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Tax Return Depressing? Owning a Home Could Help

24 Apr 2017 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

Many Americans got some depressing news last week; either their tax return was not as large as they had hoped or, in some cases, they were told they owed additional money to either the Federal or State government or both. One way to save on taxes is to own your own home.

According to the Tax Policy Center’s Briefing Book -“A citizen’s guide to the fascinating (though often complex) elements of the federal Tax System” – there are several tax advantages to homeownership.

Here are four items, and a quote on each, from the Briefing Book:

1. Mortgage Interest Deduction

“Homeowners who itemize deductions may reduce their taxable income by deducting any interest paid on a home mortgage. The deduction is limited to interest paid on up to $1 million of debt incurred to purchase or substantially rehabilitate a home. Homeowners also may deduct interest paid on up to $100,000 of home equity debt, regardless of how they use the borrowed funds. Taxpayers who do not own their home have no comparable ability to deduct interest paid on debt incurred to purchase goods and services.”

2. Property Tax Deduction

“Homeowners who itemize deductions may also reduce their taxable income by deducting property taxes they pay on their homes.”

3. Imputed Rent

“Buying a home is an investment, part of the returns from which is the opportunity to live in the home rent-free. Unlike returns from other investments, the return on homeownership—what economists call “imputed rent”—is excluded from taxable income. In contrast, landlords must count as income the rent they receive, and renters may not deduct the rent they pay. A homeowner is effectively both landlord and renter, but the tax code treats homeowners the same as renters while ignoring their simultaneous role as their own landlords.”

4. Profits from Home Sales

“Taxpayers who sell assets must generally pay capital gains tax on any profits made on the sale. But homeowners may exclude from taxable income up to $250,000 ($500,000 for joint filers) of capital gains on the sale of their home if they satisfy certain criteria: they must have maintained the home as their principal residence in two out of the preceding five years, and they generally may not have claimed the capital gains exclusion for the sale of another home during the previous two years.”

Bottom Line

We are not suggesting that you purchase a house just to save on your taxes. However, if you have been on the fence as to whether 2017 is the year you should become a homeowner, this information might help with that decision.

Disclaimer: Always check with your accountant to find out what tax advantages apply to you in your area. 

Source: KCM.com

Millennials Flock to Low Down Payment Programs

20 Apr 2017 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

A recent report released by Down Payment Resource shows that 65% of first-time homebuyers purchased their homes with a down payment of 6% or less in the month of January.

The trend continued through all buyers with a mortgage, as 62% made a down payment of less than 20%, which is consistent with findings from December.

An article by DS News points to the new wave of millennial homebuyers:

“It seems that the long-awaited influx of millennial home buyers is beginning. Ellie Mae reported that mortgages to millennial borrowers for new home purchases continued their ascent in January, accounting for 84 percent of closed loans.”

Among millennials who purchased homes in January, FHA loans remained popular, making up 35% of all loans closed. Ellie Mae’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy Joe Tyrrell gave some insight into why:

“It is not surprising to see Millennial borrowers leverage FHA loans because they typically offer lower down payments and lower average FICO score requirements than conventional loans. Across the board, we’re continuing to see strong interest in homeownership from this younger generation.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many millennials who is debating a home purchase this year, contact a local professional who can help you understand your options and set you on the path to preapproval.

Source: KCM.com

The Importance of Using a Professional to Sell Your Home

17 Apr 2017 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price for it with the least amount of hassles along the way. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is actually getting their homes sold.

In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2016 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the percentage of buyers who used the internet in their home search increased to 94%.

However, the report also revealed that 96% of buyers who used the internet when searching for homes purchased their homes through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their homes directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.

Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the home they will buy (50%), to negotiate the terms of the sale (47%) & price (36%), or to help understand the process (61%).

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers that reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots.” This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who have used agents to buy their homes has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.

Source: KCM.com

Consumer Confidence in Economy & Housing is Soaring

14 Apr 2017 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

The success of the housing market is strongly tied to the consumer’s confidence in the overall economy. For that reason, we believe 2017 will be a great year for real estate. Here is just a touch of the news coverage on the subject.

HousingWire:

“Consumers’ faith in the housing market is stronger than it’s ever been before, according to a newly released survey from Fannie Mae.”

Bloomberg:

“Americans’ confidence continued to mount last week as the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index reached the highest point in a decade on more-upbeat assessments about the economy and buying climate.”

Yahoo Finance:

“Confidence continues to rise among America’s consumers…the latest consumer sentiment numbers from the University of Michigan showed that in March confidence rose again.”

