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Existing-Home Sales on the Rise

by Madeleine Tingen

The National Association of Realtors announced uplifting reports for existing-home sales.  August 21, 2009, NAR released statistics revealing that for the first time in five years, existing-home sales have increased for four months in a row.

The last time sales rose for four consecutive months was June 2004, and the last time sales were higher than a year earlier was November 2005.  The National Association of Realtors includes the following in their category of existing-homes:  single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.  In total, sales rose 7.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.24 million units in July from a level of 4.89 million in June, and are 5.0 percent above the 4.99 million-unit pace in July 2008.

Chief economist for the NAR, Lawrence Yun, stated that he is encouraged.  "The housing market has decisively turned for the better.  A combination of first-time home buyers taking advantage of the housing stimulus tax credit and greatly improved affordability conditions are contributing to the higher sales," he said.  Furthermore, Yun explained, "Because price-to-income ratios have fallen below historical trends, there are more all-cash offers.  In some recovering markets like San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Orlando, the demand for foreclosed and lower priced homes has spiked, and a lack of inventory is becoming a common complaint."

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $178,400 in July, which is 15.1 percent lower than July 2008.  Distressed properties continue to weigh down the median price because they typically sell for 15 to 20 percent less than traditional homes.

If you would like specific information on the existing-home sales statistics in the Greenville, NC and Pitt County area, please contact The Pistol Tingen Real Estate Team at (252) 321-6161.

$8,000 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Availability Ends Soon

by Madeleine Tingen

Yes, you can still take advantage of the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit—but time is quickly running out.  Many first-time homeowners have already benefitted from this helpful program.

As part of its plan to stimulate the U.S. housing market and address the economic challenges facing our nation, Congress passed legislation that grants a tax credit of up to $8,000 to first-time home buyers.

Here are some of the essential facts regarding the 2009 tax credit program that can help turn prospective first-time home buyers into first-time home owners.

Who qualifies?

First-time home buyers who purchase homes between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009.

To qualify as a “first-time home buyer” the purchaser of his/her spouse may not have owned a residence during the three years prior to the purchase.

Which properties are eligible?


The 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit may be applied to primary residences, including: single-family homes, condos and townhomes.

How much will the credit be?

The maximum allowable credit for home buyers is $8,000.  Each home buyer’s tax credit is determined by two factors:

1) The price of the home—the credit is equal to 10% of the purchase price of the home, up to $8,000.

2) The buyer’s income—single buyers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000—may receive the maximum tax credit.

If the buyer(s) income exceeds these limits, can he/she still get a credit?

Yes, some buyers may still be eligible for the credit.

The credit decreases for buyers who earn between $75,000 and $95,000 for single buyers and between $150,000 and $170,000 for home buyers filing jointly. The amount of the tax credit decreases as his/her income approaches the maximum limit. Home buyers earning more than the maximum qualifying income—over $95,000 for singles and over $170,000 for couples are not eligible for the credit.

Will the tax credit need to be repaid?

No. The buyer does not need to repay the tax credit, if he/she occupies the home for three years or more. However, if the property is sold during the three-year period, the credit will be recouped on the sale.

If you would like more information about the $8,000 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit or any real estate matters, please contact The Pistol Tingen Real Estate Team at (252) 321-6161.

 

 

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