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Will Lending Standards Ease at All in 2013?

by Peter Thomas Ricci

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Will lending standards start to ease in 2013? Research by Moody’s Analytics suggest that may begin to happen, albeit slowly.

It’s become the eternal question in real estate – when oh when will lending standards ease up?

Though the housing market has put up some of its strongest numbers since 2006, the mortgage markets, from the perspective of many real estate agents, remain overly restrictive, and they continue to stand in the way of a true housing recovery.

The most recent Survey of Senior Lending Officers by Moody’s Analytics, though, suggests that lending standards may easing, albeit slowly. Though 82 percent of loans the past two years have gone to borrowers with the highest credit scores (compared to 50 percent in 2005 and 2006), the survey did show that over the past 18 months, large lenders either loosened or left intact their lending standards on prime mortgage originations.

Jack Haymes, an agent with United Real Estate in Houston, said that though he has seen signs of easing lending standards, he still feels banks need to step up their volume to propel the housing recovery forward.

“So far this year, lending practices and or habits seem to be easing a bit in the Houston area. I am currently working on a sale where the FICO is low but I have found a lender that is willing to take a chance with moderate-to-low FICO scores,” Haymes said. “I would like to see more lenders start approving more loans to stimulate the Houston housing market. We need housing to lead our recovery, not slow our recovery.”

As our infographic below shows, it’d be tricky for lending standards to get any more tight than they currently are, so perhaps an easing is on the way?

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