Julie Johnson

Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate | David Winans & Associates

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New Home Buyers Downsizing and Going Green in Recession

February 2nd, 2010 · Economy, Taxes

For the first time since 1982, the square footage of completed new homes fell from an average 2,520 square feet to 2,480 square feet in 2009, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Smaller homes have been a trend for many years (fewer bedrooms and bathrooms) but the recession has accelerated that trend. And with rising energy costs, many prospective home buyers will be looking for smaller homes with greener alternatives such as energy efficient windows and appliances and programmable thermostats. Builders are likely to include those as standard features in their new homes.

Adding to the smaller home size trend are the new home buyers taking advantage of the $8,000 tax credit and those over 55 who will be looking to compromise size for a lower mortgage. The tax credit has been extended until April 30th and was expanded to include a tax credit for existing home owners.

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Expanded Tax Credit for First Time Home Buyers

January 8th, 2010 · Economy, Taxes

Great news for those who missed out on the new home buyers tax credit! Home buyers can take advantage of the extended new home buyers tax credit, up to $8,000 (or 10% of the purchase price), until April 30, 2010 . Additionally, existing homeowners can also take advantage of a new tax credit up to $6500 (or 10% of the purchase price) if they have lived in their existing home for 5 years and are purchasing a new primary residence.

There are stipulations to these credits though. Your contract to purchase must be written by April 30, 2010 and the deal must close by July 1, 2010 in order to claim the credit and the credit is less for those in the higher income brackets. This credit does not have to be repaid.

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Pending Sales for Homes Remains Higher Than Last Year

January 8th, 2010 · Market Updates

Great news for existing homeowners who are selling their homes. Not only are home sales higher than last year, but the newly expanded tax credit will allow existing homeowners to also get a tax credit when they purchase their new primary residence. They must have lived in their previous home for 5 years and the new home must be their primary residence. Existing homeowners can qualify for up to a $6500 tax credit! New home buyers can still qualify for up to $8,000.

Pending home sales were more than 15% higher for November 2009 than in 2008. According to Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist, “The fact that pending home sales are comfortably above year-ago levels shows the market has gained sufficient momentum on its own. We expect another surge in the spring as more home buyers take advantage of affordable housing conditions before the tax credit expires.”

You must have your contract written before April 30, 2010 and it must close before July 1, 2010 in order to take advantage of the non-repayable credit.

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$8,000 Tax Credit Now Available at Closing for FHA Loans

June 9th, 2009 · Real Estate, Taxes

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will now allow the maximum $8,000 tax credit to be applied at closing for qualified home buyers. Additionally, FHA will now allow those home buyers to use the credit to make a larger down payment (FHA still requires 3.5%), cover closing costs or to buy down their interest rate. This is great news for buyers and that means great news for sellers too. “A true housing recovery depends on buyers returning to the market and reducing inventory,” said National Association of REALTORS President Charles McMillan.

Even If you do not qualify for an FHA loan, you may still be able to qualify for the First Time Homebuyer Credit on your 2009 tax return as long as you purchase your home before December 1, 2009. See your mortgage and tax professionals for more information.

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Mortgage Rates Hit Record Low

March 22nd, 2009 · Economy, Taxes

One day after the Federal Reserve announced it would be doubling the amount of mortgage debt it would be buying, mortgage rates fell to a record low at well under 5%. This is the lowest that mortgage rates have been in more than 40 years and this is the perfect time to fulfill the American dream of being a homeowner!

Additionally, if you are a first time home buyer or you have not owned a home in the last three years, you may qualify for up to $8,000 in tax credits! These tax credits are available for homes purchased until 12/31/09 and can even be taken off your 2008 income tax (see your tax professional for details on how to file extensions or amended returns).

To fulfill your American dream of being a homeowner, contact Julie at 214-686-0685.

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North Texas Housing Market Fairing Better Than Most

February 27th, 2009 · Economy, Market Updates, Real Estate, Texas

The S & P has surveyed 20 large metropolitan areas regarding housing values. According to that survey, nationally, home values have plummeted well over 18 percent. In the 20 metropolitan areas that were surveyed, all are reporting decreases and 8 of the top 20 are reporting that values have declined more than 20 percent!

North Texas home values are fairing far better than the vast majority of the rest of the country. Between December 2007 and December 2008, home values in North Texas dropped by only 4.3 percent. North Texas ranks 2nd best in the areas surveyed.

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New Home Buyers Claim Tax Credit on 2008 Taxes for 2009 Purchase!

February 24th, 2009 · Real Estate, Taxes, Tips

The new stimulus package will allow new home buyers, defined as those who have not owned a home in the last three years, to take the maximum $8,000 tax credit off their 2008 taxes even though the purchased will take place in 2009. The tax credit is 10% of the purchase price with a maximum of $8,000 and is available to individuals making less than $75,000 per year or couples making less than $150,000 per year.

The great news is, if you purchase your home before the April 15th tax deadline, you can claim the credit directly on your return. If you are planning to buy a home in 2009 and you want to take advantage of the tax credit, you can file for an extension to file taxes later. You can also go ahead and file by the April 15th deadline and file an amended return later in the year. See your tax professional to file an extension or to file an amended return.

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Texas is tops in U.S exports

February 22nd, 2009 · Economy, Texas

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has just announced that for the 7th straight year, the state of Texas leads the nation in exports. All that exporting means jobs for Texans!

The exports coming from the Lone Star State, which include chemicals, electronics, oil and transportation equipment, totaled more than $192 billion which represents a 14% increase over 2007. The largest export recipients include Mexico, Canada, China, Holland and Brazil.

According to Texas Governor Rick Perry, there’s a reason for this success. “Maintaining our rank as the nation’s top exporting state is proof positive that Texas has sound policies in place to cushion it from the effects of an economic downturn,” he said.
To hear more about the great state of Texas visit www.texaplex.com

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Time to Buy – Existing home sales begin recovery

February 21st, 2009 · Economy, Real Estate

This may be the best time in decades to buy a home. With record low interest rates and very low home prices, housing may just lead the way to our economic recovery. And, it may have already stared.

According to Business Week, in December there was an increase in sales of existing homes. The inventory of unsold existing homes has dropped indicating that existing home sales may be stabilizing. Although, inventory may increase when home owners realize there are buyers out there.

The new stimulus package is offering an $8,000 tax credit to first time home buyers including home buyers who have not owned a home in more than three years. This tax credit and the historically low interest rates should help to keep boosting sales.

Source: Businessweek.com

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Stimulus package offers real $8,000 tax credit

February 17th, 2009 · Economy, Market Updates, Real Estate, Tips

The new stimulus package, set to be signed in Denver today by President Barack Obama, will contain some help for first time home buyers. The previous tax credit, which had to be repaid over 5 years, has been replaced by a real $8,000 tax credit that does not have to be repaid.

Homeowners who purchase homes between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009 will qualify as long as they haven’t owned a home in the last three years. Additionally, to keep out speculators, you will be required to live in your home, as your primary residence, for three years or the tax credit will have to be repaid.

Individuals who make less than $75,000 or couples making less than $150,000 will qualify for the full $8,000 tax credit amount. Those with higher incomes may still qualify for a partial credit.

Source: CNN.com

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