In an editorial on her blog, CNBC real estate reporter Diana Olick suggested that consumer confidence holds the key to recovery in the housing market. The best mortgage rates in generations aren't enough to inspire new home sales, Olick wrote last last year, until American home buyers feel safe enough in their jobs and in their communities to make major purchase or refinance decisions.
Finding your own confidence in the mortgage loan market may require more than just knowing you won't get laid off in the next few quarters. If you've been on the bubble about setting up financing for your next home or for an existing property, information about your industry and your neighborhood can give you the confidence to proceed:
- Neighborhood property values. With many communities forcing predatory mortgage brokers out of their markets, property values in formerly volatile regions have stabilized. We may not see the rocket-fueled growth of the 1990s and early 2000s, but steady comparative sales and refinance reports help experienced mortgage lenders feel secure.
- Regional mortgage rates. National mortgage rates don't tell the story of what's happening where you live. You can request free mortgage quotes from both local and national lenders that will base their rates and fees on their own confidence in your community.
- Town building permits. While foreclosure rates make for more exciting headlines, building starts and construction permits can give you a better sense of how much your neighbors plan to invest in your community.
- Regional population statistics. With results from the 2010 Census, we can get a better sense of the real growth stories in cities and towns across America. Your neighborhood might be growing faster than you think, creating jobs and new growth potential.
Olick says that "housing will come roaring back" once Americans regain their hope and banks see stronger opportunities for profit. Finding that sense of hope means looking beyond the national headlines to learn about the strengths emerging among local employers, residents and investors. Mortgage lenders want to find borrowers in hot neighborhoods more than ever. Regaining your own confidence can help make your home a great investment for yourself and for your bank.