The Bright Side

Posted on February 15, 2009

I heard on the radio one day last week that Florida’s Senator Bill Nelson’s office had received emails and phone calls encouraging him to vote against the Stimulus Bill at a 7 to 1 ratio…other reports said the American public was against this bill at a ratio of 9 to 1. With that being said, it is about to become law, if as planned, President Obama signs it on Monday or Tuesday. I’ll leave much of the 1,000+ page stimulus bill to the pundits to dissect and debate…but I thought I’d fill you in on a few of the “real estate” specifics.

Here’s the good news:
The loan limits will be raised to $727,000 in “high cost” areas. The first time home buyer tax credit will be raised to $8,000 with no payback clause. Approximately $50 billion will be used to re-write mortgages that are struggling to meet payments. Owners will have to go through a “stress” test of sorts during this foreclosure mitigation process. “Fannie” agreed to lift the cap of 4 investment properties eligible for mortgages and raise it to 10.We preserved many of the existing real estate tax credits such as mortgage interest rate deductability and the $250,000/$500,000 cap gains exclusion.

Early reaction to the stimulus bill is mixed, but many folks I’m talking to wonder why are we helping the people who haven’t been paying their mortgages while those who pay on time each and every month are not eligible for any assistance even though they have not been immune from the struggle yet have proven to be better managers of their money?

We still need to push interest rates down further to help get capital flowing again. Overall, I think there was more to report on the “bright side” with respect to the real estate portion of the stimulus bill…As always, I welcome your comments.

By the way, it’s 80 degrees in Naples Florida today and the sun is shining gloriously! Now that’s what I call stimulus! (and The Bright Side!)