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Aspiring First-time Home Buyers who have been sitting on the proverbial real estate fence may see their "ship" coming in this year in the form of a new Federal Housing initiatives.

In the latest move by the U.S. government to stop the national housing & economic bleed, first-time buyers will be able to take advantage of a temporary tax credit of up to $7500.00.

The stipulations look like this:

-Home must be purchased between April 9, 2008 and July 1, 2009

-Single taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 qualify for full credit

-Only primary residences qualify (no 2nd homes, rentals, etc)

It's no doubt that one of the challenges the encomy faces in getting jump-started is that of fewer financing options for today's buyer. The Media isn't helping either, but despite their mass over-dramatization of the issue, we have to expand rather than contract to beat this current situation. One of the best ways to do that is to get first-time buyers off the fence and into the equity-producing tax shelters we call home ownership.

Don't Forget New FHA Limits
One program that has made a HUGE comeback this year and, quite frankly, seems to work on 99% of the deals I've seen it used in, is the FHA loan. New loan limits for FHA will be the greater of $271,050 or 115% of an area's median home price.

Conforming loan limits for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will be the greater of $417,000 or 115% of the an area's median home price; up to $625,000. In Washington County this will be $417,000.

Get detailed info here: http://www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com/.

 

IS THE HOUSING CRISIS REALLY A "CRISIS"?

by Jeremy Larkin

So you ask, "how low do you think prices will go?"......"have we hit bottom?" You may even ask, "is the world coming to an end?" Ok, well I haven't been asked that, but I've been asked something similar during the woes of the current market.

Now CNBC Analyst Dennis Kneale raises what may be the most critical question of all: Is the current housing crisis really a "crisis?", or just a problem blown out of proportion? Take 2 minutes 28 seconds and see if his answer to the question matches yours by clicking the link below:

So the Summary looks something like this:

-1/3 are owned 'free & clear'

-1/2 of the remaning 80 million were bought before the year 2000

-The median home price is up 53% since then

-Overall, 95% of all mortgage holders still pay on time.

-That leaves us with maybe 4 million homes in trouble.

-Moreover, only 2% of the households in America are actually in foreclosure!

Hmmm......is this really a crisis, or the proper adjustment necessary to get home buyers back in the game?  You make the call!

 

The number of new listings hitting the Washington County Board of Realtors MLS has been below 900 for two months running.....and for the first time since July of 2006 (see yellow below). Note below that we "threw out" the month of December (see blue below) for the past two years. As many fewer people tend to list their homes at the onset of the Holidays, December represents an anomaly to normal market trends.

  New Listings Active Listings Sold Listings Months Inventory
Jun/2008 837 6,247 219 28.53
May/2008 895 6,367 269 23.67
Apr/2008 991 6,431 229 28.08
Mar/2008 935 6,418 236 27.19
Feb/2008 998 6,472 189 34.24
Jan/2008 1,164 6,248 159 39.30
Dec/2007 762 6,301 190 33.16
Nov/2007 976 6,379 238 26.80
Oct/2007 1,244 6,186 221 27.99
Sep/2007 901 5,899 221 26.69
Aug/2007 1,061 5,937 334 17.78
Jul/2007 1,070 5,840 302 19.34
Jun/2007 1,001 5,726 389 14.72
May/2007 1,113 5,611 397 14.13
Apr/2007 1,095 5,467 385 14.20
Mar/2007 1,187 5,413 407 13.30
Feb/2007 1,137 5,358 292 18.35
Jan/2007 1,313 4,943 324 15.26
Dec/2006 706 5,196 319 16.29
Nov/2006 903 5,345 295 18.12
Oct/2006 994 5,398 340 15.88
Sep/2006 1,227 5,343 312 17.12
Aug/2006 1,059 5,101 379 13.46
Jul/2006 771 4,918 378 13.01

I wouldn't be booking tickets to Hawaii  (one of my favorite places on earth by the way) in celebration of a market "turnaround" just yet, however. Many of my clients will tell you that for at least 6 months now I've said that one of the major factors in a housing turnaround won't just be an increase in sales. It will be the moment at which 1/3 of the unmotivated, unrealistic sellers determine to stop listing their properties in an effort to "test out" the market, the decreasing the currently cluttered inventories facing our market.

What this does show us, however, is that many of those very sellers may finally be "getting the picture" about market realities. This, coupled with increased affordability (due to falling prices) will help Southern Utah at least stabilize in the short term, while real housing appreciation may be several years away.

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Photo of Jeremy Larkin - The Larkin Group Real Estate
Jeremy Larkin - The Larkin Group
Keller Williams Realty
50 E 100 S, Suite 300
St. George UT 84770
435.767.9886
Fax: 435-359-5085

St. George Real Estate - Your premier destination for St. George,Utah Real Estate Listings, Home Values, MLS Search, REO/Foreclosure Info &  St. George Real Estate Statistics.  Serving St. George, Santa Clara, Ivins, Washington, Hurricane, LaVerkin, Toquerville & more! Specializing in REO/foreclosure properties, frustrated Sellers, First-Time home buyers, and Investors. Looking for the most LOCAL St. George, Utah real estate information available? Your search is over!