News that FHA will eliminate a prepayment penalty starting next year has been widely reported. It’s a move NAR has been seeking for some time because it will relieve borrowers of a financial hit that’s entirely out of their control and also bring the agency’s policies in line with other federal agencies that backstop mortgages. Perhaps most importantly, it will align the agency’s policies with the qualified mortgage rule (QRM), which defines what the federal government considers a safe home mortgage loan.
What’s being eliminated is an interest-rate charge. For FHA borrowers that pay off their mortgage before the end of the month, the lender is allowed to charge to the borrower the interest rate costs on the loan from the day the loan is retired until the last day of the month. So, if a borrower paid off the loan on Sept. 10, the penalty would be 20 days of interest payments. That can be hundreds of dollars. Once the change takes effect, on Jan. 21, 2015, lenders will no longer be able to apply that interest charge to the borrower.
NAR continues to work with FHA on other matters. A big point right now is getting some improvement in FHA’s policies on condominium financing. It’s too difficult for many condo projects to get the stamp of approval that’s needed for people who want to buy a unit in the project to get FHA financing. Watch NAR Voice for Real Estate now
Public Meeting on Redevelopment of Old Library Site August 12
Release by Marcia Lynch TC Public Information Officer on Friday, August 8, 2014
On Tuesday, August 12, the special legislative committee charged with reviewing expressions of interest to redevelop the site of the Old Tompkins County Library will sponsor a public meeting to receive comments related to concerns and suggestions redevelopment of the site, located at the corner of Cayuga and Court Streets in the City of Ithaca.
The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m., at the Tompkins County Legislature Chambers, located at the Governor Daniel D. Tompkins Building, 121 E. Court Street (2nd Floor), Ithaca. (Enter by the Park entrance at the rear of the building.) more
Survey: Residents Satisfied with Quality of Life; Many Seeking New Homes
Posted July 30, 2014
A recent poll of Tompkins County residents conducted by the independent research firm American Strategies shows that Tompkins County residents praise the local quality of life, and that one in three Tompkins County residents are interested in moving to a new home in the next year or two.
The American Strategies survey, commissioned by the Ithaca Board of Realtors® through the National Associations of Realtors®, was conducted in an effort to better understand Tompkins County’s housing and transportation needs.
In 2004, the Tompkins County Comprehensive Plan cited a need for 4,000 new housing units in the county in the next 20 years (by 2024), as the area, with its low unemployment rate and cultural benefits, is one of the few growing counties in the state. With mortgage rates continuing to remain low, for those contemplating selling a home, the time could not be better.
The 400 residents who responded to the phone poll were asked about their housing, transportation, and municipal concerns. The results indicate that residents are generally pleased with the quality of life in Tompkins County, but are concerned about high property taxes; want good public schools; and are looking for safe transportation alternatives.
Eighty-five percent of residents polled said that the quality of life here has been consistently good. Nonetheless, those surveyed said policy makers should place tax burden relief as their number one priority. In addition, the performance of public schools was the most important factor in their perception of a positive quality of life here. They also said they place a high priority on short commutes, sidewalks, walkability, and public walking spaces. Other issues of concern to them were jobs, transportation and infrastructure, and the environment.
Of the 34% percent of residents looking to move in the next year or two
More than 60% are looking for single-family detached homes
In 2013 single-family detached homes were the large majority of the residential sales in Tompkins County (83%)
16% are looking for townhouse or condominiums
The difficulty here is that in Tompkins County there were 46 townhouses/condominiums in inventory last year, and none of them within City of Ithaca borders. These properties closed about 25% faster than single family homes that year. It is also worth noting that the 2011 Danter Report showed that Ithaca can support condominium development.
While we occasionally hear grumbling about the traffic in Ithaca, nearly 70% of residents polled said there is not enough traffic to cause concern. Most said they travel by car to work and do not carpool. Of those surveyed 32% use TCAT for travel to work, school, errands, or to get to other destinations. Of those 32%, 88% rated TCAT’s performance as “excellent” or “good”. When asked why they do not ride TCAT or use the system more frequently, respondents overwhelmingly said there are no obstacles, such as parking, reliability and overcrowding on buses. Most residents responded that they simply prefer to drive. Almost 80% say that they would not use a park-and-ride option even if it were closer to their homes. It is worth noting that over one-half of residents would like to see safer routes for riding bikes to work and would like sidewalks available.
Media Contact: Dennis Mogil, 2014 Ithaca Board of Realtors® President 607-227-6422
Support Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins County and Cortland County!
Every year the Ithaca Board of REALTORS® chooses a local non-profit to raise funds for... this year's recipient is Habitat for Humanity. Donations will go directly to helping the families with the nominal closing costs associated with purchasing a habitat house. Click on the link to learn more and please consider donating!