FHA fee cut attracts more first-time buyers

July 30, 2015

WASHINGTON – July 29, 2015 – The Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) reduction in mortgage insurance premiums on FHA loans appears to be having an impact on homeownership.

The cuts – which average $900 per year – may be prompting first-time and millennial buyers to enter the housing market: FHA loans were used in 23 percent of financed home purchases in the second quarter compared to 19 percent during the same period one year earlier, according to RealtyTrac.

“So far, the FHA premium reduction is having a bigger impact on getting millennial first-time buyers and other low down-payment borrowers, such as former homeowners returning to the housing market, off the fence [compared to other federal programs],” says RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist.

Source: MarketWatch (07/25/15) Goldstein, Daniel

© Copyright 2015 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD


Real estate again Americans’ top investment choice

July 30, 2015

NEW YORK – July 29, 2015 – For many Americans, last decade’s housing bubble is largely forgotten: 27 percent in a recent poll said real estate was the best investment for money they would not need for at least a decade, according to a new Bankrate.com survey of 1,000 investors.

That No. 1 ranking marks the first time real estate claimed the No. 1 spot in the three years that Bankrate has been conducting its research. Cash ranked tops with investors in 2013 and last year.

“It begs the questions if more Americans are once again viewing real estate as a golden ticket,” says Bankrate CFO Greg McBride.

“The singular and best reason to own real estate as an investment is to use leverage,” concluded Stephen Lovell, a certified financial planner in California. “Without it, your return on investment tends to be about 2 percent to 3 percent.”

Source: CNBC News (07/23/15) Anderson, Tom

© Copyright 2015 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD


New App! Osceola County Sheriff’s Office

July 28, 2015

Osceola County Sheriff’s Office offers a new app for Apple devices and Android devices.

Visit http://www.osceolasheriff.org/ and click on Links for information about wanted persons, unsolved homicides and sex offenders.

Also find links to school resource officers, news releases and human resources.


Why Isn’t the Condo Market Rebounding?

July 24, 2015

NEW YORK – July 23, 2015 – While construction of single-family homes and multifamily rentals is on the rebound, condo construction sunk to new lows. Any rebound in the condo construction market has been delayed by stringent rules on condo mortgages that took effect post-housing crisis, and stronger demand among young people for rentals.

Condo construction in the first quarter comprised only 5.5 percent of all construction of multifamily housing – the lowest ratio since the Commerce Department began tracking the data in 1974. Historically, condo construction falls at a 24 percent average.

Condos traditionally offer higher returns for investors than apartments.

“Many developers would rather be building condominiums,” says Peter Bazeli, senior vice president at New York-based real estate consulting firm Weitzman Group. “With condos, you’re paying down debt with every closing and then putting money in your pocket right away.”

But many factors hamper the condo market’s recovery. For one, economists say young adults have been flocking to rentals instead, and condos typically cater to entry-level buyers. Also, construction loans limit the supply of condos built. Developers say they can get a construction loan for about 75 percent of the cost of building an apartment complex, but only about 50 percent for a condo complex because lenders deem it a higher risk.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) tightened its lending standards from 2008 to 2012, which has made condo funding even tougher, too. In order for the FHA to insure mortgages in a condo complex, at least half the units must be owner-occupied, and no more than half can be FHA-insured. For condo projects under development, at least 30 percent of units must be under contract for sale before the FHA will start backing mortgages.

Economists say those factors have kept the condo market sluggish and still far from recovery. The median condo resale price in May was $216,400, about $15,400 less than its pre-crisis peak in June 2005. On the other hand, the median resale price for single-family homes in May was $230,300 – only $600 less than its pre-crisis peak in July 2006.

But some developers see glimmers of a condo rebound forming.

“Rising apartment rents provide renters more reason to buy instead of renting,” the Journal reports. “Job growth is improving for young would-be buyers. And real estate lobbyists say they are making inroads in Washington to build support for easing the FHA restrictions on condo mortgages.”

Source: “Condos Left Behind in Housing Rebound,” The Wall Street Journal (July 21, 2015)

© Copyright 2015 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688


Fast Internet Access Drives Up Home Values

July 11, 2015

Did you know?

More home buyers are choosing where to live based on the availability of high-speed networks.

A nationwide study released recently by researchers at the University of Colorado and Carnegie Mellon University finds fiber-optic connections, the fastest type of high-speed interned available, can add $5,437 to the price of a $175,000 home.


Osceola County Property Appraiser submits Preliminary Values

July 11, 2015

This just in!  2015 Preliminary Values are showing an increase for the third year in a row.

Property owners will receive the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes (TRIM) which will distinguish between tax rate changes proposed and value changes.

Osceola County $19,552,603,554 (+7.57%)

City of Kissimmee $2,604,648,917 (+7.71%)

For more information, visit http://www.property-appraiser.org/


Senior Lifestyle Guide

July 8, 2015

The Senior Resource Alliance and the 50+ Resource Network have published an information booklet called the 50+ FYI Lifestyle Guide.

Available at public libraries and senior centers in Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Brevard counties.

Pick up your FREE copy today for information on hotlines, special interest and support groups and much more.

For more details, call 407-265-0534 or visit http://50plusfyi.org/