The housing industry is slowly seeing the return of buyers like Rick LeBlanc, who lost his Michigan home to foreclosure during the financial crisis but now qualifies for a mortgage again.
Mr. LeBlanc, a 46-year-old residential-construction manager, fell behind on his $1,400 monthly mortgage payments in 2007 after suffering a 20% pay cut. He had tried to sell the property before moving to Florida for a new job. With no takers, he took on renters. But with $225,000 owed on the Highland, Mich., property, he and his wife eventually lost it to foreclosure in 2008.
In the years since, Mr. LeBlanc says he was turned down for car loans and credit cards. His credit ruined, he learned to live without debt and to pay for his family’s expenses with cash.
Then last year, with the foreclosure behind him, he found himself with a near-clean credit slate. The LeBlancs were able to purchase a four-bedroom ranch in St. Augustine Beach, Fla., after borrowing just under $300,000 with a 30-year mortgage carrying a fixed interest rate of about 4.4% from Directors Financial Group, a mortgage lender and broker.