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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mortgage Interest Deduction

Wonder how much WA homeowners get in tax deductions by reporting their mortgage interest on their tax return? Or what is the percentage of homeowners in WA that actually use the mortgage interest deduction? The answers and more are in the report "The Geographic Distribution of the Mortgage Interest Deduction,"commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

MID Map
Percentage of each state’s tax filers who claim the mortgage interest deduction, 2010

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Home prices rose in 41 states in the 1st quarter of 2013


  • FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Agency) price data shows that home prices across the United States rose 6.7 percent from the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013. In 41 states and the District of Columbia prices were higher than the fourth quarter of 2012, and from one year ago the District and all states except Connecticut and West Virginia showed higher prices. In Connecticut and West Virginia, prices were weaker by less than one percent.
  • Price gains were largest in the West. Nevada, Arizona, California, and Idaho each saw gains exceeding 15 percent from one year ago. The map above shows the breakout of annual gains for each state.
  • Nationally, prices rose 1.9 percent from the fourth quarter. Note that this is seasonally adjusted, but not annualized, meaning that if prices continue to gain at this pace, it would imply an 8 percent gain for home prices nationally in the course of a year.
  • FHFA uses a weighted repeat sales index that compares the prices of properties that involve a conforming conventional mortgage purchased or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Thus, the FHFA index is based on a broad geographical sample of home transactions, though it misses out on transactions involving cash, jumbo or FHA/VA loans. In spite of this limitation, its price trend is usually similar to that of other price measures.
Courtesy of Danielle Hale, Research Economist via REALTOR.org

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May/June 2013 Market Pulse

Home sales have been hovering at the 4.9 million sales-pace mark since fall of last year and aren’t likely to move up much unless more inventory comes onto the market. As long as markets continue to see inventory shortages, home prices will continue to rise, not a healthy development if household income gains don’t keep up. All trend lines are from March 2012 to March 2013.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How to Ensure Healthy Price Gains

Prices are increasing quickly, though that may not always be the most healthy development for the economy. Also, banks may soon loosen overly strict requirements, but a choke point remains in new-home construction.
The housing recovery is surpassing most expectations. Rising demand and many years of sluggish new-home construction have forced home prices to rise at a near double-digit pace in many parts of the country. The latest surveys from the National Association of REALTORS®, which looked at foot traffic at open houses and inquiries from potential sellers to real estate agents, continued to point toward too many buyers chasing too few sellers. Home prices should continue to rise this year and likely next year as well.
Fast-rising home values are clearly good for home owners, but price increases that are far in excess of income growth are not good for buyers and not a healthy development for the economy. However, it’s important to keep in mind that demand is moving ahead in spite of the stringent lending standards still in place. Fully one-third of buyers are using cash.
Consider what demand would look like if underwriting restrictions were dialed back to a more reasonable level. That’s finally a possibility for two reasons: Banks are sitting on piles of cash, and the quality of recently underwritten mortgages has been high. These conditions could persuade banks to start easing overly strict requirements. The additional demand in a more “normal” lending environment potentially would mean even faster price growth. The only way to tame excessive price jumps is for more inventory to reach the market. Investors could help here by selling properties ahead of their intended schedule to take advantage of rising prices.
The choke point today is from the slow recovery in new-home construction. Housing starts in March finally crossed the 1 million mark for the first time in five years. But 1.5 million new housing units are needed annually to keep home-price gains at a healthy, long-term level of around 3 percent to 5 percent a year. That balance seems unlikely this year as we will continue to see demand outstrip supply, fueling exorbitant price increases in some places.
PER realtor.og MAY 2013 | BY LAWRENCE YUN

Monday, May 6, 2013

In the Know: Prepare Your Home for Inclement Weather


Be "In the Know" with these statistics about the yearly impact of natural disasters in the U.S., and guidelines for protecting your family and your property as best you can.