In-depth: Path to home ownership in Bay Area possible–but with hurdles

Bay Area

We know that the housing supply in the Bay Area is not keeping up with demand.

For several years now, it has been a seller’s market. But now, the economy has stabilized, and in many cases, excelled.

People are still looking into buying homes.

KRON4 speaks with housing industry experts with a look at mortgages and whether or not buying a house is still affordable.

Contrary to popular belief, “Millennials are definitely buying homes,” Real Estate Agent Jason Moon said.

The American Dream of owning a home is not dead.

“It’s alive, but we’re having to get a little more creative in keeping it alive,” Mortgage Consultant Chris Hudson said.

The path to ownership just involves a few more hoops than it did just a decade ago.

That’s when borrowers who couldn’t afford their loans were easily getting pre-approved before their homes lost tremendous value and were forced into foreclosure.

“Consumers are afraid a bit of the mortgage process–it’s shrouded in mystery and it shouldn’t be,” Senior Loan Officer Kristine Marr said.

In San Francisco, where Zillow says the median listing price for a home is more than $1.25 million dollars, you might be priced out no matter what you make.

But in the East Bay, like Concord, it’s a different story.

“It’s a spacious, two-bedroom, two-bath house,” Moon said.

Moon says depending on your level of income, your credit history, and amount of cash available to cover the down payment and closing costs, a $640,000 home in Concord could be yours.

“You want to know if they’re buying a home with cash or with a loan,” Moon said. “And most of the time, it is with a loan, regardless of what some people may say out there.”

Moon partners with senior loan officers, like Kristine Marr with Summit Funding in Walnut Creek, to determine if the consumer qualifies for a mortgage.

And if so, which type.

Marr says most people are still signing traditional 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages, but adjustable rate mortgages may fall more in line with the borrower’s needs, especially in the Bay Area–if the home buyer intends to move out within three-to-seven years.

“Say two young professionals, straight out of school,” Marr said. “I can qualify them straight out of school to buy a home, and I’ll show them the options. I’ll show them this is a 30-year fixed mortgage, but since you’re buying a small home or a condo, you might want to look at a side-by-side comparison with a seven-one arm. It will be fixed for seven years. So, if you sell anytime before seven years, it will never adjust on you because you’ll sell the home. The mortgage is gone–paid off. And you move to your next home.”

Marr says the myth of needing 20 percent cash down to secure a mortgage and a home is just that–a myth.

“You can go with 3 percent down, or 3 1/2 percent down, or anything above that,” Marr said.

You could also possibly qualify for down payment assistance in the form of credit that can also be applied to closing costs.



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