Kentucky REALTOR® News
On Jan. 12, President Obama signed H.R. 26, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015, into law. On Jan. 7 the House passed H.R. 26, by a vote of 416-5; the following day, the Senate passed it by a vote of 93-4. This follows strong advocacy efforts by NAR in support of reauthorization, including many visits to Congressional offices, letters to both the House and Senate, and participation as a steering committee member in the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT). Read More
Democrats and Republicans in the 27th Senate District nominated their candidates on Saturday for a special election to fill a vacancy by newly sworn-in Rowan County Judge-Executive Walter Blevins, kickstarting the state’s first campaign of 2015.
The Kentucky Democratic Party announced more than 100 gathered in Morehead early Saturday to select Maysville attorney Kelly Caudill as the party’s nominee for the March 3 special election.
Republicans in the district’s GOP committees named Millersburg real estate attorney and cattle farmer Steve West their candidate at a meeting in Flemingsburg Saturday afternoon, according to a Republican Party of Kentucky news release. Read More
House Republicans re-elected their longtime leader on Tuesday despite growing frustration in the party that Kentucky remains the only Southern state with a Democratic-controlled legislature. Democrats re-elected House Speaker Greg Stumbo, who faced no opposition. Stumbo has said for months he was waiting until the election for speaker to decide if he would challenge Attorney General Jack Conway for the Democratic nomination for governor this year. Read More
A federal appellate court affirms dismissal of class-action lawsuit brought by home sellers who claimed that local brokerages had conspired to fix commission rates in violation of federal antitrust laws.
A group of home sellers (collectively, “Sellers”) filed a lawsuit against a number of local brokerages and some of their corporate parent companies. The lawsuit alleged that the brokerage firms had entered into an illegal arrangement to fix commission rates, demonstrated by the fact that they all charged a similar rate and the commission rates hadn’t decreased despite a rise in the average home sale price. Read More
The following is a statement by National Association of Realtors® President Chris Polychron:
“The U.S. Senate’s alarming failure to renew the federal terrorism risk insurance program before adjournment will stall commercial real estate development around the country. The Senate missed an opportunity to approve a six-year reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support.
“TRIA provides a crucial framework for economic recovery in the wake of a catastrophic terrorist attack and allows the U.S. to maintain a stable terrorism insurance market so employers can invest in properties and create jobs without assuming the risk and liabilities of a terrorist attack. Terrorism risk insurance is also a requirement of many existing commercial mortgage balances, so those whose coverage will lapse at the expiration of TRIA will be in technical default of their mortgage terms.
“Without action, terrorism insurance will become scarce and expensive, causing construction projects to stall, commercial property values to drop and the ongoing economic recovery to slow. Realtors® will work closely with Congress in the new year to swiftly reenact TRIA and provide much needed certainty to the market." Read More
The following is a statement by NAR President Chris Polychron:
“The package of tax extensions approved by the U.S. House and Senate, and headed to the President’s desk for signature, includes important provisions that will help distressed homeowners and commercial property investors with transactions made during 2014. NAR applauds Congressional leaders in both chambers for their effort to pass this legislation before adjournment.
“Realtors® strongly supported the bipartisan Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act, which was included in the package to prevent underwater borrowers from paying taxes on any mortgage debt forgiven or cancelled by a lender in a workout or after their home was sold for less money than was owed. We are grateful to Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Reps. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., and Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., for championing the provision.
“The legislation also includes one-year extensions of the 15-year depreciation schedule for leasehold improvements and the deduction for improvements to energy efficient commercial buildings.” Read More
In an effort to open up lending to more low-income and first time home buyers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced Monday that they will start backing mortgages with down payments of as little as 3% of the home's price.
The new loans will only be doled out to those who buy private mortgage insurance, have a credit score of at least 620 and offer complete documentation of their income, assets and job status. And, to further mitigate risk, the agencies will require borrowers to receive home ownership counseling. Read More
Attorney General Jack Conway is warning recent Kentucky homebuyers to be vigilant of official-looking mailings being sent by “Record Transfer Services” that attempt to sell homebuyers copies of their property deeds for an excessive fee. Read More
On Dec. 5, 2014, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) released its 2015 Loan Limits. FHA's calculation for maximum loan limits in high cost metropolitan areas of the country will remain at the 2014 level of $625,500. The standard loan limit for lower cost metropolitan areas will remain unchanged at $271,050. Read More
The way today’s buyers conduct their search for a home has completely changed. No longer are they spending their days driving from neighborhood to neighborhood searching for open house and for-sale signs; instead they are spending the majority of their time online. In fact, 90 percent of homebuyers search online during their home buying process, according to the National Association of Realtors. Since this is one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives, they aren’t jumping on the first listing that catches their eye. Read More