Pennsylvania mortgage rates remain at all time lows. However, residents of the Keystone State must contend with the fallout from recent election results that have made some of the region's employers and lawmakers nervous about a redistribution of wealth. According to Representative John Taylor, the Philadelphia region faces what he calls an "ultramarathon of pain" after a political power shift that will favor Pittsburgh and other parts of Western and Central Pennsylvania.
Taylor, along with Philadelphia city politicians, have already started mourning what they perceive will be a steep decline in state aid for city infrastructure projects that often benefit large employers. Outgoing Governor Ed Rendell, a former mayor of Philadelphia, was widely credited with using his personal and professional connections to pull tax dollars to the eastern half of the state. With Rendell's retirement and a lack of influential incoming lawmakers from the state's largest city, pundits anticipate a shift of support toward Allegheny County and its industrial base.
Other politicians accuse Taylor of grandstanding for headlines, citing a state budget deficit as high as $5 billion as reason for concern across the commonwealth. Lawmakers across the state have gone on record with a variety of ideas for new taxes, ranging from enhanced wage taxes on state residents to higher levies on commercial properties. Large employers have expressed concern about job prospects in the state, especially if new taxes force them to consider relocating offices and jobs.
Spooked employers give mortgage lenders reasons to pause
As a result, mortgage lenders have been reluctant to set up refinance deals or new home loans for Pennsylvania residents without extremely strong credit.
A recent National Public Radio segment profiled some of the challenges faced by homeowners in the region. Borrowers with credit scores below 660 may not necessarily qualify for the lowest PA mortgage rates. Lenders want to know more than ever about borrowers' financial backgrounds and employment histories before proceeding with the underwriting process.
Homeowners may need to shop rates from a larger sample of mortgage brokers and mortgage lenders before finding a money-saving deal. Pennsylvania may have escaped the housing bubble, but the impact of a protracted economic slowdown could chill the state's real estate market over the next few years.