According to the Census Bureau, homeownership in the US has dropped to just under 66% in the second quarter of 2011 — the lowest level since 1998.
That’s down 1% since the same quarter last year, and half a percent lower than Q1.
It’s highest level? About 69.2% in 2004, according to BankRate.com, which also notes:
It's now possible for more of your first-time homebuyers to qualify for a VHDA loan, thanks to maximum income limits that have increased in all areas of Virginia-with the most significant occurring in the larger Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs).
In addition to an affordable fixed rate, Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) mortgages can also provide help with the down payment.
The new limits are effective with new loan reservations beginning August 3, 2011.
You can take a look at VHDA's new income limits for each of Virginia's geographic areas at vhda.com/LoanLimits.
The Senate Banking Committee is looking to set a new national standard for mortgage services after what Housing Wire calls — in a rather amusing understatement — “weaknesses in the process that arose last year.”
Those “weaknessses” included robo-signing of legal documents, dual-track foreclosures, and “unnecessarily delayed modifications.”
The idea (at least in general) has the backing of major lenders; they like the idea of a single, national standard. But smaller banks and credit unions — which pointed out that they weren’t part of the problem — are asking to be exempt from the guidelines.
B. Dan Berger, executive VP of the National Association of Credit Unions, said in a letter to Senate committee leaders,
Richmond, VA, July 21, 2011- Despite slower home sales during second quarter 2011, compared to second quarter of 2010, the housing market in Virginia may be ready to surge forward in the third and fourth quarters. Other good news is that we can see a clear increase in sales from first quarter 2011 to second quarter 2001.
Faster short sales would reduce foreclosures
No one likes foreclosures. That's why Virginia REALTORS® support federal legislation to speed up the short-sale process.
It's impossible to talk about real estate in Virginia—or any other U.S. state, for that matter—without bringing up the subject of foreclosures. While experts disagree on exactly how much damage foreclosures cause to neighborhoods and home sales, there's no denying that the effect is generally negative. Foreclosures, truth be told, hurt everyone and benefit almost no one.
So what's the status of foreclosures in Virginia today?
Homeowners who don't itemize their federal income tax deductions still benefit from the tax advantage of mortgage interest.
The federal mortgage interest deduction, known as "the MID," is one of the greatest means to encourage homeownership and promote healthy housing markets not only in Virginia, but throughout the nation. That's why all homeowners, including those who don't take the deduction, should be concerned about recent proposals in Washington, D.C., to cut back this important benefit.
Homeowners get more property tax protections
Property tax appeals will be fairer and easier to win, thanks to a new state law supported by Virginia REALTORS®.
Government authorities should operate in a fair, open and equitable manner. Unfortunately, that hasn't always been the case with respect to residential property taxes in Virginia.
That's why the Virginia Association of REALTORS® recently pushed for—and won—a new state law that gives homeowners a much better shot at challenging a local authority's wrongful or inflated assessment of a home's value for property tax purposes. Here's a summary of what this new law requires:
Negotiations between NAR and the Federal Trade Commission over the MARS Rule have not yet produced the desired exemptions for Real Estate Professionals.
The MARS Rule remains in effect. (See earlier article HERE) (excerpt below)
If you work with clients who are doing short sales, thinking about short sales, or who you believe should be thinking about short sales, the Federal Trade Commission might be interested in you. You might not realize you're engaging in what's considered mortgage-relief counseling -- when you cross the line from helping someone do a short sale to giving them advice about it.
April 29, 2011 – Virginia residential home sales in the first quarter of 2011 have followed the general trend of the last several years with year-to-date sales 0.3% above last year. January and February home sales in 2011 exceed the same month the prior year (by 2.5 % and 3.5%) according to the Virginia Association of REALTORS®’ Home Sales Report.
For the complete Virginia Quarterly Home Sales Report for First Quarter 2011, please CLICK HERE.