North Carolina is one of the fastest growing states in the United States. The Census Bureau ranked the state sixth in terms of resident population percent change from 2000 to 2009. It ranks 17th in terms of population density with nearly 200 persons per square mile. The housing density in the state is about 72 per square mile of land. Slightly more than two-thirds of all homes in North Carolina are owned by the residents.
Price Comparison with Other States
When comparing average home listing price of between the states, North Carolina is the median, 26th ranked state, having an average listing price of approximately $290,000. This is about $600,000 less than the top ranked Hawaii, which has the most expensive average listing price, and slightly more than $100,000 higher than Ohio which has the lowest average listing price among the 52 states.
In terms of median sales price, North Carolina has the 19th lowest at nearly $140,000. This is twice the median sales price of Kansas which tops the rest when it comes to lowest median sales price. Also, this figure is about $20,000 less than the mid ranked Vermont and again nearly $600,000 less than Washington DC which has the most expensive median sales price.
Mortgage Rate Comparison with National Rate
North Carolina’s mortgage rate is lower than the National Rate in all categories. Among Fixed Rate Mortgages, both the 30-year and 15-year mortgage are lower than the National rate by the same amount with the 30-year being closer to the National compared to the 15-year. In the Adjustable Rate type Mortgages, the state’s rate is still lower than the National Rate and shows a wider difference than the Fixed Rate variety.
The Best Places to Live in North Carolina
The best place to live in the state basically depends on which of the following a resident would consider important: luxury, education, business opportunities, or the arts. Another feature of the state that attracts people is the generally temperate climate of the region which allows residents to engage in different leisure and recreational activities.
People seeking luxurious living arrangements can find these in the coastal areas of the state. The weather in the area has made it a popular tourist destination in the state especially those seeking leisure and fishing activities. Also located in this area, Wilmington in particular, is the EUE Screen Gems Studio, a major film studio owned by a subsidiary of Columbia Pictures. The presence of this studio, with its other locations scattered throughout the area has added to the prestige of this locale in the luxury category.
If education is what is of prime importance, the area called the Research Triangle would be attractive. This includes the cities of Chapel Hill, Durham, and, the state’s capital, Raleigh. Within the triangle formed by these cities are some of the major learning institutions and universities in the country. Located in this area are the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke University, and Shaw University. Housed in this area are research outfits like IBM and Nortel as well as several of the state’s medical centers. Proximity to these has increased the prices of homes in this vicinity due to what they provide in terms of improving quality of life and employment opportunities. It is also where much of the state’s growth in population is concentrated.
Those who favor metropolitan living have the option of opting to reside in Charlotte. This city is one of the top 20 largest cities in the United States. As such, business opportunities abound in the area. This has caused it to be included by several survey organizations as one of the best cities in America. There are some drawbacks, however, in the area’s rate of unemployment and earnings. It was also greatly affected by the economic crisis due to its reliance on the banking and finance industry.
The city in North Carolina that attracts those who are artistically inclined is Asheville. The city is popular for supporting the arts. A good example of this is the prevalent Art Deco architecture. Many leisurely and sporting activities, both the winter and summer varieties, can also be indulged in which has further fueled the locale’s popularity.
Types of Mortgages Available in the State
The state has several types of home mortgage options that include fixed rate, adjustable rate, and refinancing. Qualified North Carolina residents can also avail of two specialized home loans on top of the varieties already available.
Fixed rate loans in the state fall under three categories 15, 20, and 30 year terms. These are conventional loans whose interest rates differ from one lender to another. Payments do not fluctuate throughout the loan’s duration and it is generally considered a stable type of loan.
The insurance offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to those who qualify and have loans with 15 or 30 year terms has allowed lenders leeway to take greater risks when granting loans. This is for those whose home loans are for houses valued at below $300,000, the price limit for this privilege. Those who avail of these FHA loans are also required to make down payment of 3.5 percent.
