Category Archives: Economy

Push to Increase Homebuyer Tax Credit

Great news!  There’s a big push from legislatures and businesses to increase and extend the current homebuyer tax credit.  A number of bills have been introduced into the legislature.  Some of the tax expansions include increasing the homebuyer tax credit from the current $8,000 to $15,000, extend the tax credit time frame from the end of the year, 2009 through to mid 2010, opening up the tax credit to all homebuyers and providing a $3,000 credit to homebuyers who refinance.


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$8,000 Housing Tax Credit Now Available

tax-savingsHome buyers in the Jupiter and Juno Beach areas should be aware that there is now a tax credit equal to 10% of a homes purchase price for up to a maximum of $8,000 available with the new Federal Housing Tax Credit that was just passed by Congress.

Homes that are purchased between January 1, 2009, and December 1, 2009, are eligible.  Previously know as a “first time buyers credit,” it is, in fact, a credit that is  also available for anyone that has not purchased a home in the last three years.

The biggest change between this $8,000 credit and the previous $7,500 tax credit is that this one does not have to be repaid.

The tax credit can be claimed on your 2008  income tax forms even if the purchase took place in 2009.  Single tax payers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 qualify for the full tax credit.

With the  combination of local home prices at very low  levels and really good mortgage rates that are available,  should give a number of  local residents a push into the housing market.

There are many homes that are on the market in Jupiter and Juno that may have once been considered “out of reach” are now very affordable.

We have enjoyed living in this area and have made it home for our family. We would not consider ever leaving.  We hope that you feel the same way and get the opportunity to buy a home here and make it yours too!

For more information on this program and others that are available, contact a local Realtor®.

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Florida Template for Recovering Housing Market

We’re beginning to hear positive reports from the news media about the housing market. Especially here in Florida.  Jim Cramer from The Street in a recent video was comparing real estate to stocks, he positions Florida as the “template” for how the housing market will unfold for rest of the nation.  Florida was one of the first and worst states hit hard by the housing market.  Now rebounding, Cramer credits the low housing inventory for its turnaround.  Building ceased two years ago and purchases continued to help dry up the inventory.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Florida Super Exemption to be Voted on in January Primaries

Vote.jpgThe following article is from the Town of Jupiter’s December newsletter, The Town Times. The Super Exemption is a hot topic here in Jupiter, as I’m sure it is all over Florida.  For more information, you can view our previous post, Residential Homestead Property Tax Simulator for Florida.  Susanne Quirk

Voters in this January’s primaries will be making important decisions impacting the future of our National Leadership. But in Florida, voters may also be determining the future of our Property Tax system – the so-called “Super Exemption” for homesteaded properties.

Recently, the super-exemption ballot language came under fire when challenged in court. The Judge ruled that as stated, it was unconstitutional and confusing to voters. However, with special sessions fast-approaching, it is likely that this language will be revised and some form of the amendment will be on the January ballot.

If passed as outlined, the super-exemption will provide tax-payers with the option to move to a new formula for determining their Homestead Exemption. Under the current program, Homesteaded properties in Florida receive a $25,000 exemption. Under the new, proposed super-exemption, the amount would not be fixed, but would be determined based on the value of the property.

In some tax-payers’ cases, this would provide additional tax savings now and for some time into the future. However, some taxpayers may find the current system is more beneficial. Because of this, the Legislature added an exception, but it carries a “no turning back” provision. Florida residents who prefer the current system can elect to stay with it, but once they register under the new, super-exemption they cannot turn back to the old.

The Town of Jupiter has created a tax calculator on its web-site to help residents understand the potential impact to the Town’s portion of their tax bill. And the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s site has information on current property values, and a program to help calculate the impacts of future changes. The Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate websites are also good resources for following the Property Tax Reform debate.

With the recent court ruling and the potential for more changes to the amendment, it is more important than ever for Florida voters to be informed when they go to the polls in January. Whether you own a Homesteaded property now, or intend to in the future, it pays to understand the potential impacts of a super-exemption on your individual household, and your local government.

Visit the Town of Jupiter’s website to view the interactive tax calculator.

Visit the Palm Beach County Appraiser’s website to calculate the impact of the homestead exemption to your property. You will need to find your current property value by doing a Records Search. Then click on the “Taxable Value Calculator”. For Property Tax Reform information, click on “Proposed Property Tax Reform” from the homepage.

Visit Florida House of Representatives to view Florida Property Tax Relief and Reform Documents.

For more information on tax reform you can visit the Florida Senate Finance and Tax Committee.

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Fortune Magazine Forecasts Population Growth in Florida

housing-market.jpgPalm Beach County has been hit hard by the housing market. Foreclosures were up by 68% in November. We have a four year supply of houses on the market and the Palm Beach Post reminds us almost daily how bad our market is. All the negative talk can stall our market even longer.

