The Real Deal Miami

Buying’s easy, lending’s pricey

September 29, 2008 11:04AM

Teresa and Hoover Encalada personify the plight of today’s South Florida home buyer. They want to pay $434,000 for a two-bedroom condo at the Plaza on Brickell, but getting a mortgage won’t be easy. The lender wants 45 percent down on a five-year loan with an initial interest rate of 7.8 percent. That’s prompted the couple to wait on word from a second bank, which would require only 40 percent down, before they proceed. Prices are down 30 percent to 40 percent in the region, but mortgages are more expensive and down payments have ballooned. In many cases it is impossible to qualify for a loan with less than 20 percent down. Compounding the problems of financing, especially with condos, is the dearth of private mortgage insurance, which is required for down payments below 20 percent.