MarketWatch:

“U.S. consumers are the most confident in the U.S. economy in 15 years, buoyed by the strongest job market since before the Great Recession. The survey of consumer confidence rose…according to the Conference Board, the private company that publishes the index. That’s the highest level since July 2001.”

Ivy Zelman, in her recent Z Report, probably best capsulized the reports:

“The results were incredibly strong and…offer one of the most positive consumer takes on housing since the recovery started.”

Source: KCM.com

What Are the Experts Saying about Mortgage Rates?

11 Apr 2017 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

Mortgage interest rates have risen over the last few months and projections are that they will continue their upswing throughout 2017. What impact will this have on the housing market? Here is what the experts are saying:

Laurie Goodman, Co-director of the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center:

“In 1984, 1994, 2000, and 2013, every time we have rate increases, we have increases in nominal home prices. We expect this to be more pronounced, as there is a big demand-and-supply gap at the present time.”

Scott Anderson, Chief Economist for Bank of the West:

“The tightening labor market, rising wage growth, high levels of consumer confidence and a millennial generation with a pent-up demand for housing should allow the housing market to weather the storm of gradually rising interest rates.”

Ivy Zelman in her latest “Z” Report:

“Although we strongly believe that the housing supply-demand imbalance for single-family homes will continue to drive above-average home price appreciation, just as falling mortgage rates aided pricing power on the margin in recent months, we expect the opposite effect to become evident in the coming months. As such, we project year-end home price inflation of 4.8% for 2017 and 4.1% for 2018.”

Bob Walters, President & COO of retail mortgage lender Quicken Loans:

“A modest increase in mortgage rates won’t have much of an effect on home purchases. A buyer may need to slightly re-evaluate which homes they can afford, but it’s not likely to make an impact on qualifying, in most cases.”

First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming:

“Our survey data shows that mortgage rates would have to be significantly higher to have any meaningful impact. The house buying power that borrowers have, even with rates below five percent, still remains historically strong.”

Source: KCM.com

Which Homes Have Appreciated the Most?

06 Apr 2017 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

Home values have risen dramatically over the last twelve months. The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors puts the annual increase in the median existing-home price at 7.1%. CoreLogic, in their most recent Home Price Insights Report, reveals that national home prices have increased by 6.9% year-over-year.

The CoreLogic report broke down appreciation even further into four different price categories:

  1. Lower Priced Homes: priced at 75% or less of the median
  2. Low-to-Middle Priced Homes: priced between 75-100% of the median
  3. Middle-to-Moderate Priced Homes: priced between 100-125% of the median
  4. High Price Homes: priced greater than 125% of the median

Here is how each category did in 2016:

Bottom Line

The lower priced homes (which are more in demand) appreciated at greater rates than the homes at the upper ends of the spectrum.

Source: KCM.com

The Foreclosure Crisis: 10 Years Later

03 Apr 2017 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

CoreLogic recently released a report entitled, United States Residential Foreclosure Crisis: 10 Years Later, in which they examined the years leading up to the crisis all the way through to present day.

With a peak in 2010 when nearly 1.2 million homes were foreclosed on, over 7.7 million families lost their homes throughout the entire foreclosure crisis.

Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, had this to say,

“The country experienced a wild ride in the mortgage market between 2008 and 2012, with the foreclosure peak occurring in 2010. As we look back over 10 years of the foreclosure crisis, we cannot ignore the connection between jobs and homeownership. A healthy economy is driven by jobs coupled with consumer confidence that usually leads to homeownership.”

Since the peak, foreclosures have been steadily on the decline by nearly 100,000 per year all the way through the end of 2016, as seen in the chart below.

If this trend continues, the country will be back to 2005 levels by the end of 2017.

Bottom Line

As the economy continues to improve, and employment numbers increase, the number of completed foreclosures should continue to decrease.

Source: KCM.com

Mortgage Interest Rates Went Up Again… Should I Wait to Buy?

01 Apr 2017 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

Mortgage interest rates, as reported by Freddie Mac, have increased over the last several weeks. Freddie Mac, along with Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors, is calling for mortgage rates to continue to rise over the next four quarters.

This has caused some purchasers to lament the fact they may no longer be able to get a rate below 4%. However, we must realize that current rates are still at historic lows.

Here is a chart showing the average mortgage interest rate over the last several decades.

Bottom Line

Though you may have missed getting the lowest mortgage rate ever offered, you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago, a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago, and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.

Source: KCM.com