The More You Know -- October

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August, the latest month for which data is available, saw a 1.7% decrease in existing-home sales nationwide, pulled down by extreme weather events in the southern states; this is the 4th month in the last five where home sales have decreased. A national map of home sales over the last year can be viewed here

  • The national labor market continued tightening in the month of August, boosting nominal wages. 
  • The average commitment rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.88%, its lowest rate since November of 2016. 
  • Total housing inventory has declined 6.5% since last August, the continuation of a 27 month streak of falling inventory. 
  • Existing-home sales in the South decreased 5.7 percent to an annual rate of 2.15 million in August, and are now 0.9 percent lower than a year ago. The median price in the South was $220,400, up 5.4 percent from a year ago.

To watch a complete review of market conditions by the National Association of REALTORS' resident Economist, Dr. Yun, click here. 


The More You Know - September

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August was a busy month for the state legislature and the U.S. economy!

In statewide news, the North Carolina General Assembly convened to redraw their legislative districts to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling handed-down earlier this year. The new districts will have little impact on the partisan advantages in the House and Senate, but may have changed who is representing you at the state level. If you want to check your voter registration status and see who your representatives are, click here!

  • The National Association of Realtors expects North Carolina’s home values to rise 2.7% on average this year with some of the largest gains in Charlotte and the Triangle.
  • The Realtors Confidence Index reflects a competitive environment for buying and selling.
  • Despite increasing home tours, offers per tour has decreased slightly.
  • Home sales slipped 1.3% in the month of July.
  • For a complete overview of economic data, click here.

 

Do you have an interesting story that we can use for advocacy, or perhaps, a local issue we should look into? Feel free to email us back with your comments or suggestions. We look forward to keeping you in the loop. 


The More You Know - June 2017

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The legislative session at the NC General Assembly is heating up as members begin budget negotiations!

The final version of the budget will set spending and tax priorities for the next two years. The two versions differ on their treatment of the important mortgage interest tax deduction (MID). Currently, the state caps the deduction for mortgage interest and property taxes at $20,000, regardless of filing status. The House and Senate differ on how they adjust this cap. 

  • The Senate increases the deduction to $22,000 for married couples filing jointly. However, the deduction would be decreased to $11,000 for single filers.
  • The House legislation would simply increase the deduction to $22,000 regardless of filing status.
  • Both versions of the budget also increase the standard deduction for all filers, so changes in the law will have varying impact on taxpayers.

In recent years, there have been increasing attacks on the MID, which represents a tremendous economic benefit for families across the state and country. Thankfully, it seems that the legislature is actually on track to increase the deduction for most filers. 

One other tidbit to keep in mind during this heated political climate:

  • The United States Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that found 28 legislative districts to be unconstitutional on the basis of illegal racial gerrymandering. While these districts will have to be redrawn, the justices did not affirm the lower courts decision to insist that North Carolina hold special elections in 2017. For more information on this important decision click here.

As always, we will keep you updated on the MID and other homeowner issues as we find out more. With your help, we will continue to advocate for property rights at the General Assembly!


The More You Know - May 2017

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Your hard-earned dollars matter, and that’s why the North Carolina Homeowners Alliance is monitoring important legislation that could affect your wallet in positive and negative ways alike. Here’s the scoop:

Repealing the Services Sales Tax

Auto Insurance Rate

More Utility Costs?

  • State lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow landlords to charge tenants for the cost of providing natural gas to a leased premise. The aim of this bill is to encourage energy conservation, however, it may increase monthly utility costs for consumers.

  • Another measure that is pending in the North Carolina Senate would encourage towns and counties to privatize their water utilities, which could inadvertently cause monthly rates to increase for homeowners.

Stay tuned – as always, the North Carolina Homeowners Alliance will track these proceedings and provide you with updates when we hear anything new.


The More You Know - April 2017

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Break out your pastels and seersuckers – spring is upon us! For their spring cleaning, the General Assembly is working on a bill that will help clean up our roads, something our rural counties and highway systems sorely need.

 House Bill 457: Performance Guarantees/Subdivision Streets

  • Many roads across the state are in such disrepair that they’re unfit for emergency services and school buses.
  • When you’re moving to a new home, it’s very hard to know whether the road to your house is serviced by the Department of Transportation or a local developer – getting the road fixed is incredibly complicated.
  • This bill will help ensure developers won’t leave streets unfinished when constructing new homes.
  • The bill will also create a database for homebuyers to search for the roads leading to their new homes.

 Stay tuned – HB 457 heads to a vote tomorrow. We’ll update you on any progress for this important legislation.


The More You Know - March 2017

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Property rights, education and beach nourishment – the North Carolina General Assembly has taken up several bills or recommendations on these issues over the past few weeks and we believe you should be armed with the facts. Here’s the scoop:

Get off my lawn!!

  • Representative Chuck McGrady introduced House Bill 3, which proposes an amendment to the state’s constitution as a way to limit the government’s use of eminent domain to seize private property. For more information, please click here.

$50 million

  • The North Carolina General Assembly is considering recommendations for creating a recurring beach nourishment fund to maintain the state’s natural landscape along the coast. Experts suggest that the state would need $50 million annually to support this fund into perpetuity, which may result in a tax increase.

24 Students

  • House Bill 13which now heads to the North Carolina Senate, would cap K-3 class sizes at 22 to 24 students to avoid cuts to arts and physical education classes following an unfunded mandate last year.

Schools out…forever?

