According to a recent newsletter from the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R), it is becoming increasingly apparent that the world of real estate is changing considerably; and not always for the better.
Most recently, Congress has voted to extend the payroll tax for low – to – middle income citizens. While a relief to many, the monies lost to said extension will be offset by an increased mortgage tax on future homebuyers.
So what does this mean for the average person?
Effectively, Congress has placed a mortgage tax on future homebuyers for the next 10 years in the form of higher Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fees, and/or increased private mortgage insurance (PMI) rates.
Higher guarantee fees and insurance premiums will directly harm the ability of low- income homebuyers, first-time homebuyers, and minority homebuyers to acquire a mortgage. In truth, what the bill does is force the payroll tax beneficiaries to pay the cost of their own tax benefit through higher mortgage payments, thereby transferring the cost of the extension to the exact people it is designed to help.
This bill manipulates the intended purpose of the guarantee-fees and insurance premiums, and needlessly increases the cost of buying a home at a time when the real estate market and overall economy are still trying to recover. Guarantee-fees and insurance premiums are set to cover the risks lenders are taking, not to pay for government debt.
As Congress faces future debt decisions, this bill sets a dangerous precedent for taxing future homebuyers whenever it becomes politically convenient to do so.
In other real estate-related news, the FHA (Federal Housing Authority) has voted to extend the “anti-flipping rule” waiver. The extension remains effective until December 31, 2012. The waiver was put in place so that developers or investors who purchased foreclosure properties at below-market value were exempt from the 90-day waiting period before reselling them. The waiver is intended to accelerate the resale of foreclosed properties to reduce urban blight.
It also appears that new green initiatives are not being overlooked by the real estate industry. SB 837, a C.A.R.-sponsored bill, requires sellers to disclose whether a property has water-conserving plumbing features is in the works. By January 1, 2014, a single-family residence built before January 1, 1994, must be equipped with water conserving plumbing fixtures. If the house is altered after January 1, 2014, the house must have these fixtures to meet permit approval.
Heather Coombs-Perez and Heart Realtors are part of Culver City’s award-winning Cavanaugh Realtors team. Committed to Culver City schools and community through the Gifts From the Heart Program, you can reach Heather at 310-259-7419 or [email protected]. You can also visit the website at www.heartrealtors.com for more information.