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SA Home Prices Rose in 2015, But Loan Restrictions Easing

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The median price of a home in the San Antonio area went up 7 percent last year to $192,600. 

In its annual housing market forecast on Thursday, the San Antonio Board of Realtors (SABOR) also said the competition for homes was so strong houses only remained on the market for an average of 59 days.

“Our inventory right now… it’s the lowest of the last five years,” said SABOR Chair Bob Jacobs.

In 2015, 53 percent of area buyers paid $199,000 or less for a home; 42 percent paid $200,00 to $499,999; and $4.8 percent paid $500,000 or more.

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Story on relaxed lending restrictions airing on Texas Public Radio

While home prices in many neighbors may increase again in 2016, Mark Dotzour, the former chief economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, says an easing in credit restrictions is making it easier for some middle-income buyers to get a loan.

Dotzour believes federal regulators overreacted following 2008, when lenders made too many loans to buyers with bad credit for homes they couldn’t afford.  Buyers defaulted and the housing market collapsed.

In response, lenders required many buyers to have spotless credit and pony up 20 percent of the home price as a down payment.  For a $200,000 house a buyer often had to put down $40,000 dollars cash.

Dotzour says the pendulum is now swinging back.

“In about May of 2013 the federal government decided they had ruined the housing market and decided they should do something about it,” he said.” 

“So, Fannie Mae , Freddie Mac and FHA are making it easier for people to get homes with smaller down payments. It’s about time,” added Dotzour.

Dotzour says now buyers can get a loan if they have a down payment of 3 percent and respectable credit.

“If you have a job and decent credit and a 3 percent down payment you should be able to buy a house in the United States.”

Dotzour says it’s not a return to the days of subprime lending that resulted in an avalanche of loan defaults.  He believes it’s a needed correction that will allow more middle income earners to have the American dream