Friday, April 30, 2010

Governor Christie Moves to Cap Property Taxes

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie pushes property tax cap, public benefits changes after schools vote

By Statehouse Bureau Staff

April 21, 2010, 9:55PM

gov-chris-christie-kim-guadagno.JPGGov. Chris Christie spoke about the school board election results from Tuesday during a press conference today with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.
TRENTON -- Claiming the school budget defeat as a validation of his shrinking government plan, Gov. Chris Christie today pushed the next reforms on his agenda: A 2.5 percent constitutional cap on property taxes, and reforms to public worker pensions, benefits and the collective bargaining process.

Christie said New Jerseyans sent "an extraordinarily clear signal," and the Democrat-controlled Legislature and local elected officials "ignore these results at their own political peril."

"People in public life don’t ignore election results. They absorb them," he said, adding, "This is going to be a watershed moment for New Jersey because I believe it’s going to unite all of us to say these reforms need to be done, the people need to be listened to."

The governor urged municipal governing bodies, school boards and local teachers’ unions to work together to implement a one-year wage freeze.

"It’s not too late to reopen those contracts. It’s not too late to agree to a freeze."

Today, Christie called for legislative approval of a package of reforms, including a constitutional amendment limiting annual property take hikes, benefits cuts for current public workers and changes in the collective bargaining process to give towns and school boards more control.

Christie said he had not discussed the results with ruling Democrats, who will return to session in May.

Senate president Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said the governor did a "masterful job" of tapping into people’s "anger over the government right now," but misled voters about the real impact of a one-year wage freeze.

He used a wage freeze to say, ‘Look, we don’t really have to go up in taxes,’ but that wasn’t true. Taxes would have gone up anyway," Sweeney said. "But it was good theater."

Sweeney said he agrees with Christie that "we need to do some things to make it easier for governments to control their costs," and is willing to work with him on some of the reforms. But Democrats also want the governor to reinstate an income tax surcharge on the wealthy, Sweeney said.

Political watchers cautioned Christie against viewing the budget defeat as a mandate.

Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray said the school vote is is unlikely to win over the Legislature with regard to Christie’s proposed state budget.

"What’s going to happen is we’re going to continue the partisan bickering that has marked these budget hearings, and the unfortunate thing is if there is any clear message coming out of the school board elections is that is exactly the kind of disfunction that New Jersey does not want to see," Murray said.

"The irony is that New Jersey doesn’t want business as usual, and the unfortunate product of this election is probably going to be business as usual."

10 Things that Make Buyers Buy

Information Provided By Donna Antonucci
Purdential Castle Point Realty

1. A Nice Entryway
Impress buyers right off the bat with a beautiful entrance. "I always tell sellers to put a fresh coat of paint on the front door," says real estate agent Theresa Evans of Charleston, S.C.
And if you don't have an entrance at all, make one. "A lot of my buyers have mentioned that they don't like to just go through the front door into the living room," says Los Angeles-based realtor Rhonda Kohn.

This problem, more common in condos and apartments, is solved by cleverly placing furniture to create more of an entryway. "A console table or demilune chest of drawers with something over it creates a welcoming vignette," says designer Sue Adams of Andover, Mass.

2. Hardwood Floors

Realtors agree that most buyers are hunting for hardwood. You can bet that of all types of flooring, hardwood floors will "have the most longevity and will never go out of style," according to designer Linda Applewhite of Sausalito, Calif.

A synthetic wood floor, like Pergo, "is always a good option for those who can't afford hardwood," furthers real estate agent Rhonda Kohn. But know that a laminate floor "won't fool everyone - it has a hollow thud when you walk on it and it doesn't look the same," adds designer Sue Adams.

3. Fab Fixtures
"Fixtures," says designer Linda Applewhite, "are the jewelry of the house." Only the extremely detail-oriented among us will stop to inspect doorknobs, faucets and cabinet knobs, but designers and real estate agents argue that we'll prefer the look of a place that has coordinated fixtures that are a cut above standard developer grade.
"Newer construction is so chintzy with fixtures and fittings," observes Miami-based interior designer Simon Temprell. Replacing knobs and drawer pulls "is the quickest way to make over a bathroom or kitchen," he says. And when it comes to faucets, he adds, "for $60 or $70 dollars you can buy something infinitely better" than what you likely already have.

