Those planning to build a new home are hoping to take advantage of the warm weather, but some Iowa builders say stricter lending practices are putting a chill on the process. The president of K-and-V Homes in Des Moines, Colin King, says it used to take two weeks to get a bank loan for a new home — but now it can take up to six. King says it requires a lot of patience from the buyer.
"We can’t start their house until the bank gives us permission to start," King says, "so to them they’re putting it in the perspective of when are we moving in, when do we need vacation time, when do we get the kids in school, so it’s a lot of scheduling issues on their part and from the time you sign the contract until the time you actually end is actually unknown anymore, where as in the past it was pretty well defined."
Dan Knoup is the president of D-S-M Homes in Urbandale and says the longer wait can eventually have a negative impact on builders. He says if that part of the process where they’re sitting and waiting for the bank gives that process a bad name or a black eye, then that is detrimental to what they’re doing.
"Because the’re gonna tell all their friends that dealing with that bank was horrible — I don’t know if I’d do that again – go buy an existing home because you’re not going to have to deal with that to the extent," Knoup says. King says the Iowa housing market hasn’t experienced the decline other states have seen and as long as a buyer has the financial means to purchase a new home, they shouldn’t fear the market.
New home sales in April were down by just a few percentage points from one year ago, compared to double digit declines in sales earlier this year.