Ask A Realtor
This summer everyone was talking about two roller-coaster rides, and they weren’t referring to amusement parks. Employment and housing have been tumultuous and the recession is still with us. But there are significant signs of improvement, especially for real estate. It seems that yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel instead of the dark and scary wreck that economists were predicting this time last year.
California Dream Homes
Take California, for instance. The Golden State is an excellent barometer for what’s happening in the overall American real estate world, especially since it was there that many characteristic symptoms of the housing crisis started.
A few years ago home prices in California were rising at a staggering pace, leaving most buyers locked out of the stratospheric market. Mortgage-backed securities were in vogue, and Wall Street speculators were fueling the insanity. But the artificial pandemonium was not sustainable, the bubble burst, and foreclosures became rampant.
But finally there are signs of core stability. In other words, in the aftermath of the total implosion home prices in California are now simply back down to earth – but no longer all the way in the basement. Many California markets are, in fact, up approximately 30 percent compared to this time last year, and the data on year-to-year sales, comparing 2008 with 2009, shows that activity has grown for 12 consecutive months.
California Association of Realtors (CAR) has also introduced a new program that was especially created to encourage buyers through an Affordability Fund Mortgage Protection Plan. The way it works is that first-time home buyers get additional security and support through a type of mortgage payment insurance that was fully funded by CAR. Under the program those who are eligible are offered protection in case they lose their jobs due to unforeseen layoffs. They would be able to receive as much as $1,500 per month for six months in order to help them remain current on their house payments. Plus the homeowners themselves do not have to pay for this kind of insurance, because it is instead paid for by donations from members and supporters of the California Association of Realtors.
Best Places to Buy a Home and Land a Job
In terms of jobs and the employment market, California also happens to be one of the top-rated places in the nation for LGBT employees to work. Each year the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) generates a comprehensive and well-documented report on corporate America’s treatment of LGBT employees. Recently their 2009 Corporate Equality Index gave high marks to dozens of companies around the nation who earned recognition thanks to their fostering of a supportive workplace culture for LGBT workers.
Not only California, but other states including New York, Georgia, Illinois, Texas, and New Jersey earned excellent reviews this year, based on the fact that they are home to prominent corporations that have outstanding policies in terms of their treatment of LGBT workers.
By taking note of the locations of these top-ranked employers it is possible to get an interesting view and unique insight into some of the best places around the USA for LGBT home buyers to shop for a community in which to live and work. Some of the states with the highest concentration of large corporate gay-friendly employers, for example, are also known for other LGBT attractions – like wonderful gay and lesbian enclaves. That should come as no surprise, but what may be newsworthy is that during the current housing market there are some attractive bargains to be found in those states, cities, towns, and neighborhoods.
But the Perks Won’t Last Forever
Meanwhile the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports a significant uptick in home sales toward the end of summer, so the fire sale prices may soon be history. Between June and July, for example, the surge in existing home sales shattered records as the largest gain since the NAR began tracking month-to-month sales data.
Credit is also more readily available nationwide, now that banks and other lenders have dusted themselves off and gotten back in the game. Even jumbo loans – which are loans of large amounts and are often required to buy upscale homes these days – have made a comeback after being threatened with extinction last year. You can now get jumbo loans, and you can find them at competitive interest rates – something that was virtually impossible a year ago.
Loan availability combined with stable but rising prices – plus tax benefits that may soon expire – appears to make the perfect recipe for real estate optimism.
Those considering the purchase of a home in one of these discounted markets known for LGBT-supportive employers should not procrastinate. Take advantage of low interest rates, the available $8,000 first-time buyer IRS tax perk, a great selection of inventory, and price points that are attracting a buzz of buyers like bees to honey.
To find real estate experts dedicated to the LGBT community, visit www.GayRealEstate.com or call toll-free 1-888-420-MOVE (6683). These experienced brokers can help you find the home of your dreams in a wonderful LGBT community.
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