Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ann Arbor real estate for sale -1273 Timmins, Hometown Village

New listing in Hometown Village - Single Family Home for sale - 1273 Timmins, Ann Arbor--Virtual Tour. 3 bedroom, 2-1/2 bath with finished walkout lower level.
Ann Arbor schools: Lakewood, Slauson & Pioneer. Convenient to Downtown Ann Arbor, and easy access to I-94 & US-23. Hardwood Floors and Vaulted ceiling in Foyer, Great Room/Dining Area, Kitchen and adjacent sunny Breakfast Room. Fireplace with Built-in Cabinetry for TV, Collectibles and Artwork. Upgraded Appliances and additional Transom Windows, 42" Cabinetry and a great floorplan. Walkout Lower Level has a Family Room and a Game Room/Study, Doorwall & Windows to Paver Patio and Yard.
Search for Ann Arbor homes for sale at

3 Bedrooms, 2-1/2 Baths, Finished Walkout Lower Level
Sunny, Open Kitchen/Breakfast Room
Gorgeous Great Room w/Fireplace & Built-ins
LL Paver Patio & Deck above
Close to Ann Arbor, Saline, Dexter, Chelsea
Lower Scio Township taxes
Ann Arbor Schools

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dexter real estate for sale -317 Cambridge, Dexter Crossing

New listing in Dexter Crossing - Single Family Home for sale - 317 Cambridge, Dexter - Virtual Tour. 3 bedroom, 2 bath with finished basement. Dexter community schools. Great location backs to open space. New A/C and water heater, newer furnace. Quiet location. Convenient to Downtown Dexter with easy access to Ann Arbor and highways. First floor master bedroom. Vaulted ceiling in living room. Search for Dexter homes for sale at

  • Hardwood Floors & New Carpeting throughout
  • 3 Bedrooms, 2 Baths, Finished Basement
  • Open Kitchen/Dining with Hardwood Floors
  • Gorgeous Great Room w/Fireplace
  • Deck & Views!
  • Close to Dexter, Ann Arbor, Saline, Chelsea
  • Lower Scio Township taxes
  • Dexter Schools

Monday, February 16, 2009

First Time Home Buyers Credit and other Stimulus Package Tax Credits Explained

The first time home buyers tax credit is just one of 5 Stimulus Package benefits that will benefit the average American. Watch this video for a summary of 5 tax credit benefits for Americans as part of the the stimulus package.

Just based on the phone calls we have received today from Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti home buyers we are confident that the $8000 tax credit is going to have a strong impact on the buyer side of the Ann Arbor real estate market buyer/seller equation.

Here is a summary of the 5 stimulus plan tax credits along with a good video which clearly but briefly explains each one.

  1. $400 tax credit. Under the stimulus plan, every worker will receive a payroll tax credit of up to $400.
  2. $8,000 First time home buyer's tax credit. Before the plan's passage, home-buyers who bought a house between April 9 of last year and the end of June 2009, received a tax credit of 10% of the home's price, or a maximum $7,500. But that credit had to be paid back over 15 years. Now, as part of the stimulus, home-buyers who bought this year don't have to pay the money back. The credit is extended to those who buy a home through the end of August. It is expected to be worth as much as $8,000.
  3. Improved unemployment benefits. Currently unemployed can now claim up to 33 weeks of benefits through December. Benefits will increase by $25 per week for some 20 million jobless workers. The first $2,400 in unemployment benefits you receive is also now exempt from federal taxes.
  4. New car purchase sales taxes deductible. Purchase a new car and deduct state and local sales and excise taxes on purchase of up to $49,500.
  5. American Opportunity Education tax credit - offers up to $2,500 toward college tuition and related expenses for 2009 and 2010. It replaces the Hope Scholarship Credit, which offered a maximum of $1,800. While the Hope Credit only applied to tuition paid for the first two years of post-secondary education, this law makes the new credit applicable to the first four years.
See CBS News for more details

First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Update

First time home buyers in Ann Arbor and surrounding areas have one more reason to get excited about buying a home. The Federal governments American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Here is a very good chart that summarizes the major modifications to the first time homebuyer tax credit.

