Meeting highlights trends in area home buying
By Michele Dotson
The focus of the September 26 Chamber meeting on real estate and financing was facilitated by Mint Hill Chamber president and real estate professional Rich Ferretti and Monarch Mortgage loan officer, Janet Gaglione.
“There is confidence in the market and lenders are loaning money again,” says Ferretti, who cited recent comparisons in the market which shows a 12.4 percent increase in home sales in July 2013 compared with July of 2012.
“The housing market is growing in pockets around the country,” says Ferretti. “Las Vegas is hot right now, and overall, the cost of housing is down.”
Ferretti also says that North and South Carolina continue to attract a lot of newcomers, with large numbers relocating from Florida.
“We call them the half-backs,” he says. “These are individuals who moved to Florida from places up north, and have now settled in the Charlotte area.”
Thanks to Charlotte’s banking industry, 2nd only to New York City, and new industry such as Met Life and Chiquita, Ferretti says our market is thriving.
Although there is a spike in interest in houses close to or in uptown, Mint Hill continues to see a resurgence in building, particularly on sites that were already prepared before the housing crisis hit.
Most recently, Bontera began construction near Lebanon and Hwy. 51 and the upscale Cheval community will be the focus of this year’s HomeArama in November.
There are also lots of investors in the market looking for good deals, and a recent study of home sales in the Charlotte area indicated that nearly one in five home sales last year could be attributed to an investment purchase.
Many of the purchases are by investor groups, looking to make money when the economy turns, but other investors are those looking to get a bigger return on savings.
“I have had customers take money out of their savings and pay cash for a house, and then turn around and rent it out,” says Mike Cochrane of Yadkin Bank. “They’re telling me that they can’t make that kind of return with their money sitting in the bank.”
Janet Gaglione of Monarch Mortgage says this is a good time to buy, but cautioned the members that if rates remain in the three percent range, no one can grow because lenders cannot make money.
“The rates are on the move minute by minute,” says Gaglione. “Things seem to have returned to a mid-90’s lending atmosphere.”
Gaglione says that if you have a documentable job, or two years of returns if you’re self-employed, have good or reasonable credit, you’ll be able to get a loan.
“Work with a good local lender,” says Gaglione. “Someone who lives in your town in an office you can drive to.”
Many young buyers will first go to the internet, but Gaglione cautions when there are questions or problems arise, it’s hard to get answers from someone who is hundreds of miles away.
She also encourages getting prequalified before beginning your search for a new home.
“I’ve had heart-broken clients who pick out their dream house, but can’t afford it,” she says. “It’s very sad when that happens because they’re so disappointed.”
Gaglione indicated that a big part of their business right now is financial education, helping potential buyers improve their credit score and take control of their financial future.
“We fail to live and work credit-wise in America,” she says. “We should have a course in financial responsibility in our schools. There are plenty of college students that don’t know how to budget and they leave college thousands of dollars in debt.”
In other business
•Phil Angelo of Leisure Travel Experts presented Rich Ferretti with the golf trophy from the First Annual Chamber Golf Tournament. Ferretti sponsored the winning police team. The trophy will be awarded to whichever public service team wins the tournament, and will be passed each year to the winner. Angelo sponsored the Mint Hill Fire Department.
• Carolina Education Center ribbon cutting will be on October 11 at 10 am. They are located at 7900 Matthews-Mint Hill Road, Bldg. 2 Suite B, directly across from Penny’s Place.•Two new members were inducted; • Healthy Harvest Fair at 10 am on October 26 sponsored by Carolina Healthcare.
• Mike Cochrane is looking for donations from businesses for the Senior Citizen Christmas brunch held every year on the first Saturday in December at Independence High School. MC will be Larry Sprinkle again this year. Items are needed for the goody bags. Contact Mike Cochrane at Yadkin Bank, 704-573-6547 for further information or to make a donation.