Friday, September 25, 2009


(New York Times Online, Sept 15, 2009)
When Congress passed an $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers last winter, it was intended as a dose of shock therapy during a crisis. Now the question is becoming whether the housing market can function without it. As many as 40 percent of all home buyers this year will qualify for the credit.

In the view of the real estate industry and some economists, all that money is well spent. They contend the credit is doing what it was meant to do, encouraging a recovery in the housing market that is gathering steam.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Shari B. Olefson was a guest on CNBC to discuss the recent housing start numbers. In August, housing starts and building permits rose to their highest level in nine months. Ms. Olefson, a real estate attorney with Fowler White, was interviewed with Susan Wachter, Wharton Business School real estate professor, to discuss where we are in the housing cycle. Click here to view the CNBC segment.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fight Inflation: Buy a Home

Some economic analysts say that the possibility that the economy will go into overdrive and inflation will skyrocket is a much more frightening possibility than the current recession.One inflation hedge nearly all of them point to is real estate. Owning it outright is the best scenario, but if that’s not possible, a low-rate, 30-year fixed mortgage is the next best thing. As inflation drives up salaries, mortgage payments will stay the same, analysts point out.
Source: USA Today, John Waggoner (04/24/2009)

Friday, April 3, 2009

When Will Housing Markets Recover?

House prices will stabilize by the end of this year.
States Moody’s Chief Economist Mark Zandi in a special report.

Sales increase in Home and Condo Market

March 23, 2009 – Florida’s existing home sales rose in February, making it the sixth consecutive month that sales activity showed increases in the year-to-year comparison, according to the latest housing data released by the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR). February’s statewide sales also increased over January’s figures in both the existing home and existing condo markets.

Monday, February 23, 2009



Important note for homebuyers, especially those shopping late in the year: Initial reports on the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers reported a Dec. 31 deadline to buy property. However, that's incorrect. The home closing must occur before Dec. 1, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009


Dear Fellow REALTOR®, Here's our take on the Stimulis Bill and Treasury announcements made this week. We look at the Stimulis package AND the Treasury's package holistically, in compliment with each other - mostly because that's how the Obama team is looking at it. Your representatives, the NAR Board of Directors, asked us in November to do 4 things (with an unspoken but clearly understood mandate to PRESERVE what we already have). Here they are: 1) get loan limits raised for high cost areas, 2) make the $7,500 tax credit NOT a loan, 3) try to find ways to push interest rates down (which are higher than they should be due to systemic risk right now) by 200 basis points, and 4) help provide solutions to the foreclosure/short sale problem.So here's what we have achieved: 1) the loan limits will be raised to $727,000 in high cost areas, 2) the tax credit will be raised to $8,000 with NO payback [a true credit], 3) interest rates have come down 125-150 basis points, and 4) the bill has over $50 billion in it for foreclosure mitigation, with Geitners Treasury plan signaling that the second half of TARP and TALF will be used to mitigate foreclosures through a government guarantee, drive down interest rates by buying another $200-300 billion of mortgage paper from the GSES's thereby freeing them up to do the same with new mortgages, and Fannie has just agreed to lift the cap of 4 investment properties eligible for loans and raise it to 10. In addition, we preserved what we have - which some tend to forget is always on the table when these negotiations start up again - mortgage interest deductability, real estate tax deductability, and the $250,000/$500,000 cap gains exclusion (an overall package worth more than $100 billion and for some a very attractive funding source for their pet projects). We did make a run at the $15,000 credit -- and we would have loved to have gotten that or the Homebuilders $22,000 credit idea as well as their 5 year loss carryback deal, but they were considered too rich for this program. What it did do though is totally take the debate off of whether a tax credit should be reinstated at all (it expired last year) and whether it was a true credit or a repayable loan, and kept the conversation on how much it should be. It also kept the debate off of 'what we are willing to give up to get a $15,000 tax credit' and kept the debate again, on how much it should be. It's pretty hard to complain when they give you what you ask for and you lose something you never had.
While we study the Treasury specifics on their major role in providing the rest of the housing solution -- there is much more to come and we are working diligently with the Administration to help 'unclog the pipeline' and get capital flowing into housing again.Sincerely,Charles McMillan, CIPS, GRI2009 NAR President