Friday, December 9, 2016

Our Deepest Condolences

Our hearts sincerely go out to our Keller Williams family, April & Jacob A Rogers & family who kissed their 4 year old baby girl Jovie for the last time the morning of December 7th. Jovie was diagnosed with a stage IV Glioblastoma cancerous brain tumor in late June of this year. If you would like to support her loving family, consider bringing a meal, helping with medical expenses, or sending love on her support page.

The arrangements for Jovie's Celebration of Life service will be Sunday, December 11th, at 2 p.m. at North Hills Community Church in Greenville. Following the service, there will be a coffee and dessert reception at East North Church.

Any time Jovie was asked what her favorite color was, she would say "All of the colors". It is her family's request that you wear bright colors at this celebration of her beautiful life. All are welcome.

Saturday there will be a private burial. Please pray for peace for Jovie's family. We extend our deepest condolences.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Now Hiring - Join The Arthur Rutenberg Homes Team

From the Home Builders Association of Greenville Job Board.
On-Site Sales Consultant, Arthur Rutenberg Homes
Arthur Rutenberg Homes is seeking an On-Site Sales Consultant to work in a model home in a high profile community. Applicants must have a SC Real Estate license, prior experience selling high end real estate, and preferably 2 years of documented sales success. Click Here for more details.

Congress Reinstates Health Reimbursement Arrangements

In a major victory for home building firms and other small businesses across the land, the Senate today passed the 21st Century Cures Act, a comprehensive health care package which includes a provision to allow employers to provide Health Reimbursement Arrangements to help their employees pay for health insurance.

The House approved the bill last week and President Obama is expected to sign the measure into law shortly.

“National Association of Home Builders has been spearheading efforts to reinstate the use of Health Reimbursement Arrangements since the IRS issued guidance prohibiting their use,” said National Association of Home Builders Chairman Ed Brady. “This bipartisan legislation is an important step forward to allow small business owners to help their workers with rising health care costs and to ensure more Americans receive affordable health coverage. At the same time, it will protect employers against outrageous fines for providing this cost-sharing option to their workers.”

Health Reimbursement Arrangements allow small businesses to offer pre-tax dollars to insured employees to help pay premiums and/or other out-of-pocket costs associated with medical care and services. Most small companies do not have human resource departments or benefits specialists. Health Reimbursement Arrangements offer these businesses a simpler, easier way to help their employees to obtain health coverage.

The Internal Revenue Service issued guidance in 2013 stating that employers are no longer able to use Health Reimbursement Arrangements because they don’t meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

Not only did the IRS make Health Reimbursement Arrangements illegal, the agency decreed that all employers can face fines of $100 per day per employee if they offer this benefit to their workers. That can add up to $36,500 per employee over the course of a year and up to $500,000 per company. This $100 per day penalty went into effect on July 1, 2015.

National Association of Home Builders has led the charge working independently and with a coalition of other business organizations to remedy this injustice by calling on the IRS to revoke its ruling on the use of Health Reimbursement Arrangements and pushing for a congressional solution.

At National Association of Home Builders’ urging, a section was added to the 21st Century Cures Act that would reinstate the use of Health Reimbursement Arrangements and rescind the punitive IRS penalties associated with them.

“National Association of Home Builders commends Congress for bringing choice and affordability to the health care marketplace by allowing small employers to once again use Health Reimbursement Arrangements,” said Brady.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

U.S. House Prices Rise 1.5 Percent in Third Quarter

From the Federal Housing Finance Agency:

U.S. house prices rose 1.5 percent in the third quarter of 2016 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index. House prices rose 6.1 percent from the third quarter of 2015 to the third quarter of 2016. The Federal Housing Finance Agency's seasonally adjusted monthly index for September was up 0.6 percent from August. The House Price Index is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Federal Housing Finance Agency has produced a video of highlights for this quarter.

"Our data indicate that the deceleration in home price growth that we observed in late spring proved to be short-lived," said Federal Housing Finance Agency Supervisory Economist Andrew Leventis. "While price growth in select markets has cooled somewhat, for the U.S. as a whole, the third quarter showed no evidence of a widespread slowdown."

While the House Price Index rose 6.1 percent from the third quarter of 2015 to the third quarter of 2016, prices of other goods and services were nearly unchanged. The inflation-adjusted price of homes rose approximately 6.0 percent over the last year.

