Could it be the end of the sub prime mortgage mess? Friday, speculation surrounded fears the U.S. government will have to bail out Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mortgage companies.
Combined with soaring oil prices, Wall Street sold on Friday.
Mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae watched their stocks plummet as Wall Street and Washington become more convinced the government is likely to bail out the nation's key mortgage financiers.
Against that backdrop, on Saturday Louisville's annual real estate showcase begins --Homearama.
Chuck Kavanaugh, the vice-president of the Home Builders Association, says, "I can say Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac aren't hitting rock bottom because of Louisville. They're hitting rock bottom because of California, Nevada, south Florida, and so on."
Kavanaugh says while foreclosures nationally increased by 23% early this year, in Kentucky foreclosures fell nearly 10%. "Our market's slower, much slower than it was maybe three years ago, or even two and a half years ago. Values have held pretty strong, and from a standpoint of foreclosures they are way down."
Call it bad luck or bad timing, but the developer of Locust Creek, where Homearama begins Saturday, has found success by overcoming some imposing odds starting in September, 2001: Bob Marrett of CMB Development Co. says, "We recorded our first plat for Locust Creek about one week before 9-11, so everything you see out here has been built since 9-11. There are a little over 200 homes occupied right now, and ultimately we'll have 400 single family homes, so we're about halfway built out at Locust Creek."
Louisville and Kentucky have not reflected the nation in house prices. In the year ending in March, prices in the city and state are up nearly 3%. And while sales are slower than years past, that can be a plus in buying a house.
Kavanaugh says, "Anytime whether it's a house or a widget, I mean if there is more product on the market than demand, you should be able, you should be at least in more of a negotiating position....We've seen a little bit of an uptick. Homearama has five out of eleven houses sold, which is very, very positive in a slow market. Job growth, Don, really drives it. Job growth drives new home buying and at the point we're kind of limping along in the Louisville area, as is the rest of the country."
Home shoppers do have a large inventory of properties on the market. And to build a house right now, again, advantage to the buyer.
Marrett says, "The subcontractors are available, the builders are eager to stay busy, and make deals if you will, I don't mean giveaway deals but business, they want business."
One change in the home buying experience today is directly related to the sub-prime issue. Mortgage lenders are following stricter guidelines, and you may be asked for money as a down payment.
While it's unthinkable to many beer drinkers, and St. Louis residents, Anheuser Busch may be warming up to foreign ownership.
Belgian brewer In Bev is attempting to purchase the American beer icon that produces Budweiser.
The New York Times reports In Bev is willing to up its original offer of $65 a share.
Now it appears Anheuser Busch is likely to accept a sweetened buyout offer as early as this weekend.