New Home Sales Fall in January

28 02 2006

Sales of new homes fell for the second time in three months in January, providing further evidence that the nation’s five-year housing boom is slowing. The Commerce Department reported Monday that sales of new single-family homes dropped by 5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.233 million units last month. That was a bigger drop than analysts had been expecting, after setting sales records for five straight years, is slowing under the impact of rising mortgage rates. Despite the fall in sales, the median price of a new home was up in January to $238,100, compared with $229,000 in December. Mortgage rates have been rising gradually for a number of months with the 30-year mortgage now at 6.26 percent, according to the latest Freddie Mac survey. Many analysts believe that 30-year mortgages will rise to between 6.5 percent to 7 percent by the end of this year. They think that increase will be enough to trim sales of both new and existing homes and slow the double-digit gains in prices seen in recent years. The National Association of Realtors reported earlier this month that a record 72 metropolitan areas saw double-digit gains in home prices in the final three months of 2005 compared to the price levels at the end of 2004. Some economists have expressed concerns that once home sales start to slow, the big price increases of recent years could turn into sharp declines in a similar pattern to how the speculative bubble in stocks burst in 2000. But new Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said the most likely outcome is for a slowing in housing activity rather than a severe crash. Despite the fall in sales, the median price of a new home was up in January to $238,100, compared with $229,000 in December.

Source: Associated Press

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New Home Sales Fall in January

28 02 2006

Sales of new homes fell for the second time in three months in January, providing further evidence that the nation’s five-year housing boom is slowing. The Commerce Department reported Monday that sales of new single-family homes dropped by 5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.233 million units last month. That was a bigger drop than analysts had been expecting, after setting sales records for five straight years, is slowing under the impact of rising mortgage rates. Despite the fall in sales, the median price of a new home was up in January to $238,100, compared with $229,000 in December. Mortgage rates have been rising gradually for a number of months with the 30-year mortgage now at 6.26 percent, according to the latest Freddie Mac survey. Many analysts believe that 30-year mortgages will rise to between 6.5 percent to 7 percent by the end of this year. They think that increase will be enough to trim sales of both new and existing homes and slow the double-digit gains in prices seen in recent years. The National Association of Realtors reported earlier this month that a record 72 metropolitan areas saw double-digit gains in home prices in the final three months of 2005 compared to the price levels at the end of 2004. Some economists have expressed concerns that once home sales start to slow, the big price increases of recent years could turn into sharp declines in a similar pattern to how the speculative bubble in stocks burst in 2000. But new Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said the most likely outcome is for a slowing in housing activity rather than a severe crash. Despite the fall in sales, the median price of a new home was up in January to $238,100, compared with $229,000 in December.

Source: Associated Press





Florida Metro Areas Tops in U.S. Job Gains

26 02 2006

For the second year in a row, Florida metro areas dominate the top rankings of the Milken Institute Best Performing Cities Index, a measurement of where jobs are being created in America. For 2005, Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville ranks No. 1, followed by Cape Coral-Fort Myers at No. 2 and Naples-Marco Island in third place. The 2005 winners have similar characteristics: strong and growing service sectors, a robust recovery in tourism, growing populations and an increase in the number of retirees. As evidence, six metros in the top 20 come from the Southwest, including three in California (Riverside, Santa Barbara and Santa Ana) and two in Arizona (Tucson and Phoenix). The other is Las Vegas.

By comparison, the Midwest has none. The top-rated Midwest metro is Madison, Wis., at 35th. Nine of the bottom 10 spots on the index were from the Midwest — five from Michigan and four from Ohio — reflecting the region’s troubled manufacturing sector. Flint, Mich., is at the bottom at No. 200.

The top 10 performers (with 2004 rankings in parentheses) of the 200 largest metros:

1. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla. (31); 2. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. (1); 3. Naples-Marco Island, Fla. (15); 4. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas (18); 5. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Fla. (5); 6. Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla. (29); 7. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-Va.-Md.-W.Va. (11); 8. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.-Mo. (7); 9. Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, Fla. (9); and 10. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Ca. (8).

Source: Milken Institute at http://www.milkeninstitute.org





Oil & Gas Related Properties for 1031 Exchanges

26 02 2006

Real estate investors engaging in a 1031 tax deferred exchange transaction may want to consider acquiring oil and gas related properties in the energy sector rather than the more typical real estate investment property. As explained below certain rights in oil, gas and mineral interests are “like kind” to a fee interest in investment real estate. For example, a “royalty” interest in an oil and gas lease represents an interest in the underlying land that would be considered like kind to a fee interest in real estate. Other interests in minerals, such as “working interests”, may not qualify as like kind to real estate. A royalty is part of the mineral title to a defined parcel of land and represents ownership of a percentage of the gross revenue from the production of oil and gas on that property. Unlike a working interest, which bears the expense of drilling wells and the liabilities associated with operating those wells, a royalty interest does not involve the expense or risk associated with production, but shares in the mineral reserves.

Exchanging into oil and gas royalties can present investors with an opportunity to diversify their portfolio by adding properties whose performance does not necessarily correlate with the performance of traditional real estate. Ownership of royalties can produce attractive cash flow and provide diversification. As with any new investment, investors should consult with knowledgeable tax and/or legal advisors to determine the suitability of this type of investment.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR TAX ADVANTAGES IF THE EXCHANGE CANNOT BE COMPLETED

In the event someone defined as an “accredited investor” cannot complete an exchange and they receive the exchange proceeds from the Qualified Intermediary, they may be interested in exploring other tax-advantaged programs within the energy sector. Many of these programs allow investors to write off all or most of their investment against ordinary income in the current tax year plus they experience continued cash flow and tax benefits during the life of the program.

