Eye on Santa Fe

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – What it Means for Homeowners and Real Estate Professionals

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) worked throughout the tax reform process to preserve the existing tax benefits of homeownership and real estate investment, as well to ensure as many real estate professionals as possible would benefit from proposed tax cuts. Many of the changes reflected in the final bill were the result of the engagement of NAR and its members, not only in the last three months, but over several years.

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November 5, 2019

Election Day

Today is Election Day. If you watch the news every day you might get the impression that the only important races are Federal. However, in the “off” years, there are a slew of local races and even a few state-wide races being contested. The local representatives you vote for today might become Senators or even Presidents years from now. So be sure to vote and choose wisely.

Also of importance as October ended and November began — the jobs report, which followed the meeting of the Federal Reserve Board. While local elections are not going to roil the markets, fresh employment data and the Fed had the potential to cause waves. Add the first reading on economic growth for the third quarter and we had plenty of economic events going on. How did this all turn out?

The Fed’s decision to lower rates by .25% was highly anticipated. Preliminary indications were that this may be the last increase of the year. This was also not surprising, considering the first reading of the third quarter economic growth came in at 1.9%, indicating that the economy was continuing to grow, although at a slower pace than last year. The jobs data ended the week and the addition of 128,000 jobs was seen as better than expected considering we had a strike during the survey period, while the unemployment rate rose to 3.6% due to more workers entering the workforce. Also of importance was the revision of the previous two months upward by 95,000 jobs and wage inflation continuing to grow at a moderate pace. After seeing all this data, we can say that economic growth is slower, but still growing mainly due to the real estate sector and consumer spending.

Scott Robinson, Gateway Mortgage Group

REAL ESTATE NEWS

Here come the holidays. It’s the time of year for good cheer. It’s also the time of year when many sellers take their homes off the market, or wait until January to list them. But the smart money says they’re wrong to do so. For one thing, there’s usually less competition to attract would-be buyers during the holiday season. Busy with holiday parties, buying gifts and perhaps taking a family vacation, sellers don’t have the time to make their homes ready for sale, so they don’t even bother. But if they wait, other folks in the same boat will also be listing their houses. And before long, all of you could be vying for the same buyer. For another thing, people out looking at houses during the holiday season are not tire-kickers. They’re serious. They are just as busy as you are, but they’ve made buying a priority. Some need to find a place right away — maybe they’ve been transferred into the area, for example. And since they won’t have much inventory to choose from, you might be able to sell quicker — and at a higher price. Inside, your holiday decorations will make the house festive and welcoming. Yes, you’ll have to keep the place tidy. But nothing is as inviting as holiday decor. “Decorated homes engage the emotions,” says Debbie Reynolds of Platinum Properties in Clarksville, Tennessee. “Remember: Emotions buy.” Source: Lew Sichelman, The Housing Scene

A new survey by the National Association of Realtors found that 63% of those polled in Q3 2019 say they believe now is a good time to buy. Of those respondents, 34% said they “strongly” believe now is a good time to buy. “Interest rates are at historically low levels, so I see no sign of the optimism about home buying fading,” said NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. The survey reported that of those who believe now is a good time to buy, the silent generation (born between 1925 and 1945) were most likely to believe now is a good time to buy, with 75% expressing that belief. Older baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1954) followed as 72% believe now is a good time to buy a home. According to the NAR, 54% of respondents who have an income of under $54,000 said now is a good time to buy a home. The amount of people who believe now is a good time to buy increased as incomes went up, rising to 64% for those earning between $50,000 and $100,000. Seventy-two percent of those who make more than $100,000 say now is a good time to buy. “Not surprisingly, as incomes increase, the process of buying a home is less of a strain,” Yun said, “This has always been the case, but in this third quarter survey, we see it to an even greater extent – high earners are more open to buying a home.” Source: DS News

A strong economy, coupled with low interest rates, has jacked up the demand and the prices for vacation homes, according to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The data focused on 206 counties, or 6.6 percent of the total housing market, identified by the U.S. Census Bureau as vacation home counties. The median sale prices within vacation home counties increased by 36 percent between 2013 and 2018, compared to the 31 percent increase during the same period on all existing and new home sales. “Some people may visualize the common popular vacation destinations in the U.S. when considering a vacation home, such as counties in Florida or California,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “And although those locations have their share of vacation properties, we see that some homeowners prefer some of the other counties, including those in Massachusetts and New Jersey. These areas are often known for harsh weather conditions, but are popular nonetheless.” Source: NAR

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