Interesting for People Living in High-Tax States

September 19, 2019

More snowbirds are expected to make a permanent move as the curbs on state and local tax deductions are starting to be felt.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 clamped a $10,000 limit on the amount of state and local taxes – including income and property taxes – that joint filers can deduct from their income for federal taxes.

Financial planners say that as high net-worth taxpayers finalize their 2018 returns to meet the October tax-extension deadline, they expect many residents of New York, New Jersey, California and other relatively high-tax states will decide to spend more time in Florida, Texas, Nevada or other states that don’t collect income taxes, or move there outright.

People are just starting to see the the effect and over the coming months more are going to be looking to establish Florida residency.

Leaving state income taxes behind can be more complicated than it might seem. States all have their own rules about what makes someone a resident subject to their taxes. For example, if you run a business in New York, or your minor children go to school there, the state can rule that you’re a New York resident for tax purposes, even if you live most of the time in another state. In some cases, the question of tax residency can come down to seemingly minor issues like where you keep your wedding pictures, an indicator of which house is truly your home.

States with income taxes don’t want to lose that revenue, and will investigate to make sure people who have stopped paying state income tax have done so legitimately.

Catherine Frank, executive director of the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement, suggests one solution for people who own homes in two states: Move full time to the lower-tax state. It’s simpler than figuring out how to split time between two homes without running afoul of the higher-tax state’s rules, and it cuts down on living expenses.

“It’s always interesting to me that people do all that to save on taxes, and then they maintain two homes,” Ms. Frank says. “That’s a pretty expensive way to live.”

For those of you watching the Market…

August 28, 2019

In a 15-month trend, annual appreciation decelerated to 3.1 percent in June, falling from 3.3 percent in May, according to the national S&P CoreLogic/Case-Shiller Indices, released today.

The declining gains indicate a return to sustainability, explains Philip Murphy, managing director and global head of Index Governance at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“Home price gains continue to trend down, but may be leveling off to a sustainable level,” Murphy says. “The U.S. National Home Price NSA Index year-over-year price change in June 2019 of 3.1 percent is exactly half of what it was in June 2018.”

A determining factor, however, is the potential recession, which could disrupt the longer-term trend—but, experts have mixed views.

“Home price gains in most cities remain positive in low single digits,” Murphy says. “Therefore, it is likely that current rates of change will generally be sustained barring an economic downturn.”

According to Ralph McLaughlin, CoreLogic deputy chief economist and executive of Research and Insights, there is the potential for prices to reignite, especially if low mortgage rates remain the trend. The average 30-year fixed rate slid to 3.55 percent, down from 4.51 percent this time in 2018, Freddie Mac recently reported.

“While falling mortgage rates have thus far only led to an increase in refinancing, rather than purchase activity, there will undoubtedly be a large boon to the marginal homebuyer,” McLaughlin says. “Thus, we should expect the lengthy slowdown in home price growth to flatten or even tick upwards by the end of the year, assuming the U.S. economy avoids any present-day threats of a recession.”

According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of REALTORS®, there is a high likelihood for prices to strengthen. In July, the existing-home median price was $280,800, an increase of 4.3 percent year-over-year.

“Though showing mild deceleration in price growth, it is worth noting that this index is a bit of a lagging indicator, with the latest data reflecting what happened in April, May and June,” says Yun. “The figure is likely to show reacceleration in home price gains in the upcoming months, as the market has been shifting towards higher demand due to lower mortgage rates and reduced supply as home builders constructed fewer homes this year compared to the last year.”

In the country’s 20 major markets, home prices rose 2.1 percent year-over-year, according to the S&P National Index. The biggest gains in June were in Phoenix, where home prices surged 5.8 percent, and in Las Vegas, at 5.5 percent.

Rates drop for Long-term Mortgage

August 28, 2019

U.S. long-term mortgage rates are near historically low levels, with the average on the benchmark 30 year loan falling to its lowest level since November 2016.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Ma said Thursday that the average rate on the 30 year loan slipped to 3.55% from 3.60%. The rate stood at 4.51% a year ago.

The average mortgage rate for 15 year, fixed-rate home loans eased to 3.03% from the week prior.

The climate of low home mortgage rates has sparked a flurry of activity by prospective home buyers as well as owners looking to refinance mortgages.

The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates.

The average fee on 30 year fixed-rate mortgages was unchanged at 0.5 point.