 4.Beautiful Baths

According to real estate agents, marble counters, whirlpool baths and steam showers up the attractiveness of any bathroom. But if you don't have these luxury items, it may be more practical to address the unattractive aspects of your existing bath.

"Rip out that big sheet mirror and those globe lights that look like you're in a theater dressing room," suggests designer Simon Temprell.

Replace them with an elegant framed mirror (don't be afraid to look outside the bathroom section, he says) and sconce lighting on either side.

This lighting scheme is also more flattering to the face, observes designer Sue Adams, and making buyers feel pretty will pay off!

5. Countertop Considerations
You've probably heard that granite is the secret to a contemporary kitchen, but that's not necessarily what buyers are after. "It's really about the slab," says designer Linda Applewhite. Buyers don't want to see grout lines on their counters, she explains.So when it comes to slab countertops, granite is the top pick because it's hard, nonporous and easy to care for. But then again, so is Corian, so are composite stone surfaces such as Silestone and, she notes, with the help of today's sophisticated sealants, so are concrete, limestone, soapstone and marble.
Even butcher-block, which is much less expensive than stone, can be a more appealing alternative to tile or laminate countertops. "When it gets funky, you can sand it and oil it and it looks good again," she says.

Already have granite? Make it cutting edge. "A lot of people are honing their granite now," adds Applewhite. "What that does is knock it down and make it more matte, so it looks warmer and more inviting. Shiny surfaces can look very cold."

6. Steel This Idea
Why do buyers go bananas for stainless-steel appliances? It's the power of suggestion. "A kitchen with stainless appliances looks like a commercial kitchen. It makes people think that they're great cooks," observes designer Sue Adams, "but because the finish shows fingerprints, it's not for everyone."
As far as other alternatives go, the designers agree that in general, black fixtures can look dated, while white is okay for a country kitchen. And some people are making appliances blend in beautifully by ordering front panels to match their cabinetry.

7. Pre-Organized Closets
Just as stainless appliances convince buyers that they are better cooks, closet organizers make buyers believe that they are better homemakers. If your closets are unadorned, don't underestimate the importance of this easy addition.
"They make you feel secure and calm and people need that," notes designer Sue Adams. And while you don't need to use high-end organizers, make sure that the materials are up-to-date. "Twenty years ago, closet organizers meant wire shelves. You can't slide anything over a wire shelf. You can't even put a hanger in some of them," she says. Today's ideal would be "melamine shelves, in bone or white, with some drawers and metal rods to maximize storage," she says.

This organization shouldn't stop in the closet - make sure your kitchen cabinets are orderly, too. "If they open up a door and see a big pantry, but it's not organized properly, it won't be as exciting as something already organized with a place for everything," says real estate agent Theresa Evans.

8. Light Up
"Floor lamps just don't cut it these days," says real estate agent Rhonda Kohn. If your home doesn't get a lot of natural light, consider installing recessed lighting or new sconces, or both, so the buyer won't struggle to figure out how to brighten up the space.
"Lighting is probably the most overlooked, yet the most important aspect of interior decoration," designer Simon Temprell says, adding, "In newer construction, you don't have sufficient lighting. The reality is that everyone needs three types - task, ambient and decorative lighting - which allow you to change the mood of the room."

When it comes to recessed lighting, know that the smaller the fixture, the more updated it is. "We used to have six-inch apertures, now we have four-inch openings. And using halogen bulbs gives a cleaner, more modern look," says designer Sue Adams.

9. Built-In Bonus
Interior Designer Linda Applewhite observes that many buyers view built-ins as "free furniture." Well-crafted bookshelves, china cabinets and entertainment units can "make a home stand out as quality," adds designer Sue Adams.
On the other hand, says designer Simon Temprell, "It can be a catch-22 because some people would rather organize their own furniture. Sometimes it's better to have freestanding pieces that look like built-ins, that you can give the buyer the option to purchase."

