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Wall Street Journal: A Good Time to Buy? Yes March 31, 2010

Posted by Neal Snyder in Real Estate.
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A little stress relief for househunters in today’s economy — according to the Wall Street Journal’s real estate blog, homes are a good investment overall.

Many housing economists say that for borrowers who can get a mortgage and who have stable incomes, pulling the trigger on a house they like makes a lot of sense right now. (Of course, they also note that the days of buying high-end properties as high-yield investments are history, at least for the time being).

the headline goes on, “…but no need to rush.”

…the market is still oversupplied. And those who do make purchases need to be realistic about the potential for some future price declines.  … On the other hand, as mortgage rates are low for those who can get financing. “If you’re waiting because you think the price might get better, well, the mortgage rate could go in the wrong direction,” says John Burns, a real-estate consultant based in Irvine, Calif. He says it could be a good time to buy generally speaking in markets where values have returned to 2003 levels.

Based on the trends  HERE (House Almanac) and  HERE (Yahoo Real Estate – click “10 yr” on the market value graph) , even though values declined 2008-2009, San Antonio homes are worth far more than they were in 2003.

via A Good Time to Buy? Yes, But No Need to Rush – Developments – WSJ.

Yet another good reason to move… December 4, 2009

Posted by imcomtransformation in Moving, Real Estate, Relocation.
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Home buyer tax credit extended
The $8,000 federal homebuyer tax credit was set to expire on Nov. 30, but President Barack Obama recently signed the Workers, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act, which extended the tax credit to those who purchase a home or have one under contract to April 30, 2010.
Obama signed the new law on Nov. 6. It goes into effect immediately.
The $8,000 tax credit is still for first-time homebuyers or for those who have not owned a home in three or more years. The new law expands the program to include homeowners who have owned a home for five or more years, and qualifies them for up to $6,500 in tax rebates.
The law also extends unemployment insurance for up to20 additional weeks. It extends the Economic Recovery Act small-business tax cuts for an additional year and expands the act’s reach to larger businesses.
The extension of the homebuyer’s tax credit is good news for local Realtors who have reported an increase in sales in the region, primarily by first-time homebuyers.
“What I have seen is a lot of use (of the $8,000 tax credit) in the under-$200,000 market,” said Mark Dingeldein, a Realtor with ERA D Lee Edwards Realty. “It has been very popular and successful.
I’ve probably worked with five different people that have used that.”
By Eric J Weilbacher,
The Herald-Zeitung
Excerpted from San Antonio Roundup Newsletter, published by Barbara Morgan, D’Ann Harper Realtors, Web site, barbmorgan.com.

Texas Veterans Land Board September 2, 2009

Posted by imcomtransformation in Moving, Real Estate, Relocation, San Antonio Economy.
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Check out this opportunity for veterans relocating in Texas…
History of Texas Veterans Programs
Texas, unlike many other states, has been historically a “cash poor” but “land rich” state. Since the days of the Texas Republic, Texas has given its veterans land in recognition of their military service. In the days of Sam Houston, that debt for service was paid to Texas veterans in grants of land. Following World War II, this tradition was continued with the creation of the Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) in 1946 to administer a new program which would provide low-interest, long-term loans to Texas veterans for the purchase of land.

Since its inception, more than 120,000 Texas veterans have taken advantage of this self-supporting program without costing the taxpayers a single penny. The program is funded by issuing bonds authorized by the voters; the bonds, as well as the cost of administering the program, are paid for by the veterans who participate in the program.

In 1983, the Legislature created the Veterans Housing Assistance Program to assist Texas veterans in purchasing a home. Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment authorizing the issuance of bonds to fund the program.

In 1986, the VLB expanded the Veterans Housing Assistance Program, adding the Veterans Home Improvement Program to provide below-market interest rate loans to qualified Texas veterans for home repairs and improvements to their existing homes.

Biden Announces Pentagon Housing Assistance Program Expansion June 4, 2009

Posted by imcomtransformation in Relocation, Uncategorized.
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By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2009 – Vice President Joe Biden today announced the Defense Department’s plan to expand its housing assistance program with $555 million devoted to servicemembers forced to sell their homes at a loss due to the country’s struggling housing market.
The financial support comes from President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to supplement the department’s Homeowner’s Assistance Program, Biden said aboard the USS Ronald Reagan during a visit with sailors and their families at Naval Base Coronado in San Diego. (<a href=" “>Read entire article)

Why the Texas housing market is strong April 20, 2009

Posted by imcomtransformation in Real Estate.
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Strong, diverse economy: Texas is strong in industries that are still growing (such as professional and business services, education and health services, government) and has the second largest economy in the nation by DGP, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Healthy job market: Texas’ unemployment rate consistently remained well below the national average for all of 2008, and is currently the 16th lowest in the United States, despite having one of the largest populations.

Top state to relocate: According to Allied Van Lines’ 41st annual Magnet States Report, Texas is the number 1 destination state for residential relocation for the 4th year in a row. New data from the US Census Bureau confirms that Texas gained more residents (484,000) between July 2007 and July 2008 than any other state.

Texas real estate remains a strong long-term investment: The average sales price of a home in Texas increased $15,200 from January 2004 to January 2008. Over the same four-year period, the median sales price in Texas increased $10,900.

Texas has a balanced market: At the end of 2008, Texas had 6.4 months inventory of homes for sale. Economists at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University say that approximately 6 1/2 months of inventory is a balanced market, when homes are selling and prices continue to increase at a moderate pace.

Steady, positive price appreciation: Unlike states such as California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona that experienced dramatic spikes in home prices in years past, home prices in Texas have appreciated steadily. That’s one reason the state hasn’t seen the dramatic drops in value. In fact, home-price appreciation in Texas has not fallen below zero in the last 16 years.

Texas homes are more affordable: According to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Texas homes are substantially more affordable than national averages. Using the correlation between home values and personal salaries, the typical Teas family can purchase a median –priced home for twice the median household income in Texas. In contrast, the typical US household requires three times the annual household income to purchase a median-priced home.

Lowest mortgage interest rates in history: As part of efforts to stimulate the US housing market, the Federal Reserve has decreased interest rates to some of the lowest in history. According to Freddie Mac, on March 27, 2009, the rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.85 percent, the lowest since the organization started tracking rates in 1971.

First-time homebuyer incentives: Most first-time homebuyers can now qualify for an $8,000 income tax credit on the purchase of a first home that does not require repayment.

Most borrowers are approved: Despite perceptions to the contrary, research by the National Association of REALTORS indicates that 91 percent of buyers in Texas were not rejected by lenders in 2008.

Contributed by Barbara Morgan, bmorgan@cbharper.com