Realtors: Tight lending standards stopping 15 percent of sales

Realtors say many creditworthy buyers are being turned away.As those looking to buy Houston homes have likely noticed, the process of getting a mortgage has become significantly more difficult over the past few years. Officials with the National Association of Realtors say lenders know they are turning away creditworthy borrowers.

In a podcast (http://www NULL.realtor NULL.org/about_nar/presidents_report/_podcast_archive/lenders_credit) posted on the NAR's website, the group's president, Ron Phipps, said that in meetings with lenders such as Citibank, banks are acknowledging that they know worthy buyers are having trouble getting a mortgage.

"The pendulum has in fact, on the credit side, swung too far," Phipps said.

Phipps added that an analysis by NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun of the credit requirements now, compared to what they were previously, found that roughly 15 percent of potential buyers who could have gotten mortgages in the past are now cut off. Phipps said those conditions are limiting the slowly-recovering housing market.

However, low mortgage rates, along with the prevalence of low-priced Houston foreclosures, have helped spur many recent sales. According to the Houston Association of Realtors, roughly one in five sales in December was for a bank-owned property.

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