10. Grass Is Greener
Are the homebuyers in your area families with young children? If so, they'll be drawn to spaces with a flat, open lawn.
Were you thinking of putting in a concrete patio or rock garden? Don't bother if you're putting your home on the market. "A flat yard is a real plus. Spend some money and put in the grass. It's a good seller," says real estate agent Rhonda Kohn.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hoboken Closings are Up and Discounts are Down

The market has heated up a little. It's taking 21% less time for a unit to go from listing to contract - 93 to 73 days on the market on average. In Arpil, we expect to have over 60 closings while in January we only 34....that's up 90%. Units are also closing at a smaller discount off the original listing price....9.92% to 5.53%

I wanted to re-post this article so that you can compare it to the 2006-2009 review.

Price Per Square Foot 2006 thru 2009 - Hoboken from Hoboken Real Estate

Here is the graph everyone wants to see. How has Hoboken done in this recession compared to national rates? Taking data from - the National Association of Realtor site and looking at empirical data (below), we see that Q4 2008 was the low point. National dollars sales for condos were down 22% from the peak.

Notice how the large decline in price per square foot was in Q4 2008 across all unit types except for studios. There are relatively few studios in Hoboken and with 800-1025 total sales per year over the period, the number of studios is small. Given that this analysis does not take into account location in type, building amenities such as elevator, concierge, gym etc., it is not surprising that with such a low number of transactions in the data set for studios, it’s not surprising to see the price per square foot for studios vary widely. Simply put, buying a studio at Maxwell Place is going to sell at a much higher price per square foot then buying a studio in a walkup. I would say the same about 4 bedroom condos. There are few 4 bedroom condos so a 33% drop in Q4 2008 can be skewed by a small number in the data set.

What’s more interesting is looking at the 1, 2, 3 bedroom units where there is a robust number of units in the dataset. Q4 2008 is definitely the low point and below the national average in terms of market degradation by approximately 4 percentage points. That is, Hoboken faired better than the national average for condo sales thru this recession. Again not surprising.

The percent decline in Q1 2009 is smaller than Q4 2008 and turns to an increase in price per square foot by Q3 2009. Are we on our way out? What will happen once the First Time Home Buyer Credit expires? Stay tuned.

Here is the empirical data from

National Re Sales 4_10

30 Year Fixed Rate over the Last 6 Months

National Rate Survey from Hoboken Real Estate

Rates seem to be inching up week after week. Is inflation on it's way??

Monday, April 26, 2010

Year over Year Sales 2006-2009 from Hoboken Real Estate

Hoboken condo sales only. Dollars are stated in $ millions.

You can see how volume peaked in 2007 with over 1045 deals at a staggering $595MM in dollar volume for the 1 Square Mile City of Hoboken. 2009 was definitely abysmal with a 20% drop in both deal and dollar volume. Deals this quarter are up over 50% from last quarter (110 v 86, $62MM v. $42MM through April 18th). More evidence that the bottom is hardening....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hoboken Weekly Statistics from Hoboken Real Estate

Use the weekly statistics to track the market. Bid on your new home with confidence!

See the price per square foot by neighborhood, by the number of bedrooms. What have units sold for? What are they listed for today?

Weekly Stats Public 2009

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What Happens to the Unpaid Balance After a Short Sale?

Most people who are thinking about doing a short sale want to know what happens to the unpaid loan balance after the sale. Homeowners often ask me if they are going to be responsible for the difference between the reduced amount their bank receives at closing and the amount they actually owed for their mortgage. After a short sale, your lender will either:

1) Issue you a 1099C*
2) Pursue a deficiency judgment against you in court*
3) Do nothing
*A bank cannot issue a 1099C and pursue a deficiency judgment against you at the same time-they must choose one or the other

The unpaid loan balance after a short sale will most likely result in a 1099C. By issuing you a 1099, your bank gets an immediate tax benefit from a short sale. The 1099 your bank sends you after a short sale can register as income, which may result in you owing taxes. However, there are many exceptions that exclude canceled debt for tax purposes, so a 1099 may not adversely affect you. You should speak with a competent accountant for advice on the financial consequences of a 1099.

