Pennsylvania Home Buying

Maybe you’re buying your first home in Pennsylvania, or perhaps you’re relocating to Pennsylvania from another state. Either way, it’s important that you educate yourself on home & mortgage loans philadelphia Pennsylvania Pennsylvania home loans before shopping for a home and mortgage. This article explains what you’ll need to know before buying a home in Pennsylvania:

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The median price of a home in Pennsylvania is $97,000. Recently, homes in Pennsylvania have been appreciating at rates below the national average. However, in some parts of Pennsylvania, appreciation rates are at an all time high. The highest appreciation rates are in Philadelphia and Allentown. As a result, income levels in many parts of Pennsylvania are too low to purchase a median-priced home with a conventional loan. In fact, homeowners in many Pennsylvania cities pay more than the recommended 30% of their incomes toward housing.

The price of homes in Pennsylvania varies widely between zip codes. For example, in Westchester, Pennsylvania, the median price of a home in the summer of 2005 was $230,000; however, in Tornbury, Pennsylvania, the median price of a home was $300,000, and in Manheim Township, Pennsylvania, it was $170,000. Average interest rates in Pennsylvania are above the national average.

Pennsylvania law does allow prepayment penalties if the loan amount is greater than $50,000. However, it prohibits balloon loans that are to be paid off in less than 10 years. Additionally, Pennsylvania law does not allow mortgage contracts that include an increase in interest rate should the borrower default on the loan.

In a manner similar to the numerous economic crises before it, the subprime lending bust actually began decades before anyone knew it. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 pushed banks to extend more credit in communities where they operated. This drew many lenders to lower-income borrowers. Later, in 1986, the federal government began allowing taxpayers to deduct the interest paid on mortgage loans. The effect was a boon to the market for refinancing. In addition to the benefits attached to building equity – paying a fixed monthly payment instead of rising rent, for example – homeowners could now take advantage of the tax break. This led directly to a steady increase in home ownership, in many cases regardless of how the borrowers would afford the loans in the future. Risky loans were made across the board, from small rural towns to inner city neighborhoods to affluent suburban areas.

From 1986 through the mid-nineties, mortgage securities began to catch the eye of Wall Street. The focus in that time shifted from investment in regular “prime” mortgages, to the riskier “subprime” loans. The risk of default on subprime loans was higher than that of prime loans, but they were still more attractive to investors. The volatility in the subprime market was very low in comparison to the stock market. This low volatility rate made subprime loans the “must-have” for mutual fund companies, regular banks, pension funds, and insurers – all of whom were looking to further diversify their holdings.

There have been several bubbles in the financial markets. The market is prone to human emotion, and investors sometimes become overzealous with the proverbial “next big thing.” Similarly, investors in subprime loans took the initial gains as indicative of future windfalls, and began to put more and more money into the industry. By the time housing prices peaked (from 2004 to 2006), over a quarter of all loans made were high-rate subprime loans. Thirty-five billion dollars was invested in subprime loans in 1994 – $11 billion of which was bought on Wall Street. This ballooned into $332 billion in loans in 2006. A whopping $203 billion of those outstanding subprime loans were purchased by investors on Wall Street that year. This aggressive lending and concurrent demand for homeownership resulted in many borrowers enjoying houses they could never afford.

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