More than one third of the 222 home mortgage lending institutions in the Washington area are no longer making loans, according to a survey made this week.
The survey showed that 78 of the lenders no longer are accepting applications from the general public because they have no money to loan or have decided to halt loans at a time of skyrocketing interest rates.
Of these 78 lenders, nearly half -- 35 -- closed their loan windows in the last 10 days, the survey showed.
The survey was conducted by Victor J. Peeke, president of Interest Data Reports, a private mortgage reporting service.
Peeke's survey showed that another 26 of the institutions are only making loans to regular savings customers.
Some of the institutions that still are technically in the market have raised their rates so high that they report few people have applied for loans.
Peeke's survey also showed that 83 lenders -- nearly three-fourths of all those in the area who were quoting rates -- raised their interest rates within the last week. The average interest rate charged was 15 1/2 per cent, up 2 percent in less than a month.
There was a possibility that anticipated actions by the Federal Reserve Board next week, growning out of President Carter's economic program, will return money to lending institutions, which in turn will make the money available for mortgage loans.
The survey, which includes banks, savings and loans, and mortgage companies were conducted in Northern Virginia on Wednesday and in Maryland and the District of Columbia on Thursday.
"The situation is pretty bad," said Martin Wiegand, chairman of Metropolis Federal Savings and Loan Association and president of the Metropolitan Washington Savings and Loan League. He said he expects the situation to get worse before it gets better.
"Next year, I expect many (savings and loans) may operate in the red," Wiegand said.
Thomas Owen, president of Perpetual Federal Savings and Loan, the area's largest, said loan applications dwindled to a handful this week as prospective customers held off because of the association's 17 1/8 percent interest charge.
Other savings and loan officials say they had to close their doors at least temporarily because customers are withdrawing their savings at such a rapid pace, leaving the institutions with fewer funds to lend. In addition, lenders are facing steep interest charges on the money they buy.
Yesterday, the country's two largest banks raised their prime interest rate to 18 1/2 percent. The prime their prime prime interest rate to 18 1/2 percent. The prime rate is the interest rate that banks charge their most credit-worthy corporate customers. Increases in the prime rate in recent weeks have been followed by mortgage interest rates increase for home buyers as well.
Most of those with closed doors this week were savings and loans associations and banks. Included were National Permanent Federal Savings and Loan, the District's second largest savings and loan association, as well as National Bank of Washington. Inter-City Mortgage, Arlington Fairfax Savings and Loan, and Citizens Bank and Trust in Maryland, according to Peeke's survey.
At Century Mortgage, vice president Stephen Greene said that applications this month have dropped dramatically as interest rates have climbed. Greene said his company charges 15 5/8 percent interest on conventional loans.
"People in certain income brackets who are used to a particular lifestyle are still having trouble getting used to what interest rates are forcing them to accept" Greene said. "They just haven't come to grips with it yet.... Right now, our program is to ride out the storm for the next few months."
At Colonial Mortgage Co., loan officer Mike Christopharo said that applications have dropped off as well, mainly because of the reluctance of many sellers to sell to Veterans Adminsitration and Federal Housing Administration home buyers these days because they have to pay an average of 8 1/2 points. Each point equals 1 percent of the mortgage amount -- or thousands of dollars that the seller has to absorb.
Local real estate companies report mixed sales activity recently. A few of those sampled said they are selling homes both with conventional financing, and, increasingly, with financing and second trusts provided by sellers. Some new home and condominium projects that offer loans at below market-rate interest also report business is good. Other agents said this month has been a disaster.
Norris A. Dodson III, vice president of real estate sales for John R. Pinkett Inc., said one of his company's clients wrote this week to cancel an offer to buy a house because he couldn't get financing at 13 percent interest. One of his sellers lowered the asking price on a home so a potential buyer could afford it.
"There's no question that we're having tough times," Dodson said.
Agents have reported that sales were extemely slow during the last part of last year, but picked up some in January and February.
According to information provided by Rufus S. Lusk & Son Inc., publishers of a directory that records real estate sales, the number of sales in the District during January were down only slightly from January of 1979. iBut that was mainly because condominium purchases were up by 63 percent, and made up for some of the decrease in other residential home sales.
"Obviously, condos are keeping the market going," the Lusk firm concluded.
Condominium sales, which comprised only 27 percent of the sales market in January of last year, jumped to 44 percent of the market in January of this year, the Lusk firm found. Last month, there was a 95 percent increase in condominium sales in the city compared to a year earlier.
Sales recorded in January and February of this year would represent contracts signed to buy a home during the previous 45 to 90 days.
Under a congressional moratorium that expires at the end of this month, usury ceilings have been removed. Congressional conferees already have approved measures that would continue to remove such ceilings after the moratorium expires.