Home Sales Rise in Military Towns

Homes near military bases are escaping a slowdown in sales due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For instance, home prices in Clarksville, Tenn., the nearest residential area to Fort Campbell, Ky., rose 6 percent in the second quarter of 2008, compared to the previous year, while average home prices in the U.S. fell a record 4.8 percent during the same time period.

In Fayetteville, N.C., next door to Fort Bragg, the average price for an existing home was up 5.2 percent from a year earlier.

In Minot, N.D., where Minot Air Base, is located, average home prices rose 6 percent in the second quarter, In August, they were 10 percent higher compared to prices in August 2007.

The Veterans Administration says use of its home loan program has increased 34 percent in the last 12 months.

Source: The Associated Press, Kristin M. Hall

VA Loans Still Don’t Require Down Payment

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, whose loans remain one of the few no-down-payment options in this tight market, have made more than 162,000 home loan guaranties this year, an increase of more than 31 percent over the same period last year.

The VA has tried to streamline the loan process by allowing veterans to apply for a loan before they obtain a VA Certificate of Eligibility.

Once the borrowers have demonstrated that they are otherwise eligible, lenders can access the program’s Web portal to use VA’s online Automated Certificate of Eligibility (ACE) system and obtain the certificate for the veteran.

Many times, lenders can receive the certificate within seconds. The VA can process the application in less than 24 hours.

VA-guaranteed home loans are made to eligible veterans, service members, and surviving spouses through private mortgage lenders throughout the United States.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 09/21/2008