Tax breaks for homeowners should be safe…for now
With Congress gearing up for a reform of the tax code there is speculation about what that could mean for the housing market. Homeowners have a raft of tax breaks including mortgage interest and property tax deductions and tax-free write-offs of capital gains of up to $500,000 so are they safe?
U.S. President Barack Obama wants the breaks to be less generous but is not expected to get his way with the Republicans holding all the cards. The Washington Post
reports that in its discussions with analysts and political insiders it seems that homeowners are unlikely to be the target of any major changes with businesses the main focus.
It concludes that it will be at least 2017 before homeowners would be in the firing line. Read the full story.
US foreclosures increase
The level of foreclosures on U.S. properties has increased by 5%, according to data from RealtyTrac. A total of 37,292 homes were repossessed in January, marking a 15-month high in a single month, although the number is still 4% lower than a year earlier.
Queens rents increase by 30%
The difference in median rents between Brooklyn and Queens has narrowed to just $61. A report by brokerage Douglas Elliman says that rents in Queens have surged by more than 30% in the last year, outpacing increases in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Residents can now expect a median rent of $2,839. The rise has been attributed to new luxury apartments in the borough. Elsewhere in New York rents have edged up steadily; in Manhattan there has been an increase year-over-year of 5.9% to $3,250.
Metro Denver lacks housing supply
Homebuyers in Denver are not facing much of a choice of homes according to the latest figures. The Denver Metro Association of Realtors reports that at the end of January there were just 4,171 homes for sale in the city after falling below 5,000 in December.
By contrast, in the summer of 2006 there were 32,000 homes for sale. "We have never seen it this low," said Kelly Moye, a Realtor with Re/Max Alliance in Broomfield, told the Denver Post, "It is a bit panicked. We are all in a race." With mortgage rates low and employment improving there is now an uptick in potential buyers but low supply is already pushing prices higher. Read the full story.