Tuesday, July 17, 2007

First Time Home Buyers Struggle to Enter the Market

This is a follow up to my last post. As previously mentioned, the meltdown in the subprime market has not pulled the doormat out from under Bay Area home owners. Still this economic phenomenon has not left the real estate market entirely unscathed. We had hoped that a leveling of the market would turn a greater percentage of housing dreams into realities. Unfortunately for some first-time home buyers, the carrot remains just out of reach. USA Today reports:
Rising mortgage rates have eroded almost all the financial relief that buyers might have derived from the slight decline in prices in most areas. On top of that, lenders are now demanding that customers produce larger down payments, more cash reserves in the bank, higher credit scores and less debt — all of which many first-time buyers lack, especially in high-cost states such as California, New York and Florida.
As we look into our crystal ball, we can't help but be concerned for our infrastructure. If the trend continues, how will our teachers, police officers, and firefighters afford to live here? The Bay Area housing market has held strong due to a strong and diverse economy, the area's intrinsic desirability, and limited sprawl. But, what will happen if the people who service the needs of our community can no longer afford to live here?

Given increased housing costs and gentrification, how do you see our East Bay culture changing? (Click on text to leave your comment.)

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