Improvement Coming to Buyer Tax Credit?

taxcredit1Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said that the Federal Housing Administration is working on a plan that will permit its lenders to allow home buyers to use the $8,000 tax credit as a down payment.

Previously, most buyers wouldn’t receive the funds until after they filed their tax return, and that deterred some people from using the credit. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has been calling for the change.

“We all want to enable FHA consumers to access the home buyer tax credit funds when they close on their home loans so that the cash can be used as a down payment,” Donovan says. His remarks came in an address to several thousand REALTORS® gathered May 12 at the 2009 REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C..

He says FHA’s approved lenders would be permitted to “monetize” the tax credit through short-term bridge loans. This will allow eligible home buyers to access the funds immediately at the closing table. The plan isn’t final; more details are expected in coming weeks.

Other Solutions for Today’s Market

During his address, Donovan went on to say that the Obama administration plans to further stabilize the housing market. “I do think we have some early signs that the market overall is stabilizing,” Donovan says. “Since January we’ve seen both home sales moving up and down around a relatively stable number and we are seeing the first signs that the rapid decline in home prices is starting to abate.”

He and other speakers examined cutting-edge solutions necessary to promote and preserve homeownership and real estate development, stimulate the economy, and protect the nation’s taxpayers. They also shared their ideas on what the role and responsibility of the federal government is in the revitalization effort.

“Right now the Federal Reserve is the market,” said panelist Jay Brinkman, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association. “What will be the effect when the Fed stops buying?” Brinkman explained that an exit strategy must be planned for the long-term; the federal government cannot continue to support the mortgage markets indefinitely.

“We are thrilled that so many high-caliber individuals were able to join us today at this important meeting to promote stability in the housing market and the U.S. economy,” said NAR President Charles McMillan. “We look forward to an ongoing dialogue and action toward this goal, during our midyear meetings this week and beyond.”

Source: NAR

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Finally,,,,Sales are UP :-)

LISTINGS Residential (Single Family & Condo)
May 11-17, 2009 596
Last Year 641
SOLDS
May 3-9, 2009 225
Last Year 207

Stats

LISTINGS Residential (Single Family & Condo)
May 4-10, 2009 639
Last Year 673
SOLDS
April 26-May 2, 2009 230
Last Year 288

Housing Market Faces New Rules for Appraisals

The housing industry is facing new national rules for real estate appraisals, which will ban mortgage brokers from ordering valuations and divert more business to third-party appraisal management companies.
Lenders seeking to sell their loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will have to adopt the home valuation code of conduct; but they have expressed some concern about the new standard, which takes effect on May 1.
Lenders can still focus on FHA financing, considering the agency has its own appraisal rules and does not plan to adopt the code of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Here are some of the factors that appraisers Joni L. Herndon of Real Property Analysts/Gulf Coast in Tampa, Fla., and John A. Hillas of Hulbert & Associates Inc. in Modesto, Calif., say they consider when determining value.

  • Incentives and concessions. Most of today’s buyers expect to pay the lowest possible price and still get some extras. Sellers and home builders are offering money toward closing costs, remodeling and decorating, upgrades, and association dues. The price set initially may not be the final price once concessions are factored out. Appraisers care about that final number.
  • Closing date. Forget what comparable neighborhood houses sold for a few months back. Appraisers want prices from the most recently closed transactions. “If a sale was more than 45 days ago, even 35, the price may be irrelevant,” Hillas says.
  • Condition and curb appeal. Appraisers typically find several properties with similar interior and exterior features to determine value. When markets are healthy, blemishes matter less, but when markets soften, problems—a dated kitchen or barren lawn—can reduce prices and deter buyers. “The difference in value is not just the repair costs but the time and hassle to make them. It’s better for sellers to do work in advance,” Hillas says.
  • Foreclosures. Appraisers technically shouldn’t consider neighborhood foreclosures when valuing a home, since foreclosures don’t meet the Appraisal Institute’s definition of a property reasonably exposed in a competitive market, says Herndon. “But when several neighborhood homes are abandoned, it’s hard not to caution sellers that this is a troubling trend and may affect home values,” she says.
  • Changing demographics. If a house is in an up-and-coming area, the value can be expected to rise. A location that’s perceived as safe also may help attract the increasing number of single female buyers.
  • Economic clouds. If there’s an oversupply of comparable homes for sale, or if the local job market is suffering, buyers may be hesitant to invest. Hillas advises setting prices aggressively from the get-go.
  • Chemistry. It’s hard to account for those times when buyers fall in love with a house, despite a high price, poor condition, or tough economy. “Emotional attachment is a factor that can’t be predicted,” says Herndon. Hillas agrees, “It’s what makes it harder to appraise homes versus commercial buildings, where buyers care more about the bottom line.”

Stats

LISTINGS Residential (Single Family & Condo)
April 27-May 3, 2009 505
Last Year 587
SOLDS
April 19-25, 2009 166
Last Year 243

Staitistics

LISTINGS Residential (Single Family & Condo)
April 20-26, 2009 597
Last Year 713
SOLDS
April 12-18, 2009 185
Last Year 242