In the last few weeks, there have been plenty of discussions in terms of whether the new US Government financial stability plans are beneficial or yet another example of throwing away good money after bad (as my grandmother would say). Everyone has an opinion on the various stimulus packages that have been brought forward from both the current and previous administrations.
I have trouble deciding who should be bailed out, and who shouldn’t. No one wants to reward irresponsible behavior with a ton of money, but conversely, there are people who are underwater on their homes through no fault of their own. Many people make snap judgments on people who took out subprime mortgages, but frankly, these people need to get off their high horses. If someone offered you the chance to have something that you thought you could (just) afford, in a housing market that seemed to be on the up, many people would take the chance. Two or three years ago, your average Joe could not have predicted that there would be mass unemployment and an unprecedented drop in home prices.
Bailing out the big banks, mortgage companies, and other corporations leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Who could forget seeing the CEOs of the big three squirm in their seat when asked whether they would be selling their private jets and returning home via a commercial airline? However, as time goes on, jobs are being lost, houses are being foreclosed, and stock prices are shooting down, something needs to be done.
President Obama’s current packages seem to be taking a different technique from the last administration. While the Republicans’ strategy was more to encourage consumer spending and the growth of businesses, the Obama administration seems more aimed at directly helping consumers, particularly homebuyers.
In the last month, three new strategies have been launched by the administration: The $8,000 tax credit for first time buyers, and the Making Home Affordable Refinance and Modification options. These are available to the following buyers, and are summarized as follows (more in depth information can be found at http://www.recovery.gov) :
$8,000 First Time Buyer Credit. You may be eligible if:
-You are a first time buyer.
-if you have a single income of up to $75,000, or a combined income of up to $150,000 (this will mean you receive the full tax credit of $8,000)
-You bought your home on or after the 1st of January, 2009, up to the 1st December, 2009.
Home Affordable Refinance. You may be eligible if:
-The mortgage is on your primary residence
-The loan on your home is a conforming loan, controlled by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
-You are current on your mortgage payments (meaning you haven’t missed a payment by more than 30 days in 12 months)
-You are not ‘underwater’ on your mortgage –(meaning you cannot owe more than 105% of the cost of your home. (But 80% - 105% is OK))
For those not eligible for this plan, there is also the Home Affordable Modification. You may be eligible if:
- The home is your primary residence
-You owe less than $729,750 on your mortgage
-You are in some kind of trouble with your mortgage that is beyond your control at this point: e.g
1)Your mortgage rates were increased significantly
2)Your income has been significantly reduced since you got your current loan
3)You have suffered a hardship that has increased your expenses (e.g. medical bills)
-You began your mortgage before January 1, 2009
What is your view on these packages? Will they help? Will they benefit the economy as a whole, or are they just a temporary band aid over the real issues? What do you think? Will the cost of these measures be more or less than the cost of many, many foreclosures? Feel free to comment below.
The views expressed on the blog portion of this site represent only the opinions of the author and may not necessarily be the opinions of Realestock.com
It's another monumental week in the real estate world. Once again, Taking 'stock supplies you with some interesting tidbits to keep you up to date on various world developments (no pun intended). If you read anything in the news that you think should be in next week’s blog, feel free to comment on the posting. Alternatively, if you want to comment on any of the stories listed here, let us know what you think!
A lot of people want to be near to their favourite golf course...but how near is too near? A resident whose house is next to the 6th hole (a par 3) at the Winged Foot Golf Club is sick of golf balls hitting his property, breaking his windows, scaring his children, and making his dog sick. The hole is currently closed due to a restraining order brought against the club. You know it has to be serious when Donald Trump is offering to mediate.
This week's Realestock blog entry looks at how many luxury buyers are not concerned about their homes being environmentally sound. However, some developments are managing to combine good living with good style.
On a similar theme, Forbes.com has written this interesting article about how many popular luxury properties are smaller than traditional 'luxury' housing. This is partially due to the lack of space, growth of environmentalism, worries about reselling the property in this less than buoyant market, and, more importantly, because it isn't 1987, and big doesn't necessarily mean classy. After all, is it better to have Foie Gras, or a Big Mac?
Here in North America, we are all on tenterhooks, fearful to hear what will happen to the property market next. However, in China, people are not feeling the pinch as we are. According to Newsweek, the cost of an average home has increased fourfold in the past eight years, and China's 80-million strong middle class are clambering to get on to the property ladder. Whether the market will eventually deteriorate like ours is still uncertain, but for the moment, things are looking sunny for the Chinese market.
We are all now acutely aware how politics can affect house prices. However, in Florida, the real estate market could affect the choice of candidate. Voters are looking at which candidate will save them from getting into negative equity. This choice could be crucial as to who becomes the next president: because as Al Gore knows, Florida can change an election.
According to PropertyWire.com, many international real estate groups are moving into the restructuring and recovery business - due to the large amount of real estate developments and projects that are falling through due to a lack of funding, in addition to the large amount of foreclosures and other loan difficulties that are occurring.