13 February 2008

Senate and House Clear Economic Stimulus Package with GSE and FHA Loan Limit Increases

On February 7, 2008, the Senate reached an agreement and passed their economic stimulus package by a bi-partisan vote of 81-16. Within hours, the House accepted the Senate's measure by a vote of 380-34 and sent the final bill (H.R. 5140, as amended) to President Bush for his signature. The soon to be enacted economic stimulus package includes several important housing provisions, including increases in the loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and also FHA. Congress and the Administration view strengthening the housing market as key to improving the national economy. Included in the package are: The FHA limit will increase to as much as $729,750 in high cost areas (to 125% of local median home prices) for loans approved on or before December 31, 2008. In addition, the measure gives the Secretary of HUD the discretion to raise any individual area loan limit by an amount not to exceed $100,000. The GSE limit will be increased up to $729,750 for loans originated after July 1, 2007 to December 31, 2008. Currently Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are capped at $417,000. It appears the formula mirror that used by FHA, with GSE loan limits increasing to 125% of the local median home price, but not to exceed $729,750. The tax centerpiece of the stimulus package is a tax rebate provision. The rebate will be $600 ($1200 for those who file a joint return). In addition, individuals with children (generally minor children or some older dependents) will receive rebates of $300 per child, with no limit on the number of eligible children. The rebate will phase out for those with adjusted gross income above $75,000 ($150,000 on a joint return). The IRS will likely begin sending the rebate checks in late May, following the 2007 income tax filing season. In addition to the rebate, two business tax provisions will provide benefits to small business. The first would permit a business to deduct as much as $250,000 of the cost of otherwise depreciable property. This expensing provision applies to property acquired and placed in service during 2008. A second provision would provide a "bonus" depreciation deduction for the cost of leasehold improvements and certain other equipment. The bonus will be 50% of the cost of the improvement. The provision is effective for improvements placed in service during 2008. Improvements placed in service during 2009 will be eligible for the bonus deduction, but only if they are made pursuant to a contract entered into 2008. President Bush signed the legislation about 20 minutes prior to my posting this blog. For many people this law will be a boost of income in the short-term and the real estate / housing related portions may help with the housing problems that have been experienced across the country. For more information on Kingsland GA Real Estate, Kingsland GA Homes For Sale, St. Marys GA Real Estate, or St. Marys GA Homes For Sale feel free to visit our home page.

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