Here's a quick overview of home sales in January.
Nationwide, sales of existing homes were down almost 30% from December (from 404,000 to 284,000 units), but up slightly from January 2010 (from 275,000 to 284,000 units, or about 3.3%). Click here for the NAR spreadsheet (Excel format).
Several lawmakers have proposed bills in the General Assembly to slow Virginia's foreclosure process -- one of the fastest in the country -- and give consumers more chances to challenge lenders.
Bills were introduced by State Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) and Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William), as well as Del. Robin Abbott of Newport News and Chap Petersen of Fairfax. One proposal bill would require a court to approve a foreclosure, giving property owners a chance to make their case. Another would prohibit banks from using fabricated documents — think “robo signing” — in a foreclosure. Others would require that proper records of the lien and any transfers be filed in the property’s city or county.
A piece of legislation is being considered that you should be aware of, as a Realtor® and as an advocate for Virginia property owners.
It's a bill that would eliminate the recordation tax from property refinances, thereby allowing Virginia property owners to refinance at a lower cost, saving them in these hard economic times hundreds of much-need dollars.
According to a report by property search site HotPads.com, rent prices nationwide rose 11.6 percent in 2010, from an average of $1,181 in January to $1,319 in December.
"With the U.S. unemployment rate over 9 percent throughout 2010 (up from 4 percent in 2006), low-risk housing options became more desirable, a trend that may continue in the coming months," the report said.
Do you tend to select clients who have unreasonable expectations in today's market? Is negotiating with clients and other agents a source of significant stress in your work? Do you find it difficult to negotiate with and for your clients in a way that everyone feels like they've won? If so, check out Fundamentals of Negotiating with nationally-known real estate trainer Roger Turcotte.
Yesterday we wrote about some of the recommendations that came from the Housing Policy Framework Initiative (e.g., streamline regulations, increase economic literacy). Today there's a bit more.
First, the AP picked up that same story -- click here to read it at the News Leader's site -- with a slightly different spin. Worth reading to get the full picture.
Back in April, Governor McDonnell issued Executive Order 10 — the first coordinated effort to address Virginia's housing needs.
So he formed the Housing Policy Work Group (which included Richmond Association of Realtors® CEO Laura Lafayette) and launched the Housing Policy Framework Initiative. Their goal: Clarify the issues involved with housing in the Commonwealth, determine how things can be made better, and make recommendations to the governor.
On November 18, the task force released its interim report at the Governor’s Housing Conference. It identified four priorities for the Commonwealth when it comes to housing:
The Realtor profession stands ready to respond swiftly and decisively to oppose any specific proposal in Congress to reduce or eliminate the mortgage interest deduction. After all, there's a lot at risk. However, at this point in time, there is no specific proposal in Congress to curb the popular tax break.
This is how rumors are started. Yesterday several major media outlets (WaPo, NYT) ran stories about a sneak peek of a draft report from the Deficit Reduction Commission (DRC), a bipartisan commission charged with recommending steps to reduce the federal debt. The draft report contains a recommendation that the popular Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) tax break be reduced or repealed in order to bring the government's expenses in line with its revenues.
Certain localities within the boundaries of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) have levied a special tax on certain property owners to finance needed and costly transportation improvements in Northern Virginia, like Metro to Dulles. Here's the rub: the special tax applies only to commercial property owners, and not residential property owners.