Well, I am here to send some positive news your way. The December issue of Fortune magazine highlights some of their best stock picks for 2008. St. Joe, a Florida based company, was listed as one of the top “Ten Strong Stocks for ’08.” St. Joe Co. is the biggest private landowner in Florida. The housing market brought the stock crashing down from $82 to $28.

What is interesting is why the stock is forecasted as a top pick. As stated in the article, “The Census Bureau is projecting 33% population increase for Florida – the equivalent of six million new residents – between now and 2020.” Reaffirming our philosophy of why we began investing in Florida. Florida is unique to most other states in the nation. Our population is projected to keep increasing not decreasing. Our state is a top destination to retire for baby boomers. Our industry is expanding with the increase of businesses moving into our area. Including in our immediate area where Governor Charlie Crist just approved $94 million in state funding for the Max Planck Society to bring their German based bio-imaging center here to Jupiter.

We may be going through some tough times right now, but we have some strong signs of a promising future. What we do know is that housing prices have been the lowest they have been in years. Whether they will keep dropping is questionable. What we do know is that we will recover and prices will go back up. Making now a great buying opportunity.

Written by Joe Quirk
(561) 427-9326

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Filed under Business, Buying, Economy, Financial Markets, Jupiter, Palm Beach County, Real Estate

Residential Homestead Property Tax Simulator for Florida

property-taxes.jpgWritten by Joe Quirk

I came across a couple of tax simulators created for the Florida Association of Realtors. The first simulator is a property tax simulator that will allow you to calculate your taxes under the newly proposed Super Homestead and the current Save the Homes tax system. It allows you to enter specific information based on your personal situation and will analyze which tax system would work best for you.

The second simulator helps you to determine if your taxes would be lower with the proposed Super Homestead. The tax reform is slated for the January 2008 ballot.

The current property tax situation has many people caught in a quandary. When originally proposed and approved, the Save our Homes idea was well received. I don’t know anyone that could have imagined back then, how our property values would have appreciated. The good news is most all homeowners have had tremendous equity improvement in their homes. The bad news is what your new tax would be if you bought a new home.

Our elected officials MUST come together and approve a major form of relieve to allow the residents of Florida to keep their property taxes affordable, to allow residents to move buy new homes with some form of portability and to get our economy moving in the right direction.

Many of our local builders, contractors, mortgage underwriters and other friends and neighbors that were employed in the housing sector have been devastated by layoffs and company closings. A tax bill that offers true relief will kick start our local economy, create many new jobs and get some of the old ones back.

Please contact your public officials and get them to get on board and get us all some “real” relief.

Lets talk…Are you for or against the proposed changes? Give us your thoughts.

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Filed under Economy, Florida, Property Taxes

Could the New Low Pending Home Sales Stimulate Housing Market?

By Joe Quirk 

There was an article in the Financial Times yesterday defining some market indicators that made me wonder if we are we at a turning point in the housing market.  The article, New Low In Pending Home Sales Offsets Rally in Financials, written by Chris Bryant and Michael Mackenzie, touched on the National Association of Realtors’ announcement that pending home sales dropped to a record low 85.5. 

The fall was much higher than anticipated and an indication that sales might continue to drag in the coming months.  However, there was something else going on in the financial markets.  The S&P Homebuilder Stock Index surged as high as 8.4 per cent.  The reason,  Citi Investment Research said that now is the time to buy into the weak homebuilder sector.  Then, following NAR’s data on pending home sales, it dropped slightly and closed at 5.4 percent higher at 453.31, but still a nice high. 

Homebuilders with strong balance sheets are benefiting the most.  Pulte Homes (DiVosta), DR Horton and Beazer Homes are all prominent builders in Palm Beach County and all three builders are seeing anywhere from 5 to over 12 per cent gains in stock prices.

Does this mean new stimulation for the housing market and a recovery is in sight?  Possibly.  I’m not in the business of predicting the market and don’t have my crystal ball in front of me to give you a definite yes or no.  No one can predict exactly when we will recover.  There are too many variables.  However, we can take a look at all the indicators and see what direction the “experts” are going in.  

Past history can tell us that consumers spend when they are confident about the economy and we are seeing consumer confidence with the current gains in the financial markets.  A strong financial market and an all time low housing market makes for a breeding ground for buyers confidence to spill over into the real estate market. 

The housing market now is a buyers market.  Anyone able to buy a home or investment property should be doing their homework, researching properties and buying.  Don’t go into analysis paralysis as to whether housing prices will go any lower.  Timing the market is a fools game and you will wait forever for a lower price.  Be satisfied that you’re getting a good deal.

Always feel free to contact me if you have any questions about buying or investing in real estate.

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