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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

President Signs Historic Housing Bill!!

Thank You to Everyone Who Has Worked So Hard to Increase Loan Limits!

This morning President Bush signed the "Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008." For the past several years, C.A.R. and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® have aggressively lobbied for Congress to pass numerous provisions found in this historic bill. Many of you participated in these efforts by communicating with your Members of Congress.

Thank you to all of you who responded to these Calls-for-Action. Your efforts have made a difference. This federal housing bill is a significant move in the right direction for California homeowners. It will aid in stabilizing our economy and help stem foreclosures, while also providing support to first-time homeowners.

The legislation will assist an estimated 400,000 homeowners facing foreclosure, many of whom reside in California, by allowing them to refinance their current mortgages with a Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-backed loan. The bill also will permanently increase FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac loan limits in high-cost areas.

The bill permanently increases the conforming loan limit to $625,500. C.A.R. has long advocated for higher conforming loan limits. In February, the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 was signed, temporarily raising the conforming loan limit in high-cost areas to $729,750 from $417,000 until December 31, 2008.

Although we would have liked Congress to make permanent the current $729,750 loan limit, C.A.R. is pleased with the new permanent loan limit of $625,500. It will allow California homeowners to refinance their loans into safe affordable loan products and allow first-time home buyers to enter the market.

The new loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the greater of either $417,000 or 115 percent of an area’s median home price, up to $625,500. The new FHA loan limit will be the greater of $271,050 or 115 percent of an area’s median home price, up to $625,500. Both new loan limits will be effective at the expiration of the economic stimulus limits on December 31, 2008.

C.A.R. also supports the following bill provisions:
A temporary increase in mortgage revenue bonds to refinance subprime mortgages.
New regulator for Government Sponsored Enterprises to restore investor confidence in GSE loans and help the market and economy stabilize.
First-time home buyer tax credit, which allows first-time home buyers to receive a tax refund worth up to 10 percent of a home’s purchase price, up to a maximum of $7,500. The refund serves as an interest-free loan and the homeowner is required to repay it in equal installments over 15 years.
Temporary raise in the loan limit for the Veterans Affairs home loan guarantee program to the same level as the economic stimulus limits until the end of 2008.
Adjustment to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (FIRPTA), allowing sellers to provide the non-foreign affidavit to a qualified closing entity and not just the buyer.
The setting of minimum requirements for mortgage originators, which mandates fingerprinting of loan originators and establishes a nationwide loan originator licensing and registration system. The requirements do not apply to those only performing real estate brokerage activities unless they are compensated by a lender, mortgage broker, or other loan originator. States will have the ability to implement more stringent laws.
The creation of a National Affordable Housing Trust Fund to help cover the cost of the FHA rescue plan for the first five years and develop affordable housing in subsequent years.

Other provisions in the legislation:
The Treasury Department’s proposal to create a federal backstop program to insure the financial well-being of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The FHA’s inability to insure loans that utilize a seller-funded down-payment assistance program. Down-payment assistance from family, employers and other nonprofits is still allowed.
The Community Development Block Grant Programs’ $4 billion allotment for communities to purchase and refurbish foreclosed homes.

C.A.R. wishes to thank those California Members of Congress who supported the bill:

Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator Diane Feinstein, and Representatives Joe Baca, Xavier Becerra, Howard Berman, Mary Bono Mack, Ken Calvert, John Campbell, Lois Capps, Dennis Cardoza, Jim Costa, Susan Davis, David Dreier, Anna Esho, Sam Farr, Bob Filner, Elton Gallegly, Jane Harman, Mike Honda, Duncan Hunter, Barbara Lee, Jerry Lewis, Zoe Lofgren, Dan Lungren, Doris Matsui, Howard "Buck" McKeon, Jerry McNerney, Gary Miller, George Miller, Grace Napolitano, Nancy Pelosi, Laura Richardson, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Linda Sanchez, Loretta Sanchez, Adam Schiff, Brad Sherman, Hilda Solis, Jackie Speier, Pete Stark, Ellen Tausher, Mike Thompson, Maxine Waters, Diane Watson, Henry Waxman and Lynn Woolsey.

Thank you everyone for your efforts in support of this bill!

Friday, July 25, 2008

REALTORS® Hail Housing Bill

Washington, July 24, 2008

Today's passage of The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 by the House of Representatives will help bring stability to the housing market and stem the rising rate of foreclosures, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

NAR thanked Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., and the House of Representatives for their bipartisan efforts in getting H.R. 3221 passed.

“Realtors® are in the business of building communities, and our 1.2 million members understand that this legislation will go a long way in helping people buy and keep their homes,” said NAR President Dick Gaylord, a broker with RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif. “We look forward to prompt Senate action to finalize this bill, helping ensure that every American who can afford to own a home and wants to do so will have the opportunity and that everyone who responsibly owns a home is able to keep it. This bill must get to the president quickly, and we urge him to act immediately to sign it into law.”

NAR has expressed ongoing support for the major features in the housing package. The legislation includes Federal Housing Administration Modernization that will simplify and make FHA-backed mortgages more available while helping thousands of families refinance existing mortgages and keep their homes. Other important components of the bill that NAR supports are reform of the government-sponsored enterprises (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), permanent increases to both GSE and FHA loan limits, a first-time home buyer tax credit and a program to expand FHA that would allow more homeowners to refinance their mortgages.

“The $7,500 tax credit for first-time home buyers is a needed stimulus for a weak housing market,” said Gaylord. “This bill would extend the tax credit availability through June 2009, which would have a further positive effect on the housing market.”

Mary Trupo 202/383-1007

Well things ARE looking more and more positive and the great news is Washington is getting on the band wagon. FHA is here to stay!!!
See you around the neighborhood!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What You Should Know About A Buyer's Market

This is a MUST read by a informative journalist Broderick Perkins, click here

Be sure to check out his blog

See you around the neighborhood!