Lowcountry's housing market could slow down if shutdown continues

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Lowcountry's housing market could dip if the government shutdown isn't resolved quickly. That's because the processing of federal home loans is at a standstill.

According to real estate attorney Catherine LaFond, the Federal Housing Administration or FHA insures 15 percent of the nation's home loans. She says 95 percent of that agency's staff is on furlough.

"They were already back logged, and, now, cutting staff by so much there's no way they're not going to create a huge back log."

And the delay won't end there. LaFond says loans from the FHA and the United States Department of Agriculture rely on critical information from other government agencies.

"Because Social Security and the IRS are no longer processing requests, then the information that's necessary for the applications isn't going to be available."

LaFond says it's unfortunate the shutdown happened as the housing market picks up steam. She says she's concerned that buyers may lose confidence in the market again.

"Perhaps sales prices will start, which have been rising, may level off or fall again and when the housing prices fall, just so many parts of our economy are affected."

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which also insure new home loans, are privately funded, so they are not directly impacted by the shutdown.