Friday, January 18, 2013


A new appraisal rule has been issued by The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Effective January 18, 2014, the final rule was issued on new appraisal requirements for Higher-priced mortgage loans (HPML).

A licensed appraiser must provide a written appraisal based n a physical visit to the property, creditors must disclose the purpose of the appraisal and applicants will be given a free copy.

If seller bought the property within six months and the current price exceeds a threshold written into the new rule, the creditor must also pay for a second appraisal.  This is intended to cut down on fraudulent property flipping by ensuring the property value has legitimately increased.  The types of exempt loans include qualified mortgages, temporary bridge and construction loans, loans for new manufactured homes and loans for mobile homes, trailers and houseboats.  Some rural areas and other transactions are exempt.

The complete rule can be downloaded from the Federal Reserve’s website.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Message from Jeff Atwater, CFO, State of Florida January 2013

After having stumbled in the wake of the recession, the U.S. Census Bureau affirmed that Florida has again become a top destination for Americans. 

Florida also is setting itself apart on a national scale by continuing to excel at education compared with other states and the country as a whole. While many challenges must be overcome, this past year has been a hopeful indication for the future.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Palm Beach among top 10 U.S. markets for home price growth

Palm Beach among top 10 U.S. markets for home price growth
Home prices in Palm Beach rose 22 percent in November compared to the same period in 2011, according to a report from Zip Realty. That put the area’s price growth at the sixth-highest in the country in that time frame, according to the report. The median home price in Palm Beach rose to $153,400 from $125,250.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Article Summary:

The White House and Congress have finalized the details and the President has signed off on the terms to avoid the "fiscal cliff". But what is coming up are fights over entitlements and the debt ceiling issue. We will cover these in the next few editions. On a summary basis, here is what may impact you now and throughout the year

First, what was NOT in the final outcome.

All wage-earners who have taxes withheld from their paycheck will see an impact in their first full check in 2013. Under the Social Security tax holiday granted two years ago, the 6.2 percent payroll tax was cut to 4.2 percent.  In 2013, the amount withheld will go back up to 6.2 percent.  If your annual salary is $50,000, expect to have about $1000 less in take home pay over the year or about $20 per week. If you earn $100,000 per year you will most likely see $40 to $45 less per week in your take home pay.

Now the major provisions that will be enacted:
  • Tax rates will rise for income above $450,000 and individuals above $400,000. All income below these thresholds will be taxed at current rates.
  • The tax on capital gains and dividends will be permanently set at 20 percent for those with income above the $450,000/$400,000 threshold. It will remain at 15 percent for everyone else.
  • Also extended for five years: The 2009 tax breaks for low-income taxpayers including the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit
  • The Alternative Minimum Tax will be "patched," so as to not impact  the middle class wage-earners.
  • Federal unemployment insurance will be extended for one more year.