Laurel, MD (PressExposure) August 20, 2009 -- Sales of Maryland real estate are picking up as houses become more affordable and homeowners realize there are great incentives to purchase new or foreclosed properties now. According to the Maryland Association of Realtors, mortgage rates and starter home prices continued to decline this year. Starter home prices dropped over 5% from the last quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009, just as interest rates declined from 6.52% to 5.64%. Maryland real estate median home values are currently around $227,833. âThe silver lining of this recession has been that purchasing a home for first time homebuyers has never been so affordable,â explained MAR President Iona Harrison.
Harrison adds that, since 2007, this is the biggest single-quarter jump in housing affordability sheâs seen. Back in 2007, the average Maryland real estate household paid 51.2% of their income on their home starter home. The monthly payment was around $1,654.10 and most buyers had a household income of $38,754. Today, the average Maryland real estate household pays just 35.1% of their income on mortgage payments, which are $1,183.14/month on average. The median household income has also increased slightly to $40,238, making home ownership even more affordable for the average Marylander.
Despite the affordability of Maryland real estate, many first-time homebuyers are finding it difficult to save up down payments and cover closing costs, while renting. One aim of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is to bridge the gap and help more citizens achieve the âAmerican Dreamâ of homeownership through generous grants and tax credits. Approximately $12.8 million of the stimulus money will go toward a Prince Georgeâs County initiative called âDownpayment on Your Dream,â which gives eligible buyers up to $20,000 toward the purchase of a foreclosed home in a number of Maryland real estate zip codes. Another portion of the stimulus will go toward a federal âFirst-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit,â which offers up to $8,000 toward the purchase of a new or foreclosed home. In most cases, these generous grants do not need to be paid back.
To take advantage of these great incentives, homebuyers should find a professional Maryland real estate agent that can walk them through the process. Finding a knowledgeable real estate agent who cares is another great way to find the best deals. âAbout 13 years ago, I was sitting in an open house in Silver Spring,â recalls Remax agent Brien Berard. âA young mother, who happened to be a single parent, came to visit the home. I struck up a conversation with her. Janet explained she wanted to buy a home for her and her two-year-old daughter, Brittany, but was told she needed more money. I remember thinking that, if this woman wanted to buy a home, surely there must be a way to make her dream come true now.â Brien Berard took her name and number, then set to work searching loans that would work for Janetâs situation. Within a month, thanks to Brienâs help, Janet had purchased her first home! âIf someone really has the desire to get in a home, I will work hard to make that dream a reality,â Berard says.
Brien Berard holds a graduate degree from the University of Maryland has been a local Maryland real estate agent for nearly 16 years. He currently resides in Laurel real estate with his wife of fifteen years and his three children. âI have helped many first time homebuyers,â Berard explains. âFirst time home buyers rely on my expertise in loan programs that are available to themâ¦ I enjoy teaching my clients how the process of buying a home works.â
Berardâs other niche is âbeing an advocate for people,â he says. In one case, he saved a couple purchasing Laurel real estate $800 per month on their mortgage payment with a new home. In another instance, he helped a woman save thousands of dollars from an unscrupulous loan officer. In a third case, a couple avoided a lawsuit due to Brienâs diligence. âIn all the above situations, I was able to protect my clients and help make their dreams come true,â he adds.
Homebuyers like Laurel real estate because of its close proximity(less than 30 minutes) to both Washington D.C. and Baltimore. The area is blessed with ample transportation, so commuters neednât sit in traffic on the 495 or 95. Instead, they can simply hop aboard one of two MARC trains headed to D.C. or the Metrobus to Baltimore. Top area employers include: the National Security Agency, the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, the National Institutes of Health and the Fort Meade Army Base. According to recent statistics, the average resident of Laurel real estate is about 33 years old and lives in a household making $61,143/year. The average housing value is about $50,000 less than median Maryland real estate prices. The area is full of restaurants, boutiques, museums, libraries, theme parks, festivals, art galleries, racetracks and wildlife sanctuaries, which makes Laurel real estate an ideal place to settle into. With all these incentives â government tax credits, local grants, low mortgage rates and special loan programs â thereâs really no need to wait on purchasing Maryland real estate!