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Category Archive: ‘Local Government’

Trump Travel Ban and Real Estate

A pair of married software engineers hooked up with real estate agent Tim Gullicksen about six months ago in pursuit of their dream home.

After taking time to peruse the market, the couple found a multimillion-dollar single-family home in San Francisco that they loved. In January, they wrote an offer letter to the seller, complete with an attached photo of the young family, and squared away their finances.

In early February, the couple told Gullicksen they would no longer place a bid. They planned to take a three-week vacation in their native country of India, and decided they couldn’t risk buying a house if President Donald Trump’s administration wouldn’t let them back into the US. (While no such restriction exists, they worry the new administration might change its mind.) They declined to speak with Business Insider directly for fear of retribution from the government.

San Francisco is one of the most competitive housing markets in the US, with a median listing price that tops $1.1 million. But foreign-born tech workers, who often commute to Silicon Valley, are starting to back out of buying property because they worry about an escalating crackdown on immigration under Trump, according to some real estate agents.

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Posted by on Feb 9, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Government, Market Buzz | 6 comments

Trump Effect on 1031 Exchanges

Reader socalbuyer had to send in this article about the Republicans threatening to tinker with the 1031 tax-differed exchange benefits – but who knows what will happen.  If they do eliminate the 1031s, the extra taxation on sales of investment properties would cause fewer people to sell.

Great – less inventory!

WaPo article link

Excerpts:

House Republicans are working on a proposal that, as part of an overall streamlining of the Internal Revenue Code and a reduction in tax rates, may eliminate or seriously restrict the use of tax-deferred exchanges — property swaps — under Section 1031 of the code. President Trump has identified tax revision as one of his top priorities, and legislation is expected to move quickly in the new Congress.

Loss of the ability to use an exchange would be a significant blow to “Mom and Pop” and other small-scale realty investors. According to a study posted on the website of the National Rental Home Council, there were 15.7 million rental homes in the United States as of 2015, and 99 percent of them were owned by non-institutional investors. A study by professors at the University of Florida and Syracuse University estimated that most exchanges involve relatively small properties; in 2011, 59 percent had a sale price of less than $1 million.

Exchange proponents, such as Suzanne Baker of Investment Property Exchange Services in Chicago, argue that most of the deferred taxes ultimately are collected when properties get sold for cash and that exchanges stimulate economic activity — redevelopment and upgrades of properties, for example — that would not occur if owners faced immediate taxes on their gains and therefore simply sat on them.

Bottom line: If you own investment real estate and have contemplated a Section 1031 exchange, be aware: There’s a significant possibility that tax revisions could knock your plans off track. Keep a close eye on what’s happening, because it could happen fast.

Posted by on Jan 25, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Government, Real Estate Investing | 4 comments

Smart Growth

Those who want to get involved in smart growth/affordable-housing issues can attend the San Diego City council meeting today at 2:00pm.  The City Council members have submitted ideas, summarized here:

  •  Sell or lease government-owned land.
  •  Defer or waive permit/development fees.
  •  Streamline the approval process.
  •  Solicit state and federal funding for affordable housing projects.
  •  Encourage granny flats and smaller houses and lots.
  •  Reduce parking requirements.
  •  Tax rebates for building affordable housing.
  •  Issue specific policy on short-term vacation rentals (Airbnb).

Andrew covers the topic here:

http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/government/city-councils-odd-couple-finds-common-cause-on-housing/

Posted by on Jan 25, 2017 in Builders, Jim's Take on the Market, Local Government, Real Estate Investing, The Future | 2 comments

New Rules for Airbnb

If you are buying, you should check the Airbnb website to see if there are rentals nearby the home you are considering, because they aren’t going away.  Here is the latest on the tug-o-war:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/07/technology/new-orleans-airbnb-model.html?_r=0

An excerpt:

In New Orleans specifically, Airbnb agreed to share data — such as the names and addresses of its hosts — with the city, something the company has balked at doing elsewhere. Airbnb also agreed that its hosts must operate with a permit, with hosts automatically being registered with the city when they sign up to the service. In a nod to the local hotel industry, Airbnb will also ban almost all listings in the city’s historic French Quarter and set a 90-day annual cap for hosts who rent out entire homes.

