NJ bank head blames news media for “crisis of confidence” in housing market

August 10, 2011 05:55PM

Frank Sorrentino, chairman and CEO of North Jersey Community Bank, appeared on CNBC today to discuss the national housing market (see video above). Though mortgage rates “are probably the lowest they’ve ever been” and U.S. housing prices are “incredibly low,” Sorrentino said “a crisis of confidence” is preventing consumers from making purchases. “People watch the news all day,” he said, “but if they would step back from that noise and they would look at their situations, [they would see] now is a really great time to buy a home.”

With the 30-year mortgage rate at 4.39 percent, mortgage payments would likely be less than rents in most markets. But the uncertain direction of the economy, compounded by a frantic media climate are blinding consumers to those realities, he said.

Sorrentino also said his bank has maintained a consistent policy of requiring a 20 percent down payment, so it has been less affected by the “market gyrations.”