Lori Rea

Real Estate Consultant

My Blog

Housing Affordability

3/8/2012

Housing Affordability Soars to Record High

Low mortgage rates and falling home values have brought housing within reach to more families than ever before, according to the latest National Association of REALTORS® housing affordability index. 

Housing affordability in January reached its highest level since NAR began tracking it in 1970. The index -- which tracks median home price, median family income, and the average mortgage rate -- reached 206.1 in January. 

"This is the first time the housing affordability index has broken the 200 mark, meaning the typical family has roughly double the income needed to purchase a median-priced home," says Moe Veissi, 2012 NAR president. "For buyers who can qualify for a mortgage, now is a very good time to become a home owner."

An index of 100 means that median-income household has exactly enough income to qualify for the purchase of a median-priced existing single-family home, also accounting for a 20 percent down payment and 25 percent of gross income devoted to the mortgage principle and interest payments. 

NAR projects that affordability will remain high for the remainder of the year. 

"Housing inventory levels have declined to a point where conditions are becoming much more balanced in much of the country," Veissi said. "If access to credit improves, we could see a much more meaningful increase in home sales and broader stabilization in home prices with modest gains in areas with stronger job growth."

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief

2/21/2012

If you owe a debt to someone else and they cancel or forgive that debt, the canceled amount may be taxable.

The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualifies for the relief.

This provision applies to debt forgiven in calendar years 2007 through 2012.

 

Program HR3648 Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief for Homeowners is a program to remove the tax burden resulting from debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in conjunction with short sales.  Homebuyers that have or are going to be forgiven any debt on their principal residence, should go through the program to ensure that they will not incur any taxes for the forgiven debt. 

 

Here are two links with additional information:

 

http://www.programhr3648.org/

 

http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=179414,00.html

Information compliaments of Julie Post, VanDyk Mortgage.

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