Nearly three-quarters of Washington-area real estate agents in a recent online survey said the availability of subprime mortgages and tighter standards for alternative-A loans have hurt their ability to get homes under contract, according to City Influence, a market research firm.In addition to the 73% who responded affirmatively on this question, 60% said their clients are having difficulty qualifying for the loan they need to buy a home, the Washington-based firm reported. "I think this raises a number of questions about the longer-term impact of mortgage availability on the velocity of sales in the market," said Kim Hoover, president of City Influence. "We know that a significant portion of buyers who were able to enter the homeownership category over the last decade took advantage of more flexible lending standards. The question is, if that group is unable to buy a home going forward, how much of a ripple effect will that have up the chain?" The firm, which specializes in urban real estate, can be found online at http://www.cityinfluence-dc.com.

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