Fiscal Cliff Deal Impact on Real Estate Market

H.R. 8

The mortgage industry can breathe a sigh of relief with the final fiscal cliff deal bringing back a popular tax break on mortgage insurance premiums and debt forgiveness for borrowers who go through a short-sale or some other type of debt reduction.

A topic that is still up for discussion and likely to surface later in the year is whether the popular mortgage interest tax deduction will be part of a long-term deficit reduction plan.

Still, the deal passed by the Senate and House on Jan. 1 is one that leaves room for hope in the housing market.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8) apparently extends a law that expired at the end of 2011, which allowed for the deductibility of mortgage insurance premiums, according to a research report from Isaac Boltansky with Compass Point Research & Trading. The law now applies to fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

“The law dictates that eligible borrowers who itemize their federal tax returns and have an adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $100,000 per year can deduct 100% of their annual mortgage insurance premiums,” Compass Point said.

The following are more items in H.R. 8 that are of interest to housing market:

Business Tax Items

Permanently extends the 2001/2003 tax rates for adjusted gross income levels under $450,000 ($400,000 single); good for small business and home builders, 80% of whom are pass-thru entities who pay taxes on the individual side of the code

Permanently extends the Alternative Minimum patch; again, good for small business owners who are frequently at risk of paying AMT

Permanently sets the parameters of the estate tax; positive for family-owned construction firms; codifies the 2010 $5 million exemption amount (indexed to inflation) and a 40 percent estate tax rate

Extends present law section 179 small business expensing through the end of 2013; offers cash flow and administrative cost benefits for small firms

Extends the section 45L new energy-efficient home tax credit through the end of 2013; allows a $2,000 tax credit for the construction of for sale and for-lease energy-efficient homes in buildings with fewer than three floors above grade

Homeowner Tax Items

Extends through the end of 2013 mortgage debt tax relief; important rule that prevents tax liability from many short sales or mitigation workouts involving forgiven, deferred or canceled mortgage debt

Deduction for mortgage insurance extended through the end of 2013; reduces the cost of buying a home when paying PMI or insurance for an FHA or VA- insured mortgage; $110,000 AGI phaseout remains

Extends the section 25C energy-efficient tax credit for existing homes through the end of 2013; important remodeling market incentive, although the lifetime cap remains at $500.

Reinstates the Pease/PEP phaseouts for deductions; for married taxpayers with AGI above $300,000 ($250,000 single), the Pease limitation reduces total itemized deductions by 3 percent for the dollar amount of AGI above the thresholds. This is a negative change for some high cost areas, but should only have small impacts. Example, a married household with $350,000 AGI would be $50,000 above the limit and must reduce their Schedule A total by $1,500 raising their taxes by about $500. Only a share of that would be due to the MID.

Multifamily Tax Items

Extends the 9percent LIHTC credit rate for allocations through the end of 2013; absent the credit fix, the LIHTC program would suffer a loss of equity investment for affordable housing projects

Extension through the end of 2013 of base housing allowance rules for affordable housing

Also noteworthy are items that are not in H.R. 8, including an itemized deduction cap or a defined fast-track tax reform process. Nonetheless, the return of the Pease rules suggests that items like the mortgage interest deduction will be under debate in 2013.

The resolution of the fiscal cliff now gives way to a series of mini-cliffs due to the need to raise the debt ceiling, establishing government spending levels and deal with the sequester. Over the long run, the future of housing demand, and interest rates in particular, will be affected by how Congress and the President solve the nation’s long-run deficit challenges.

For More Mortgage Information Contact:
Dean Henderson, CRMS
(661) 726-9000

The 2012 Election’s Impact on Our Real Estate Market

How can we expect the results of the recent 2012 election to effect our local real estate market?  Real Estate is the engine that drives not only our local economy but the global economy as well.  How our elected officials handle the Real Estate industry will determine the direction of our economic prosperity.  Check out this analysis from the RE Source guys:

For more information on the Antelope Valley Real Estate Market call:
Dean Henderson, CRMS
661-726-9000

2012 FHA Future Bright

by Dean Henderson, CRMS

In spite of a gridlocked Congress, 2011 ended with some very positive legislation for the 2012 Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loan Program.  The local housing market will benefit from higher FHA loan limits and an extension of the FHA Anti-Flipping waiver.

Thanks to the support of Antelope Valley Congressmen Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) and Kevin McCarthy(R-CA) H.R. 2112 was passed by the US Congress which includes a provision to reinstate the FHA loan limit in high-cost areas for two years.

The higher Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA conforming loan limits of $729,750 expired Oct. 1, when it was reduced to $625,500. The passage of H.R. 2112 provides for an extension of FHA-insured mortgages at the higher level of $729,750 in high cost areas, including Los Angeles and Orange counties, through December 2013.

Unfortunately, The US Senate and House could not agree on increasing the loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which marks a historic change in the long enjoyed higher max loan limits which were previously dominated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In addition to the gift of higher FHA loan limits, FHA has also announced the extension of its “anti-flipping” waiver through the end of 2012, which allows buyers to purchase homes that have already been sold in the last 90 days.

The waiver, which was set to expire on December 31, 2011, has been extended through December 31, 2012.

An anti-flipping rule originally took effect in 2003 to stop a spike in home flipping that was being blamed on driving up home prices during the housing boom. The rule prevented FHA-backed loans from being used to purchase homes that had been owned by a seller for less than 90 days. But the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development decided to reconsider the 90-day limit in 2010 after skyrocketing foreclosures and abandoned homes were causing blight in neighborhoods across the country and hampering nearby property values.

The temporary waiver to the anti-flipping rule will allow buyers and investors to quickly resell refurbished homes and not have to wait 90 days to do so. Since the waiver took place in 2010, FHA has insured nearly 42,000 mortgages worth more than $7 billion on homes resold within 90 days of the last purchase, according to HUD.

The 2012 extension includes requirements that flip transactions be arms-length transactions and requires sellers to document improvements to properties to justify profits in excess of 120% of the seller’s acquisition price.

For more FHA Loan information contact:

Dean Henderson, CRMS

(661) 726-9000