Home Construction Slows in Amarillo

Economic trouble seems to be seeping in to the once-insulated Amarillo economic bubble.

The monthly economic analysis released by Amarillo National Bank says housing construction has suffered a steep downturn.  Residential starts are down 61% from this time last year and almost 40% for the year.

But amid those dismal statistics, some say our housing market remains strong.

One banker says politicians and Wall Street are to blame for the national crisis slowly infiltrating the Panhandle region.  Wade Porter, an Executive Vice President at ANB says, "they told us the world was ending to get the TARP program passed and people listened to it and believed it."

Now, financing a home is difficult.  Tracy Howland of Larry Brown Realtors says, "mortgage loans are harder to come by with banks in trouble it's hard to get a loan. But what we're seeing with that is the people getting the loans actually deserve them."

Porter says, "the good news in that area is that mortgage rates look to be coming down about 100 points."

The federal government has slashed interest rates and could even cut them down to 4 1/2% or 5 %.

Howland says, "buyers will take advantage of low interest rates, their payments will be less, they will qualify easier, they will get more for their money."

Both says that should spur more home construction.

And while residential construction is down, commercial has doubled in the last year.