Make us your home page
Instagram

Q&A: What market means for Florida home loans

With all the fears about job losses and slow economic growth, why didn't the Federal Reserve lower interest rates Tuesday?

While it's true that U.S. consumer prices fell last month for the first time in nearly two years, thanks to plunging oil prices, the Fed remains jittery about inflation and a weak dollar. Low interest rates have contributed to an anemic dollar and higher inflation over the past few years. As Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues said Tuesday, "Inflation outlook remains highly uncertain." The Fed stressed that current rates, over time, should promote "moderate growth" if not the screeching appreciation that marked the last housing boom.

Does the Fed's relative stinginess mean Floridians can't get a good home loan?

By no means. As of Tuesday, you could still finance a house for less than 6 percent, low by historical standards. The problem isn't interest rates, but lenders that have tightened standards after getting spooked by billions of dollars in real estate losses. Few banks failed to notice the collapse of the nation's biggest mortgage lender, Countrywide, and its subsequent rescue by Bank of America.

So what does it take to get a home loan in Florida these days?

The no-documentation "liar loans" are relics of the housing boom that ended in 2006. Few lenders will take you seriously without a credit score of at least 680 and a similarly buff employment history. If you meet the loftier standards, government-backed loans can be had by putting as little as 3 percent down. Investment homes remain problematic since the area's been declared a "declining market" in which mortgage insurance is scarce. That means many investors will have to plop 20 percent down towards a home purchase, a tough task if you have to find $40,000 to buy a $200,000 home.

Q&A: What market means for Florida home loans 09/17/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 22, 2008 9:54am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Port Tampa Bay makes public/private commitment for $60 million expansion project

    Business

    TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay approved a public-private partnership agreement with four other entities to divvy up who will pay for a $60 million widening and extension of the Big Bend Channel.

    Port Tampa Bay approved a participation agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Transportation, Tampa Electric Company and Mosaic Company at the port's monthly board meeting on  Tuesday. Port Tampa Bay President & CEO Paul Anderson signs the agreement as Ram Kancharla; Port Tampa Bay's vice president of planning & development, Brandon Burch; project manager at United States Army Corps of Engineers, Lois Moore; of Alcalde and Fay and Charles Klug; Port Tampa Bay principal counsel, and Tim Murphy; deputy district engineer of the Army Corps., looks on. [Company handout]
  2. One of St. Petersburg's newest condo projects is sold out

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Reflecting the continued demand for condos in downtown St. Petersburg, The Salvador, completed earlier this year at 199 Dali Blvd., has sold out. Records show that a 2-bedroom, 2-bath unit sold Friday for $620,000 in an all-cash deal. Two other units — a 3-bedroom, 2-bath penthouse and a …

     Reflecting the continued demand for condos in downtown St. Petersburg, The Salvador, completed earlier this year at 199 Dali Blvd., has sold out. 
[Rendering courtesy of aalliiggnn LLC]
  3. Reload your SunPass account. Roadway tolls return Thursday.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida residents will no longer get a free pass traversing most stretches of the Florida Turnpike or certain local expressways across the state.

    With a push by the Florida Turpike to encourage more drivers traveling the Veterans and Suncoast Parkway to buy a Sunpass, motorists will begin to see more lanes converted to handle Sunpass. [Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Tampa Heights project gets $21.5 million in funding

    Real Estate

    TAMPA --- The Tampa-based Heights Community Development District got a financial boost from a $21.5 million tax-exempt bond issue to fund the waterfront community being built along the Hillsborough River just north of downtown Tampa. Proceeds from the bond issue are expected to used for new roads, sidewalks, the Tampa …

    Tampa's Heights Community Development District got a financial boost from a $21.5 million tax-exempt bond issue to fund the waterfront community being built along the Hillsborough River just north of downtown Tampa.
[Courtesy of Aerial Innovations, Inc.]
  5. Grocery chain Aldi hiring for 500 positions across Florida

    Retail

    Aldi, the German grocery store chain, is hiring for 500 positions across Florida, including at its locations in Tampa Bay. The company will hold a "one-day hiring spree" Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at all Aldi stores in the state, a Tuesday release said.

    Aldi, a German grocery store chain, is hiring for 500 positions across the state. | [Times file photo]