President Obama announces HARP extension. The HARP refinance program was designed by the government to save homeowners thousands on their mortgage. The President announced the decision to extend HARP into 2015 allowing more homeowners to realize their savings potential. Thanks to these new government programs mortgage rates are now at an all-time low and homeowners are acting fast to take advantage of their opportunity t o refinance. Essential to FIND A LOCAL LENDER WHO CAN MAKE THIS WORK. CALL US FOR A LIST OF LENDERS at 903-571-2191.
Complexities of collecting sales tax on Internet sales has been debated for 15 years. Internet companies have to deal with each state. A company like Amazon finally agreed to pay each state as necessary. Opponents say it is time consuming and uneconomical for business, but Congress may approve the STREAMLINED SALES AND USE TAX AGREEMENT. Companies like Amazon will support this as long as it is streamlined and uniform. This will allow a level playing field for brick-and-mortar stores who have employees and pay property taxes to their local communities. When you order ON LINE SEE IF SALES TAXES ARE CHARGED. We are seeing some that already!
The Internet tax issue gained national attention in the late 1990s. State governors wanted the sales tax revenue, but Internet proponents said the Internet was still in its infancy and collecting taxes could have serious consequences for future growth. Also concerns about taxing Internet access and usage. By 11/1/2014 Congress has sent up the use of taxes for merchandise purchased on line, but so far no one has totally figured out how to do it. Assuming the average sales tax is 5% ( 6.25% in TX), the states are loosing $11 billion in sales taxes not collected in 2013. MORE TO COME.
Traditionally, an Internet company can only be responsible for collecting sales if it has a “nexus” (presence) in the state where the consumer resides. Nexus can be created if the vendor has people or property located in the state. A nexus can be temporary as when sales people travel the state selling products. Building a warehouse in the state creates a permanent nexus. For example, Amazon.com is located in Washington state, so a person in Texas does not pay sales tax, BUT Amazon opened a fulfillment center in the state, so much charge TexanS a sales tax. MORE TO COME TOMORROW.
Internet “stores” have been allowed to sell products without collecting sales. Sounds like a bargain for shoppers, and it is. Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar stores are required to collect sales tax from their customers. When local stores lose market share, 2 negative things happen to the state and local communities. First, as sales tax collections fall, lost revenue must be made up through higher property taxes or user fees. Second, as the value of shopping malls and retail centers fall, property tax revenue also declines. Consequently, the state of Texas and its cities must look for alternative revenue to make up for the loss of retail market share to the Internet, according to Dr. Mark G. Dotzour, TX A&M Real Estate Center.
69% of 1,000 consumers admitted to having a “home crush” – meaning a property they liked so much they looked at it more than once on line or in person. 41% of women are more likely to have a “crush”, but only 30% of men. 36% of men said they find a new house “crush” weekly, as compared to 29% of women. Among the favorite home features that made homebuyers hearts flutter: outdoor living space, open floor plans and curb appeal. Women looked at appliances and fixtures, while men looked at garage space. All this according to a National Association of Realtors survey.
One of the stickier points of the new Qualified Mortgage rule is the debt-to-income ratio requirement being set at 43% and 3% cap on some of the fees associated with closing costs charged by parties that are affiliated with each other. The fees are capped at 3% if loan is more than $100,000 or at much as 5% of a $20,000 to $60,000 loan. If the cap on fees is 3% then lenders will have to adjust their fees and those charging REASONABLE FEES SHOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM. All of this is from the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 to stop predatory lending practices. There are a few exceptions. Get with a COMPETENT LOCAL LENDER when applying for a loan!!
North Texas Home sales were down 1% last month from a year earlier, marking the 1st drop in year-over-year preowned home sales since early 2010. Homes sold by real estate agents in January were the smallest number of monthly sales in North TX in almost 2 years. Bad weather and a low 2.6 month supply of single family offered for sale by real estate agents in a 50-county areas since early 2012 is contributing to all this. Sales are still OK in the EAST TEXAS area, but inventory is HIGHER. Still one needs to buy as INTEREST RATES STILL LOW. Closed one today for an investor at 4.5% for 25 years and they are pleased!
A memorandum of understanding recognizes Texas’ right to access the Texoma Pump Station at Lake Texoma signed by Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Gov. Mary Fallin, Oklahoma. The reservoir lies on the Texas-Oklahoma border & allows Texas to divert water from the pump without any additional authorization from Oklahoma. The agreement comes less than a year after the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Oklahoma in the RED RIVER WATER DISPUTE with the Tarrant Regional Water District.
DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS. Economists participating in a Wall Street Journal survey, including Lawrence Yun (Chief Economist, National Assoc. of Realtors) look at economic variables such as GDP, unemployment, inflation, housing starts, months’ supply, etc. REALTORS, by contrast look at number of listings, buyer traffic, listing prices, etc. Quite surprisingly, the expectations are similar. Both forecasts are “conservation” with no wild swings. Both are projecting 4 – 5% gains, which is the most optimistic in 6 years. Mortgage rates must stay down, but stagnant wages are hurting some. 14 states, including TEXAS, have made stronger price gains.