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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

DAILY BRIEFING: Tuesday, September 23, 2008

DAILY BRIEFING
Tuesday, September 23, 2008


INTERNATIONAL

While a number of factors have contributed to a home sales slowdown in Florida, an increase in foreign homebuyers has modified the trend, according to a just-released research paper from NAR, the 2008 "Profile of International Home Buying in Florida."

FEDERAL AID

Scrambling for a swift deal on the $700 billion bailout for failing financial firms, key Democrats and Bush administration officials agreed Monday to include mortgage help for beleaguered homeowners but wrangled over other issues, including "golden parachutes" for executives who benefit from the rescue.

CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE

Should Florida's insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance, move into a 1,000-square foot leased building with a restaurant, gym and concierge? One Florida lawmaker has questioned that option and wants the company to keep a lid on costs since tax dollars pay for excess insurance losses.

HOME AFFORDABILITY

A Census Bureau study finds that almost 38 percent of American homeowners with a mortgage spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, and 15 percent pay 50 percent or more. At the top of the list, 58 percent of Miami-Broward homeowners spend over 30 percent of their income on housing, and 29 percent spend 50 percent or more. Fort Myers, Sarasota and Orlando metro areas also rank in the top 10.

COMMERCIAL

On Jan. 1, 2011, fire sprinklers will be required in new one- and two-family homes and townhouses under a rule approved recently by the International Code Council that will be published in the 2009 International Residential Code.

VA LOANS

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, whose loans remain one of the few no-downpayment options in this tight market, have made more than 162,000 home loan guaranties this year, an increase of more than 31 percent over the same period last year. The VA has tried to streamline the loan process by allowing veterans to apply for a loan before they obtain a VA Certificate of Eligibility. Once borrowers demonstrate that they are otherwise eligible, lenders can access the program's Web portal to use VA's online Automated Certificate of Eligibility (ACE) system and obtain the certificate for the veteran. Many times, lenders receive the certificate within seconds, and the VA processes the application in less than 24 hours. VA-guaranteed home loans are made to eligible veterans, service members and surviving spouses through private mortgage lenders throughout the U.S.

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