The average interest rate for 30-year mortgages has fallen to the lowest level since Freddie Mac began compiling its weekly survey in 1971, declining to 4.71 percent this week from 4.78 percent a week ago.
Rates also were more attractive for 15-year fixed loans, which fell from 4.29 percent to 4.27 percent, but many consumers may not have qualified for them because they now face higher credit standards from lenders.
Still, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s index of application demand, which rose 2.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis during Thanksgiving week from the previous week, shows that consumers were looking to take advantage of mortgage rates at a historic low.
Clifton Park Highway Superintendent Rick Kukuk has announced that ice storm debris pickup is expected to resume in early to mid-April. The town is expected to award a contract for the work and announce a schedule for when crews will visit each neighborhood in early April. The schedule will be available on the town’s Web site, www.cliftonpark.org, as well as in Town Hall and in local media.
While town officials wish to remove the ice storm debris from the side of the road as soon as possible, officials also want to make sure that no homes are skipped. For this reason, residents are encouraged to begin moving any debris on their property to the side of the road as the snow melts.
All debris from private property must be placed at the curbline. Only vegetative debris (tree trunks and branches) resulting from the ice storm are eligible for removal under this program. Residents can call the highway department at 371-7310 with any questions.
How do you know if you are a First-Time Home Buyer? You would think that means a person who has never purchased a home before? The law defines “first-time home buyer” as a buyer who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. For married taxpayers, the law tests the homeownership history of both the home buyer and his/her spouse.
What that means is a Home Buyer who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase can take advantage of a new tax credit of up to $8,000
For example, if you have not owned a home in the past three years but your spouse has owned a principal residence, neither you nor your spouse qualifies for the first-time home buyer tax credit. However, unmarried joint purchasers may allocate the credit amount to any buyer who qualifies as a first-time buyer, such as may occur if a parent jointly purchases a home with a son or daughter. Ownership of a vacation home or rental property not used as a principal residence does not disqualify a buyer as a first-time home buyer.
Available for a limited time only, the credit:
- Applies to home purchases after January 1, 2009, and before December 1, 2009.
- The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000
- The most significant difference in the tax credit enacted in July of 2008 is that this tax credit does not have to be repaid. Because it had to be repaid, the previous “credit” was essentially an interest-free loan. This tax incentive is a true tax credit. However, home buyers must use the residence as a principal residence for at least three years or face recapture of the tax credit amount. Certain exceptions apply.
- Participating in the tax credit program is easy. You claim the tax credit on your federal income tax return. Specifically, home buyers should complete IRS Form 5405 to determine their tax credit amount, and then claim this amount on Line 69 of their 1040 income tax return. No other applications or forms are required, and no pre-approval is necessary. However, you will want to be sure that you qualify for the credit under the income limits and first-time home buyer tests.
For more detailed information about the tax credit to aid homebuyers click on the links below.
The School Tax Relief (STAR) Exemption; you are probably eligible for a STAR school property tax exemption. To apply for your exemption, fill out this form and submit it to your local assessor. STAR applications must be received in the assessor’s office by March 1.
The Middle Class STAR Rebate Program; you should have received a notification letter and application, or correspondence from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. To apply for the rebate go to the link below to request an application.
If you have any questions or just need help with applying for the programs please call or email me. I am never too busy to help!