What the Stimulus does for the Housing Market
April, 2009 - Issue #54
There are several provisions in the overall $789 billion stimulus package that will be beneficial for many people - and will help stimulate demand for housing.

Chief among these is an $8,000 home buyer tax credit for new home buyers. While a more enhanced tax credit like the Senate version would have been preferred, the conferees did retain some key elements from the Senate and made other modifications that are beneficial to home buyers.

For qualified home purchases in 2009, the legislation stipulates that the $8,000 tax credit does not have to be repaid, unlike the tax credit passed last summer; keeps the tax credit refundable, or claimable regardless of tax liability; extends the sunset date from July 1, 2009 until December 1, 2009 so that consumers can utilize it during the critical summer and fall buying months; allows tax credit home buyers to participate in the mortgage revenue bond program; and permits state housing finance agencies to help buyers at closing by advancing the credit amount as a loan using tax-exempt bond proceeds.

First-time buyers can claim a credit worth $8,000 - or 10 percent of the home's value, whichever is less - on their 2008 or 2009 taxes. To qualify for the credit, the purchase must be made between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 2009. Buyers must not have owned a home for the past three years to qualify as a "first time" buyer. They must also live in the house for at least three years, or they will be obligated to pay back the credit. Additionally, there are income restrictions. To qualify, buyers must make less than $75,000 for singles or $150,000 for couples. Higher-income buyers may receive a partial credit.

The $8,000 credit will bring an additional 300,000 new homebuyers into the market, according to estimates by Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

Keep in mind that this stimulus legislation is just a first step and it is far from perfect. In the days, weeks and months ahead, the primary focus will be on efforts to end the credit crunch, mitigate foreclosures and further reduce mortgage interest rates to stimulate home buying.
Joshua "Dr." Suess is owner of The Focused On Your Family Team with Re/Max of Valencia; 702-4640

SCV Real Estate Update
Current average sale price: $382,480
The average sales price is down $107,045 or approximately 22 percent from this time last year.
Current average days on market: 61
Homes that have sold this year have been on the market 29 days less than last year, or are selling 32 percent faster this year.
Bottom Line: Sales are up, homes are selling faster and prices are still declining.

Seasonal Real Estate Trends
by Jennifer Thompson

This spring, home owners and buyers can expect some new trends in real estate. Some of the highlighted trends that both sellers and buyers can benefit from immediately is the resetting of the conforming FHA loan limit cap to $729,750; this is up from $625,500, reinstating the 2008 loan limit. It is in effect until December of 2009. This increase helps buyers as they go to market by getting in on favorable interest rates, while boosting home sales for sellers.

As we enter into a new quarter for 2009, realtors are here to assist you with all your real estate needs. Our goal is to educate our clients on all the current real estate trends no matter what season of the year it may be, so that we can help you obtain all of your housing goals.
Realtor/Owner Jennifer Thompson of Regal Realty of California; 295-8715
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