After a short sale, your lender may pursue a deficiency judgment against you. A deficiency judgment only occurs if a bank sues a borrower for the unpaid loan balance after a short sale and wins the court case. If the bank wins, the borrower is legally required to pay the amount of the judgment (Note: retirement accounts are generally protected from creditors even if a bank wins a deficiency judgment in court).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

National Mortgage Rate Survey from Hoboken Real Estate Monitor

Real Property Sales in Hoboken for Q1 2010

Real Property Sales

Discounts on real tend are smaller because they are not as ubiquitous as condos. There are only so many and each of them is like selling a precious and unique gem. The amount of time from list to contract is surprisingly short at 60 days. Stay tuned as I pulled data going back to 2006 and will be comparing this quarter year over year so we can see whether or not the market has turned (I think it has but will it last??)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hoboken Closings Are Up and Discounts are Down in 2010 (condos only)

The market has heated up a little. It's taking 21% less time for a unit to go from listing to contract - 93 to 73 days on the market on average. In Arpil, we expect to have over 60 closings while in January we only 34....that's up 90%. Units are also closing at a smaller discount off the original listing price....9.92% to 5.53%

Jersey City Map by Neighborhood from Hoboken Real Estate


Friday, April 16, 2010

Urban Real Estate Trends

Emerging Trends in Real Estate

Where are the best bets for development and investment in 2010? This forecast will give you the heads-up on where to invest, what to develop, which markets are hot, and how the economy, and trends in capital flows will affect real estate. The report tells you what to expect and where the best opportunities are:

* Describes trends in the capital markets, including sources and flows of equity and debt.
* Advises you on which property sectors offer opportunities and which to avoid.
* Features a detailed analysis and prospects for office, retail, industrial, hotel, residential, and mixed-use property sectors.
* Discusses which metropolitan areas offer the most and least potential, and why.

Highlights from Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2010

Commercial real estate industry investors and professionals remain decidedly negative, colored by distress over prospects for an extended period of anemic demand and costly de-leveraging, according to respondents of the Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2010 report, released the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

Survey respondents predict that commercial real estate vacancies will continue to increase and rents will decrease across all property sectors before the market hits bottom in 2010 and projects value declines of 40 percent to 50 percent off 2007 market peaks. Survey participants also believe that 2010 and 2011 will present generational opportunities for investors to buy at or near cyclical lows.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Open House & New Listings Map from Hoboken Real Estate

Hoboken Real Estate Monitor's Open House Map Open houses are picking up again as the weather warms and the real estate season opens. The Map is a great tool for starting the real estate purchase process. Walk around Hoboken on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, looking at real estate. Get an idea of what your dollar can buy, in what part of town, with what amenity level. The map is refreshed through Thursday afternoon so be sure to stop by again before your weekend search. Sort by price, number of bedrooms or day of week! By subscribing, you will be able to not only get the basics - price, number of bedrooms, and street location but will get the unit number, and the full Multiple Listing Service listing with photos, square footage and more. . . .

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Weekly Mortgage Rates

Monday, April 12, 2010

Perched directly on the cliff just above Hoboken, 232 Ogden has spectacular views. Ogden is a quiet, one way street with limited access.

Large shared driveway for your guest + huge gargage (enough for 4 cars + private storage closets.)

232 Ogden is right next to Mountain Ave. - a winding road that leads directly to Hoboken's 2nd Street Light Rail Station.

Unit 1 Price - $725,000, 2245 square feet, 2 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths, 275 Square foot terrace(facing the city), indoor parking for 2 cars, Storage/Guest room, View of Hoboken and Manhattan

Unit 2 Price - $615,000, 1700 square feet,2 bedrooms, 2.5 Bath, 130 square foot balcony(facing the city), 1 car parking, View of Hoboken and Manhattan

Unit 3 Price - $695,000, 1800 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2.5 Baths, 130 square foot balcony (facing the city), Juliet balcony in the living room facing north, 2 car indoor parking, view of Hoboken and Manhattan, Private Elevator to the unit Roof Deck Private roof deck deeded to this unit

Taxes: To be determined based on sale price.
All 3 units have fireplaces, granite counter tops and top of the line stainless steel appliances.

