A new set of tighter mortgage rules designed to prevent the kind of lending frenzy that led to the 2007 housing crash are being established, but some worry they could dampen Southwest Florida’s budding housing recovery.
that is because the new rules, aimed at protecting consumers from abusive lending practices, could wind up making it even harder for some borrowers to obtain mortgages.
“Lenders are very careful now. People who should get loans are getting loans, but it is a more difficult process for everyone,” said David Hunihan, director of sales at homebuilder Neal Communities.
“My fear is that the legislation is too far reaching, that people who should get loans won’t be able to, and that’s not good for anyone,” he said.
Borrowers already are facing uphill battles for mortgage loans, a reaction to free-wheeling lending practices that pushed consumers to buy homes they could not afford during the real estate boom of the mid-2000s.
Cash buyers, meanwhile, who have been key players in the revival of the region’s housing market, also are elbowing out those who must borrow money to buy a home, said Lois Seropian, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker on Siesta Key.
“Most of our deals are cash,” she said. “Mortgages are very hard on us. Even though rates are great, you have to have perfect credit.
“When those buyers go up against a cash buyer, the seller will take the cash. A mortgage is going to take six to eight weeks, while with cash you close in 10 days,” she said.