A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That: Hidden Taxes, Google Maps And Housing Predictions

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I recently attended a meeting with representatives from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and learned that the Legislature had withdrawn a majority of ADEQ’s funds and instructed the agency to establish fees so they become self supporting.

Consequently, ADEQ is going to establish an “inspection fee” for septic pumper trucks, which may in turn raise the cost of maintaining home septic systems.

In other words, this could be viewed as the Legislature’s way to prevent tax increases through the use of hidden taxes.

Google maps

If you haven’t logged on to Google maps, www.maps.google.com, you should give it a try.

Those searching for homes in major cities can look at properties from a satellite view and with a little computer know-how, check out a street view of the property and surrounding neighborhood.

Unfortunately, this technology is not complete in the Rim Country with only a street view from the state highways available.

Housing predictions

CNN Money has a tool to look at predictions for local housing markets. Below is their prediction for six cities in Arizona. The predictions are for median home prices from the second quarter of 2012 to the second quarter of 2013.

Phoenix -4.5 percent, Tucson +13.4 percent, Prescott -0.2 percent, Lake Havasu +7.4 percent, Yuma +9.4 percent and Flagstaff +16 percent.

Unfortunately, they do not give a forecast for the Rim Country, however, it would appear that this is a positive sign for our local housing market.

The Phoenix market encompasses many local markets so some inner markets in Phoenix will show appreciation while others in outlying areas will pull the median home price down.

Loan modification program

President Obama announced a new loan modification program for Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac loans. More details are expected to be released on Nov. 15.

The details released thus far may allow underwater homeowners to refinance at today’s lower interest rates no matter how far the home is below market value.

Our understanding is the homeowner must have good credit and not have missed a home payment.

Homeowners using this program could substantially reduce their monthly mortgage payment, which may reduce the number of short sales and foreclosures.

An ancillary effect may be the savings on those payments being injected by the consumer into the general economy.

Ray Pugel is a designated broker with Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty. Contact him at (928) 474-2216.

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