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Gov't. Shutdown Could Slow Housing Market - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Gov't. Shutdown Could Slow Housing Market

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A government shutdown will cause many federal agencies to be cut down to a skeleton staff. Among the rippling effects is one of the valley's most booming industries: the housing market.

"Our market is very strong," Dan Hedrick, a senior sales associate with ParkCo Realtors, said. He's selling more homes this year than ever before in the valley. "Average sales are up eight percent, as well as the price. People are seeing a higher return on their homes. The market time is down 22 days, just inside 67 days, to market, sell and close on their home." He's enjoying working in a market where houses don't stay vacant for long.

But, conditions may soon change.

"We've been hearing a little bit about the possible government shutdown, and some people are concerned," Hedrick said.

A shutdown would delay application for federal-backed loans, including for first time home-buyers and veterans. Now, Hedrick is advising clients with Federal Housing Administration or Veterans Administration loans to make sure they have a discussion with their lender, allowing them enough time to get the loan processed before contracts expire on home sales.

Lenders like Greg Dean say it could slow this booming industry.

"You can still, possibly, get your numbers if there is a shutdown. But, it might be delayed, say a week, two weeks. You know, that's the million dollar question," Dean, President of ParkCo Mortgage, said.

With fewer people working to process FHA loans, it's hard to tell just how long the delays might last. And yet, lenders remain optimistic.

"I'm not too worried about it," Dean said. "If it's a long term process, then it could slow the housing market, which is the last thing we need right now."

Lenders and realtors have the same advice for anyone buying or selling. They say, continue as normal so as to get some leg work done while the government gets back on track.

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