Archive for June, 2010

Federal Title featured on NPR homebuyer report

To say the last few weeks around the office of Federal Title & Escrow Company have been busy would be an understatement. As the clock counts down to the deadline for the federal homebuyers tax credit, our staff is working diligently to facilitate as many smooth closings as possible.

Despite the bustle, our very own Todd Ewing was able to take some time out of his busy schedule yesterday to sit down with NPR business reporter Tamara Keith to speak about the mad dash of homebuyers hoping to close before the June 30 deadline.

The story appeared today during Morning Edition and aired here in Washington, D.C. and across the country. Heres a link to the story Mad Dash as Homebuyer Tax Deadline Arrives in case you missed it.

Were pretty excited about the story here around the office. Please share your thoughts on the story, especially Todds part near the end, in the comments section below.

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DC area home price gains in April best in U.S.

The Washington area led the nation in home price gains in April, the Washington Business Journal reports.

Median prices in the Washington market rose 2.4 percent in April compared with March, the best gain of the 20 markets surveyed in the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index. Nationally, prices rose 0.9 percent compared with March.

Full story…

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Senate combines jobless benefits, homebuyer credit

Senate Democrats are working on a new way to jump-start their stalled election-year jobs agenda while saving unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands of laid-off workers, the Associated Press reports.

The plan is to create one bill that combines the unemployment benefits with an extension of a popular tax credit for people who buy new homes.

Under current law, homebuyers who signed purchase agreements by April 30 must close on their new homes by Wednesday to qualify for credits of up to $8,000. The bill would give those buyers until Sept. 30 to complete the purchases and qualify for the credit.

Democrats hope to pick up Republican support for the bill by combining the two provisions. They have been trying for weeks to pass an extension of unemployment benefits as part of a larger tax and spending package, but the larger bill died in the Senate last week.

Its a tough vote for some lawmakers who want to help constituents hit hard by the recession but are wary of being labeled big spenders. The economy is starting to pick up, but unemployment is still high as the nation continues to struggle from the loss of more than 8 million jobs. At the same time, angst over deficit spending is growing as midterm congressional elections near in November.

Full story…

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Real estate news update: 6-30

A daily dose of headlines for real estate agents, mortgage lenders and consumers.

Can social media help revive real estate?
Housing Wire:
As the real estate industry looks for new ways to market and sell property during the downturn, technology firms are launching ways to use social media.
Preparing for the next big one
The New York Times: Many on Capitol Hill insist Dodd-Frank means the end of the �too big to fail� culture, period. Many on Wall Street insist it means the end of American finance.
Home price stability in question for second half of 2010
NuWire: An oversupply of housing and a wave of distressed properties could drag down real estate prices in the US later this year, experts are warning.
Consumer confidence tumbles amid job uncertainty
NPR: Americans, worried about jobs and the sluggish economic recovery, had another relapse in confidence, causing a widely watched barometer to tumble in June.
Evening Star sale illustrates Districts appeal
Globe Street: Evening Stars sales price is definitely a leading indicator that the best office product in DC is still eagerly sought by the largest investment funds.
A closer look at the second leg down
: Without the heavy hand of the government intervening, the residential real estate market is about to experience what price discovery is all about.

House votes to extend homebuyer credit 3 months

Homebuyers would get an extra three months to complete their purchases and qualify for a generous tax credit under a bill overwhelmingly passed by the House on Tuesday, reports the Associated Press.

Under current law, homebuyers who signed purchase agreements by April 30 have until Wednesday to close on the sale to qualify for tax credits of up to $8,000. The bill would give buyers until Sept. 30 to complete their purchases.

The extended deadline only applies to people who signed purchase agreements by April 30. The National Association of Realtors estimates that about 180,000 homebuyers who already signed purchase agreements are likely to miss the Wednesday deadline.

We owe this to the people who have essentially followed the rules who are caught by a closing date, said Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

The bill passed 409-5. It now goes to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has sponsored a similar measure.

Full story…

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The other value of real estate

Ive been stalking the DC real estate market for months, first hoping to cash in on the $8,000 federal tax credit, then waiting for the credit to expire so housing prices could drop. If Im going to buy, I want to make a good investment, right?

Not necessarily true, says Winifred Gallagher, whose column Living Rooms debuted in The New York Times this week. Real estate holds an often overlooked value for people that is far less tangible than a hefty down payment, she says.

She calls a home a womb with a view, a secure place to which we can return to recharge our batteries or hide out from the storm.

Perhaps if more people changed their attitude about what it means to buy a piece of property, then more people would be getting excited about the prospect of a drop in home prices. Real estate is going on sale

Yet since the governments exit from the housing market, amid reports of a drop in consumer confidence and predictions that housing prices will fall an additional 10-20%, mortgage applications have fallen to record lows and home sales have plummeted, also to record lows.

Properties may lose value through the end of the year, but eventually values will rebound, and as Gallagher says, all the while you could be building your life and putting a stamp on a property all your own, regardless of whats going on in the world outside its walls.

Whether you agree or not, the column is actually quite good.

Categories: Uncategorized

Mortgage rates hit all-time low

The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 4.69 percent this week from 4.75 percent last week, the Washington Post reported. That marks the lowest level since the company started tracking the data in 1971 and breaks the most recent low set in December. Rates have hovered below 5 percent since early May.

Yet home sales are tumbling and mortgage applications are slipping. Potential buyers have retrenched, discouraged by employment fears, the recent expiration of a home buyers tax credit and tough lending standards, industry experts said.

Full story…

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