Saturday, March 29, 2008

How to fix what's broken

It seems as if Long Island is losing more buyers than it is gaining. Why is this happening when we all know what a beautiful place Long Island is? The short answer can be found in our ridiculous property taxes. It seems that even if you are one of the lucky few seniors who have paid off your mortgage, so what? You still will most probably have to pay real estate taxes that may be in excess of $1000 per month and you can still count on outrageous homeowner's insurance policy costs associated w/our living on an island. Heck, those wonderful companies like Liberty Mutual and State Farm decided to arbitrarily cancel people's policies even if no claim for damage was ever filed. The insurance companies cited too great a risk to insure in a coastal area. I guess Hurricane Katrina really woke them up.

Now back to our criminally outrageous real estate taxes.......... Do you know that real estate taxes on Long Island bear no resemblance to real property value? I'll give you some actual examples. How about a 3 bedroom, 1 bath ranch home w/no basement and no garage in Mastic selling for $151,000 that has real estate taxes of $7300? How absurd is that? If you were to purchase that home and put 20% down on it your actual principal and interest payment would be less than the combined cost of your real estate taxes and homeowner's insurance. Ooh wait, I have another example for you, how about a foreclosed 4 bedroom cape in Central Islip with an asking price of $199,000 that sports real estate taxes of $12,000? Now I ask our wonderful politicians out there, who the heck is going to buy a resale home (not new construction) in Central Islip that has taxes of $12,000????? Guess what? The NYC millionaire who wishes to buy a summer home in Southampton that is three times the size of the Central Islip home will only have to pay $9000 in real estate taxes. Where is the equity in that?

The lower middle class and the middle class are gettting squeezed out of home ownership by our elected politicians who refuse to make any meaningful changes to our outmoded system of real estate taxation. There tends to be neither rhyme nor reason when it comes to assessed valuation. It's high time that changes.

People want to buy on Long Island but not at a price they can't afford. Now that our home prices have fallen to more realistic levels isn't about time our real estate taxes also decrease to realistic levels?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Can you trust the news?

It seems that everyday there is some more news concerning the housing market. Yesterday the news appeared to be good, more buyers were getting back into the game. This news caused the stock market to rally. Today's news wasn't so good. Home prices fell to historically low levels with the average market dropping more than 10% from last year with Florida and Nevada suffering losses of close to 20%. Yesterday's good news had the National Association of Realtors saying that prices may begin to increase in the second half of 2008. Today's bad news had other industry experts saying that we haven't hit bottom yet.

Who are you going to believe? Watch out for the National Association of Realtors since they have a vested interest in promoting a healthy real estate market even if the facts do not support such a rosy picture. Beware of the Harvard and Stamford educated economists since they are way too busy sitting in their ivory towers pontificating on the world at large. They are not on the front lines and the data they base their decisions on is usually at least 6 months old so therefore they can not see trends happening.

In America, our idea of news is more closely related to gossip and innuendo than it is to real facts and real trends. Before you decide who to listen to, regarding real estate news, try listening to your own needs first and base your decisions on those needs not the news of others.

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