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Archive for December, 2010

H.R. 4853: Real Estate Provisions in the 2010 Tax Relief Bill

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Friday, December 31st, 2010

On December 17, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853) extending the Bush-era tax rates and a host of other expired and expiring provisions. The legislation is not “paid for,” so there are no revenue raisers taken from real estate or other industry groups. The package provides temporary extensions of its numerous provisions. Some are retroactive, as well, so that the rules that had been in place previously will operate as if they had never expired.

Included in the bill are provisions that affect real estate investment and operations—such as energy-efficiency tax credits, capital gains, and more. A few key provisions of interest to REALTORS® include:

  • Retention of Bush-era tax brackets through the 2011 and 2012 tax years;
  • Retention of the capital gains tax rate of 15 percent for assets sold or disposed of during 2011 and 2012;
  • Reduction of payroll taxes for employees and self-employed individuals during 2011;
  • Extension of numerous energy efficiency credits through December 31, 2011, including: the Energy Efficient New Homes, Energy Efficient Existing Homes, and Energy Efficient Buildings credits.

For more detailed information on the provisions of this bill affecting real estate, home owners, and REALTORS® as small business owners, please see the see the full summary.

Article Courtesy of National Association of REALTORS

Pending Home Sales Continue Recovery, Gradual Improvement Seen in 2011

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Friday, December 31st, 2010

Washington, DC, December 30, 2010

Pending home sales rose again in November, with the broad trend over the past five months indicating a gradual recovery into 2011, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator, rose 3.5 percent to 92.2 based on contracts signed in November from a downwardly revised 89.1 in October. The index is 5.0 percent below a reading of 97.0 in November 2009. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said historically high housing affordability is boosting sales activity. “In addition to exceptional affordability conditions, steady improvements in the economy are helping bring buyers into the market,” he said. “But further gains are needed to reach normal levels of sales activity.”

The PHSI in the Northeast increased 1.8 percent to 72.6 in November but is 6.2 percent below November 2009. In the Midwest the index declined 4.2 percent in November to 78.3 and is 7.7 percent below a year ago. Pending home sales in the South slipped 1.8 percent to an index of 91.4 and are 7.2 percent below November 2009. In the West the index jumped 18.2 percent to 123.3 and is 0.4 percent above a year ago.

“If we add 2 million jobs as expected in 2011, and mortgage rates rise only moderately, we should see existing-home sales rise to a higher, sustainable volume,” Yun said. “Credit remains tight, but if lenders return to more normal, safe underwriting standards for creditworthy buyers, there would be a bigger boost to the housing market and spillover benefits for the broader economy.”

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is forecast to rise gradually to 5.3 percent around the end of 2011; at the same time, unemployment should drop to 9.2 percent.

For perspective, Yun said that the U.S. has added 27 million people over the past 10 years. “However, the number of jobs is roughly the same as it was in 2000 when existing-home sales totaled 5.2 million, which appears to be a sustainable figure given the current level of employment,” he explained.

“All the indicator trends are pointing to a gradual housing recovery,” Yun said. “Home price prospects will vary depending largely upon local job market conditions. The national median home price, however, is expected to remain stable even with a continuing flow of distressed properties coming onto the market, as long as there is a steady demand of financially healthy home buyers.”

Existing-home sales are projected to rise about 8 percent to 5.2 million in 2011 from 4.8 million in 2010, with an additional gain of 4 percent in 2012. The median existing-home price could rise 0.6 percent to $173,700 in 2011 from $172,700 in 2010, which was essentially unchanged from 2009.

“As we gradually work off the excess housing inventory, supply levels will eventually come more in-line with historic averages, and could allow home prices to rise modestly in the range of 2 to 3 percent in 2012,” Yun said.

New-home sales are estimated to rise 24 percent to 392,000 in 2011, but would remain well below historic averages, while housing starts are forecast to rise 21 percent to 716,000.

Yun sees Gross Domestic Product growing 2.5 percent in 2011, and the Consumer Price Index rising 2.3 percent.

The National Association of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

HOME OWNERSHIP MATTERS

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Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

HOME

OWNERSHIP

MATTERS

TO PEOPLE…TO COMMUNITIES… TO AMERICA.


Studies show that home ownership has a significant positive impact on net worth, educational achievement, civic participation, health and overall quality of life.  That’s why, more than 100 years, REALTORS have helped people find their piece of the American Dream.

Now, with some questioning whether home ownership is still good for America, it’s more important than ever to stand up for home ownership…in your community and it the nation’s capital.

Find out more about why Home Ownership Matters, how the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, is standing up for it, and how you can help spread the word, at REALTOR.org/homeownership.

WHY HOME OWNERSHIP MATTERS

TO PEOPLE…

  • Home owners are happier and healthier and enjoy a greater feeling of control over their lives.
  • Owning a home is one of the best ways to build long-term wealth. Historically, a home owner’s net worth has ranged from 31 to 46 times that of a renter.
  • Home owners are free to redecorate, renovate, and modify their homes as they wish.
  • most home owners enjoy stable housing costs-a fixed-rate mortgage payment might not change for 15 to 30 years while rent typically increases 3% a year.
  • Home owners can typically deduct mortgage interest and property taxes on their federal individual income tax return.

TO COMMUNITIES…

  • People who own homes vote more, volunteer more and contribute more to their neighborhoods.
  • Home owners do not more as frequently as renters, providing more neighborhood stability. In turn this stability helps reduce crime and supports neighborhood upkeep.
  • Children of home owners do better in school, stay in school longer, are more likely to participate in organized activities and spend less time on front of the television.

TO AMERICA…

  • 67% of American households are owner-occupied. America is a nation of home owners.
  • Home owners pay 80 to 90% of federal individual income taxes, contributing to federal programs that benefit all Americans.
  • Every home purchased pumps $60,000 into the economy for furniture, home improvements and related items.
  • Housing accounts for more than 15% of the national Gross Domestic Product, a key driver of our natioinal economy.
  • For these reasons and more, home ownership is the American Dream!

–Courtesy of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS

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