Another attractive option in the fixed rate (15 and 30 year) category is the benefit granted to veterans of the military. Under the GI Bill, those who qualify may make a purchase without the necessity of making a down payment. The home to be purchased must meet certain standards however and the appraisal value of the home in question is not exceeded. These are called VA loans for Veterans Administration Loans.
Loans which vary in rate according to a certain interval, called Adjustable Rate Mortgages, are also available. The types that may be availed of are the 3/1, 5/1, 5/5, 7/1, and 10/1. These symbols mean that, in the case of 3/1 for instance, after paying three years at fixed rate, every year thereafter will be on an adjustable rate. In the case of 5/5, the rate adjustment is made every fifth year after the first five years which will be on fixed rate.
People who would rather live in small towns or rural communities can also avail of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans which also let the borrower avoid making a down payment. This type of loan option is offered in places where the population is below 25,000.
Specialized Home Mortgage
There are two specialized loans that North Carolina residents can take advantage of. These are the First Time Home Buyer and the Jumbo home loan.
The former home mortgage is offered by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency. This a public agency that supports itself and has so far assisted in financing, since its establishment in 1973, nearly 200,000 homes. They assist in obtaining low interest rate mortgages and provide help in paying the down payment. Aside from these, the organization also funds housing development for persons who have special needs, such as those with hereditary or congenital disabilities. They also provide funds for bringing homes occupied by their owners that are below standard up to par. There is a however a price criteria for the homes to be purchased which varies with the area in which the home is located.
Jumbo loans are those that deal with amounts greater than those indicated by general restrictions. For instance a Jumbo VA loan will allow the borrower to take out a loan that is higher than what is normally given in these types of loans. The interest rate is commensurately larger though.
Both non-judicial and judicial foreclosure methods are available to lenders. These differ in that the former foes not involve court action while the court in the latter is the final deciding body. They differ further in time frame. The buyer should be informed by the lender about the sale at least 20 days earlier or up to 90 days in some cases. The other type involves proceeding ranging between 90 to 120 days if the foreclosure is contested. In both of these, if the borrower files for bankruptcy, more time is allowed and the foreclosure is delayed.
North Carolina also follows a policy of non-recourse when it comes to foreclosure. This means that if a home mortgage is to be foreclosed, the lender is barred from asking an amount that is greater than the home’s worth.
Lowering one’s loan payments is also possible in the state through refinancing. This option may also be availed of in loans taken through VA and FHA. The process is also similar to taking out a loan. Lenders, however, set certain criteria that should be met before they may refinance a mortgage. Both the fixed rate and the adjustable rate types of loans may be refinanced. The only aspect to be considered is the presence of a prepayment penalty clause in the loan agreement which indicates that a certain amount of money should be paid in the event a borrower opts to pay off the loan before the agreed term.
A separate loan can be obtained by the owner using the home as collateral depending on the balance between existing debt and home equity. This loan being separate will have a different interest rate and term. It is only applicable to 10 and 15 year fixed rate mortgages.
A special type of mortgage offered by the FHA for those who have enough home equity is the Reverse Mortgage. Here, the equity is used to pay the loan. This means that as long as the home is the borrower’s primary residence, payment no longer needs to be made. When primary residence is change, this is the time that the borrower will resume making loan payments.
Home equity is basically calculated based on the amount of principal that has already been paid off. It increases with every payment made and is used by lenders as a criteria when determining whether a borrower is eligible for refinancing or an additional loan.
To Sum Up
The state of North Carolina is increasing in popularity as a place to reside in among Americans. This may be due to the different facets of the state that increases a person’s quality of life. The weather is one of these as it allows activities that may not be indulged in places that experience harsh weather. Many excellent learning institutions are readily accessible as well as business opportunities that stem from the growth that the state is experiencing in terms of population. The home mortgages that may be availed of are quite varied and there are special ones that may be obtained by residents.