One Year Later: The Housing Market, WBKO-TV ABC 13 Bowling Green, Kentucky

It’s been a little more than a year since the nation’s economic downturn. Everything from Wall Street to Main Street has been affected. So how are you doing? In her special report, Lauren Hanson examines the housing market… one year later.

 

Posted: 5:49 PM Nov 9, 2009

Reporter: Lauren Hanson

Email Address: lauren.hanson@wbko.com

 

Last year the nation’s two largest mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced they were running out of money.

 

In response, the government has loaned them billions of dollars to stay afloat.

 

Congress approved a tax credit of up to eight-thousand dollars for first time home buyers, but what does all this mean to people in South Central Kentucky?

 

After renting for two years, Tammy Britt is moving into her first home.

 

“I’ve always wanted to be able to say I have my own home, my own place,” said Tammy.

 

Tammy looked at houses for around a year, but the new eight-thousand dollar tax credit is what really convinced her to jump from renter to buyer.

 

“The further I got into it the more excited about it I was because it really occurred to me, I can do this,” said Tammy.

 

“We’re seeing all kinds of young people coming in, professional people, teachers…” said Lena Turner, a realtor for Crye Leike.

 

Lena has seen a boom in first-time homebuyers since the federal tax credit took effect in January.

 

She says these buyers are coming in with an idea of what kind of home they want and how much they’re willing to spend.

 

“Their first home is very special and they don’t want to mess around and get too big of a payment and then end up losing their home,” said Lena.

 

The tax credit is also giving a boost to realtors and lenders.

 

“Our company this year has already at the end of September done more loans than we did all of last year,” said Ronald Shaver of Century Mortgage.

 

“We’ve been busier this year than I was last year,” said Shaver.

 

While the tax credit is helping first-time home buyers, others are having to make some tough decisions.

 

“I just wanted to make a life changing decision,” said Portia Wimp.

 

Portia recently bought a brand new home, but selling her old house was difficult.

 

“I had to think about it. This was his dream home. He lived his last hours in this home,” said Portia.

 

Her husband passed away five years ago and he told her not to keep the home if it ever became a burden.

 

“I was trying to simplify my life after my husband died. We had a big house and a big yard and it was just too much for me,” said Wimp.

 

Wimp said with that in mind, she decided to keep her memories in her heart and downsize to a home that fit her.

 

By downsizing, Wimp eliminated her mortgage, which she says is a relief.

 

“I wanted to be a good steward of the funds that I have left,” said Wimp.

 

While they bought homes for very different reasons, both Tammy and Portia are happy with their decisions.

 

“I can put things where I want. I can redo rooms, anything that I want to. It’s mine,” said Tammy.

 

“I feel so grateful to have a new home that I’m comfortable in. I feel safe in this neighborhood,” said Portia.

 

According to the REALTOR Association of Southern Kentucky, home sales were up in Bowling Green and Warren County in both September and October of this year when compared to last year. The organization says September of 2008 92 homes were sold when compared to 102 in 2009. In October of 2008 75 homes were sold when compared to 112 in 2009.

 

Annually, numbers are down a little when compared to last year. The REALTOR Association of Southern Kentucky thinks it may be because first-time homebuyers waited until the last minute to take advantage of the tax credit which expires at the end of November.