Showing posts from 2009

U.S. Economy: Home Sales Exceed Forecasts as Buyers Seek Credit

Dec. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Sales of existing U.S. homes in November rose to the highest level in almost three years as first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of a government tax credit and lower prices. Purchases increased 7.4 percent to a 6.54 million annual rate, exceeding the highest estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington . Another report showed the economy grew a less-than-forecast 2.2 percent in the third quarter as companies cut stockpiles, pointing to manufacturing gains at the start of 2010. The housing market is getting a boost from efforts by the government and Federal Reserve to stabilize the industry at the center of the worst recession since the 1930s. Improved consumer spending combined with record decreases in inventories will promote production, which may keep the world’s largest economy growing into 2010. The economy is “rebounding again pretty much across the board,” said

Good article on tax saving tips for all of the self employed among us =>Taxes 2009: Get it together now

WASHINGTON – Dec. 11, 2009 – For millions of Americans, “consultant” or “freelancer” is a euphemism for “unemployed.” But whether you’re self-employed by choice or circumstances, there’s a lot you can do between now and year’s end to reduce your 2009 tax bill. One of the advantages of self-employment is that you have more control over your tax destiny than folks who have their taxes withheld from their paychecks. Some examples of tax-saving steps you can take before the end of the year: Purchase needed materials. When you’re self-employed, everything you buy for your business, from manila envelopes to a new computer, is deductible. By making those purchases now, you can deduct the expense on your 2009 tax return instead of waiting until next year, says Mary Canning, dean of the school of taxation and accounting at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. “If you’re thinking your laptop isn’t functioning very well or you need a new scanner, this might be the time to do that kind of purc

The Greatest Christmas Decoration Ever!!!!

"Good news is that I truly out did myself this year with my Christmas decorations. The bad news is that I had to take him down after 2 days. I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever.Great stories. But two things made me take it down. First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked when they drove by. Second, a 55 year old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn't realize it was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy). By the way, she was one of many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn't take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard." Happy Holidays!!

Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Rise for Fourth Month

Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Home prices in 20 U.S. cities rose for a fourth straight month in September, pointing to improvement in real estate that’s helping the economy emerge from recession. The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index increased 0.27 percent from the prior month on a seasonally adjusted basis, after a 1.13 percent rise in August, the group said today in New York. The gauge fell 9.36 percent from September 2008, more than forecast, yet the smallest year-over-year decline since the end of 2007. Rising home sales, aided by government programs and a decline in mortgage rates this year, have helped stem the slump in property values that precipitated the worst recession since the 1930s. Home buying and consumer spending may still be hampered by higher unemployment, which may prompt more foreclosures. “The reduction of inventories we have seen has helped stabilize prices,” said Michael Gregory , a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto. “The reason you have to be a lit


Dodd: A “Double Victory” for Connecticut Workers and Middle Class Families WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Chris Dodd's legislation to extend the homebuyer’s tax credit and expand it to more middle class families passed the Senate tonight as part of a bill that will also extend unemployment insurance. Dodd was an original co-sponsor of the bill, which will provide 14 additional weeks of jobless benefits for Connecticut workers. “This is a double victory for families in Connecticut ,” said Dodd. “Extending unemployment insurance benefits will help Connecticut families make ends meet in a tough economy. And thousands more middle class Connecticut residents may now be eligible to take advantage of the successful homebuyer’s tax credit. By helping unemployed workers keep from falling further behind, and helping middle class families get ahead, we’re taking positive steps to get our economy back on track.” Dodd was joined by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) in support of extending th

Fed Sees No Need to Raise Rates Soon

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve signaled on Wednesday that it was not close to raising interest rates, saying the economy remained weak even though the recession appeared to be over. In a statement after a two-day policy meeting, the central bank said it would keep its benchmark interest rate at virtually zero, repeating its long-standing mantra that economic conditions were likely to warrant “exceptionally low” rates for “an extended period.” For practical purposes, analysts said, that means policy makers are still at least six months away from tightening monetary policy. It was unclear whether Fed policymakers even discussed modifying their language on interest rates, which would be a first step toward a shift in policy. Some officials have worried that even discussing a change in language, which would be disclosed when minutes of the meeting are published two weeks from now, would send the premature signal that higher rates were imminent. “Economic activity has contin

Forclosures Are More Profitable Thank Loan Modifications, According To New Report

Mortgage companies are more likely to foreclose on homeowners than modify their loans because they make more money off foreclosures, argues a new report by a consumer advocacy group. While homeowners, lenders and investors typically lose money on a foreclosure, mortgage servicers do not, says report author Diane E. Thompson, of counsel at the National Consumer Law Center . Servicers are the companies that manage the mortgages and collect payments. "Servicers may even make money on a foreclosure," she writes. "And, usually, a loan modification will cost the servicer something. A servicer deciding between a foreclosure and a loan modification faces the prospect of near certain loss if the loan is modified and no penalty, but potential profit, if the home is foreclosed." Thompson attributes this to a system of perverse incentives created by lawmakers and rulemakers in the market, like credit rating agencies and bond issuers. The private rulemakers typically dictate how

Are You Qualified for a Mortgage Modification, or Is Refinancing Your Best Route?

The Government loan modification progress reports inspire institutions to take the foreclosure prevention program more seriously. Find out if you are one of the many that qualifies for a mortgage modification, or if refinancing is a better option. The Home Affordable Modification Program was launched in March 2009 to help qualified home owners receive a lower monthly payment and avoid foreclosure. The United States Treasury Department recently reported only 9 percent of home owners eligible for the government's $75 billion loan modification program have been offered help. This equates to just 235,247 loans that were at least two months delinquent. The government hopes to help up to 4 to 5 million financially distressed home owners modify their mortgages and has promised to reach 500,000 home owners by November 1st. In order to fast track these goals, the government has cracked down on the institutions participating in this program and will be supplying the public with monthly p

Apartment sales soar 31% in Queens, 29% in Bklyn

After seven consecutive quarterly declines, apartment sales in Brooklyn and Queens picked up in the third quarter, according to a new industry report. Apartment sales in Brooklyn and Queens picked up in the third quarter, despite a rise in unemployment and the ongoing credit crisis, according to the latest industry report released Thursday. Mirroring results reported last week in Manhattan, apartment sales in both boroughs rose from the previous quarter. In Brooklyn, the number of sales surged 29.4% in the third quarter from the previous quarter. In Queens, they did even better, soaring 31%. The sharp upticks are the result of pent up demand and an increase in confidence, noted Jonathan Miller, chief executive of Miller Samuel. “People on the fence made a decision to buy,” said Mr. Miller (from Miller Samuel Inc., appraisal firm). “I think one primary catalyst is that the stock market went up (so strongly) in the third quarter.” Despite the recent rise, the report underscored that acti


Frequently Asked Questions In 2008, Congress enacted a $7500 tax credit designed to be an incentive for first-time homebuyers to purchase a home. The credit was designed as a mechanism to decrease the over-supply of homes for sale. For 2009, Congress has increased the credit to $8000 and made several additional improvements. This revised $8000 tax credit applies to purchases on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009 . Tax Credits – The Basics 1. What’s this new homebuyer tax incentive for 2009? The 2008 $7500, repayable credit is increased to $8000 and the repayment feature is eliminated for 2009 purchasers. Any home that is purchased for $80,000 or more qualifies for the full $8000 amount. If the house costs less than $80,000, the credit will be 10% of the cost. Thus, if an individual purchased a home for $75,000, the credit would be $7500. It is available for the purchase of a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009 . 2. W