This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

'Fiscal Cliff' Deal Favors Housing Recovery




By Diana Olick, CNBC Correspondent

NEW YORK ( CNBC) -- The housing market is on firmer ground today, as two major tax provisions survived the "fiscal cliff." Congress did not touch the mortgage interest deduction, and it extended tax relief for one year on mortgage debt forgiveness.

"An extension of the tax break is positive for home values by reducing the number of foreclosures and helping more troubled borrowers stay in their homes," wrote Jaret Seiberg of Guggenheim Partners. "That means less supply on the market."

Under a law signed in 2007, debt relief on loan modifications, short sales, and foreclosures were no longer taxable; that break expired at the end of 2012. The fear was that if the tax break was not extended, home owners would not agree to short sales (when the home is sold for less than the value of the mortgage) because they would then face a tax bill. They would also not agree to principal reduction loan modifications, which have proven to be far more successful than other modifications that leave the principal balance as is.

Under the $25 billion mortgage servicing settlement, borrowers have received $6.3 billion in mortgage principal relief through September, according to the settlement's monitor, Joseph A. Smith, Jr. The average loan balance reduction, $150,000. Banks completed 13,351 principal reduction loan modifications in November alone, according to Amherst Securities Group, a 62% jump from September.

More from CNBC
The Economics of the Dragon Smaug
Is The Bond Rally Over?
Why Bank Disclosure Is So Awful and How to Fix It

Short sales also surged toward the end of the year, thanks to streamlined procedures and a more aggressive stance by the big banks, again in part due to the mortgage servicing settlement. More than 98 thousand short sales were completed in the third quarter of 2012, according to RealtyTrac.

The "fiscal cliff" deal also allows borrowers to deduct the amount they pay for private mortgage insurance, which has become increasingly prevalent in today's tighter mortgage market.

All of the above will help to lower the number of foreclosures and support the slow rise in home prices. The number of homes in the so-called "shadow inventory" (properties that have seriously delinquent mortgages, are in foreclosure, or are owned by banks but not yet listed for sale) fell to 2.3 million in October, according to a new report from CoreLogic. That represents a seven-month supply at the current sales pace, and is a 12% drop from a year ago.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
AAPL $130.28 0.00%
FB $79.19 0.00%
GOOG $532.11 0.00%
TSLA $250.80 0.00%
YHOO $42.94 0.00%

Markets

DOW 18,010.68 -115.44 -0.64%
S&P 500 2,107.39 -13.40 -0.63%
NASDAQ 5,070.0260 -27.95 -0.55%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs