Shutdown Affects Local Housing Market

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EUGENE, Ore. — The government shutdown is in its second week, and its impacts are growing larger.

One of the newest victims is the local real estate market. Last week less than 4 percent of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department was on the job. That lack of employees working is affecting folks all over, including Eugene.

While many things have stopped on the other side of the country, life and work continues to go on for the staff at Guild Mortgage Company, but not without a few speed bumps. It says many may be worried about their mortgages not closing on time.

However, senior loan officer Ladelle White says, “The truth is those are going on, but we are having a few delays here and there. A lot of the investors are making accommodations for that.”

Staff say things were rocky last week, but at this point it’s mostly those waiting for approval of their USDA loans that are out of luck. About 5 to 10 percent of the company’s deals are stuck until Uncle Sam opens for business again.

“It feels a little bit like a government bureaucracy, and we’re ready for it to end and go back to the status quo,” Ladelle said.

And loan officers aren’t the only ones wishing this would all just come to an end. Realtors specializing in short sales are having a tough time too.

“If a seller has an FHA loan and they’re doing a short sale on their property, there are very, very tight guidelines on that,” said Barbara Thomas, Principal Broker. “So we are seeing in those cases that we’re not going to be able to get to closing at this point in time because we’re waiting for…we’re really being impacted by the government shutdown.”

Overall, both groups say the actual damage is minimal for now, but the uncertainty is disconcerting.

“Everything that happens definitely affects the stock market, which affects the interest rates, so I think that there’s definitely so volatility there that makes people concerned,” White said.

And that may have the biggest impact of all.

“The consumer confidence is the biggest issue. People may or may not want to purchase a home until they know that everything will be moving forward,” White said.

People that KEZI 9 News has talked to since this all started say they hope the shutdown ends soon. But at this point in time, it looks as though the matter will likely drag on until at least Oct. 17, which is the deadline for raising the debt ceiling.

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