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Terrorism Risk Insurance reauthorization fails to pass Senate
December 18, 2014

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

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Realtors® applaud passage of legislation to extend key real estate tax provisions
December 17, 2014

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

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3 percent down payment mortgage makes a comeback
December 11, 2014

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

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Kentucky homebuyers targeted with solicitation, warning from AG
December 10, 2014

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

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FHA announces loan limits for 2015
December 9, 2014

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

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