Some current real estate issues coming across my desk. First, as we all are probably aware, credit has been extremely tight the pasts few years, especially for borrowers in the jumbo arena. Most creditworthy borrowers have struggled to secure home loans of more than $729,750. This is the cutoff for conventional conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
As of July, the number of lenders offering jumbo loans has jumped, and the typical rate as decreased from almost 7 percent a year ago to about 5.5 percent. Stats as of this summer have sales of existing homes priced at $750,000 and above jumping 30 percent.
Obviously this is good news for buyers of Fairfax real estate and homes throughout Northern Virginia which have a higher average sales price than most of the country.
In other news, those homeowners who are underwater, who owe more than their home is worth, are engaging in strategic defaults. These are defaults by buyers who have the capacity to pay but don’t, or who don’t complete a workout alternative in good faith.
Violators will be ineligible for another Fannie Mae-backed loan for seven years, and will also seek deficiency judgments against borrowers if allowed by state law. This applies to borrowers of Fannie Mae-backed mortgages who engage in this practice.
Finally, there’s been increased talk among ‘experts’ about the need to eliminate or trim the mortgage interest deduction. Let me just give you a few stats in the hopes that you’re prepared to yell at your representatives at how stupid this idea is should it gain more momentum.
First, homeowners already pay 80 to 90 percent of the income tax in our country, and among those who claim the mortgage interest deduction, almost two-thirds are middle-income earners. This move would hurt households who are the pillars of the federal income tax revenue. Home values would also drop 15 percent as buyers discount the value of the deduction in their purchase offers.
The government takes enough of our money. Don’t let them take away the few tax deductions we are afforded.