Home Sales and Job Creation would Rise with Sensible Lending Standards

New survey findings, combined with an analysis of historic credit scores and loan performance, show home sales could be notably higher by returning to reasonably safe and sound lending standards, which also would create new jobs, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there would be enormous benefits to the U.S. economy if mortgage lending conditions return to normal.  “Sensible lending standards would permit 500,000 to 700,000 additional home sales in the coming year,” he said.  “The economic activity created through these additional home sales would add 250,000 to 350,000 jobs in related trades and services almost immediately, and without a cost impact.”

A monthly survey of Realtors® shows widespread concern over unreasonably tight credit conditions for residential mortgages.  Respondents indicate that tight conditions are continuing, lenders are taking too long in approving applications, and that the information lenders require from borrowers is excessive.  Some respondents expressed frustration that lenders appear to be focusing only on loans to individuals with the highest credit scores.

Even though profits in the financial industry have climbed back strongly to pre-recession levels, lending standards still remain unreasonably tight.

Yun said all it takes is a willingness to recognize that market conditions have turned in the wake of an over-correction in home prices, with all of the price measures now showing sustained gains.  “There is an unnecessarily high level of risk aversion among mortgage lenders and regulators, although many are sitting on large volumes of cash which could go a long way toward speeding our economic recovery.  A loosening of the overly restrictive lending standards is very much in order,” he said.

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