The Economic Recovery Package

Below is a news bulletin from our California Association of Realtors President, Jim Liptick. It sounds promising, and will help home sales throughout California. On January 28th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the Economic Recovery Package, by a 244 to 188 vote. Amid all the negative economic news we're hearing on a daily basis, this is good news, as the bill contains a number of issues critical to REALTORS® and the industry, including extending all 2008 Metropolitan Statistical Areas' (MSAs') Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA loan limits through the end of this year.The extension prevents an MSA's 2008 loan limit from being reduced in 2009 for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA. Language in the bill also specifies that if an MSA's loan limit is set to change, it can increase, but is prohibited from declining. The proposed legislation also will eliminate an existing payback requirement on the first-time home buyer tax credit for qualified buyers who purchase a home between Dec. 31, 2008, and July 1.Congress included these provisions as a direct result of the grassroots efforts put forward by REALTORS®, and the advocacy efforts of both NAR and C.A.R. Congress elected not to include numerous housing provisions beyond those previously mentioned. It looks like Congress will begin to address other housing issues next week when the Financial Services Committee meets.The legislation also contained a laundry list of appropriations for various affordable housing programs, neighborhood stabilization programs, and other housing and/or real estate-related issues, including: Public Housing Capital Fund Native American Housing Block Grant Home Investment Partnership Program Self-help & assisted homeownership Elimination of lead paint in homes Repairing leaking underground storage tanks Low-income home energy assistance Rural Housing Insurance Fund In addition to tax credits for individuals and married couples, other provisions in the bill include funds for increasing access to high-speed and broadband Internet; highways and roads; railroads; alternative energy incentives; unemployment insurance; Medicaid insurance; health care technology upgrades; childcare; education; and low-income and affordable housing programs. The Senate now is working on its version of the stimulus legislation, and is expected to vote on it next week. Congress would like to get a bill to the President's desk by President's Day, Feb. 16. Regarding Big Bear; we have had an increase in sales, so the year has started with a "bang". Your home has had showings, and we believe that the smart money buyer will continue to invest in our specialty area of Big Bear Lake. This is the first time in a while that we have been this busy; it almost seems like the "good ole days". However, everyone is looking for a deal, and searching for the right priced property. With the stock market still in a volatile arena, it seems with interest rates low, and inventory good, buyers are coming to Big Bear Lake to invest. If I have called you to reduce your list price, and you have not done so already or have not had the time to respond, this would be the time to call me. In addition, if your listing is getting ready to expire, now is NOT the time to pull your property off the market, you should consider extending, as our advertising is in full force including magazines and virtual tours. If you should have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call me. Respectfully, Bob Angilella Realtor

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