Industry Digest

INDUSTRY DIGEST

December 11, 2005

Affordability: 1st-time homebuyers

Higher loan rates offset drop in prices

First-time Maryland homebuyers had a harder time affording a house in October as higher mortgage rates offset a drop in price, figures released by the Maryland Association of Realtors show The Housing Affordability Index fell to 44.7 percent, from September's 45.1 percent level, erasing much of the improvement registered since August. That means a typical first-time buyer had 44.7 percent of the income needed to buy a starter home, assuming a 5 percent down payment. The decline came despite a drop in the price of the average starter home to $253,030, down by more than $9,500 since July. "This drop in affordability in October is a disappointment," said association President Al Ingraham. "We had hoped the increases in affordability in August and September were signaling a reversal in the long trend of decline in ... families who can buy their first ... home."

Builders: Officers

Veach is first woman to head state group

Linda Veach has taken over as president of the Home Builders Association of Maryland, the first woman to head the group in its 86-year history. Veach is president of Bob Ward Cos. of Edgewood, which she joined 10 years ago as sales manager. Other new officers are: president-elect, Chris Rachuba, Rachuba Home Builders LLC; first vice president, Lou Baker, Pulte Homes-Maryland Division; associate vice president, Judy Borns, Residential Title & Escrow Co.; secretary, Cynthia McAuliffe, Grayson Homes, LLC; and treasurer, Tim Nichols, Richland Homes.

Homebuying: Workshop

Realtors to focus on foreclosures

Buying foreclosures will be the topic of a free homebuyers workshop presented by the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the board's Lutherville office, 1306 Bellona Ave. The workshop will cover how to find, inspect and evaluate Department of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and city-owned SCOPE property and bank foreclosures; risks and expenses and use of the Internet for research. To register, e-mail name and contact number to Rachel Heaton at rheaton @realtorsbaltimore.com.

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