From the National Association of Realtors website:

Homebuyer Tax Credit – The bill provides for a $8,000 tax credit that would be available to first-time home buyers for the purchase of a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009. The credit does not require repayment. Most of the mechanics of the credit will be the same as under the 2008 rules: the credit will be claimed on a tax return to reduce the purchaser's income tax liability. If any credit amount remains unused, then the unused amount will be refunded as a check to the purchaser.
Chart Highlighting the Major Modifications to the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit> (PDF: 309K)




Amount of Credit

Lesser of 10 percent of cost of home or $7500

Maximum credit amount increased to $8000

Eligible Property

Any single family residence (including condos, co-ops, townhouses) that will be used as a principal residence.

No change All principal residences eligible.


Yes. Reduces (or can eliminate) income tax liability for the year of purchase. Any unused amount of tax credit refunded to purchaser.

No change Purchasers will continue to receive refund for unused amount when tax return is filed.

Income Limit

Yes. Full amount of credit available for individuals with adjusted gross income of no more than $75,000 ($150,000 on a joint return). Phases out above those caps ($95,000 and $170,000).

No change Same income limits continue to apply.

First-time Homebuyer Only

Yes. Purchaser (and purchaser’s spouse) may not have owned a principal residence in 3 years previous to purchase.

No change Still available for first-time purchasers only. Three-year rule continues to apply.

Revenue Bond Financing

No credit allowed if home financed with state/local bond funding.

Purchasers who utilize revenue bond financing can use credit.


Yes. Portion (6.67% of credit or $500) to be repaid each year for 15 years, starting with 2010 tax filing.

No repayment for purchases on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009


If home sold before 15-year repayment period ends, then outstanding balance of repayment amount recaptured on sale.

If home is sold within three years of purchase, entire amount of credit is recaptured on sale. Applies only to homes purchased in 2009.


July 1, 2009 (But note program changes for 2009)

December 1, 2009

Effective Date

Purchases on or after April 9, 2008 and before January 1, 2009. Repayment to begin for 2010 tax year.

All revisions are effective as of January 1, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ann Arbor real estate Mortgage Update

Ann Arbor real estate-mortgage rates fall slightly amid uncertainty:

February 13, 2009 -- A weeks-long run of rising mortgage rates ended this week despite vague pronouncements from the new Treasury Secretary about forthcoming plans for the second $350 billion of TARP money. Bond markets couldn't seem to make up their minds, alternately rallying and then selling off amid legislative actions and stock market swoons.

For the week, Gold Star Mortgage's overall average for the cost of mortgage money -- our Fixed-Rate Mortgage Indicator (includes conforming, jumbo and 'expanded conforming' interest rates) -- dropped by eighteen basis (.18%) points to land at 5.76%, the lowest such average in a month. As mortgage rates have risen over the past few weeks, there has been a corresponding slide in applications for home loans, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. Among other factors, at least some of the increase can be attributed to lenders pricing defensively' to temper an unmanageable crush of business, and it would seem that the crush has subsided enough to warrant an attempt to attract more business.

The FRMI's 5/1 Hybrid counterpart also eased, shedding thirteen basis points (.13) to close the week at 5.54%.

Conforming 30-year FRMs led the charge downward, falling to 5.26%, while jumbos managed a decline of fourteen basis points

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from Rick Richter

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Downtown Ann Arbor loft apartments raising the bar for price and quality

Article at today about the housing options for students in Downtown Ann Arbor 4 Eleven Lofts and Zaragon Place and how they are priced about the same as the dorms. New housing options for students raising the bar for quality and affordability of student housing and Ann Arbor real estate.

Form "Students don't want to have to get together and combine their parents' old furniture," Bronstein said. "The whole concept involves the most convenience and the least hassle. They don't even need to call a utility."

The lofts already have sold out of the nine single and nine double apartments, but have leases available for three-, four- and five-resident units.

Bronstein, who received his undergraduate and law degrees from Michigan, said he and his brother Rob Bronstein, Scion's president, spent many years living in Ann Arbor while earning their degrees and saw a need for new housing options.

"Ann Arbor for years and years has been an expensive housing market and the quality has not been up to the price," Eric Bronstein said on a recent tour of 4 Eleven Lofts.

And while the overall real estate market is in dire condition, there is growth on college campuses created as the children of baby boomers start their higher education, Bronstein said.

