Do mortgage lenders take local demand for your occupation into account when evaluating your application?

My husband and I would like to buy a house by June of 2009, when our current apartment lease expires. With the national economy tanking we’re worried that we may not get approved simply because my husband will only have a year of full-time salary history.

My husband is a first year software engineer for a small (but well established and carefully managed) defense contractor whose biggest customer is NATO. We live in Huntsville, Alabama; a hot bed of high tech jobs primarily in the aerospace, electronics and defense industries. The city actually has the 3rd highest concentration of software engineering jobs in the country, behind Boulder, Colorado and Silicon Valley. The city’s economy is relatively strong yet has a very low cost of living. My husband graduated from college in May of this year and currently makes a starting salary of 50K a year. He’s only been on the job for 3 months but has made himself virtually indispensable to his boss. The company is working on an addition to their product that only he has the skills to implement so his salary is expected to rise at least somewhat during the company’s annual evaluations this winter.

We don’t want to borrow much in relation to our income. I was doing some research on the local real estate market and the type of properties we’re interested in (3 bedroom ranchers under 1500 square feet on 1/2 to 1 acre lots outside the city) have an average asking price of $ 110,000 and aren’t selling very well. Most of the houses I found in online listings were completely vacant, which means more negotiating room for me. I’m hoping to find someone ultra desperate to sell and get them down to $ 90,000 or even $ 80,000.

Our credit score is around 720 and our debt primarily consists of low interest student loans and a small loan for the motorcycle my husband uses to commute to work, which we plan on paying off soon. We have a fair amount of money in savings and try to save 15 to 20% of our take home pay

We’re eligible for multiple first-time buyer programs in our state but I’m getting a little anxious about qualifying for the loan. We really want to get out of apartments because every time we rent we’re cursed with a smelly and/or noisy neighbor.

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