Government shutdown to impact home loans and refinancing

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

The housing market has been on a steady comeback but a government shutdown could hamper that progress. For the first time in nearly two decades, the federal government staggered into a partial shutdown Monday at midnight.

The fallout could impact people looking to buy or refinance a home.

People could be in limbo waiting for federally-backed home loans to be processed or approved if the government shuts down.

Janet Gaglione, president of the Charlotte Regional Mortgage Lenders Association, said USDA home loans would likely be put on hold, which could have a big impact on the many rural counties neighboring Mecklenburg.

Last year, loans backed through the Federal Housing Administration accounted for nearly half of mortgages used to purchase homes.

Summit Funding Branch Manager George Violante said lenders will still be able to originate FHA loans, but the agency will operate with very limited staff, so processing or closings may be delayed.

He said if the shutdown is short term, then most clients will still be able to move forward.

"We just do business as usual and hope they resolve things so we can continue to lend," he said.

Chris Dudek hopes that's the case.

He just applied to get his home refinanced Monday morning. He purchased it in 2008 with an FHA loan and called his lender concerned about what's next.

"She said it could be possible delays or it could be just as smooth as possible," Dudek said.

People seeking conventional home loans are not immune. If the government shuts down, the division of the IRS that processes tax transcript requests will be furloughed. The documents are critical in processing loans.

"It is proving that the tax returns that the customer is providing me are true and accurate," Gaglione said. "It's a fraud prevention."

While the ultimate impacts of the government shutdown remain uncertain, Dudek said for many, one thing is clear.

"Just adding more and more delays on top of everyone's frustration with the government and everything that's going on, now it's just increasingly adding frustration to an already volatile situation," Dudek said.

Mortgage experts tell Channel 9 the inability to get tax transcripts could also create some delays for people with federally backed loans through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Representatives of the government-controlled agencies said they will not be affected by the shutdown because they pay for their operations out of fees that they charge lenders.