Lufkin realtor says now is a great time for East Texans to buy houses

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Banks and homeowners are now seeing the "trickle-down" effect as more homeowners face foreclosure this year due to years of improper mortgage-lending. According to AP, many banks issued loans without verifying documents, which in turn saddled homeowners with high mortgage rates that they couldn't pay. However, local banks and realtors says these statistics don't pose a threat to those in Angelina County.

"So, if you can stay in one spot long enough, you're going to come out ahead," said Tom Gann, President of Gann Medford Real Estate Inc.

East Texas realtors say there probably couldn't be better time than the present for East Texans to buy a home. However, RealtyTrac predicts 700-thousand homes will be foreclosed on in the nation this year. Local bankers argue that Angelina County will not feel those statistics.

"Texas has been isolated a lot from the foreclosure market and especially East Texas. We're actually doing quite well. We're seeing very few foreclosures and seeing a lot of buys and sells and still refinances going on," said Vice-President Jim Roper of Commercial Bank of Texas.

Gann says much of the local home buying success is due to low interest rates on homes, and a fairly stable economy. He also says it's best to have a banker that doesn't issue "high-risk" loans.

"The local banks are more conservative, which is the wisest way to go in these times," said Gann.

Roper says other banks, in the past, have approved loans that don't match the loaner's needs.

"It's about knowing your customer and knowing what they qualify for and doing your due diligence on your underwriting. There were a lot of times back three or four years ago when the mortgage mess started that banks were doing 100 percent loans, 110 percent loans, putting people in houses they couldn't afford," said Roper.

With steady population growth projected in Lufkin, realtors and bankers don't expect having stable home ownership to be a problem.

"Foreclosure doesn't happen overnight. If you're foreclosed on, you've known about it for a long time," said Roper.

According to Roper, statistics show nationally, one in every 666 houses are foreclosed on each month. In the state of Texas, one in every 1,099 homes are foreclosed on, and in Angelina County, one in every 35,589 houses are foreclosed monthly.

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