Monday, April 23, 2012

Are we turning the corner? Fannie Mae thinks so ...

A new Fannie Mae study suggests Americans are beginning to consider 2012 a good year to acquire a home.

The GSE released its March National Housing Survey of just over 1,000 Americans and found more citizens expect rents and home prices to increase in the coming months, making today a better time to purchase a residence.

About 73% of those interviewed said buying a home today is a good idea, up from 70% in February.

Thirty-seven percent of those interviewed believe prices will increase, which is up 5 percentage points since February and the highest point reached in more than a year.

About half of the respondents expect both home rentals and purchases will grow over the next 12 months.

Consumers also are more confident about their own finances, with 44% believing their financial situations will get better in the near future.

"Conditions are coming together to encourage people to want to buy homes," said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae. "Americans' rental price expectations for the next year continue to rise, reaching their record high level for our survey this month. With an increasing share of consumers expecting higher mortgage rates and home prices over the next 12 months, some may feel that renting is becoming more costly and that homeownership is a more compelling housing choice."

Still, 58% of those surveyed believe the economy is still on the wrong track, with only 35% holding a more optimistic view of the nation's economic situation. Twelve percent believe their financial situation will worsen, and 21% believe their income is now significantly higher than it was 12 months ago.

Keep the faith!

How much of your property taxes do you write-off?

The Franchise Tax Board will soon be getting a new computer system and starting with the 2012 tax year, property owners will be required to break down payments into deductible and non-deductible portions when they file.

This change could result in a significant reduction in deductions. Up until this point, property owners claimed the total amount of their property tax bill or as provided on the 1098 form by their mortgage company.

With the tax filing season majorly over, this is a perfect opportunity to interface with your CPA to discuss how this will affect your future filings; and the need for any changes to amounts withheld for the year.

Monday, April 9, 2012

FHA to deny mortgage backing for credit disputes above $1,000

As of April 1, potential borrowers with ongoing credit disputes totaling more than $1,000 are no longer eligible for mortgages insured by the FHA.

Under the rule, borrowers must either pay off the outstanding balance on these collections accounts or document a payment arrangement that the lender must then submit to the FHA before closing. The payment arrangement will be counted into the debt-to-income ratio for the new home loan.

The rule excludes disputed accounts from more than two years ago, along with those related to theft. But the lender must document an identity theft or police report on the fraudulent charges.

An FHA spokesman said the rule was designed as another protection for the FHA emergency fund. The fund levels slipped to 0.2 percent of at-risk insurance last year, well below the 2 percent mandated by Congress. The FHA raised insurance premiums on April 1 as well to boost the fund by $1 billion.

See your Mortgage Professional to answer all your questions about the FHA program and all other options available to you.