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  • Senate Adds Homebuyer Tax Credit to Stimulus Bill

    9:38 am on July 1, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , housing affordability, , , ,   Filed under: Buyer Info

    Published: February 4, 2009

    WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday voted to expand the economic stimulus package with a tax credit for homebuyers of up to $15,000, a provision championed by Republicans as addressing a root cause of the recession.

    Ruth Fremson/The New York Times Senators Jeff Sessions and Jim DeMint with Representative Tom Price, all Republicans, criticized the stimulus package.

    The vote to add the tax credit, at a cost of about $18.5 billion, came as Senate leaders seemed to be nearing completion of negotiations. The majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, suggested that a final vote on the stimulus plan could come on Thursday.

    Moderate lawmakers in both parties are pushing to reduce the overall cost of the measure and to focus it more tightly on provisions that will quickly spur spending and create jobs. The vote came as President Obama met with centrist lawmakers to address concerns about the package.

    Mr. Obama, while expressing willingness to compromise, also issued a warning to some Republican critics who have said they will press for major changes to the bill, including the removal of many spending programs in favor of wider tax cuts. (More …)

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  • Home Buyers Who Missed 8,000 Dollar Tax Credit Coming Out Ahead

    8:50 am on June 29, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , housing affordability, ,   Filed under: The Housing Market

    By Jim Weiker

    RISMEDIA, June 29, 2010—(MCT)—Home shoppers who missed the April 30 deadline for a housing tax credit might have the last laugh. For a variety of reasons, they could end up saving more than the $8,000 they could have received from the tax refund.

    In some neighborhoods and price ranges, sellers are dropping their prices because buyers are harder to find now that the credit has expired. Builders and real estate companies began offering promotions after the tax credit ended that, in many cases, are worth more than the credit.

    Interest rates have dropped enough since the credit deadline that, over the life of a loan, a homeowner could easily save more than the value of the credit. “I think some folks possibly could have benefited from waiting until after the tax credit,” said Joe Jackson, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Capital Partners. “It would depend on the price point they were buying in and the market they were looking in.” (More …)

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  • Sarasota Florida is the best buy in the Western World!

    4:42 pm on June 22, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: housing affordability, , ,   Filed under: Sarasota, Vacation

    Reports show that Sarasota Florida is the best buy in the Western World!

    The report, published today in ranks popular resort and second home locations around the world reveals the cheapest western holiday home destination is Sarasota, Florida, which is little surprise given how much the market has fallen over the past two years and the number of agents currently selling distressed property to foreigners in the sunshine state.

    Among the surprises: Apartments in Warsaw, Poland are selling for higher prices than Dubai.

    Manhattan and Paris are running neck in neck, but Moscow makes them both look cheap. Little wonder that the Russians are on an international buying spree, with Hong Kong residents close behind them. With China now officially the hottest residential market in the world, US properties are practically an impulse buy. (More …)

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  • News Alert! The Luxury Market Has Returned

    9:02 am on June 17, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , housing affordability, , , , ,   Filed under: Luxury, The Housing Market

    by Steve Harney on June 4, 2010

    There is no longer any question that luxury homes are beginning to sell.  The high-net-worth client has marked 2010 as the year to again start purchasing real estate and their desire is turning into sales. Financing is beginning to open up in the ‘jumbo’ market and prices are starting to reflect true values as upper end foreclosures are starting to mount. What does this market have in store for us as we move forward in 2010? That will be determined by supply and demand.


    Obviously, demand is increasing. The Wall street Journal reported:

    “After a near-disastrous 2009, the luxury market appears to be making a comeback, driven by growing buyer confidence, improved financing conditions and more-realistic seller pricing. Despite the housing downturn, attractively priced homes in some of the nation’s most coveted neighborhoods are selling, sometimes fast and sometimes with multiple offers. Nationwide, sales of homes selling for $2 million to $5 million in the first quarter totaled 2,461, up 32% from a year before, says CoreLogic.” (More …)

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  • Foreclosures Often Carry Unforeseen Risk: Lawsuits from Lenders

    2:07 pm on June 10, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , housing affordability, , ,   Filed under: Consumer news and advice, Home owner information, pricing

    by Paul Owers

    RISMEDIA, June 8, 2010—(MCT)—Before Larry Thomas unloaded his Pompano Beach, Fla., home last fall for a fraction of what he paid, he cut a deal that will keep him from worrying about a huge debt hanging over his head.

    Thomas insisted that his lender, American Home Mortgage Servicing, agree not to come after him for the estimated $174,000 he still owed on his two mortgages. “I feel incredible relief,” the restaurant manager said recently.

    Others may not be as fortunate. Lenders will file a tidal wave of lawsuits against homeowners in the next few years as a way to recoup losses when home sales or foreclosure auctions don’t result in enough money to pay the mortgages in full, real estate and legal analysts say. “It will be a dramatic problem because the borrowers will not know it’s coming,” said Frank Alexander, a law professor at Emory University in Atlanta.

