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Unemployment Goes Down

by Corey Salois

Unemployment Rate Slips to 9.1%

After heading higher for three straight months, the nation’s unemployment rate declined to 9.1 percent in July, down from 9.2 percent in June, according to figures just released by the U.S. Department of Labor. The economy added 117,000 jobs last month. July’s numbers beat analysts’ forecasts. Investors are hoping the news will help dispel fears of a double-dip recession and quell some of the sell-off frenzy seen in the stock market yesterday, which led to the largest one-day drop in the Dow since the financial upheaval following Lehman Brothers’ collapse.

Spring buying boosts home prices

by From the Daily Interlake

Home prices in most major cities in the US are rising for the first time in eight months, boosted by an annual wave of spring buying. Analysts cautioned that the increases may be temporary and don't signal a rebound for the depressed home market.

Prices rose in 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index, accoding to the April report released Tuesday. The sharpest increases were in Washington DC. The next largest were in San Francisco, Atlanta and Seattle.

The index covers metro areas that together make up about 50 percent of US househoulds. It measures sale prices of select homes in those cities compared with prices in January 2000. It then provides a three-month average. The April data is the latest available.

Last year, a tax credit for first-time buyers helped boost prices. They rose nearly 4 percent from April through July before falling more than 7 percent this winter to record lows. Prices in metro areas sank in March to their lowest level since 2002.

The 0.7 percent increase in April was the first rise since July. The positive data came with a caveat: The figures weren't adjusted for seasonal factors, such as the buying that normally picks up in spring. Once the numbers are adjusted, priced actually fell in April.

David M. Blitzer, chairman of S&P's index committee, said the rise in the index was a welcome shift from recent months. But he noted that much of the improvement was likely due to the start of the buying season.

"It is much too early to tell if this is a turning point or simply due to some warmer weather," he said.

One bright spot: Even when adjusted for seasonal factors, prices rose in some markets that had been pummeled by slumping sales, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Phoenix and Portland, Oregon.

On the other hand, prices in six areas have reached their lowest levels in nearly four years: Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami and Tampa.

In Atlanta, more than a quarter of homes sold in the past year were discounted: They sold for an average 9 percent less than they'd been listed for, according to data analyzed by the housing website Trulia.com.

 

Details in Flathead energy scam emerge

by KPAX - Katy Harris

KALISPELL - Details are emerging in a possible energy scam that's duping people in the Flathead. Some Flathead Valley residents received a postcard in the mail from Solar Tek, a company promising ways to save money on energy bills.

Flathead Electric Supervisor of Energy Services Ross Holter was a postcard recipient and ae attended one of the seminars run by the scam group, where he took notes and quickly learned that the seminar was a hoax of false information to get consumers' money.

"We're just trying to get the word out cause we just want to help, keep people from being victimized by such a terrible scam," Holter explained.

One Flathead Valley resident paid almost $1,000 for a tool to help his energy costs and never received it from the company and Flathead County Sheriffs Detective Pat Walsh is working to catch the predators and is asking for help on the case.

"What we'd like to do is we'd like to warn people out there and if there is anybody else that was victimized by this thing I'd like to know and I can add it to my charges," Walsh told us.

Holter says that if any postcards or offers on energy savings come to your residence, simply call Flathead Electric Cooperative to determine if it's a hoax.

More on CI-105

by From the Flathead Business Journal

Among initiatives Montana voters will decide at the Nov. 2 general election is a citizen initiative to amend the Montana Constitution to prohibit state or local governments from imposing any new tax on transactions that sell or transfer real property.

Currently there is no existing real estate transfer tax in Montana, but Constitutional Initiative 105 takes a pre-emptive approach to potential future taxes by amending the state constitution to specifically prohibit that kind of tax on transactions that sell or transfer property such as residential home, apartments, condominium, townhomes, farms, ranches, land and commercial property after Jan 1, 2010.

Proponents of CI-105 argue that the constitutional amendment is necessary because several proposals for real estate transfer taxes have swirled around in the Montana Legislature in recent years. They claim a real estate transfer tax is essentially an unfair double tax on property that would make it more costly for people selling a home.

Transfer taxes of 1 to 4 percent have been suggested in the past, which would mean giving the government $1,000 to $4,000 from the sale of a $100,000 home. And the tax could be assessed even if the property owner sells the property at a loss.

Proponents argue that real estate transfer taxes are an unstable government funding source because they're tied to a volatile housing market.

"If fewer houses sell, RETT revenue drops, forcing government to raise taxes or cut spending," the proponents note in the voter guide.