Call Donna Antonucci with any interest at 201-240-6832 or email

Living room with direct eastern exposure

Kitchen - granite counter tops, high end stainless appliances

Master Bath

Master Bedroom

Office or Dressing room off of the master

Second Bedroom

View to the South looking out over the large terrace

This was the winning postcard. Did anyone understand the other one? The lizard version? That was supposed to be a monitor lizard. Bet you didn't know there was such a kind. I thought it was clever. A few folks thought of Geiko. Thanks again.

If there are any suggestions for the site in terms of useful tools are articles, please write me at

Thanks again.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Our New Logo

Hello all,

I hope that many of you noticed my postcard in the mail. We tested two different logos and 3 creative executions..... and the winner is.....

The winning concept was designed by Padraic Gallagher, the owner and operator of Hoboken City Guide. Look for the card in your mailbox. It does offer a complimentary competitive marketing analysis along with the card. If you can't use it give it to a friend.

Thanks all,

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Weekly Real Estate Statistics from Hoboken Real Estate Monitor

Use the weekly statistics to track the market. Bid on your new home with confidence!

See the price per square foot by neighborhood, by the number of bedrooms. What have units sold for? What are they listed for today?

Weekly Stats Public 2009

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Weekly Map 4/7/2010

Hoboken Real Estate Monitor's Open House Map Open houses are picking up again as the weather warms and the real estate season opens. The Map is a great tool for starting the real estate purchase process. Walk around Hoboken on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, looking at real estate. Get an idea of what your dollar can buy, in what part of town, with what amenity level. The map is refreshed through Thursday afternoon so be sure to stop by again before your weekend search. Sort by price, number of bedrooms or day of week! By subscribing, you will be able to not only get the basics - price, number of bedrooms, and street location but will get the unit number, and the full Multiple Listing Service listing with photos, square footage and more. . . .

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The For Sale Sign Is In The Yard: What's Next?

Your listing agreement is signed and you're heading out to install the lockbox and yard sign for your fabulous new listing! By this afternoon, the property will be entered into the MLS, and hopefully your fancy-schmantzy home brochures will be delivered by the end of the week.

Whew! You're done, right? Time to move onto the next listing prospect!

Well, that's up to you, but I don't recommend it.

Those first two weeks of a new listing provide a beautiful window of opportunity to knock the sox off your seller and cement your position as his or her all-time favorite real estate agent. Oh, and by knocking the sox off your new seller out of the gate, you might buy yourself a little grace if, down the road, you unintentionally drop the ball (it happens)!

When you put a new listing on the market, strive to have contact with your seller every single day for the first week; and into the second week if possible. Remember, while listing a home may be just another day at the office for us, it's a monumental event for most home-sellers. They are watching our every move (or lack of movement) very closely and commenting on those moves (or lack thereof) to their peers.

So, what can you do to knock some sox those precious first two weeks of a new listing?

All About Home Inspections

If you are in the market to buy a home, then it is time to understand the basics of home inspections.

According to the National Association of Realtors, 77 percent of home buyers had a home inspection prior to purchasing their home, and Realtors report that 84 percent of home buyers requested a home inspection as part of their contract.

When choosing a home inspector, you want to find a qualified and experienced professional. In this field, that means having client contacts or testimonials to back up their work, as well as the appropriate state license to operate as a home inspector. Not every state requires a license, and if not, you can ask whether of not they are a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Association of Home Inspectors. In your inspector interview, ask about cost, whether they offer a guarantee on their work, how long their inspection should take, and how you'll be receiving the report (written or otherwise).

Some inspectors charge a flat rate, but the cost can vary depending on the size of the job, the expertise level of the inspector, among many other factors. As a ballpark, an inspection can cost around $400.

