Housing trends in the Memphis area

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It's been 10 years since the great recession and real estate continues to rebound.

Tiffany Owens Mitchell is a realtor and investor with First National Realty.

"I've seen the market somewhat come back, I've seen a lot of people purchasing properties, said Mitchell."

Mitchell is also a landlord and says she's seen a bigger boost in the rental market.

Mitchell says many of her rental clients are fearful of buying. She says some have concerns about additional financial upkeep required with maintenance, particularly, if they're used to renting.

She also said many haven't been educated about what's required to qualify for a conventional loan.

Mitchell also said people who suffered a setback during the recession such as a foreclosure or bankruptcy, could still be dealing with the effects of those problems.

Research shows while the housing market has stabilized, not everyone has enjoyed the comeback at the same pace.

Steve Lockwood is the Executive Director of the Frayser Community Development Corporation.

Lockwood told WREG, "African American families by far took the greatest hit in the incredible foreclosure tsunami we had over the past 10 years."

Foreclosures and a subsequent loss of wealth are some of the factors home ownership among African Americans remains even slower, according to a report from the The National Association of Real Estate Brokers.

The data shows in Memphis, African-Americans represent 65 percent of the total population, but black applicants represent just over 30 percent of new loan applications.

Lockwood said the good news is, some of that is changing for minority borrowers in general.

Plus, he says there are more opportunities available for low and middle-income buyers.

"It's important for the word to get out that has changed in the last year and that banks are now willing to make $30,000 to $50,000 loans whereas they would not before."

As part of a new campaign to boost home ownership in the area, the Frayser CDC has been handing out flyers that read, "Don't rent for $700. Own for $480."

There's also new, down payment assistance from the state's largest housing agency, THDA, along with programs run by the city of Memphis and even banks.

"It really should help us rebuild home ownership in these areas," said Lockwood.

Mitchell said the more information available about such programs, the better.

Mitchell says the information has to be clear and concise so potential buyers are willing to learn more.

She says she often encourages her rental clients to consider becoming home buyers at the end of a lease term.

"You have to educate the people in your community about what is available."