Section 263(c) of the tax code allows an investor the option to deduct, as expenses, intangible drilling and development costs (IDC) involved with oil and gas wells. IDCs are costs that cannot be recovered from the operation. An investor with a failed exchange can use IDCs to eliminate taxes that would otherwise be a consequence of a failed exchange. These investments are typically structured as limited partnerships, where most investors typically participate as a general partner during the drilling phase of the program.

After that phase, the investors interest is converted to limited partner status with the driller/operator remaining as the general partner in the program. In addition to the IDC benefits, investors may be able to obtain additional tax advantages. Similar to the depreciation of real estate, under Section 613 of the tax code, the IRS allows for a standard 15% depletion allowance for all income earned from the program. As a result, investors can deduct 15% against the income earned from the program for any given year.





New Listing in Wyngate Forest MLS 285674

26 02 2006

I just listed a new executive home in Wyngate Forest, a terrific neighborhood with homes built for the future. Here you can find the home of your dreams in one of the most popular Southside neighborhoods. Conveniently located on Touchton Road just west of Southside Blvd., Wyngate Forest is a new gated community with pool, playground and basketball court. With close proximity to Tinseltown, you are close to everything and are just minutes to the area’s hottest beaches, premier shopping, fine dining and entertainment. Built in 2003 by Centex Homes, one of the nation’s largest home builders and most admired company, this beautiful home is almost 2,400 square feet and has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and 3 car garages. Enjoy well-appointed features and many upgrades including custom interior paint, full stucco, 12′ ceiling, ceramic tile floor, spacious master suite with walk-in closet, Jacuzzi tub, surround sound system, CAT-5 wiring, gourmet kitchen with externally vented range hood, 42” upper cabinets, side-by-side refrigerator, water softener, water filtration system, full-size washer and dryer, covered lanai, window treatments, ceiling fans, exterior double flood lights, alarm system, separate irrigation meter, termite bond, and one-year home warranty.





Florida Metro Areas Tops in U.S. Job Gains

25 02 2006

For the second year in a row, Florida metro areas dominate the top rankings of the Milken Institute Best Performing Cities Index, a measurement of where jobs are being created in America. For 2005, Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville ranks No. 1, followed by Cape Coral-Fort Myers at No. 2 and Naples-Marco Island in third place. The 2005 winners have similar characteristics: strong and growing service sectors, a robust recovery in tourism, growing populations and an increase in the number of retirees. As evidence, six metros in the top 20 come from the Southwest, including three in California (Riverside, Santa Barbara and Santa Ana) and two in Arizona (Tucson and Phoenix). The other is Las Vegas.

By comparison, the Midwest has none. The top-rated Midwest metro is Madison, Wis., at 35th. Nine of the bottom 10 spots on the index were from the Midwest — five from Michigan and four from Ohio — reflecting the region’s troubled manufacturing sector. Flint, Mich., is at the bottom at No. 200.

The top 10 performers (with 2004 rankings in parentheses) of the 200 largest metros:

1. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla. (31); 2. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. (1); 3. Naples-Marco Island, Fla. (15); 4. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas (18); 5. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Fla. (5); 6. Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla. (29); 7. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-Va.-Md.-W.Va. (11); 8. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.-Mo. (7); 9. Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, Fla. (9); and 10. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Ca. (8).

Source: Milken Institute at http://www.milkeninstitute.org





Oil & Gas Related Properties for 1031 Exchanges

25 02 2006

Real estate investors engaging in a 1031 tax deferred exchange transaction may want to consider acquiring oil and gas related properties in the energy sector rather than the more typical real estate investment property. As explained below certain rights in oil, gas and mineral interests are “like kind” to a fee interest in investment real estate. For example, a “royalty” interest in an oil and gas lease represents an interest in the underlying land that would be considered like kind to a fee interest in real estate. Other interests in minerals, such as “working interests”, may not qualify as like kind to real estate. A royalty is part of the mineral title to a defined parcel of land and represents ownership of a percentage of the gross revenue from the production of oil and gas on that property. Unlike a working interest, which bears the expense of drilling wells and the liabilities associated with operating those wells, a royalty interest does not involve the expense or risk associated with production, but shares in the mineral reserves.

Exchanging into oil and gas royalties can present investors with an opportunity to diversify their portfolio by adding properties whose performance does not necessarily correlate with the performance of traditional real estate. Ownership of royalties can produce attractive cash flow and provide diversification. As with any new investment, investors should consult with knowledgeable tax and/or legal advisors to determine the suitability of this type of investment.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR TAX ADVANTAGES IF THE EXCHANGE CANNOT BE COMPLETED

In the event someone defined as an “accredited investor” cannot complete an exchange and they receive the exchange proceeds from the Qualified Intermediary, they may be interested in exploring other tax-advantaged programs within the energy sector. Many of these programs allow investors to write off all or most of their investment against ordinary income in the current tax year plus they experience continued cash flow and tax benefits during the life of the program.

Section 263(c) of the tax code allows an investor the option to deduct, as expenses, intangible drilling and development costs (IDC) involved with oil and gas wells. IDCs are costs that cannot be recovered from the operation. An investor with a failed exchange can use IDCs to eliminate taxes that would otherwise be a consequence of a failed exchange. These investments are typically structured as limited partnerships, where most investors typically participate as a general partner during the drilling phase of the program.

After that phase, the investors interest is converted to limited partner status with the driller/operator remaining as the general partner in the program. In addition to the IDC benefits, investors may be able to obtain additional tax advantages. Similar to the depreciation of real estate, under Section 613 of the tax code, the IRS allows for a standard 15% depletion allowance for all income earned from the program. As a result, investors can deduct 15% against the income earned from the program for any given year.








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