The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 3.32% from 3.35%. The fee was steady at 0.3 point.

Questions about points?? Call us at 321-939-1300.


Grants help Renters become Buyers

June 22, 2019

As Orlando-area rents continue to climb, Bank of America launches five-year, $5 billion affordable home ownership initiative.

This major bank is offering a pair of home-buyer grants that could help low and moderate income residents make the leap to ownership.

The effort provides eligible home buyers a down payment grant of up to $10,000 and a separate lender credit of up to $7,500 that can cover one-time fees or be used to buy down the loan’s interest rate.

Neither grant has to be repaid.

Caroline Isern, Southeast sales performance manager for Bank of America, said the bank’s community surveys showed covering up-front costs is consistently the biggest hurdle for would-be home-buyers, especially those paying high rents.

“They don’t have a chance to set aside enough to build toward that down payment”, she said. “This is about closing that wealth gap, and home ownership is one of the most powerful ways to do so.”

The Orlando metro area was chosen for the program’s roll-out, because of its large housing affordability gap, economic diversity and the number of potential first-time home buyers. The program, however is not limited to first-time buyers.

At the national Center for Responsible Lending, a nonpartisan research and consumer advocacy organization, there was cautionary praise for the plan. “Overall, we’re really glad to see a major bank is devoting resources to down-payment assistance”

For more information on the Bank of America programs, go to

For information and advice on home buying, see

Fla. tax holiday on hurricane supplies begins Friday

May 30, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – May 29, 2019 – A little nudging for storm prep shouldn’t be necessary after Matthew battered Florida’s east coast in 2016, Irma essentially drenched the entire state in 2017, and Michael ground up a chunk of the Panhandle last year.

Still, Floridians will have seven days to build a hurricane-season stockpile – including batteries, flashlights and radios – free of sales taxes, beginning Friday.

“You’ll have the opportunity to get pretty much whatever you need. It is very important to do so,” says James Miller, the Florida Retail Federation’s external affairs director. “Make sure you have your disaster preparedness and emergency kits ready to go, because we ultimately will have a storm at some point.”

“During that time, obviously all of the stores will be stocked in preparation for the holiday and in preparation hopefully for no upcoming storms,” Miller said.

The discounted supplies are just part of what Floridians need to be prepared for any disaster, says Mark Wool, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee.

“You need to be able to be self-sufficient, without the aid of anyone else, including EMS (emergency medical services), for three to five days,” Wool said. “We need a gallon of water per person and pet per day, non-perishable foods, flashlights, battery-powered radios, batteries for your flashlight, prescriptions, and make sure your gas tank is full.”

Jim Zingale, executive director of the Florida Department of Revenue, encouraged all Floridians to exploit the “holiday.”

“While living in and visiting Florida offers many benefits and advantages, it is important to keep the potential for severe weather hazards and threats in mind,” Zingale says.

Items eligible for the May 31-June 6 tax break

  • Reusable ice that costs $10 or less
  • Self-powered light sources, $20 or less
  • Gas or diesel fuel tanks, $25 or less
  • Nonelectric food storage coolers, $30 or less
  • Packs of AA-cell, AAA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt or 9-volt batteries, $30 or less
  • Self-powered radios, two-way radios or weather-band radios, $50 or less
  • Tarpaulins or other flexible waterproof sheeting, $50 or less
  • Tie-down kits, $50 or less
  • Portable generators, $750 or less

The rental or repair of items doesn’t qualify for the exemption, and items sold at airports and theme parks aren’t included in the deal.

Source: News Service of Florida, Tom Urban, Jim Turner

Mortgage rates won’t go as high as expected

May 24, 2019

WASHINGTON – May 23, 2019 – This year’s borrowing costs will likely be lower than originally predicted, according to an updated forecast from Freddie Mac.

The GSE recently downgraded its forecast for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, projecting it will average 4.3% in 2019 – below last year’s average of 4.5%.

In addition, Freddie Mac economists predict only a small average rate increase in 2020, with 30-year fixed rates averaging 4.5% next year.

“The combined positive impact of low mortgage rates, a strong labor market, low unemployment and modest wage growth supports our forecast for a steadily growing housing market in 2019,” Freddie Mac says in its May 2019 Forecast report.


It’s Just Another Day in Celebration~Ville!

May 22, 2019

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