Saturday, December 15, 2012

Really Special Jefferson Park Home for Rent

Two bedroom, one bath home with Arizona Room, which can be used as a study, playroom, or extra bedroom. Living room fireplace.

Dining room, tiled floors and central air conditioning. Skylight in the kitchen. Great Catalina Mountain views from living room.
Northwest of Grant and Campbell at 1440 E Silver Street; 0.5 mile from University Medical Center. One mile from University of Arizona on the Mountain Avenue bike route.

Beautiful front and back yards with large trees for shade. Carport and storage sheds. 1,150 square feet. Water paid by owner. Pets negotiable

$1,050 per month. Rented to summer 2013.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mulie Family

Less than a minute after I went back into Desert's Edge through the back door, seven mule deer tip-toed down the hill to my fountain. Four adults and three fawns. Their coats are shinier, darker and more speckled than they were during the summer.
Every day is Thanksgiving Day at the Desert's Edge.

Fiscal Cliff for Homeowners Doing Short Sales

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 is due to expire at the end of the year. It is one of the many issues bundled up in the infamous "Fiscal Cliff" negotiations. If the Act is not extended, homeowners who have debt forgiven in a short sale, loan modification or foreclosure will owe the IRS income tax on the forgiven debt.

Suppose a person owes $200,000 on his house, and it is sold in a short sale for $125,000. This seller will get a IRS form 1099 showing $75,000 income, and he will be expected to pay income tax on money he never had. It's pretty obvious that someone who qualified for a short sale does not have tens of thousands of dollars to give to the IRS. I fail to see how we will reduce the deficient by sending tax bills to people who don't have the ability to pay them.

Read more on To get the official IRS take, check here. And of course consult a tax expert if you are facing short sale, loan modification or foreclosure.

Mortgage Interest Deduction Threatened

The mortgage interest tax deduction is also on the chopping block. This doesn't concern me as much, even though I am a beneficiary of it. The federal government subsidizes home ownership in dozens of ways, but I don't think this should be one of them.

Suppose a person with a $150,000 mortgage at 5% interest loses his mortgage interest deduction. So what if he can't deduct $7,500 from his taxable income? If he's in the 25% tax bracket, he won't save $1,875 on his taxes. This is going to stop him from buying a house?

The current proposal the Obama administration has on the table will reduce the limit on mortgage principal eligible for a deduction to $500,000 from the current $1 million. The tax deduction will be replaced by a tax credit capped at 12% of interest paid. Mortgage interest on second homes will no longer be tax deductible.

The National Association of Realtors says the mortgage interest deduction is sacred, and changes to the tax code will cause home prices to plummet. Critics of the tax reform say people will no longer be unable to afford to pay as much for homes without the tax subsidy. This is nonsense. When a person applies for a mortgage, the mortgage broker does not count the amount the buyer will save on his taxes as income.  

Amazing West University Rental

Beautiful rental in West University, minutes to the U of A and downtown. Right around the corner from Time Market at 438 E 2nd Street.
Beautiful cactus gardens out front, big porch front and back, two bedrooms, one full bathroom. An extra room at the back of the house with French doors to the spacious backyard. Washer and dryer. The kitchen has lots of space, plus a big walk in pantry.
Fireplace, built-in bookshelves and cabinets. Large living and dining rooms in this historic West University home, built in 1910.
This house is now rented.

December Residential Sale Statistics

The Tucson Association of Realtors has released the Residential Sales Statistics for November. Average sale price increased 3.8% from October to $182,539, and increased 15.2% from a year ago. There were 994 sales, a 2.1% decline from a year ago. We are in the seasonal sales slump, and should see more motivated buyers in January.  Number of active listings declined 14.7% since November 2011 to 4,430, but has been increasing since reaching a low of 3,474 in June.

While only 8% of the active listings as of today are short sales, they accounted for 15% of the sales in November. Foreclosures account for 12% of the listings on the market today, but 25% of the sales in November were foreclosures.

Of the 583 listings that sold for under $150,000 in November, 20% were short sales and 35% were foreclosures. Today, only 5% of the active listings are short sales, and 8% are foreclosures. Foreclosures generally sell for considerably under market value, but short sales tend to sell close to market value, so the predominance of distressed sales is sort of baffling.

I don't know about everyone else, but December is looking like the best month I have had since 2005.

Think Globally, Act Locally: Rain Water Harvesting in Tucson

This nicely-done video has the startling news that the volume of rain water that falls on Tucson is greater than the volume of water we currently consume from municipal suppliers. Check it out here. The project is at 813 North 9th Avenue, in the extremely groovy neighborhood of Dunbar-Spring, southwest of Stone and Speedway.