Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

News Release

Friday, June 27, 2008

Lyn Peters, Communications Director
PH 360.902.8731 lpeters@dfi.wa.gov

For interviews with DFI Director Scott Jarvis, please contact Lyn Peters.

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Is This A Good Time To Buy A Home In Washington State? For Many It Certainly Is!

“The oldest and strongest emotion in mankind is fear.” - H.P. Lovecraft

If you watch only national news of financial turmoil and declining housing prices you may fear now is not the time to buy a home. While that may be the case in other states, it’s not an accurate picture of the market in Washington. Washington State has a unique set of positive economic variables that sets us apart from much of the country.

As the financial regulator responsible for overseeing the financial safety and soundness of our state-chartered banks and credit unions, the Department of Financial Institutions stays in close touch with local real estate market conditions. This message is prompted by that “local knowledge” and a concern that the true nature of the Washington State real estate market has been lost among the national headlines.

Is it a great time for everyone in Washington to buy a home? No. However, we can truthfully say this may be a great time for you to buy.

There may be at this time an historic opportunity to buy in Washington State. There are many reasons for optimism. Long-term mortgage rates are in historically low ranges and, contrary to what you may think, our state’s banks, credit unions, consumer loan companies and mortgage brokers have money available for buyers with reasonably good credit.

Also, Congress acted to expand a number of home loan programs. Washington’s financial institutions have a strong presence in your communities and have excellent financing options for home buyers, including great programs for first time homebuyers. With the addition of expanded FHA guidelines, they can meet a variety of different borrower needs.

Additionally, there is a good selection of new and existing homes available on the market right now. Reports of plummeting home values are almost always coming from markets far from Washington State. Here, home values are generally stable, experiencing only modest fluctuations up or down over the past year.

Perhaps the most important factor to consider is the reality that the Washington State economy continues to outperform the national economy.

If you want to buy a home, expect to live in the home for at least three years. If the only reason you are hesitating to buy the home you want in Washington State is an expectation that you are likely to get the same home for considerably less money if you wait a few months, you may want to reconsider. Very few of us are lucky enough to pick the bottom of a stock market downturn — and that also holds true for the housing market.

For many buyers looking for that perfect home NOW may be the time to buy and be comfortable in your new home. Depending on your personal financial situation, this could be an opportune time to contact a Washington State REALTORŪ, or home builder to help you find that perfect home and a Washington State financial institution or mortgage broker to assist with your financing.

There are many resources available to assist you with your decision. The Washington State Department of Financial institutions, the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, our state’s financial institutions, mortgage brokers, REALTORSŪ, and your local home builders association are among the organizations providing valuable information to assist you with your home purchase decision.

Free State of Washington-sponsored pre-purchase counseling is available to Washington residents thinking of buying a home or considering refinancing. To speak with a counselor, call the Washington Homeownership Information Hotline at 1.877.894.HOME (1.877.894.4663) or find a participating counselor near you at www.homeownership.wa.gov. You can also visit http://www.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/homeownership/ and http://www.wshfc.org/ to educate yourself about mortgages and homeownership and find links to other homebuyer resources.

June is National Homeownership Month — and it’s a great time to buy a home in Washington State!