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CRS — Overview of Federal Real Property Disposal Requirements and Procedures (December 10, 2014)

December 17, 2014 Comments off

Overview of Federal Real Property Disposal Requirements and Procedures (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The federal government holds thousands of properties that agencies no longer need to accomplish their missions. When the government disposes of unneeded properties—through transfer, donation, or sale—it generates savings by eliminating maintenance costs. In addition, when state or local governments, nonprofits, or businesses acquire unneeded federal properties, they may be used to provide services to the public, such as temporary housing, or contribute to economic development.

The General Services Administration (GSA) plays a central role in disposing of unneeded property at most federal agencies. The Federal Real Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (Property Act) gives GSA the authority to dispose of real property at all federal agencies unless they have independent statutory authority to dispose of their own properties themselves. A number of agencies have independent disposal authority—ranging from limited to broad in scope—including two of the largest federal landholders, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and the Department of Defense.

Student Loan Debt and Economic Outcomes

December 16, 2014 Comments off

Student Loan Debt and Economic Outcomes
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

This policy brief examines the impact of student loan debt on individuals’ homeownership status and wealth accumulation, employing a rich set of financial and demographic variables that are not available in many of the existing studies that use credit bureau data. It is important to understand whether and, if so, how student loan debt affects households’ economic decisions because student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt to become the second largest amount of household debt outstanding after mortgage debt.

Measuring Mortgage Credit Accessibility

December 16, 2014 Comments off

Measuring Mortgage Credit Accessibility
Source: Urban Institute

This paper provides a method of measuring credit accessibility that addresses several shortcomings of traditional methods. Credit accessibility is measured by calculating the demand-to-origination progression rate for low-credit-profile consumers. Using this improved measure, we explore several issues critical to credit accessibility including differences among demographic groups, changes over time and credit cycles, and the impact of government support for the single-family owner-occupied mortgage market.

Real Estate — The Effect of Listing Price Strategy on Transaction Selling Prices

December 15, 2014 Comments off

The Effect of Listing Price Strategy on Transaction Selling Prices (PDF)
Source: Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics

While true underlying home values are expected to be randomly distributed, actual residential listing prices tend to be highly clustered. Particularly, more than 75 % of the homes in our sample are associated with a round or “just below” round asking price. This study provides a theoretical and empirical examination of how the thousands digit in a home’s asking price is related to the final transaction price relative to its true underlying value. Our findings suggest that, on average, homes listed using a “just below” pricing strategy are associated with the greatest discount negotiated relative to the asking price. However, the higher initial degree of list overpricing reflected in “just below” pricing compared with other strategies more than offsets the greater discount. Therefore, “just below” is the most effective pricing strategy for the seller in terms of a greater dollar yield relative to value. These empirical findings have economic significance and are robust across both “buyer” and “seller” housing markets, new versus existing homes, and across multiple home price ranges.

LexisNexis® Risk Solutions Releases Annual Mortgage Fraud Report

December 15, 2014 Comments off

LexisNexis® Risk Solutions Releases Annual Mortgage Fraud Report
Source: LexisNexis

Today LexisNexis® Risk Solutions announced the findings of its annual analysis of mortgage fraud in the U.S., revealing that despite improving economic conditions, mortgage fraud is still a national problem. In fact, mortgage application fraud and misrepresentation has grown for the past three years. Seventy-four percent of loans reported in 2013 involved some kind of fraud or misrepresentation on the loan application compared to 69 percent in 2012 and 61 percent in 2011.

The LexisNexis Annual Mortgage Fraud Report differs from other studies on the topic, as it seeks to provide information on the composition of proven residential mortgage fraud and misrepresentation by mortgage industry professionals. The analysis is based on data submitted to the LexisNexis® Mortgage Industry Data Exchange (MIDEX®).

Analysis of the data shows that appraisal and property valuation fraud experienced a significant drop from last year, falling to 15 percent of loans reported with these problems. In 2012, 26 percent of loans reported had signs of appraisal and property valuation fraud following 31 percent in 2011 and 33 percent in 2010. Regulation changes are cited as the reason for this rapid and dramatic decline in appraisal and property valuation fraud.

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10 U.S. Counties with the Highest Mortgage Interest Deduction Claim Rate

December 11, 2014 Comments off

10 U.S. Counties with the Highest Mortgage Interest Deduction Claim Rate
Source: Brookings Institution

The mortgage interest deduction (MID) is one of the nation’s largest federal tax expenditures, allowing taxpayers whose total itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction to deduct interest on their primary residence or secondary home up to certain limits. Using zip-code level data on taxes and demographics, Benjamin Harris—a fellow in Economic Studies—and Research Assistant Lucie Parker examine characteristics of the MID in a new Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center paper. Their findings include:

• Twenty percent of zip codes claim roughly half of the aggregate MIDs
• Zip codes with high claiming rates tend to have disproportionately white, middle-aged, and married taxpayer
• Counties west of the Mississippi River and on the East Coast disproportionately benefit from the MID

Who’s On Board 2014: Mobility Attitudes Survey

December 11, 2014 Comments off

Who’s On Board 2014: Mobility Attitudes Survey
Source: TransitCenter

In 2013, advocates, planners, and policymakers were abuzz with the 10.7 billion rides taken on transit, an all-time U.S. record. Yet the discussion focused too much on the sheer number of rides, without a deep look at the riders themselves, and particularly the changing attitudes that are propelling recent ridership increases. TransitCenter commissioned this survey to take that deeper look.

We now have a snapshot into perceptions of transit and neighborhoods in 2014. As Millennials take center stage in American life and the Baby Boom generation confronts retirement, both the transit and real estate industries will have to adjust.

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