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ESTATE AGENCIES are trying to kick-start the dormant housing market by new means.

Particularly the agencies who collaborate closely with banks help their customers receive temporary funding from a bank if the house buyer has failed to secure a loan, aiming to get the property chains that have come to a standstill moving again.

”A property chain can stall if a possible buyer can’t for some reason sell their property and the bank won’t give a bridging loan to buy a new house. Estate agents have to come to rescue in situations like this quite often these days,” explains Eija Miehola, head of the Huoneistokeskus operations in the capital region.

Miehola says estate agencies can help with all the banks. Agencies do not undertake the actual loan negotiations but give consulting services.

”Estate agents can explain to the bank what the property could sell for and how long it might take to sell it.”

Estate agencies have always had the responsibility of making sure that the buyer has funding for the purchase but previously the buyer has dealt with the securing of a mortgage without any assistance from the estate agent.

”Banks have become stricter about granting loans. In most cases, banks only give a mortgage after the old property has been sold,” Miehola explains.

Miehola says that estate agents are striving to find ways of unravelling long property chains, which may have five or six properties waiting for papers to be signed.

”Banks seem to be more willing to grant mortgages than at the beginning of the year but they are still saying no to applications for bridging loans.”

Banks do not have to take heed of the advice given by estate agents but the agencies might be able to help a client secure a bridging loan.

Estate agents are also cooperating with each other in an effort to boost the housing market.

”We have to work together a lot as long property chains may involve many agents. We find out from each other whether funding is in place or if the client needs help,” Miehola explains.

The banking sector emphasises caution.

The Hypo Mortgage Society states in its latest housing market review that house-owners should try to avoid the trap of getting stranded with two properties.

“The correct order is to sell your old property, obtain a confirmation of a loan and only then sign the papers for a new property,” advises the mortgage society.

Martta Nieminen – HS
Niina Woolley– HT
© Helsingin Sanomat
Photo: Sami Kero HS