretend along with them, and alter the documents, when they cannot even figure out why they blew it.
Don Joy October 24, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Ellen Moyer October 24, 2012 at 07:07 PM
In the case of my nurse client and others like her....these people are not slackers. They did not understand what they were getting into with their mortgage and were assured the could easily afford it. She is not behind on her payments and needs to get out as there will be hefty "special assessments" due in the future. (There is a special assessment coming up for $5000 which she will be paying) She is selling her home as a short sale therefore she is honoring her commitment unlike so many others who just stopped paying their mortgage altogether and walked away. That has really destroyed the housing market as it's brought down the prices of so many homes whose owners have been paying their mortgage even if they are upside down on their loan. Thanks for your comments!
Don Joy October 24, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Thank you for your reply.
Don Joy October 24, 2012 at 08:54 PM
I just have a hard time thinking of people, who claim to have not understood their mortgages, as responsible individuals--a responsible person would have done their basic due diligence. With an undertaking as significant as buying a home, you would think that people would take the trouble to ask questions, do their homework(no pun intended), and mind their p's and q's. I know that most of these cases of people claiming not to understand what they were getting into are dubious. By the timing of her purchase, as you said 7 years ago(at the height of the bubble, or approaching it) I am inclined to see her as one of those who saw an opportunity to ride the rising prices all the way to the moon, then had their illusions shattered all around them when the bubble burst. Call me harsh, but honestly how long are we as society going to keep up these charades, pretending that the piper will never come due? This is what we face as a nation, and why this election is so important. We are 16 trillion dollars in debt, facing many trillions and trillions more in unfunded liabilities. We can't keep kicking the can down the road, voting for feel-good con artists who promise us more goodies and benefits.


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