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Displaying blog entries 121-125 of 125

Short Sale Bill Would Make Process Even Shorter

by The Jamey Kramer Group

A recently proposed bill entitled the “Fast Help For Homeowners Act” is designed to make the humbling, painstaking and nerve-wracking process involved in attaining the approval for a short sale a bit less of an ordeal.

The framework that makes up this proposal, which was introduced by U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney, contains provisions that are intended to speed up short sale transaction approval.

One method by which it proposes to accomplish this task is by way of a clause written into the bill explicitly stating that 45 days is the maximum amount of time allotted for subordinate lien holders to respond to both the consumer and primary lender with their answer to a short sale request.

If the bill passes, it would essentially mean that if the primary, secondary or subordinate, and other possible lien holders fail to make and subsequently communicate their decision on a short sale within the established time period guideline of 45 days, the transaction is automatically, so to speak, given the stamp of approval on the 46th day.

The Fast Help for Homeowners Act (sometimes referred to as simply the short sale bill or FHHA) has garnered enthusiastic support from a large number of state and national real estate trade organizations and associations, including the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The proposed short sale bill carries with it the same sense of urgency that tends to accompany most of the transactions it seeks to improve. Real estate agents and the field's trade publications have continued to report on the frustrating, even bewildering, length of time it takes some lien holders to respond to a short sale request, if they respond at all.

In addition to McNerney, the short sale bill has a number of other Congressional co-sponsors.

Detroit Metro Real Estate: FREE Help to Avoid Foreclosure

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Home Values Rise

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Trying to determine the health and direction of the housing market is no easy task, considering the veritable mountain of data out there all sorts of things. Fortunately, some reliable data-crunching is available on the Internet. One of the good ones can be found on Zillow.com, specifically the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI).

At the national level, Zillow's Home Value Index is determined using data derived from more than 80 million homes, with locations in about 3,000 of the nation's counties, including more than 400 core statistical areas. The index is primarily focused on a specific geographic location and articulated using dollars.

The Zillow Home Value Index was the benchmark used to determine that the housing market in United States had hit its bottom in terms of home values in July, 2012. This information, which on the surface might look like bad news, is actually good news because it was determined after the Zillow Home Value Index began – finally – to rise. This is the first time since 2007 that the index has shown an upwardly mobile trend!

Zillow released information and statistical data on this elevation in the data via its Real Estate Market Reports, which described a 0.2 percent rise in the value of homes in the United States that had occurred over four consecutive months. Zillow's Real Estate Market Reports aggregates data collected from a variety of public resources and through several different providers of relevant data. It has employed a number of these providers for 276 core-based statistical areas dating back to 1996. Out of the 167 metropolitan areas that the Real Estate Market Reports covers, 53 of them reported annual home value increases in the second quarter of the year.

The news was especially good for the Detroit metro area, which registered a 2.1 percent increase on the Zillow Home Value Index.

Some Homeowners Face New Tax Hit on Forgiven Mortgage Debt

by The Jamey Kramer Group

There is an old cliché that states, no situation is so bad that it can't get worse. Chances are pretty good that if you are a homeowner who may have to lean (or already are leaning) on a short-sale solution, or if you are facing foreclosure, your finances are not in tip-top shape. Now comes the news that unless Congress swoops in to save the day, you will incur a federal income tax charge on any part of your loan that was previously forgiven.

To figure out how this whole situation came about, you need to travel back in time to the year 2007. It was then that the United States Congress passed the Mortgage Debt Relief Act. What this meant for the countless number of homeowners who needed to transact a short sale, reconfigure their mortgage, or deal with a foreclosure was that they were able to have a portion of the principal balance forgiven without having to pay income tax on it.

Now, after five years of providing coverage to those folks, the Mortgage Debt Relief Act has one metaphorical foot in the metaphorical grave, with the other foot poised to fall at the end of the year, when the act will expire.

In order to give you an example of this works, let's create a hypothetical scenario. Let's say that the act is allowed to expire at the end of this year. It is now 2013 and you are a homeowner who decides to transact a short sale on your home for $120,000, and your home has an appraised value of $150,000. Upon completion of this short-sale transaction, you will receive a bill from the federal government in the form of income tax owed on the phantom $30,000 worth of forgiven debt. This is because without the Mortgage Debt Relief Act, the federal government now considers that $30,000 income and it is therefore taxable. 

Hope is on the horizon, however, for those who want the act to remain in place. One of the loudest voices proclaiming its benefits and shouting, as it were, for it to be maintained is the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Their team of lobbyists is endeavoring to convince Congress to extend the Mortgage Debt Relief Act beyond the 2012 expiration date. Apparently their efforts, and no doubt the efforts of other like-minded people, are doing some good because a number of legislators in both the Senate and House of Representatives have already introduced bills that would extend the tax relief. It’s certainly something to keep an eye on for those involved in short-selling their properties.

Economy Stinks, but Housing Remains Sweet

by The Jamey Kramer Group

The housing market's fate is intrinsically dependent upon the overall fate of the economy of the United States as a whole. Makes logical sense, right? You could probably say the same thing about the retail market and the vehicle market and, really, about any market in which money is exchanged for goods and services. This doesn't necessarily mean, however, that these individual markets' fate will always mirror that of the overall U.S. market.

As we all know, America is in the midst of a multi-year economic slog. The reasons, justifications and rationalizations for the steep and sudden downturn are complex and confusing – so much so that even the country's professional economic brain wizards disagree on many of the finer points. When it comes to the real estate market, let’s just acknowledge that there was and likely still is an economic recession and look at the housing market's situation.

Some economic experts indicate that it was the inherent volatility of the housing market that played, if not the biggest, then certainly one of the biggest roles in creating the recession in the first place. Others say that the housing market's crash was collateral damage sustained by virtually every individual market that make up the nation's economy as a whole. The arguments will undoubtedly go on for years.

Whatever brought on the recession is essentially water under the bridge now, other than as a learning tool for what not to do. Regarding the future, economists are analyzing today's data and making educated, if cautious, predictions about the future of the nation's economy and its various markets. The reports of their findings are guardedly positive in some areas, including those coming from housing market analysts.

As the larger economy continues to struggle, the housing data is showing that the worst may be over. Data from July 17th underscore this view as home builders’ confidence showed the largest monthly increase in almost a decade.

The National Association of Home Builders indicated that its housing market index increased to 35 in July – the best since March of 2007. This also represented a rise of six points over June 2012. According to Cooper Howes of Barclays, “2012 is expected to be the first year since 2005 in which residential investment will provide a positive contribution to GDP growth.” 

Could it be that the U.S. housing market could be changing from a drag on the economy to a source of strength? Time will tell, and it’s unclear considering the overall struggles that continue in the economy, but it’s great to see housing trending positively.

Displaying blog entries 121-125 of 125