Those against CI-105 argue that the initiative would embed in Montana's constitution a prohibition against a tax that does not exist. Detailed tax policy should be handled through legislation, not the constitution, opponents say.

"CI-105 would declare one segment of our economy a tax-free zone at the expense of all other segments," the voter guide states in arguments against the initiative. "If CI-105 is passed, the realty transfer tax would be the only tax specifically prohibited in our constitution."

Opponents also note that the National Association of Realtors provided 98% of the funding to qualify CI-105 for the ballot and already has spent $600,000. Opponents further claim the constitution would not be misused to excuse from taxation one special interest group.

CI-105 is sponsored by the Montana Association of Realtors. A total of 51,736 signatures were received to get the initiative on the ballot. For more information go to the Montana Secretary of State website at sos.mt.gov/Elections.

Vote Yes on CI-105

by Corey Salois

There is no existing state or local tax on transactions that sell or transfer real property in Montana. CI-105 amends the Montana Constitution to prohibit state or local governments from imposing any new tax on transactions that sell or transfer real property, such as residential homes, apartments, condominiums, townhouses, farms, ranches, land, and commercial property, after January 1, 2010.

Learn more here: http://www.preventthedoubletax.com/

California SB1316 is Dead

by from IPC1031

 

If you or your clients are contemplating an exchange of California real estate for non-California property, you will be pleased to know that California Senate Bill 1316 has just been laid to rest. SB1316 proposed to deny IRC Section 1031 tax-deferral treatment, at the California state income tax level, to like-kind exchanges in which the relinquished property was located in California, but the replacement property was located in another state. Had the legislation passed, a taxpayer who swapped California property for real estate in Montana would have been able to defer the Federal capital gains tax, but would have had to pay the California state tax on the gain from the sale of the California property. The proposed legislation would not have affected exchanges in which all properties were located in California.

IPX1031® worked with the Federation of Exchange Accommodators, the industry association for Qualified Intermediaries, to oppose SB1316. We pointed out to the legislative sponsors that the economic and constitutional problems with the bill would negate any anticipated increase in tax revenues, resulting in no net benefit to the State of California. Similar legislative proposals have been raised and dropped in several other states for the same reasons.

Zillow: Smaller Percentage of Homeowners Underwater in Q2

by Corey Salois

The percentage of borrowers underwater on their mortgage declined during the second quarter, but that welcome change of pace could come to an abrupt end as home values are again beginning to fall in markets across the country. Zillow reported Monday that as of the end of June, 21.5% of single-family homeowners with a mortgage owed more than on the loan than their home is worth. That's down from 23.3 percent in the first quarter this year, and 23 percent during the second quarter of 2009.

Foreclosure and Property Values

by Corey Salois

It seems that lately the buzz words in the real estate industry are"foreclosure" and "short sale". Everyone thinks that the best deals out there are the foreclosure homes. But are they really? What does foreclosure do to the value of a home and how does it affect it's marketability?

A recent MIT-Harvard study showed that Foreclosure drops a houses value by 27%. They found that when a house is sold after the death of an owner, the price drops 5% to 7% on average. When an owner declares bankruptcy, the value sinks 3%, according to the report.

So how does this affect you if you are buying or selling? If you are buying it could mean a great deal for you. Beware though of deferred maintenance on many of these homes and also the condition of them. Often when the previous owners leave they take quite a bit of the personal and real property with them, including appliances, light fixtures, wood stoves, etc. If you are trying to sell your home in a subdivision with a foreclosure in it the non-distressed homes often take a price hit as well. The study found that the value of a home drops by 1% on average if it is within 250 feet of a foreclosed home.

You can read the entire research paper if you want here: http://econ-www.mit.edu/files/3914

Whitefish Mountain Resort "Top Ski Resorts"

by Corey Salois

About.com skiing just released it's "Top Ski Resorts" and Whitefish Mountain Resort made the cut! Take a look: http://skiing.about.com/od/topskiresorts/tp/topskiresorts.01.htm

 

Different Kind of Foreclosure???

by Corey Salois

Thought that just your bank could foreclose on your home? Well now we are seeing foreclosures arise from more entities. It is well known that your mortgage company can foreclose on your property, the IRS and even the local tax department but how about your Homeowners Association? It can happen.

Read more here: http://www.cnbc.com/id/38260141

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 13

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Photo of Corey Olofson, Broker Real Estate
Corey Olofson, Broker
RE/MAX of Whitefish
509 E. 6th St.
Whitefish MT 59937
Office: 406.863.3400
Cell: 406.253.0531
Fax: 406.863.3400