Sunday, June 18, 2006

Housing Market

I had read a couple of months ago that the housing market in the Denver area was going to top off and remain steady for the foreseeable future, but it looks, at least in my area, as if prices are actually dropping.

We started tentatively looking in January, and I was a little dismayed at the choices in our price range. Some of those houses are still for sale, so I checked again, and the prices have dropped significantly. There are now many in our price range.

In two months we start looking for a house in earnest, and we're going to include foreclosures in our search. This heartbreaking story in the Denver Post makes me especially eager to find a house in pre-foreclosure. Not only so that we can get a better deal on a property, but to help someone out of a bad financial situation.

I sometimes listen to the Mortgage Insider Saturday mornings on 760AM, and they have a lot of contempt for mortgage brokers, a lot of whom are outright criminals since there hasn't been a lot of oversight of the industry.

They mentioned that Gov. Owens signed a bill that requires mortgage brokers to have background checks and register with the state, but were less than enthusiastic about the effects of the requirement. Violation would be a misdemeanor and the loss of a $25,000 surety bond. But as the mortgage insiders said, people who are willing to commit fraud probably won't balk at a misdemeanor. The Colorado Association of Mortgage Lenders agrees:
"Since no state can regulate all loan originators, the only way to effectively attack mortgage fraud is through enforcement," said Chris Holbert, president of the mortgage lenders group. "Until we treat criminals as criminals, regulating some of the good guys isn't going to help. Enforcement is the key."

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