Housing market proceeding cautiously with AFA fiasco


The Affordable Care Act roll-out confusion causes caution in the Utah housing market as many people are unsure of how they will be affected.

The AFA website failure, and issues over enrollment and policies available, has led to citizens’ confusion. The lack of surety has been exemplified in a lull in the housing market.

“The Act affects many people’s ability to keep their job, as not all companies will be able to provide them the healthcare required for the hours they currently work,” said Gaylon Ashby, a home loan officer.

Agents have found houses are taking longer to sell on the current market
Agents have found that houses are taking longer to sell on the current market.

“This makes people unsure of their income, and buying a home seems impossible.”

The housing market in Utah has been recovering well ever since the housing crash. Utah Valley housing prices tend to stay away from the extremes of the nation average. As a result it wasn’t hit as hard as the nation with the crash and has recovered fast. Housing prices have been steadily on the rise, but many feel they are rising too fast in Utah, mounting to buyers’ hesitance.

The federal government is once again offering nothing-down loans to benefit lower-income families. With these mandates, owning a home becomes a possibility for those with lower credit. Home ownership benefits a community in keeping longevity of residence and has helped to move forward the housing market.

However, nothing-down loans typically leave an owner “upside-down” in their house, meaning they owe more than the house is worth. This leads to a higher likelihood of default. And these are the procedures that led to the housing market crash in the first place.

Real estate agent Lynn Dahlberg said she was appalled at how much prices have risen in the last year.

“I’m worried the government is making the same mistakes as before,” Dahlberg said. “Previously underwater houses are going up fast and making people skittish. Regular people feel they are missing the window of affordability. We may see sales continue positively now, but that may stop when prices keep climbing.”

Sales tend to slow during the winter months, and trends may not be evident for months. It is difficult to predict how the market will move forward.

“I think we’ll see a short-term surge before interest rates go up too high for the average buyer,” Dahlberg said. “After that it’s highly unknown.”

The federal government had a large hand in the housing market crash, and with current fiscal issues, trust in its credibility is low. After the government shutdown, confidence has been “shaken” once again, says real estate agent Harry Rhodas.

“I don’t think it will ever go back to normal because we are all afraid,” Rhodas said. “Nobody wants to take risks anymore, not corporations or families or anyone. We’re all a little scared.”

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