"I think this private dormitory is the wave of the future for college students," Porter said. "The university dorms are really going to have to step it up. These new apartments cost about the same amount of money."

Landlords of downtwon Ann Arbor rental homes will have to step it up too, or plan on leasing out at a lower cost for those who don't want to pay the high price of a new high rise dorm alternative.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Home Mortgage Rates Creep Upward

Ann Arbor real estate update - Mortgage rates rise slightly amid federal stimulus debate.
February 6, 2009 -- Mortgage rates moved a little higher amid the raging "stimulus" debate. It seems to us that more than one factor is the cause behind the mild lift in rates, not the least of which are glimmers of hope amid the economic data.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage Indicator - inclusive of conforming, jumbo and 'expanded conforming' interest rates -- rose by eight basis points (.08%), finishing the week at 5.94%. The companion overall 5/1 Hybrid ARM average moved .06 upward, landing at a week-ending value of 5.67%. Conforming 30-year FRMs (fixed rate mortages) trudged upward by nine basis points, while Jumbo 30-year FRMs actually declined to 6.83% for the period.

One of the factors pressing interest rates higher is that the influential 10-year Treasury continued to move higher, and finished the week stalking the 3% mark. As we've noted on a number of occasions, the Treasury has still considerable but somewhat diminished influence on FRM rates in the present environment. For example, the 10-year Treasury has now risen by 75 basis points since touching a weekly low of 2.18% on December 26, but conforming mortgage rates have only lifted by 31 basis points over that time.

Courtesy Rick Richter, Goldstar Financial- Ann Arbor, Michigan

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Home Purchase Tax Credit Moving to $15,000? Senate Approves Bill

Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area home buyers may get windfall tax credit - With the flood gates now open, the senate piles on more tax credits - first with a tax credit of sales tax and loan interest on cars purchased this year (added to the senate bill on Tuesday) and then with approval of a tax credit of up to $15,000 to home buyers - not just first time buyers (added Wednesday).

Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia, a former real estate broker who was the prime sponsor of the homebuyer credit, said it was modeled after a similar, $2,000 homebuyer credit that helped lead the country out of recession in 1975. “We do have a history in this country with housing and it goes back to the crash of 1974, which actually in terms of inventory and price declines was comparable to what’s happening now,” Mr. Isakson said at a news conference. “Within one year of the inception of that tax credit, two-thirds of the available inventory that was on the market was gone. The market moved back to a balanced inventory, values stabilized and things became very healthy. The only reason I know all of that is I was selling houses in 1974, that’s what I was doing to feed my family and make a living.” New York Times Story
Will a tax credit of $15,000 be enough to increase the demand and prop up home prices for Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti real estate ? With many homes already"half off" and now the government considering adding the equivalent of a 15 percent rebate - I am pretty confident that many people with the means to buy - people with relatively good job security such as teachers, nurses, University of Michigan, St Joseph Mercy and U of M Hospital employees will see a great opportunity. Especially in areas such as Ypsilanti and Superior Townships where newer homes have seen severe value drops - but offer exceptional utility.

A young family that previously would have to pay @ $250,000 for a 4 bedroom 2 story home with 2000 square feet can now buy similar Ypsilanti and Superior Twp real estate starting in the $120,000. Inparticular - the subdivsions of Bromley Park, Brookside and Greene Farms

While in the long run, I don't feel the government can bouy up housing prices with tax credits, it could be the spark needed to get buyer confidence up enough to move the hosing market in southeast Michigan from a strong buyer's market into neutral territory.

Making substandard housing and homelessness unacceptable

I heard about the passing of Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat for Humanity on the radio yesterday and was completely struck by this quotation as his stated goal for Habitat for Humanity:

"We want to make shelter a matter of conscience," he said. "We want to make it socially, morally, politically and religiously unacceptable to have substandard housing and homelessness."

Making substandard housing and homelessness unacceptable...period!

I am sure that many if not most of us in the Ann Arbor area do not have a strong understanding of what it means to live in substandard housing or what it must be like to be homeless when it is 3 degrees outside. I know I don't. But hearing Millard Fuller, and this goal, really made me feel that it is truly unacceptable to accept this on any level.

Mr. Fuller founded the organization in 1976 and was its leader for 29 years.

Visit for Ann Arbor Real Estate and advanced neighborhood search tools.