You should expect a typical inspection to take several hours. Smaller homes take less time than larger or older homes. If you really want to be invested in this process, it is recommended that you are present for the inspection. Ask for things to be explained as you go – including how certain things work and where valves, switches, and such are.

Be sure to ask for a written report,and consider asking for price estimate for repairs. A repair estimate is a good negotiation tool when it comes to settling on a final sale price for a home.

It is important to note that a home inspection is not a gold stamp of approval that your new home will be in perfect working order. Things break and items will need repaired. Your home inspector is not liable for repairs or damages.

You can, however expect an inspection of hundreds of items, including: Structural elements, exterior evaluation, roof and attic, plumbing, systems and components, electrical, appliances, and the garage.

Real Estate Outlook: Positive Track

When home prices, mortgage applications to buy homes and consumer confidence are ALL pointing upward, even the perpetual doomsayers on Wall Street have to admit: Housing in the U.S. looks like it's on a very positive track.

And that's where we are right now. The latest monthly Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index came in higher last week. Prices were up in 12 of the 20 major markets that Case Shiller monitors.

On a year-over-year basis, prices gained nine percent in San Francisco, six percent in San Diego, about four percent in metropolitan Dallas, Washington DC and Los Angeles, 2.6 percent in Denver and one and a half percent in Boston.

Even Cleveland, which has struggled with unemployment and distressed home sales, saw prices gain, though by only two tenths of a percent.

Not all markets were up in the Case Shiller index of course; Las Vegas, Detroit and Tampa all continued to lose ground in the past 12 months. The turnarounds there are still sometime down the road.

Consumer confidence also improved significantly in the last month, as measured by the Conference Board. That's hugely important for overall economic growth and for home sales in the months ahead.

Green Design Trends in 2010

The recession may have you staying put instead of moving up. Let's look at what the experts say are some of the green design trends for your home in 2010.

The American Institute of Architects reports that "without the rapid appreciation in home values seen between 1995 and 2005, design of kitchens and bathrooms has recently been somewhat more modest. Functionality is now preferred to more and larger kitchens and bathrooms within U.S. homes. Households are placing a premium on products and features that promote energy efficiency, and adaptability in the use of space for seniors and those with accessibility concerns. ... Integrating kitchens with family space remains a design priority, as does including areas devoted to recycling, pantries, computer workstations, and spaces devoted to recharging laptops, cell phones and PDAs.”

This kind of "reverse growth" is a blessing when it comes to cost savings. The average U.S. household spends around $1,900 a year on utility bills. The U.S. Department of Energy says green ways can cut your bills by up to 25 percent. Functional design is a good place to make big changes.

Some other popular green trends include:

Interior Designers Create The Right Starting Point

By the time you're ready to take possession of the first real estate you've every bought -- your first house, semi or condominium unit -- you'll probably be swamped with advice and design ideas from friends and family who've "been there."

Even if you've made decisions based on this information and your own research, take a fresh look at your new home before you act on these preconceived ideas. Prior to moving in, you've probably spent less than an hour or two in the property you'll call home for years. Slow down. Get to know the real advantages and disadvantages of what you've bought before you start ripping it apart.

When you open the door for the first time, you may be surprised by how much you didn't remember or that you remembered wrong about the space.

Those who bought a carefully-staged home, discover recreating that ambiance is not so easy when presented with an empty space.

If you've only seen building plans, the 3D "square foot" reality may hold surprises.

That fixer-upper you bought may look even worse when the place is vacant.
There is art and science in translating vacant space into a home while staying on budget and on schedule and remaining sane—that's where Interior Designers come in.

You may be under the popular misconception that hiring an interior designer is an added expense for two reasons: their fee and a believed-need to purge the old and buy new. If you believe this, you have missed an important point: experience makes any project easier and the results more impressive.

No Need to Hit the Panic Button Yet – Added Jobs Push Mortgage Rates Up

For those worried the end of government mortgage-backed securities purchasing could spell a dramatic increase in home loan rates, there's no need to hit the panic button just yet. A slight rise (+0.125) in long term interest rates Friday was more the product of a Labor Department report showing that the US added 162,000 jobs in March, the biggest monthly gain in three years, than it was a direct effect of the March 31st Fed MBS exit.

