Housing market shows signs of hope

By Kristen Miranda - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in Charlotte Friday, said the Fed is taking steps to help consumers.  Programs to help lower interest rates, which perhaps didn't work to start, have been retooled.

For example, the rate on a 30 year fixed mortgage, which hardly responded to the first round of programs, has now declined one percentage point since November.

Realtor Mark Ramsey closed on five houses last week.  He says the Charlotte market is at about 50 percent of where it should be at this time of year.

"Every week is not this good, but this one was good," says Ramsey.

Ramsey is seeing many first-time buyers taking advantage of unprecented home buyer credits and reduced interest rates.  It's keeping mortgage broker Beth Bell busy.

"It's definitely better.  It's been a little wild the past three weeks because the rates dropped significantly," Bell said.

She's locking people into rates as low as 4 3/8 or 4 1/2 percent.

Our experts tell us those whose property values have declined and those with investment property whose values have dropped are still having a tough time in the real estate market.

But if you have 15% to 20% equity in your home you'll get some good rates.

If you have a credit score of 740 and 40% equity in your home, that will get you the best deals.