Theresa Palumbo, broker for Summit Homes and Land in Pembroke, feels people who are on the fence about buying a home are mostly unsure because of negative connotations in the media.
When considering some of the nation’s foreclosure statistics, she said you really have to look at those markets compared to Georgia, and Bryan County.
"Think about what the prices here are, compared to around the country," she said.
Palumbo feels that, despite Georgia’s foreclosure trends, refinancing a home at a fixed rate can be a better option for Bryan County residents.
"I think people foreclose without realizing what that means. It affects your credit, and could result in problems with future home buying," Palumbo said.
Generally, a foreclosure appears on an account listing as a "tradeline," and the legal filing of a foreclosure usually shows up in a credit report’s public record, according to online encyclopedia Wikipedia.com. Any negative tradelines can appear for up to seven years from the date of filing.
According to Palumbo, most loans in this area are VA or FHA, which are loaned at fixed rates and have stationary payments.
"Adjustable rate loans were a trend a few years ago," said Lanae Wimberley, a mortgage lender for Bryan Bank and Trust. "Because adjustable rates are now so close to fixed rates, it’s just not worth it for most buyers. Now they do fixed rate loans, for interest-only for ten years, which is definitely a trend right now."
She said that while interest rates were on the rise, she thinks the area will start to see a turnaround soon.
Lou Waldrop, office manager for Remax in Richmond Hill, matched Palumbo’s feeling that things in Bryan County are fine.
"Basically, I’d have to say for us, we’ve had a banner year," he said. "Our sales and investments have been well above par. I know that when you see large numbers of properties on the market, it’s typically indicative of a slowdown…but there are still sales happening. I think our market is still plodding along – it’s not running like it used to – but it’s still moving."
Wilson Picket, owner of Coastal Living Homes which serves north and south Bryan County, admitted that he does think the county is feeling some of the heat from the nation’s market problems.
"We’re feeling the pinch, but not as much as other areas. The inventory levels are too high right now. With national builders coming in and putting up lots of inventory here, there’s more inventory than there are buyers," he said.
"Everybody’s had to slow down. Right now we have about six months of inventory; the supply is bigger than the demand, so the supply has been slowed up. In other words, we’re building less houses now," Picket said.
He also said he thinks the future market for the county will improve over the next couple of years, with things definitely back on track by 2009.
"The key factor is that the builders have permits, and so they’re building them out to fruition," County Administrator Phil Jones said. He said the result of that, most oftentimes, is a "housing glut."
"And then you may see a drop in pricing – again, that’s just a possibility," Jones said. "Typically if you have more homes than buyers, then you’re going to have to do something to entice buyers." And falling home prices can make refinancing a home more difficult.
In general, as long as employment remains strong and worker’s earnings continue to grow, "confidence – and spending – will remain high and the economy will chug along," CNNmoney.com said on Aug. 13.
With Bryan County ranking eleventh out of 25 nation-wide counties as a top place for job growth, employment should continue to gain strength in Bryan County.
CNNmoney.com said the county’s job growth from 2000-2006 was over 46 percent.
"Overall, yeah, the total number of homes may decline, but single-family homes are alive and well in Bryan County," Jones said.