Significant Findings
Home prices rose in 49 states between the third quarter of 2015 and the third quarter of 2016. Delaware and the District of Columbia were the only areas not to see price increases. The top five states in annual appreciation were: 1) Florida 10.7 percent; 2) Oregon 10.4 percent; 3) Washington 10.4 percent; 4) Colorado 10.0 percent; and 5) Utah 9.5 percent.
Among the 100 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., annual price increases were greatest in the Tacoma-Lakewood, WA (MSAD), where prices increased by 12.9 percent. Prices were weakest in New Haven-Milford, CT, where they fell 1.7 percent.
Of the nine census divisions, the South Atlantic division experienced the strongest increase in the third quarter, posting a 1.8 percent quarterly increase and a 7.1 percent increase since the third quarter of last year. House price appreciation was weakest in the New England division, where prices rose 0.8 percent from the last quarter.

Tables and graphs showing home price statistics for metropolitan areas, states, census divisions, and the U.S. as a whole are included on the following pages.

Other Price Indexes

Most statistics in the quarterly house price index report reference price changes computed by Federal Housing Finance Agency's basic "purchase-only" House Price Index. In some cases, however, the reported statistics reference alternative price measures. The Federal Housing Finance Agency publishes – and makes available for download – three additional house price indexes beyond the basic "purchase-only" series. Although they use the same general methodology, the three alternatives rely on slightly different datasets as follows:
"Distress-Free" house price index. Sales of bank-owned properties and short sales are removed from the purchase-only dataset prior to estimation of the index.
"Expanded-Data" house price index. Sales price information sourced from county recorder offices and from Federal Housing Agency-backed mortgages are added to the purchase-only data sample. This index is used annually to adjust the maximum conforming loan limits, which dictate the dollar amount of loans that can be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
"All-Transactions" house price index. Appraisal values from refinance mortgages are added to the purchase-only data sample.

Data constraints preclude the production of all types of indexes for every geographic area, but multiple index types are generally available. For individual states, for instance, three types of indexes are available. The various indexes tend to correlate closely over the long-term, but short-term differences can be significant.

Release of New Experimental County Indexes

Beginning with this release, Federal Housing Finance Agency is publishing a set of experimental annual house price indexes for counties across the country from 1975-2015. The indexes are constructed using the typical "repeat-transactions" methodology Federal Housing Finance Agency already uses. Unlike Federal Housing Finance Agency's other price indexes, however, the county indexes are annual price measures, meaning that a single index value is produced for each year. The county indexes complement a set of previously released five-digit ZIP code measures, and may be valuable to analysts seeking data on localized home price movements.


Federal Housing Finance Agency's House Price Index tracks changes in average home prices by analyzing changes in home values for the individual properties. The underlying "repeat-transactions" methodology constructs index estimates by statistically evaluating price appreciation (or depreciation) for homes with multiple values over time. The purchase-only House Price Index uses sales price information from Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-purchased and Enterprise-guaranteed mortgages originated over the past 41 years. The purchase-only House Price Index is estimated with more than seven million repeat transactions. A video shows the basic methodology behind the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index.

Fannie-Freddie to Raise Conforming Loan Limits in 2017

The Federal Housing Finance Agency today announced that the maximum baseline conforming loan limit for mortgage loans acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2017 will increase to $424,100 from $417,000. This will be the first increase in the conforming loan limit since it was raised to $417,000 in 2006.

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 established $417,000 as the baseline loan limit and mandated that after a period of price declines, the baseline loan limit would not be permitted to rise until home prices had returned to pre-decline levels.

The loan limit will rise 1.7% in 2017 because the Federal Housing Finance Agency has determined that the average U.S. home value in the third quarter of this year increased 1.7% above its level in the third quarter of 2007.

Higher loan limits will be in effect in higher-cost areas as well. In areas where 115% of the local median home value exceeds the baseline loan limit, the maximum area loan limit will be higher. The new ceiling loan limit in high-cost markets will be $636,150 (150% of the $424,100) for single-family properties. The previous ceiling was $625,500.

Special statutory provisions establish different loan limit calculations for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In these areas, the baseline loan limit will be $636,150 for single-family properties, but actual loan limits may be higher in some specific locations. A list of the 2017 maximum conforming loan limits for all counties and county-equivalent areas in the country may be found here.