Beware! Change In Lead Based Paint Laws (Homes Pre-1978)

April 22, 2010 was an important date for owners of homes built prior to 1978, also rental properties including apartment buildings, schools and daycare facilities, as tougher regulations became in effect from the EPA regarding Lead Based Paint.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that contractors performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead based paint must be certified by the EPA and use lead-safe practices for all activities when more than 6 square feet of lead based paint is disturbed in a room and 20 square feet of lead based paint is disturbed on the exterior of the residence. Replacing any windows would also fall under the new EPA guidelines.

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Fed Chief Bernanke Speaks…

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the other day that he is hopeful the economy will gain traction and not fall back into a "double dip" recession.

The economy grew at a 3 percent pace in the first quarter of 2010. That's good growth during normal times. But coming out of such a deep recession, the economy must grow much more strongly to make a dent in the jobless rate. With unemployment hovering at just under 10% we would need perhaps as much as double the current rate of growth.

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Super Low Interest Rates Too Hard to Pass Up!

"It's the best time in our generation to buy. It may be the best in any generation. Mortgage rates are so low...you couldn't pick a better time to buy or re-finance."
— Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody's

The current European debt crisis is negatively impacting some areas of our economy, but it may be a boon to the real estate market by pushing mortgage rates to a 30-year low. With average long-term fixed loans well below 5% buyers are staying active despite the recent expiration of the home buyer's tax credits.

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Tax Credits, Growth, The Road Ahead...

Hello! Haven't written in a while; our teenage daughter who is very active in sports keeps the household jumping! We are loving the ride but I swear it is aging me!

The economy continues to show some signs of recovery. The Dow almost reached 11,000 today and consumer spending, a sign of consumer confidence, has been inching up. But until we get people back to work, recovery will be slow. However, it was encouraging to see over 100,000 jobs reportedly created in the private sector this past month, with another 48,000 temporary census workers (hey, they spend money too!). Baby steps to be sure, but good news all the same.

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Important Changes with FHA Financing

It's going to become a little more expensive to be a home buyer in the near future. The FHA (Federal Housing Authority) does not lend money but only insures home mortgages. It has been under increased scrutiny of late, as rising defaults put the agency below its required reserves. The authority went from insuring barely 3 percent of all home loans at the height of the latest housing boom to now backing an estimated 35 to 40 percent of new loans. It has been a significant player in the recovery of the housing market.

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Latest News Regarding Home Buyer Credits

President Obama signed the first time home buyer credit extension today (11/6/09). The bill expanded the income limitations on the existing program and added another tax benefit to existing home owners who purchase a new primary residence int he months ahead. http://money.cnn.com/2009/11/06/real_estate/tax_credit_extended/

The extension of the tax credit, the expansion of the program, and the Federal Open Market Committee's decision today to hold the Fed Funds Rate at a low level for a prolonged period of time http://www.fxstreet.com/fundamental/interest-rates/us-fedwatch/2009-11-05.html are all good news for the buyers and sellers.

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