Industry News

Credit crunch hits hard in some real estate markets

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Last year, about 90 percent of the real estate transactions that broker Bryant Tutas handled for his clients were financed by subprime loans. "We have been hit very, very hard by this credit crunch. In March, when all of the subprime stuff hit, our market came to a screeching halt," said Tutas, broker-owner for Tutas Towne Realty Inc. in Poinciana, Fla., south of Orlando. "When they pulled that loan product away my market really came to a ... halt." Dozens of subprime lenders have collapsed this year, creating a credit crunch and fueling buyer fears. Some real estate agents and brokers say these factors are taking a toll on real estate sales in their markets, to varying degrees. Poinciana, Fla. Tutas, who is a listing broker, said that the inventory of for-sale properties in the Poinciana area has swelled to about 1,800 homes, with only about 40-45 home sales per month. "Buyers are very far and few between. Buyers who are able to get financing are really holding all the ba...