Kiplinger: Florida No. 4 tax-friendly state – and top 3 are cold

NEW YORK – Oct. 17, 2018 – The economy is booming, with the unemployment rate at the lowest level in nearly 50 years. Wages have remained relatively stagnant, though, and for many workers, the only way to get a raise is by changing jobs, which sometimes means moving to another city or state.
But before you start packing, check out the cost of living in your prospective employer’s city. You’ll want to look at the cost of housing, of course, and don’t overlook the impact of state and local taxes on your bottom line. Our annual guide to state taxes shows that tax rates are literally all over the map – and the difference between living in a high-tax or a low-tax state can be thousands of dollars each year, depending on your tax situation.
Updated for 2018, here is our list of the 10 most tax-friendly states in the U.S. The top five states on our list have no state income tax at all. Take a look.
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Is Florida looking at a renter crisis if Amendment 2 fails?

Floridians will soon be considering a number of constitutional amendments that could drastically impact the state and its approximately 21 million residents. Chief among those ballot considerations is Amendment 2, which seeks to preserve the 10 percent cap on annual increases of non-homestead property taxes that has been in place for the last 10 years.

Non-homestead properties are properties that don’t serve as a person’s primary residence – and rental homes are one of the largest segments of non-homestead properties in Florida. According to the most recent Census estimates, rental homes house more than one-third of the state’s population currently – the highest amount since the 1980s.

“The really scary thing about Amendment 2 failing is the domino effect that will start to ripple through our communities, starting with our renters,” says Zach Sanchez, a broker for THINK Real Estate in Panama City Beach. “Many renters live on fixed incomes and don’t have much room in their budget to absorb a rent increase that is sure to come if property owners start seeing tax increases in excess of 10 percent a year.”

Florida voters approved the current 10 percent cap in 2008 as a way to solve an ongoing property tax crisis that was punishing non-homestead property owners and renters. According to data contained in a Revenue Estimating Conference analysis conducted in 2011, 30 percent of all non-homestead Florida properties were hit with an 80 percent tax increase in just one year – from 2005 to 2006. This meant a property valued at $300,000 in one year could be taxed at $540,000 or more the next. That same year, nearly 75 percent of all non-homestead properties in the state suffered an increase of more than 10 percent in value.

Vote “Yes” on Amendment 2!

U.S. mortgage rates up; 30-year at 7-year high, 4.72%

WASHINGTON (AP) – Sept. 27, 2018 – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates are up for the fifth straight week, with the key 30-year rate reaching its highest level in more than seven years.

Costs for would-be homebuyers continue to climb. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages jumped to 4.72 percent from 4.65 percent last week. The average benchmark rate has risen from 3.83 percent a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans increased to 4.16 percent this week from 4.11 percent last week.
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Average mortgage rates fall: 30-year at 4.51%

WASHINGTON (AP) – Aug. 23, 2018 – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week for the third consecutive week, yet they remain significantly higher than a year ago.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages ticked down to 4.51 percent from 4.53 percent last week. A year ago, the average was 3.86 percent. The interest charged on home loans have been running at their highest levels in seven years, although they remain below the long-term historic average.

The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans fell to 3.98 percent this week from 4.01 percent last week.
It is a great time to buy in SW Florida!

Average mortgage rates rise again: 30-year at 4.6%

WASHINGTON (AP) – Aug. 2, 2018 – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose for the second straight week, continuing to dampen prospects for potential homebuyers.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages jumped to 4.60 percent this week from 4.54 percent last week. Long-term loan rates have been running at their highest levels in seven years. The average benchmark 30-year rate reached a high this year of 4.66 percent on May 24. By contrast, the rate stood at 3.93 percent a year ago.
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Mortgage Rates Fall Again This Week

McLEAN, Va. – June 28, 2018 – Mortgage rates declined over the past week and have now retreated in four of the past five weeks, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to an average 4.55 percent compared to last week’s 4.57 percent.
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Long-Term Mortgage Rates Fall – 30-year at 4.57%

WASHINGTON (AP) – June 21, 2018 – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week, marking their third decline in the past four weeks after increasing last week.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was 4.57 percent, down from 4.62 percent last week. By contrast, the 30-year rate averaged 3.90 percent a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans eased to 4.04 percent from 4.07 percent last week.
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Tax reform may be boosting demand for Florida real estate

Luxury real estate sales in Florida could get a boost from a rule in the federal tax bill that President Donald Trump signed into law in December.

The rule caps “SALT” or state and local tax deductions at $10,000, when before those deductions were unlimited. Those include real estate, and either income taxes or sales taxes. For wealthy people who itemize deductions, income taxes alone exceed that amount, let alone property and sales taxes. If they also live in a relatively high tax state such as New York or New Jersey, that could make officially declaring Florida their “home” a more attractive proposition because it has no state income tax.
Luxury properties in Collier County have been hot in the first quarter; some feel the $10,000 cap may have played a part. Home sales priced above $1 million in Naples during the first three months of the year were up 61 percent, according to the Naples Area Board of Realtors, and pending sales of condominium’s priced at $2 million or more were up 109 percent from the same time last year.
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It’s getting easier to qualify for a mortgage

NEW YORK – Aug. 8, 2017 – Thanks in part to rising home prices, some mortgage lenders are loosening their underwriting standards so borrowers can purchase property sooner.
“The reality has sunk in that there are buyers out there who will be able to buy homes and make the mortgage payments,” William E. Brown, president of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), told the industry news website OriginatorTimes.com. The industry is “trying to give them more options to buy a house,” he added.
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