“This is just the beginning,” said Laura Spanjian, a public policy manager at Airbnb who negotiated with New Orleans. “We need to make sure that the rules work and that the city can enforce them, but we want this to be a model going forward.”

Lawmakers also knew that the city would need more money to enforce new short-term rental rules. So Airbnb agreed to collect hotel taxes and an additional $1-a-night fee from guests to help defray such costs.

But there was a sticking point: sharing data about Airbnb hosts with the city. Airbnb was initially reluctant to do so because of privacy concerns for its hosts. The company eventually agreed after New Orleans officials said they would protect the data and not make it public. That information will be essential in helping the city register hosts and for fining hosts $500 a day if they violate the new home-sharing rules. The city can even shut off utilities to Airbnb properties where rules are being broken.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the dialogue and by Airbnb’s approach,” said Mr. Berni, the deputy mayor. “It was more amicable than what a lot of other cities had experienced.”

Some city officials elsewhere are skeptical about whether Airbnb’s conciliatory approach will stick. In Amsterdam, which just finalized new rules that allow Airbnb itself to crack down on hosts who violate them, some politicians noted that a previous agreement the company made with the city was inadequate.

“Two years ago, Airbnb used its agreement with Amsterdam as an example of a good deal, but now we had to create a new one because what we had was not enough to enforce against illegal rentals,” said Marjolein Moorman, the leader of the Labor Party of Amsterdam. “I don’t believe that the company will enforce the laws we have.”

In New Orleans, some residents are also unsure whether the new rules forged with Airbnb will bring about change. Mary Moses, a legal assistant who lives in the historic Faubourg Marigny neighborhood with her husband, said that a full-time Airbnb next to her house that takes in guests every weekend has destroyed the quality of life.

“We love tourists in New Orleans,” she said. “But there is a 24-hour party three feet from my house.”

Ms. Moses is now waiting to see whether the sometimes loud, disruptive events next door will violate some part of the new city rules and whether anything will be done to stop the bad behavior.

“Maybe things will get better,” Ms. Moses said. “But Airbnb is changing everything.”

Another impact of Airbnb is how the converting of long-term investment properties to vacation rentals is taking homes out of the marketplace for regular tenants – putting more pressure on rents in general.

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Posted by on Jan 5, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Government, Real Estate Investing | 8 comments

Transferring Tax Basis to Kids

kid

The property-tax basis of your primary residence and other properties can be transferred to your children, or in some cases, your grandchildren:

http://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/faqs/propositions58.htm#1

What are Propositions 58 and 193?

Proposition 58, effective November 6, 1986, is a constitutional amendment approved by the voters of California which excludes from reassessment transfers of real property between parents and children. Proposition 58 is codified by section 63.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

Proposition 193, effective March 27, 1996, is a constitutional amendment approved by the voters of California which excludes from reassessment transfers of real property from grandparents to grandchildren, providing that all the parents of the grandchildren who qualify as children of the grandparents are deceased as of the date of transfer. Proposition 193 is also codified by section 63.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

In the State of California, real property is reassessed at market value if it is sold or transferred and property taxes can sometimes increase dramatically as a result.

However, if the sale or transfer is between parents and their children, or from grandparents to their grandchildren, under limited circumstances, the property will not be reassessed if certain conditions are met and the proper application is timely filed.

These propositions allow the new property owners to avoid property tax increases when acquiring property from their parents or children or from their grandparents. The new owner’s taxes are calculated on the established Proposition 13 factored base year value, instead of the current market value when the property is acquired.

Which transfers of real property are excluded from reassessment by Propositions 58 and 193?

  1. Transfers of primary residences (no value limit).
  2. Transfers of the first $1 million of real property other than the primary residences. The $1 million exclusion applies separately to each eligible transferor.
  3. Transfers may be result of a sale, gift, or inheritance. A transfer via a trust also qualifies for this exclusion. For property tax purposes, we look through the trust to the present beneficial owner. When the present beneficial ownership passes from a parent to a child, this is a change in ownership that is eligible for the parent-child exclusion.

