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    If you believe in unlimited quality and act in all your business dealings with total integrity, the rest will take care of itself.

                                      – Frank Perdue


Housing starts fell to a worse than expected five percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 549,000 according to the U.S. Commerce Department. This represents the lowest level in eight months.

June’s numbers were lower than economists expected.

In June, housing starts dropped in every region, with the biggest drop in the Northeast at 11.3% and down about 76% overall since the industry’s height in 2006.

Building permits, which are considered a forward indicator of housing construction, rose 2.1% on the month, due to a 20% gain in permits for multi-family units.

Permits for single-family homes — considered by many to be the most vital number in Tuesday’s release — fell 3.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 421,000, the lowest level since April 2009.

The article provided compliments of Paul Cristelli, New Jersey Re/Max Real Estate Agent; (973) 214-3316.

Following a great increase driven by the federal home buyer tax credit, pending home sales fell sharply after the tax credit expired, according to industry experts at the National Association of Realtors.

The Pending Home Sales Index dropped 30 percent based on contracts signed in May. It is believed the sharp drop is due to the expiration of the home buyer tax credit and a rush to sign contracts prior to the credit expiration.

The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur approximately two months after contract signing. However, many closings have been delayed recently from a rush of buyers into the system and slow processing of short sales, in addition to the heavy volume.

Many mortgage lenders were hesitant to approve mortgages on homes needing flood insurance without congressional action. As a result, several home sales have been on hold until Congressional authorization was complete.

The article provided compliments of Paul Cristelli, New Jersey Re/Max Real Estate Agent; (973) 214-3316.

According to data released by the National Association of Realtors, resale of U.S. homes dropped by 2.2 percent month over month in May.

Many economists were expecting sales to rise about six percent due to home buyers rushing to sign contracts before the national tax credit expired. Inventories of unsold homes fell 3.4 percent to 3.89 million. The median sales price in May was up 2.7 percent from a year ago to $179,600.

The federal government offered home buyers tax credits of up to $8,000. The deadline to get a signed sales contract and still qualify was April 30. Buyers must close their purchases by end of this month.

Home sales increased 19.2 percent compared to May last year.

The article provided compliments of Paul Cristelli, New Jersey Re/Max Real Estate Agent; (973) 214-3316.

Federal authorities have announced charges against 28 people accused of running multiple mortgage-fraud schemes. The group attempted to con more than $5.5 from lenders, according to authorities.

The defendants include real estate agents, investors, mortgage consultants, accounts and appraisers. Three defendants sought still remain at large.

According to authorities investigating the scheme, the group used faked documents to attempt to trick banks into lending the money. In most cases, however, the loans never went through because the loan officer was cooperating with investigators.

The alleged frauds involved 17 properties in northern New Jersey. They are charged with conspiring to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

The article provided compliments of Paul Cristelli, New Jersey Re/Max Real Estate Agent; (973) 214-3316.

Legislation, A-1678/S-692, was approved by the General Assembly of New Jersey establishing a New Jersey Home Buyer Tax Credit Program under the state gross income tax for home purchases made within a one year period following enactment of the law.

In an effort to improve New Jersey’s economy and the real estate market, the bill creates a refundable tax credit of up to $15,000, or 5 percent of a home purchase price (whichever is less) for qualified home buyers.

If the home buyer is eligible for the credit, the credit will be received over three years. During that time period, the home must be used as a primary residence.

Under the current bill, $75 million in funding is set aside for the purchase of newly constructed homes and $25 million will go towards purchase of previously occupied homes. The hope is that this will help multiple industries within the state, including home builders, general contractors, electricians and more.

Before this legislation can become law, it must be approved by the full state Senate and be signed by Governor Chris Christie. The full Senate may vote on the bill as early as its next scheduled meeting on June 10, 2010.

The article provided compliments of Paul Cristelli, New Jersey Re/Max Real Estate Agent; (973) 214-3316.

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose faster than expected in April to their highest level in nearly two years, according to the Commerce Department. Many are crediting the increase due to the popular government tax credit.

The Commerce Department said sales jumped 14.8% to a 504,000 unit annual rate, the highest since May 2008. It was the second straight month that new home sales rose.

Buyers had to sign contracts by April 30 and will need to close on the home by the end of June to qualify for the federal tax credit.

Additional information from the Commerce Department also showed the tax credit spurred sales of previously owned homes, which are recorded at contract closing, to a five-month high in April.

Despite the jump in sales, the median sale price for a new home dropped a record 9.7% from March to $198,400, the lowest since December 2003, the Commerce Department said. In the 12 months to April, the median sale price declined 9.5%.

The article provided compliments of Paul Cristelli, New Jersey Re/Max Real Estate Agent; (973) 214-3316.

A proposed New Jersey state bill would give people who buy a home this year a tax credit of up to $15,000 in an effort to improve the state’s housing market and boost the overall economy.

The proposed New Jersey Homebuyer Tax Credit Program (A-1678) would allow for tax credits of up to $15,000, or 5 percent of the home purchase price, whichever is less, for buyers of new or existing homes. Unlike the federal tax credit, the proposed state tax credit would have no income limits.

The State Senate and Assembly Committees on this past Thursday gave the go ahead for the bills to be considered by the entire Legislature.

It comes on the heels of a federal $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit and a $6,500 credit for other home purchasers that expired April 30. Those credits helped to boost housing sales, experts have said.

The hope is to provide a boost in new home construction which would put the hard-hit trades like contractors back to work as well as potentially provide an added boost to local home improvement stores. The proposed legislation has the backing of the state’s home-building industry.

The proposed tax credit would be spread over three years and would be determined on a first-come, first-served basis until the total amount is exhausted. An unknown number of buyers won’t get the credit once the program’s maximum amounts have been reached, according to the state Office of Legislative Services.

The State Division of Taxation, in its analysis, estimated that the bill would reduce gross income tax revenue deposited into the property tax relief fund by equal annual amounts of $33.3 million in fiscal years 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The article provided compliments of Paul Cristelli, New Jersey Re/Max Real Estate Agent; (973) 214-3316.

The number of buyers who signed contracts to purchase homes increased more than expected in March.

The National Association of Realtors said this past week that its seasonally adjusted index of sales agreements for previously occupied homes rose 5.3 percent from the previous month.

The federal government has provided a big boost to home sales this spring by offering first-time buyers a tax credit of up to $8,000, as well as offering a maximum $6,500 tax credit for current home owners.

These incentives have stimulated home sales, but the deadline ended April 30. Many analysts project sales will drop sharply in the second half of the year. Some analysts expect prices to drop as well, especially if mortgage rates rise and more foreclosed homes come on the market.

March’s reading for pending home sales was the highest level since October of last year and a 21 percent increase from the same month year over year.

The article provided compliments of Paul Cristelli, New Jersey Re/Max Real Estate Agent;, (973) 214-3316.

New home sales surged by 27% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000 according to the Commerce Department.

It is believed that the major increase received a boost from the soon-to-expire tax break, better weather and low mortgage rates. It was the largest gain in sales since April 1963, according to the statistics kept by the Commerce Department.

The increase comes on the heels of a record lows in February.

This marks the highest sales pace since July of 2009 and was much stronger than the 335,000 expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. Additionally, sales in December, January and February were revised higher.

The article provided compliments of Paul Cristelli, New Jersey Re/Max Real Estate Agent;, (973) 214-3316.