Fiscal Cliff and Real Estate

Late in the evening of Tuesday, January 1st Congress reached a settlement in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, and President Obama signed the legislation January 2nd.  As a result, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act was extended another year.  The measure will continue to exempt from taxation mortgage debt that is forgiven when homeowners and their mortgage lenders negotiate a short sale, loan modification (including principal reduction), or foreclosure.
The same provision also expired in California, but Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) introduced SB 30, which would waive the potential tax bill for Californians for all of 2013.  C.A.R. already signed on as the bill’s sponsor, and the two hope to fast track the bill through the Legislature.

Also under the fiscal cliff agreement, the so called “Pease Limitations” that reduce the value of itemized deductions are permanently repealed for most taxpayers but will be reinstituted for high income filers.  These limitations will only apply to individuals earning more than $250,000 and joint filers earning above $300,000.  The thresholds have been increased and are indexed for inflation so will rise over time.  Under the formula, filers gradually lose the value of their total itemized deductions up to a total of a 20 percent deduction.  The reinstitution of these limits has far less impact on the mortgage interest deduction (MID) than a hard dollar deduction cap, percentage deduction cap, or reduction of the amount of MID that can be claimed.

Capital gains rates on the sale of principal residences will remain unchanged and continues to exclude the first $250,000 for single taxpayers and $500,000 for married couples.

REALTORS® should encourage their clients to consult with their own tax advisers about their own individual tax situation.

Information provided by Sacramento Association of Realtors.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Home Affordable Modification Program Modifications down 27%

loan modifications
Image by TheTruthAbout... via Flickr

New data was released on 9/22/10 by Treasury and HUD on the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).  Just over 33,000 homeowners received a PERMANENT HAMP modification in August, 2010.  This figure is down 27% below the number of PERMANENT HAMP modifications in July, 2010. 

The borrowers whom received the PERMANENT HAMP modifications have seen their mortgage payments drop by a median of 36%, or more than $500 per month.  Homeowner’s who received these modifications saw their housing expenses fall from 45% to 31% of their monthly income

In August, 2010, 26,628 TRIAL HAMP modifications were added to the HAMP roster.  Currently there are 202,521 active trial modifications.  Federal officials are pushing the loan servicers to make decisions for borrowers who have completed the trial phase and either drop them from the program or make them permanent modifications. 

The Treasury stated that the most of the cancellations are due to insufficient documents received or missed or late trial payments.  In addition, if their principal housing expenses are already less than 31% they do not qualify for the program.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Short Sales and Deeds-in-Lieu up 27% in 2nd Quarter

Nearly 31,000 borrowers with Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC) loans forfeited their homes through a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure during the 2nd quarter of 2010.  This is a 27% increase over the 24,000 transactions completed during the 1st quarter of 2010.

During the same period last year there were 11,700 transactions up from 3,000 the year before.

 Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) also reported that loan modification and refinancing by FNMA and FMCC were up in the second quarter.  The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) increased 65% while refinancing under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) increased by 30%.  Loan servicers completed 171,200 permanent loan modifications on these types of loans thru HAMP and nearly 88,600 borrowers in HAMP trials transitioned to permanent modifications bringing the two companies HAMP numbers to nearly 225,000.  FHFA’s report also stated that approximately 202,000 of the borrowers were in a HAMP trial period at the end of the 2nd quarter, compared to nearly 448,100 at the end of the first quarter.  That means minus the 88,600 permanent modifications 157,500 homeowners’ HAMP trials were cancelled as a result of missed payments or inadequate documentation. 

FHFA also noted that more than ½ of the modifications completed in the 2nd quarter lowered borrowers’ monthly payments by more then 30%.  During this same period the two companies initiated 275,100 new foreclosures, an increase of 12%.  Completed foreclosure sales and 3rd party sales totaled 112,400, up 15% from the previous quarter.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Is Home Affordable Modification Program Hampered?

The U.S. Treasury released statistics the end of July, 2010 for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) program.  The statistics showed that loans that have been permanently modified had a re-default rate to be around 2% – 5.9% 60 or more days past due after modification and 1.7% 90 or more days delinquent.  When those statistics came out, they received a huge outcry from analysts questioning the validity of these statistics. 

The Treasury pulled the numbers and re-evaluated the statistics after retaining a third-party consultant to provide independent validation.  A few weeks later, they corrected the re-default assessments as follows:  10% of six month old permanent modifications are 60+ days delinquent and 6% are 90+ days delinquent. 

Analysts say that’s still too low and the rates will surely go higher the longer the program is in place.  Up until six months ago, permanent modifications had been offered to only about 434,716 borrowers.  The Treasury has cancelled the temporary modifications of 616,839 borrowers. 

The analysts at Barclays are predicting a 60% re-default rate and Fitch Ratings projects 55-75%. 

http://www.dsnews.com/articles/print-view/treasury-corrects-its-math-for-hamp-redefaults-2010-08-12

Enhanced by Zemanta