Tough economy hurting the housing market - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tough economy hurting the housing market

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

October 1, 2008. 

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Many are banking on the bailout package to help the housing market.

The turmoil forced developers of a major 25 million dollar housing development at the Sand Dunes near Downtown Albany to scale back their project.

"We were progressing along at a fairly good rate," said Sylvia Phillips, Associate Broker ReMax of Albany.

But now, not everyone can get the credit to buy the first town-homes in the Enclave at Oglethorpe.

Sylvia Phillips is an associate Broker for the project.

"We had met some time limits in regard to putting [the home] on the market for sale, then we were confronted with the mortgage meltdown," said Phillips.

Developers had hoped to have the entire 3 phases tentatively finished by this year, so far only eight houses have been completed. 

Initially, developers planned to build 183 town-homes and apartments. Now, the number is barely a third of that.

"What we have now is two bedroom two bath, and we're going into a second phase that will offer some three bedroom two bath, but it'll be approximately 64 units once it's built out," said Phillips.

One of the developers, Nijel Pennycook with Liberty Partners in Atlanta, told WALB by phone the inability of buyers to qualify for loans, is one reason the project was scaled back.

"In the industry now with mortgage lending it makes it much harder, and much more difficult for buyers to be able to obtain a loan," said Phillips.

The broker says the eight homes are 97% complete. Four are now under contract and waiting for buyers to pick out colors and amenities.

She believes the housing market will improve.

"I think once the election is over, once we can get some partisan result with congress with how they're going to handle this economic recovery, but that definitely has made an impact, not only on the Enclave but on our real estate market here in Albany as a whole," said Phillips.

The associate broker hopes to have the other four homes under contract by the end of October.

The houses range from $119,000 to $142,000.

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