HUD, FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are ready and willing to help all homeowners and homebuyersEven though the credit markets have been frozen, homebuyers can rest assured that the FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still open for business during the credit squeeze.  In fact, FHA’s volume has tripled.  They are even insuring over 100,000 new loans a month.  According to a spokesperson with HUD, FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have kept liquidity up for new homebuyers and have virtually unlimited funds for new mortgages.  Combined, these three entities control 90% of US mortgages.  The credit crunch will not affect homebuyers with at least a 3% down payment, a documentable employment record and moderately good credit rating.  While business and commercial loans have been a bit harder to come by in the last few weeks, qualified homebuyers looking to purchase or refinance mortgages haven’t had that trouble.

HUD’s Financial Stability Oversight Board’s primary responsibility over the next several weeks will be to refinance or help work out delinquent subprime homes financed by private lenders during the previous boom years.  Their Hope for Homeowners program is set up to cut the principal and monthly payments and interest rates of delinquent loans through refinancing into fixed rate FHA mortgages.

The government has also infused HUD with $3.9 billion to create a Neighborhood Stabilization program.  This program allows HUD to provide funds to local governments to buy, fix up or rent out foreclosed homes in an effort to ease neighborhoods where the high volume of foreclosed homes has brought a decrease in home values.  The Neighborhood Stabilization program offers local governments the ability to play a role in fighting the sluggish housing market and provides an opportunity for real estate agents, builders and investors to profit in the turnaround efforts.  For those interested in the Neighborhood Stabilization program, speak with your local city or county housing officials for more information.

You will not be bored trying to find things to do in the Hendersonville area this week that include fun for the entire family:

October 16-19: Craft Fair of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.  Visit Asheville’s Civic Center from 10am-6pm on Thursday through Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday to peruse the handcrafted items for sale, listen to local musicians play live music and take any of the number of craft classes available for adults and children.

October 17-18: 2nd Annual Raymond Fairchild Mountain Music Jamboree.  Stop by the Eaglenest Entertainment in Maggie Valley, NC to enjoy this indoor bluegrass music festival.  With over 800+ comfy seats, it is easy to get up close and personal with the wonderful performers.  Free parking is available and prices range from $25-$65.  For more info, call 828-926-9658.

October 17-18: Carp Fishing Tournament at the Adventure Village.  Each day, the tournament goes from 6pm-midnight.  There is a $40 entry fee with a 75% payback.  Prizes will be awarded for hourly big and small pots as well as the big and small fish for each night.  For more info, please call 828-884-5411.

October 17-18: Blue Ridge Corn Maze “Shock in the Corn” Haunted Maze.  Available on first-come, first-served basis.  For more info, please call 828-884-4415.

October 18-19: 2008 Shepherd’s Care Autumn Festival.  Downtown Lake Lure is hosting over 70 local artists and crafters for this fun crafts fair from 10am-5pm.

October 18-19: Festival of Traditions.  Learn more about the myths and legends of the North Carolina mountains through the tales of Appalachian Storytellers.  There will also be arts, crafts, a picnic lunch and entertainment.  Admission is absolutely FREE!

There are plenty more things to do in the Hendersonville area this weekend.  To find out what else is available, please visit the Hendersonville Calendar of Events.

What does the government bailout mean for the housing market?

Are you left wondering what exactly the recently approved government bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac means for you, the homeowner or potential homebuyer?  According to Jay Brinkman with the Mortgage Bankers Association, this should signal the marketplace that there will be a floor on interest rates.  This means that, while the government continues to pump capital into mortgage securities, there is more money available for home mortgage loans at much more favorable rates.  However, this doesn’t necessarily mean it is as easy as it used to be to get a mortgage.  If you have lower than desired credit or are below the required income level for the loan you are trying to acquire, you will have difficulty getting that home loan.  The upside of this is that you won’t be allowed to buy outside your means, putting you in a potential cash crunch that so many families are experiencing today.  Provided that the bailout package is successful and creates much needed consumer confidence, the lower home prices and modest interest rates should kick the housing market into gear again.  Before the bailout plan, many financially strapped homeowners were headed straight for foreclosure.  Now, the government has temporarily put a halt to foreclosures to see if there is a way to work out a deal with those homeowners to repay the loan at terms they are better able to afford.  It may be months before we find out the exact details of what the government’s bailout means for everyone.  But, rest assured that the housing market will come back again.

Hendersonville's chefs took home some of the top honors for the 2008 Best Dish in North CarolinaNorth Carolina’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services holds an annual Best Dish in North Carolina contest for all restaurants in the state based on the quality of food used by chefs in North Carolina restaurants as well as their regular use of North Carolina’s own products in their menus.  For casual dining, Hendersonville’s own Blackwater Grille won second place for his mouthwatering Blackberry Summer Salad, Hunter’s Style Mountain Rabbit and Napoleon of Mountain Berry Ice Cream.  In the Fine Dining category, Chef David Sparacino with the La Riserva Ristorante & Wine Bar in Hendersonville also took home second place for his divine Zuppa D’Argosta soup, Insalata di Spinaci salad, Frutti di Mare con Polenta appetizer, Arrosto di Maiale entree and Mela Cotta dessert.  Another Hendersonville culinary artist, Chef Michael Atkinson with the Inn on Church Street restaurant, took home third place honors for fine dining as well for his Carolina Seafood Chowder, Heirloom Tomato Bread Salad, Sweet Potato Griddle Cake topped with Pecan Crusted Pan Fried Ashley Farms Quail, Signature Trout Cakes and Susan’s Peanut Butter Mousse Pie.  Congratulations to all these great chefs for showing the rest of the state what we already knew…Hendersonville is tops in fine dining!