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Posted by on Aug 14, 2016 in Boomers, Jim's Take on the Market, Local Government | 2 comments

Mid-Coast Trolley

4040-porte-la-paz-82-005

I have a new listing in La Paz, which is part of La Jolla Colony:

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/4040-Porte-La-Paz-UNIT-82-San-Diego-CA-92122/52514005_zpid/

The new Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project is underway, which is bringing the trolley from downtown San Diego to the UTC region – which should be beneficial for those wanting an alternative!  It would be natural to follow the existing train tracks, but instead they are forging a new route.

SANDAG did a nice intro video on the new path:

Posted by on Aug 12, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor, Local Government | 2 comments

Democratic Platform – Housing

hilla

From the Democratic Platform:

https://www.demconvention.com/platform/

We must make sure that everyone has a fair shot at homeownership. We will keep the housing market robust and inclusive by supporting more first-time homebuyers and putting more Americans into the financial position to become sustainable homeowners; preserving the 30-year fixed rate mortgage; modernizing credit scoring; clarifying lending rules; expanding access to housing counseling; defending and strengthening the Fair Housing Act; and ensuring that regulators have the clear direction, resources, and authority to enforce those rules effectively.

We will prevent predatory lending by defending the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). These steps are especially important because over the next decade most new households will be formed by families in communities of color, which typically have less generational wealth and fewer resources to put towards a down payment.

All three of the housing planks are vague, and who really knows what any of the three would do once in office.  But I think I nailed it on their photos!

http://www.bubbleinfo.com/2016/07/20/republican-platform-housing/

http://www.bubbleinfo.com/2016/07/23/libertarian-platform-housing/

Posted by on Jul 26, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Government, The Future | 0 comments

Libertarian Platform – Housing

gj

The Libertarian Party has the best chance ever to get more than their usual 1% of the vote in November.  Gary Johnson is looking like the middle-of-the-road candidate too, and here’s how he could win:

http://www.denverpost.com/2016/07/21/actually-libertarian-gary-johnson-could-win-the-presidency/

If no candidate wins an absolute majority in the Electoral College, the election is decided by the House of Representatives. Thus, if Johnson were to win, say, Colorado while Trump and Clinton split all other electoral votes 50-50, the House would pick the winner. Given that Trump and Clinton are the most unpopular candidates in recent history, a divided House might compromise by selecting Johnson, a former two-term governor of New Mexico.

If you do not like Trump and Clinton, you needn’t accept them. Johnson is a legitimate option, having recently garnered 13 percent in a CNN poll. At 15 percent, he would be in the debates. Then anything is possible.

From the Libertarian Party Platform about housing:

2.1 – As respect for property rights is fundamental to maintaining a free and prosperous society, it follows that the freedom to contract to obtain, retain, profit from, manage, or dispose of one’s property must also be upheld. Libertarians would free property owners from government restrictions on their rights to control and enjoy their property, as long as their choices do not harm or infringe on the rights of others. Eminent domain, civil asset forfeiture, governmental limits on profits, governmental production mandates, and governmental controls on prices of goods and services (including wages, rents, and interest) are abridgements of such fundamental rights. For voluntary dealings among private entities, parties should be free to choose with whom they trade and set whatever trade terms are mutually agreeable.

While a Libertarian president might mean bad news for Fannie/Freddie and other government-supported entities, there is one thing Johnson could do that would set the real estate market on fire.

He wants to abolish the IRS, and replace it with a federal consumption tax.  Because it would be the House of Representatives that gets Johnson into office, nobody would give him much chance of a second term – so he would have to work fast!

If it took him a year to abolish the IRS, it would give those long-time owners of rental properties the next three years to liquidate the portfolio without paying the federal 20% capital-gains tax – the main reason those owners don’t sell now.

A flood of supply – or at least more than a trickle – would help to calibrate the market, stimulate the economy, and provide opportunities for buyers to purchase well-located beach properties!

It would probably get screwed up by politicians who insist on a compromise in the consumption tax that would then penalize those sellers, but given the alternatives, it’s worth considering!

Posted by on Jul 23, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Government | 3 comments