The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 9 No. 40 - June 24, 2009


Making home ownership more affordable

There’s always an upside to every downside, and although the economy has been in free fall for almost a year experiencing high rates of job loss and foreclosures, there are still things to celebrate.

According to the first quarter Housing Opportunity Index compiled by the National Association of Homebuilders and Wells Fargo Bank, U..S., home prices are their most affordable in 18 years. To be designated affordable, a family making the median national income of $64,000 must be able to buy the property and devote no more than 28 percent of its income toward housing costs. This translated into nearly 73 percent of all homes sold in the United States during the first three months of 2009 being considered affordable, the highest percentage ever reported since this study has been done.

The country’s big cities, defined as 500,000 population or more, were calculated for most and least affordable. Indianapolis, Ind., with 95 percent of homes sold deemed affordable, came in first as the most affordable city. The next four affordable cities were Youngstown, Ohio, Akron, Ohio, Grand Rapids, Mich., and Syracuse, N. Y.

The least affordable city, with only 21 percent of homes sold considered affordable, was White Plains, N. Y. This was followed by San Francisco, Calif., Los Angeles, Calif., Nassau/Suffolk counties, N. Y., and Honolulu, Hawaii. I guess if you want to live near either the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, it’s going to cost you.

Homeownership is more affordable because of low interest rates and an $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers, individuals who have not owned a home during the past three years. As previously stated in this column, the first-time homebuyer tax credit provides a refundable credit of 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum credit of $8,000. You must live in the home for at least three years in order for the credit not to be repaid. In addition there are income limits, and the credit cannot be claimed until the purchase is final.

The IRS expanded this program with an announcement that taxpayers who qualify for the first-time homebuyer tax credit on a home purchased from Jan. 1, 2009, through Nov. 30, 2009, may claim the credit on either their 2008 income tax return, which is filed this year or on their 2009 tax return due April 15, 2010. If you buy a home after filing your 2008 tax return, you may amend the return and get the credit sooner. There is also a first-time home purchase tax credit available for homes purchased from April 9, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2008. This credit is up to $7,500, however, it must be repaid in 15 equal installments beginning with the 2010 tax year. Amended tax returns can be submitted if this credit was not taken.

If low housing prices, low interest rates and tax credits aren’t enough incentive to convince you that homeownership is very affordable, there are always new energy tax credits to take advantage of that can result in substantial savings to homeowners.

You can qualify for a 30 percent tax credit up to a cap of $1,500 for improvements to your property. Qualifying improvements include insulation, exterior windows and doors, central air conditioning systems, water heaters and furnaces, electric heat pump water heaters, certain metal roofs and advanced main air circulating fans.

Renewable energy improvements such as solar hot water heaters, geothermal heat pumps and wind energy systems will also make you eligible for up to a 30 percent tax credit. Renewal energy credits are available for both primary and second homes. Be sure to consult a tax professional for confirmation and verification on all federal tax issues.

With the rain comes the rainbows and with the housing crisis comes the buying opportunities and affordability – the upside of the downside.

Real Estate Transactions
Closed sales between March 2 and April 18, 2009

Anna Maria

523 Villa Rosa Way Single family $850,000
114 Tern Drive Single Family 750,000
160 Crescent Drive Single family 600,000
115 Maple Ave. Single family 550,000
111 Gull Drive Single family 525,000
304 Hardin Ave. Single family 515,000
801 Fern St. Duplex 326,000
9907 Gulf Drive Lot 315,000

Bradenton Beach

506 Bay Drive S. Condo $650,00
2418 Ave. C #500 Condo 375,000
2414 Ave. C Duplex 336,700
1801 Gulf Drive #207 Condo 225,000


12618 Safe Harbor Dr. Lot $475,000
4011 Osprey Harbor Lp. Townhouse 257,000
11900 Cortez Rd. W. #37 RV Resort 190,000
11900 Cortez Rd. W. #21 RV Resort 130,000
11900 Cortez Rd. W. #50 RV Resort 124,000
Address Type Price
11900 Cortez Rd. W. #8 RV Resort 121,500
11900 Cortez Rd. W. #68 RV Resort 110,000
11900 Cortez Rd. W. #77 RV Resort 86,000

Holmes Beach

520 58th St. 2 or more $1,775,000
105 49th St. Single family 750,000
6006 Gulf Drive #210 Condo 690,000
209 65th St. Single family 600,000
103 81st St. Single family 565,000
621 Emerald Lane Single family 550,000
519 75th St. Single family 416,000
104 55th St. Condo 400,000
203 70th St. Half Duplex 335,000
5200 Gulf Drive #108 Condo 315,000
313 62nd St. Duplex 300,000
2701 Ave. C Single family 225,000
3801 Fourth Ave. #3 Condo 220,000
6500 Flotilla Drive #214Condo 215,000
6804 Marina Drive Condo 215,000
6300 Flotilla Drive #99 Condo 180,000

Source: Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office

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