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Tuesday, 20 August 2019
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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

What’s the Real Impact of the Government Shutdown on Real Estate?

Written by Jaymi Naciri Posted On Monday, 14 January 2019 05:30

National parks are a mess (literally), air travel is being jeopardized as TSA agents call out sick and air traffic controllers are asked to work for free, and the Panda Cam at the National Zoo is offline (gasp!). But how is the government shutdown impacting the real estate market? It depends which part you’re looking at.

“An NAR survey of 2,211 members found 75 percent had no impact to their contract signings or closings. However, 11 percent did report an impact on current clients and 11 percent on potential clients,” said the National Association of Realtors. Among those impacted by the shutdown, 17 percent had a closing delay because of a USDA loan.”

The most impacted areas of the market surround:

Buyer uncertainty

Consumer confidence is always a topic of conversation when it comes to real estate, and with rising interest rates and a roller coaster stock market, a government shutdown only makes the issues that much stickier. According to the NAR study, “The most common impact, at 25 percent, was the buyer decided not to buy due to general economic uncertainty, though they were not a federal government employee.”

Loan approvals/Closing delays

Whether or not your loan and/or closing is impacted by the government shutdown largely depends on the type of loan you are getting. “If you're getting a Federal Housing Administration or Department of Veterans Affairs loan, it's likely you can expect delays in the underwriting process, and it's possible your closing date will be pushed back as well,” said the Dallas Morning News.

HUD has said that while new FHA loans will be endorsed during the shutdown, “Some delays with FHA processing may occur due to short staffing.” In addition, new Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), more commonly referred to as reverse mortgages, are on hold for now.

While the White House has insisted that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) process tax refunds during the shutdown, it’s made no such mandate in regards to helping consumers who need info because they’re buying a home. That means that buyers won’t be able to requests tax return transcripts, which may be required by lenders, thereby delaying the purchasing process.

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