  • As of Feb. 27, 19 bills covering 36 school systems (out of 115) have been filed to remove provisions regulating when schools can begin and end instruction. If successful, these bills would allow local school boards to regain control over their own calendars.

Stay tuned – as always, the NC Homeowners Alliance will track these proceedings and provide you with updates when we hear anything new.


The More You Know - February 2017

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Just when you thought voting was behind you, the United States Supreme Court decided to weigh in on North Carolina’s politics. Here’s the scoop:

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• In November, a federal three-judge panel of the Middle District Court issued a ruling that ordered state lawmakers to redraw 28 legislative districts by March 15, 2017 – citing that those districts were racially gerrymandered and therefore unconstitutional. These changes also directed the state to hold special elections in 2017.

1 Emergency Request
• In December, Speaker of the House Tim Moore and Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger, represented by state attorney Paul Clement, submitted an emergency request to Chief Justice John Roberts asking him to issue a stay on the federal court order mentioned above until an appropriate appeal can be filed by the state.

170 Potential Races
• In January, Chief Justice Roberts issued an order temporarily blocking the special elections while the Supreme Court decides whether to take the case. If they take the case, the block will stay in place until the case is decided. Unfortunately, this leaves legislators – and their constituents – uncertain about what 2017 will hold for policy and discussion on important issues including the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID), homeowners insurance rates, regulations and more.

Stay tuned – as always, the NC Homeowners Alliance will track these proceedings and provide you with updates when we hear anything new.


The More You Know - January 2017

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January marks the beginning of the long session at the NC General Assembly. The Alliance will be watching as our legislators work on important legislation relating to homeownership. We will be specifically interested to see if there are any changes or progress on the following key issues:  

  • Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) - In last year's short session, the NCGA maintained the $20,000 cap to the MID. We hope the MID is protected in the long session as it is one of the biggest and most important boosts to working families across the state. We're counting on legislators to oppose any efforts to repeal or reduce this vital deduction that our families depend on.
  • Homeowners Insurance Rates - NC needs greater consumer protection for homeowners insurance rates, the process by which rates are set should be fair and transparent. Insurance companies shouldn't be allowed to circumvent the legal process and force property owners to pay higher premiums through Consent to Rate letters.
  • Economic Development - Our North Carolina economy is growing, and the NC Homeowners Alliance is committed to standing up for economic opportunities for every citizen in our state. One process by which the General Assembly will stimulate the economy is through economic development. The Alliance will be sure to monitor the General Assembly's progress and notify you regarding the effect development policies will have on your local communities.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or other pieces of legislation that concern you. We want to know what's important to you in your community and always value your feedback. We want to be a voice for homeowners at the legislature, so we need to hear from you!


Protect Our Neighborhood Roads

As we approach the end of this year's legislative session, there are still important homeowner issues to address. Senate Bill 778 seeks to alleviate the problem of "orphan roads" across the state.

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Having quality infrastructure is a key component of strong communities, and an established, maintained road system is one of its most important parts. But in many communities across North Carolina, that is not possible because of nonexistent or otherwise complicated road maintenance agreements. This has led to “orphan roads” in subdivisions throughout the state, placing the burden for improvements on homeowners. The costs for these improvements can be exorbitant, causing roads to fall into such states of disrepair that emergency vehicles and even school buses won’t travel them.

The legislation will:

      • Save homeowners from costly repairs in the future through performance bonds that ensure the necessary road work is completed up to state standards and ultimately accepted by NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) into the road system.
      • Ensure new homeowners' piece of mind. This bill requires that NCDOT work with each county to develop a database which includes the classification (public/private) for each road in the county. This will allow consumers to be knowledgeable about their purchases and provide comfort to lending institutions in transactions.
      • Protect homeowners by creating reliable infrastructure in new neighborhoods.

This legislation represents a huge step forward in protecting homeowners and property values. Be on the lookout for your chance to tell your legislator about the importance of this bill!


Support for the Connect NC Bond in the News

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Follow along with the Alliance's coverage of the Connect NC Bond Referendum here! We'll be posting letters to the editor and opinion pieces from concerned homeowners across the state. Join us in raising your voice in support of the bond campaign. If you are interested in submitting a letter to the editor to your local paper, let us know at paul@nchomeownersalliance.org

To learn more about how the bond will help your area, visit our website for an in-depth look at how the bond will be distributed across the state.

We're starting off our coverage with an op-ed from Chapel Hill resident, Mark Zimmerman about the bond's impact on his area.

Chapel Hill News:

Mark Zimmerman: An easy choice on the ballot March 15

"Who will benefit from the bond? Well, the bond drafters were smart. They spread the wealth across the state. Seventy three counties will receive funds directly; the rest are eligible to get water and sewer projects. Fifty eight community colleges and all 17 campuses in our university system will receive the lion’s share of the dollars. Agriculture, our state’s largest industry, will benefit from a new plant science complex, assisting farmers small and large."

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This past Monday, Alliance member, Billie Green spoke in the Asheville Citizen-Times about how the bond will benefit the western part of the state.

Asheville Citizen-Times

Billie Green: Connect NC bond will have tremendous economic impact

"I see how education, water infrastructure and natural resources impact job creation. I’m also a strong supporter of the North Carolina Homeowners Alliance, urging you to vote yes for the Connect NC bond referendum....The Connect NC bond will strengthen neighborhoods and communities by improving property values and raising the quality of our citizens’ lives. Let’s make the smart move and invest in North Carolina’s future."