New Stimulus and Stability Plans Equal Opportunities!
Over the past few weeks, we've seen the birth of unprecedented stimulus plans and legislation that impact the housing and home loan industries. The provisions of these plans could have huge implications for those who are considering purchasing or refinancing a home. The articles below provide an overview of some benefits of the Economic Stimulus Plan and the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan that may impact you.
For example, the first article offers an easy-to-understand overview of two new initiatives introduced by the Obama Administration to help struggling homeowners. In addition, the $8,000 tax incentive article explains what the new tax incentive entails, as well as who qualifies for this benefit. Finally, the third article explains how you can take advantage of the higher loan limits that have now been extended!
These plans may be helpful to many of your friends, family members and coworkers. So please forward this newsletter on to them or let me know if they'd like to enjoy their own free subscription. And if you need any personal assistance at this time, simply call or email.
HOMEOWNER AFFORDABILITY AND STABILITY PLAN
President Obama unveiled his plan to help stabilize the housing market and keep millions of borrowers in their homes. The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan includes two initiatives to help struggling homeowners. One is an incentive for homeowners who have less than 20% equity in their homes, or who owe more than their home is worth. The second part attempts to lower monthly payments for homeowners at risk of losing their home. Here is a brief overview of both initiatives.
Less than 20% equity in your home? Under current rules, those families who own less than 20% equity in their homes have a difficult time taking advantage of the historically low interest rates. This initiative is open to homeowners who have conforming loans that are guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The plan would enable them to move to a new loan for up to 105% of their homes value.
According to the plan, "credit-worthy" or "responsible" homeowners can refinance their mortgage into a 30- or 15-year, fixed-rate loan based on current market rates. The new loan, however, cannot include prepayment penalties or balloon payments. For many families, this low-cost option may help reduce their monthly payments by up to thousands of dollars per year. As with the rest of the plan, details about this initiative will be released at a future date-including what, if any, credit score requirements will be included.
On the verge of default? This initiative aims at providing help to individual families as well as entire neighborhoods by helping reduce foreclosures and stabilize home prices. It is intended to help homeowners who are struggling to afford their monthly payments, but cannot sell their homes because prices have fallen significantly. The goal of this initiative is simple: "reduce the amount homeowners owe per month to sustainable levels." Homeowners who are current on their loans but are struggling can still apply for this program. As such, this is one of the few programs designed to help homeowners who may face delinquency soon, but are current at the moment.
Since the focus of this initiative is on helping families and neighborhoods, investment properties do not qualify.
These plans-combined with today's historically low interest rates-have created an unprecedented opportunity for homebuyers. If you have any questions or would like to discuss how this may specifically impact you, I'd be happy to sit down with you. Just call or email me to set up an appointment.
$8,000 TAX CREDIT FOR HOMEBUYERS
The $787 Billion stimulus bill is made up of tax cuts and spending programs aimed at reviving the US economy. Although the package was scaled down from nearly $1 Trillion, it still stands as the largest anti-recession effort since World War II. One of the major benefits of the plan is a tax credit for new homebuyers. According to the plan, first-time homebuyers who purchase homes from the start of the year until the end of November 2009 may be eligible for the lower of an $8,000 or 10% of the value of the home tax credit.
It's important to remember that the $8,000 tax credit is just that... a tax credit. It's a dollar-for-dollar tax reduction, rather than a reduction in a tax liability that would only save you $1,000 to $1,500 when all was said and done. So, if you were to owe $8,000 in income taxes and would qualify for the $8,000 tax credit, you would owe nothing.
Better still, the incentive is refundable, which means you can receive a check for the credit even if you have little income tax liability. For example, if you're liable for $4,000 in income tax, you can offset that $4,000 with half of the tax incentive... and still receive a check for the remaining $4,000!
The $8,000 incentive starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000 and is phased out completely at incomes of $170,000 for couples and $95,000 for single filers. To break down what this phase-out means, the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) offers the following examples:
Example 1: Assume that a married couple has a modified adjusted gross income of $160,000. The applicable phase-out threshold is $150,000, and the couple is $10,000 over this amount. Dividing $10,000 by $20,000 yields 0.5. When you subtract 0.5 from 1.0, the result is 0.5. To determine the amount of the partial first-time homebuyer incentive to this couple, multiply $8,000 by 0.5. The result is $4,000.
Example 2: Assume that an individual homebuyer has a modified adjusted gross income of $88,000. The buyer's income exceeds $75,000 by $13,000. Dividing $13,000 by $20,000 yields 0.65. When you subtract 0.65 from 1.0, the result is 0.35. Multiplying $8,000 by 0.35 shows that the buyer is eligible to reduce the tax liability by $2,800.
Remember, these are general examples. Borrows should consult a tax advisor to provide guidance relevant to their specific circumstances.
What Type of Home Qualifies?
The tax credit is applicable to any home that will be used as a principle residence. Based on that guideline, qualifying "homes" include single-family detached homes, as well as attached homes such as townhouses and condominiums. In addition, manufactured homes and houseboats used for principle residence also qualify. Buyers will have to repay the credit if they sell their homes within three years.
HIGHER, NON-JUMBO LOAN AMOUNTS EXTENDED
For those who are considering taking advantage of the $8,000 tax incentive for first-time homebuyers, there is some more good news that could make doing so easier and more accessible.
An extension is now officially in place on the higher loan limits for mortgages in the tier that lies just below what is considered a "jumbo" loan. First established last year, and now extended through the end of 2009, limits on this additional tier provide opportunities for many who are looking to either refi or, better yet, take the plunge into first time home ownership and grab a piece of the highly publicized $8,000 tax incentive.
Here are some key points about this higher loan limit extension, announced by the Fair Housing Finance Agency:
The non-jumbo, middle tier of home loans begins at loan amounts greater than $417,000 for single-unit homes.
The top end for this tier is $729,750 for single-unit homes.
The rates for these loans will again be slightly higher than conforming loan rates, but less expensive than the standard "jumbo" loan rates.
This higher limit on the non-jumbo tier is available in 250 counties across the United States.
For more information about qualifying for the opportunities that are provided by the stimulus plan, simply call or email to set up an appointment.
Meghan Knoy 115 E Goodwin Street Suite C Prescott, AZ 86303