Mortgage-backed securities prices, which drive mortgage rates in the opposite direction, have dropped twice in the past 10 days each time pushing conforming 30-yr fixed rates up 1/8, once before and once after March 31st.

Reports depicting the up-tic in rates as the end of an era of low fixed mortgage rates are unfounded. While in a doomsday scenario it's speculated the Fed exit from MBS buying could leave a void in MBS markets big enough that demand and prices plummet causing long term fixed rates to skyrocket, fed officials suggest private buyers are ready to step in and take their place.

According to conventional 30-yr fixed mortgages are available today at 5 percent to well qualified consumers paying a standard .07 to 1 point origination. 15-yr fixed mortgages are now available at 4.375 percent, up from 4.25. Today's 5/1 ARM rates are at 3.75 percent, up from 3.625. Despite the sub 4 percent 5/1 ARM rate, data shows borrowers are choosing fixed loans over adjustable loans at a record ratio and have been for several months (96 percent of new mortgages are fixed - Freddie Mac).

FHA 30-yr fixed mortgages are available at 4.875 percent today, an 1/8 lower than conventional loans. Securing FHA financing means a higher APR, despite the note rate and origination being the same, MI and other FHA fees charged on FHA loans drive up the cost. Increasing those costs yesterday was a boost to MI from 1.75 to 2.25 percent of the loan amount. 1.75. The increase (+0.50) in the premium (MI) charged to borrowers at closing is part of an effort to help the Federal Housing Administration guard against losses from record high loan default rates.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Year over Year Sales in Hoboken - 2010 is up 50% in sales in units and dollars

How does one know if it’s a good time to enter (or re-enter) the housing market? That’s the million dollar question. Although there are many factors that buyers and sellers have to be aware of such as mortgage interest rate trends, the job market, starting salaries, property taxes, impending inflation, etc. that can impact the market, one key indicator is the real estate market itself. Are units moving? What part of the market is moving? Starter units? High end?

Overall in Hoboken, 110 units sold in 2010 between January 1st and March 14, 2010 v. only 86 units last year over the same period. That’s a 28% increase. Yes, 1st quarter 2009 was the worst quarter for real estate sales in recent history but it’s still a good sign that it’s up and it’s up that much. In terms of total dollars transacted, it was $62MM in 2009 v $47MM in 2010 in the period, otherwise said, a 32% increase.

First Time Home Buyer Credit Extended to April 30th

First Time Homebuyer Credit was extended as of November 2009 both in terms of the deadline for use and the purchase price of a home. Unless Congress extends it again, it is set to expire April 30th 2010. You must have a contract of sale by April 30th, 2010 to take advantage of the tax credit program.

See the grid to the below and the IRS instructions and forms below. You can download them here.

*Income Limits Rise

The new law raises the income limits for people who purchase homes after Nov. 6. The full credit will be available to taxpayers with modified adjusted gross incomes (MAGI) up to $125,000, or $225,000 for joint filers. Those with MAGI between $125,000 and $145,000, or $225,000 and $245,000 for joint filers, are eligible for a reduced credit. Those with higher incomes do not qualify.

For homes purchased prior to Nov. 7, 2009, existing MAGI limits remain in place. The full credit is available to taxpayers with MAGI up to $75,000, or $150,000 for joint filers. Those with MAGI between $75,000 and $95,000, or $150,000 and $170,000 for joint filers, are eligible for a reduced credit. Those with higher incomes do not qualify.

New Requirements

Several new restrictions on purchases that occur after Nov. 6 go into effect with the new law:

* Dependents are not eligible to claim the credit.
* No credit is available if the purchase price of a home
is more than $800,000.
* A purchaser must be at least 18 years of age on the
date of purchase.

*The information in this paragraph came directly from the website. Please always consult your tax advisor.

Homebuyer Tax Credit Word

Form 5405 - 1st Time Homebuyer Cr.