Rising rates reduce ability to buy homesRising mortgage...

INDUSTRY WATCH

November 20, 1994

Rising rates reduce ability to buy homes

Rising mortgage rates reduced Americans' ability to purchase a home during the third quarter.

The National Association of Realtors said last week that its Housing Affordability Index registered 127.8 during the July-September period, down from 131.3 in the second quarter and 135.9 during the third quarter of 1993.

The index, which measures affordability factors for all homebuyers, peaked at 141.9 during the final three months of 1993 and began dropping as the Federal Reserve began boosting short-term rates in February. Last week, the Fed raised short-term rates another three-quarters of a percentage point.

When the composite index measures 100, a family earning the median income has exactly the amount needed to purchase a median-priced resale home, using conventional financing and a 20 percent down payment.

The index showed that half of the nation's families had at least 127.8 percent of the income needed to qualify for the purchase of a home with a median price of $111,000. The typical family could afford a home costing $141,900.

Bozzuto offers tour of home via computer

Bozzuto Homes says it is the first builder to offer a computer-animated video of one of its homes, so buyers can see what the home will look like before it is built.

The video, developed by Macromedia Technologies Inc. of Minneapolis, is an animated tour of the Brookstone condominiums in Pikesville, showing the home with and without furniture. It runs about 5 minutes.

Brokers association starts hot line

The National Association of Mortgage Brokers, a Phoenix-based nonprofit professional society, has established a free homebuyers' hot line to provide homebuyers with direct access to qualified NAMB mortgage brokers in their community.

When consumers call the hot line, they will be connected to an approved NAMB mortgage broker in their area, specializing in the type of loan they are looking for.

The mortgage brokers can help homebuyers interested in first-time, move-up and relocation home purchase as well as refinance, equity, FHA/VA, home improvement, manufactured home, construction, commercial and industrial loans.

Hot line brokers will supply lists of qualified real estate agents and building inspectors, title and escrow companies. Homebuyers can contact the hot line from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at (803) 375-7501.

NEWS IN BRIEF

Builder's 1st Choice has been chosen by Stapf Homes to handle sales at Long Bar Harbor in Abingdon, in Harford County. Builder's 1st Choice said it handles the sales and marketing of over 90 residential communities in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

*The Home Builders Association of Maryland will provide information on winterizing your home and other helpful hints from housing industry professionals who are members of the group's speakers bureau. Speakers will make free presentations to groups.

The David Kornblatt Co. said its president, Henry S. Kornblatt, has been elected chairman of the Commercial Division of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors for 1994-1995.

Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. said Walter R. Hayes, an associate broker with its Towson office, has been elected to the board of directors of the Towson Business Association.

ON THE MOVE

The Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors named Christine A. Vasiliou executive vice president. The first woman to hold that position in the organization's 135-year history, Ms. Vasiliou will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the board. Previously she held the same position with the Plymouth County Board of Realtors in Pembroke, Mass.

Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. named Todd Ottenstein a vice president and head of its new Acreage & Marketing Department. Gloria Gardner, president of the National Institute of Real Estate School of Auctioneering in Vienna, Va., will serve as Long & Foster's auctioneer.

The company also said Janet Hannsz has joined the firm as a salesperson in its Annapolis Downtown office.

Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. said Celeste Martinez has joined the company as a salesperson in its Perry Hall office and Ward Dawson has taken a similar position with the Towson location.

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