The National Association of REALTORS released its quarterly Metropolitan Median Area Prices and Housing Affordability Index; the report showed that the majority of the 146 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) surveyed have a sever lack of housing stock, driving prices higher.
In North Carolina, 7 cities are classified as MSAs by the Office of Management and Budget, their quarterly Median Home Price changes were:
- Durham-Chapel Hill Area- 7.3% increase
- Fayetteville- 0.4% decrease
- Raleigh- 6.9% increase
- Wilmington- 6.9% increase
- Greensboro-High Point Area- 5.7% increase
- Winston-Salem- 3.6% increase
- Charlotte- 8% increase
While increasing home prices have largely been considered good news, housing affordability has decreased across the country as the supply for home sales has become too small to meet demand. National Association of REALTORS' Economist, Dr. Yun, forecasts a 9.4% jump in construction of single-family homes next year, which should help meet demand and slow price increase; this 9.4% jump will only produce 950,000 new homes, far below the 1.2 million average for the last 50 years, however.
As the federal government begins to take on Tax-Reform, we urge to you to review our positions and take action on our consumer protection website-- many of the exemptions that benefit homeowners (like the Mortgage-Interest Deduction) are on the chopping block and need your help. You'll hear more about this from us soon!
Be sure to check out this month's housing minute!
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.
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 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!
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
An effort is underway to repeal the state’s sales tax on labor and services, including home repairs, vehicle maintenance, appliance installations and more.
Auto Insurance Rate
The North Carolina Rate Bureau recently submitted a proposal to the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI) to increase auto insurance rates statewide by 13.8%.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- House Bill 13, which 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.
- 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.
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:
28 Legislative Districts
• 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.
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!
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.
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!