    Laws vary from state to state. In Florida, banks have five years from the date of the sale to file for so-called deficiency judgments and up to 20 years to collect. Lenders can garnish wages or make claims on borrowers’ assets. (More …)

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  • 10 Cities for Retirement Property Steals

    2:25 pm on June 8, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , housing affordability, , ,   Filed under: Buyer Info

    by Luke Mullins
    Wednesday, May 26, 2010provided by

    Although the financial crisis has hammered retirement accounts, it has also converted a number of popular retirement destinations into bargains for home buyers. Indeed, the very states that took the brunt of the housing bust–like Florida, California, Nevada, and Arizona–also contain some of the nation’s most enviable markets in which to retire. This development has handed today’s seniors a chance to scoop up properties in many top-notch retirement spots at attractive prices.

    To get a sense of which retirement markets offer the most compelling valuations, we obtained price-to-income data for 384 metropolitan statistical areas from Moody’s Analytics. The price-to-income ratio–a key yardstick of housing affordability–expresses the relationship between home values and earnings. For example, in a market with a price-to-income ratio of 2.5, median-priced homes sell for 2.5 times average household incomes. By comparing a market’s most recent price-to-income ratio with its longer-term averages, we can pinpoint areas that have become particularly affordable. Here is a look at 10 cities that are currently offering retirement property steals: (More …)

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  • Bank of America Reports More Than 56,000 Permanent Home Affordable Modifications, among More Than 600,000 Total Modifications Since January 2008

    11:16 am on May 18, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , housing affordability,   Filed under: Consumer news and advice

    RISMEDIA, May 17, 2010—Bank of America has completed about 56,400 permanent mortgage modifications under the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), and has now completed a total of more than 600,000 modifications through all available programs since January 2008, the company reports.

    “We were able to convert close to 24,000 Bank of America customers from trial to permanent modifications in the past month, completing the process for more homeowners than in any previous month,” said Jack Schakett, credit loss mitigation strategies executive for Bank of America Home Loans.

    “We continue to evaluate homeowners’ eligibility and activate trial modifications while focusing on completing as many permanent modifications as possible for those who have successfully completed their trial payment period. At the same time, however, we are beginning to see a decrease in the number of active trial modifications, which we have anticipated.” (More …)

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  • Clear Capital Reports Slowing of National Quarterly Home Price Declines

    9:08 am on May 11, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , housing affordability, ,   Filed under: Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, pricing, Seller Info

    RISMEDIA, May 8, 2010—Clear Capital, a provider of data and solutions for real estate asset valuation, investment and risk assessment, released its Home Data Index (HDI) Market Report. Patent pending rolling quarter technology significantly reduces the multi-month lag time associated with other indices to help investors, loan servicers and individual buyers and sellers make more informed, timely and profitable decisions.

    The Clear Capital HDI Market Report offers the industry, investors and lenders a timely look at pricing conditions, not only at the national and metropolitan level, but within local markets as well. Clear Capital data is built on the most recent data available from recorder/assessor offices, and then further enhanced by adding the company’s proprietary market data for the most comprehensive geographic coverage available.

    “An interesting dynamic we’re observing is the clear distinction between markets that are resilient to increased levels of bank owned properties and those which continue to be highly sensitive,” said Dr. Alex Villacorta, Senior Statistician, Clear Capital.

    “For example, the highest performing metro areas have seen prices remain relatively flat over the last quarter despite REO saturation rates averaging just above 33%. Contrast this with the lowest performing areas which have seen prices drop dramatically with average declines of more than 10% and average REO saturation rates less than those in the highest performing areas.

    “This paradox suggests that price trends are not wholly dependent on distressed sale volume, and re-enforces the need to understand local market trends,” added Villacorta. (More …)

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  • Existing-Home Sales Rise on Home Buyer Tax Credit and Favorable Market Conditions

    9:00 am on April 27, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , housing affordability, , ,   Filed under: Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, Seller Info, Statistics, The Housing Market

    Washington, April 22, 2010

    Buyers responding to the homebuyer tax credit and favorable affordability conditions boosted existing-home sales in March, marking the beginning of an expected spring surge, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

    Existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 6.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million units in March from 5.01 million in February, and are 16.1 percent above the 4.61 million-unit level in March 2009.

    Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said it is encouraging to see a broad home sales recovery in nearly every part of the country, with two important underlying trends. “Sales have been above year-ago levels for nine straight months, and inventory has trended down from year-ago levels for 20 months running,” he said. “The home buyer tax credit has been a resounding success as these underlying trends point to a broad stabilization in home prices. This is preserving perhaps $1 trillion in largely middle class housing wealth that may have been wiped out without the housing stimulus measure.” (More …)

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  • Fixer-Upper Financing: 203k Program Provides Buyers with Renovation Funds

    10:44 am on March 30, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , housing affordability,   Filed under: Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice

    By Eve Mitchell

    RISMEDIA, March 27, 2010—(MCT)—The word “as-is” can indeed be one scary phrase. Especially when buying a home in today’s market where foreclosures and short sales that need fix-up work are plentiful.

    But a little-known Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan program that’s been around since 1978 can help take the sting out of “as-is.” Only 219 borrowers took advantage of the FHA’s 203k program in 2009. Not that many lending and real estate professionals are aware of the program, say observers.

    Last year, Tom Meyer found a classic Oakland, Calif., home built in 1925 near Mills College he liked a lot. As a short sale it was priced right and about half the original asking price. Trouble was, the place needed some fix-up work—foundation improvements, dry rot work, a new roof over the garage and other improvements. (More …)

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