"Project Lifeline" and its effect on Texoma's housing market

By: Stephanie Breltic Email
By: Stephanie Breltic Email

Help is on the way for homeowners facing foreclosure. A new Bush administration initiative aimed at helping homeowners about to lose their homes would put the foreclosure process on hold for 30 days.

"Project Lifeline" involves six of the nation's largest financial institutions, who will work with homeowners 90 or more days overdue on their monthly mortgage payments to help them make their payments more affordable.

This has left several people wondering how this will affect the local housing market and those looking to buy and sell in Texoma. Stephanie Brletic has more.

Real estate experts on both sides of the Red River tell us the market in Texoma is surprisingly good, with very few of the foreclosures seen across the rest of the country.

"We had been shopping around at different mortgage companies and thought the interest was starting to come down a lot and it was sticking pretty good. And we also found out that there were homes that weren't selling quickly, so there was a lot to choose from," homebuyer Ashley Routt says.

Routt bought her home a few months ago and says she decided to go with a conventional mortgage and not an interest only or arm loan. Mortgage brokers say those loans are partly responsible for some foreclosures around the area.

"It worked okay for people who wanted to live there for three years maybe, and they were going to sell it and move on but for long term it's not the ideal loan to have." mortgage broker Debbie Sartin says.

Oklahoma homebuilder Michael Herndon says he has not worked with many people interested in those types of loans and thinks that is why people in his area don't have many mortgage problems.

"Oklahoma hasn't had hardly any sub prime mortgages and so that may be one of the reasons, one of the issues, why we've done so well," Herndon says.

In Whitesboro, real estate agent Brandon Parker feels the same way and says people in his area play it safe.

"We do see a lot of people with conventional FHA financing. I don't know of anyone on arm or anything like that. Most of the time when you have a good mortgage company dealing with good people, you know, they work well together and that helps foreclosure rates."

Sartin says FHA loans are the safest bet for people in this area and says as long as you have a steady job, good credit and some money to put down, you will not have any problem affording a home.

The real estate agents we talked to say from what they have seen this year they expect the area housing market will continue to do well.

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