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Homeowner headlines

First-time Homebuyer Savings Plans are here

Starting today, July 1, 2014, Virginians can create First-time Homebuyer Savings Plans, where they can put money to use for the closing costs on their (or someone else’s) first home and keep it free of Virginia taxes.

Click here to read all about FHSPs — and be sure to tell your clients!

REALTOR® Call for Action: Protect the NFIP

BLOCK-CFA-NFIP-11-2013Congress provided a 5-year reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), but severe implementation problems threaten to undermine real estate transactions where flood insurance is required to obtain a mortgage.

New Home Sales Report video

Get a terrific three-minute overview of the current Virginia housing market with the video edition of our quarterly Home Sales Report, hosted by VAR team member Director of Public Relations Stacey Ricks.

It’s a great way to see what’s happening in the state. (Brokers, it’s perfect for your next sales meeting.) And for all the details be sure to grab your free copy of the full Home Sales Report, too.

Bill will postpone flood-insurance rate hikes

Key House and Senate members have reached a bipartisan deal to delay the implementation of major parts of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. The agreement — which still must be codified into a bill — will ensure the government continues to subsidize flood-insurance for many homeowners who participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) while the impact of higher rates is studied.

The agreement is a result of concerns over the implementation of Biggert-Waters, and the effect it has had on flood insurance premiums since it was passed in July 2012.

NAR President testifies on Capitol Hill

NAR President Gary Thomas testifies before Congress on October 29.

Speaking in support of the bipartisan “Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2013” — which provides for an explicit government guarantee for the secondary mortgage market — NAR President Gary Thomas testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs today.

Sun Gazette informs readers of statewide market improvements via VAR

sun-gazette-logoDouble-digit increases in home sales were reported in every corridor across the commonwealth, according to figures reported Oct. 22 by the Virginia Association of Realtors (VAR). The market has been improving since bottoming out in mid-2011.

VAR’s Home Sales Report quoted by Lynchburg paper

The Lynchburg News & Advance quoted data from VAR’s quarterly Home Sales Report in its October 22 article, “Va. home sales soar; Lynchburg-Blacksburg-Roanoke leads pack“:

VAR, RAR quoted by Richmond Times-Dispatch

Both VAR and the Richmond Association of REALTORS® were featured in an October 23 Richmond Times-Dispatch story, “Housing market improves,” about central Virginia’s housing market.

“The Richmond area’s housing market posted increases in sales and prices during the third quarter, according to a report released Tuesday by the Richmond Association of Realtors,” begins the story, which featured housing statistics from both associations.

It quoted both Linda Terry, the 2013 President of the Richmond Association of REALTORS®, and Stacey Ricks, VAR’s Director of Public Relations.

Virginia sees a strong third quarter

The Virginia housing market maintained year-over-year improvements in the third quarter: sales were up 11%, prices increased 2.4%, and volume increased 19%. In general, year-over-year numbers indicate that the market is continuing to recover with increased sales, increased value, and stable prices.

Nonetheless, sales decreased in September. The graph below shows that the decrease in sales from August 2013 through September 2013 (20.4%) was similar to the decline Virginia experienced last year, 20.08% from the end of August 2012 to the end of September 2012.

Three Virginia cities ranked as “best places to live”

Charlottesville, Richmond, and Newport News were named among the nation’s “Top 100 Places to Live” in 2014, according to Livability.

Working with researchers at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, and using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, USDA, Walk Score, Great Schools, Americans for the Arts, and others, Livability examined more than 1,700 small and mid-sized cities across the country.

The rankings were based on a variety of factors, including local economics, quality and availability of healthcare, affordability, quality of education and infrastructure, and local amenities such as parks, museums, and music venues.