House Prices Still Are Contracting Rapidly in Many Places
Major measures of national-average house price change were contracting rapidly as 2008 drew to a close and 2009 came out of the box. (Details)
Financial Market Conditions Still Are Quite Challenging
Financial market conditions still are quite challenging here and abroad, despite aggressive efforts by the Federal Reserve, Treasury, Congress, the White House and foreign governments to improve the functioning of national and global credit markets. (Details)
President Obama’s Policy Stool Is Under Construction
President Obama has talked in terms of a three-legged stool that must be assembled if the U.S. economy is to avoid a deep and protracted recession that could degenerate into a deflationary depression. The three legs are fiscal stimulus, financial stability and mortgage foreclosure relief. (Details)
Fed Chairman Bernanke Holds Out Hope for Near-Term Recovery
NAHB’s forecast places the end of the current economic recession around the end of 2009. We’re viewing 2010 as a recovery year that will lead to a multi-year economic expansion that will achieve sustainable rates of GDP growth, unemployment and inflation. (Details)
A tribute to our father, grandfather, father-in-law and friend.
This was my Dad:
Dad was the zoo, Coney Island, parades, sled riding,
Picnics, drive-in movies, and vacations in the car.
Dad was blue jeans complete with a hammer, wooden ruler, and a long sleeve work shirt.
Dad was the smell of lumber, hammering of nails, wet concrete.
Dad was three eggs, bacon or sausage, and a bowl of cornflakes; coffee with cream.
Dad was a bulldozer, moving dirt, digging foundations
Dad was horses and ponies, cows, pigs, and 50 chickens that needed slaughtering.
He was planting trees, fertilizing the yard, fixing the roof, and trimming the roses.
Dad was a to-do list that never ended.
Dad was Barq’s root beer – not those other brands
He was a white straw hat and a bushel basket filled with apples, plums, peaches, pears and cherries.
He was strawberry shortcake, ice cream, and lemon meringue pie.
Dad was poison-ivy (always in it; never got it!)
Dad was roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, and creamed peas.
Dad was planting the garden, mending fences, putting up the Christmas tree
Dad was the Catholic faith, Mass, the Rosary, and Holy Days.
He was son, brother, husband, dad, grandpa, and friend.
Though the Great Depression hit many families hard in the 1930s, Fred and Katherine Kahmann found reason to smile when they were blessed with the birth of their fifth child: Paul J. Kahmann was born on March 28, 1931, in Kenton County, Kentucky. Paul grew up on the Kahmann family dairy farm, which was where Thomas More College now stands. Paul and his siblings-Katherine, Fred, Rita, Henrietta and Norbert-worked on the farm, waking up at 4:30 a.m. to milk cows and complete their chores before school.
Paul loved living and working on the farm; perhaps that’s where he developed his strong work ethic. No one could out work Paul. His parents, Fred and Katherine, were deeply religious and were sure to instill moral values in their children. The family attended church every Sunday, and Katherine donated eggs and other food they had grown on the farm to the rectory and the convent.
Paul attended Blessed Sacrament Grade School and St. Henry High School. He always said his favorite part of school was lunchtime, when he and his friends could go outside and practice boxing with each other. When Paul was 16, he decided to leave school to help his parents with the farm. His father appreciated the help but reminded his son, “You’re gonna have to work with your back.”
One night at a Kolping Society dance in Cincinnati, Paul met a young woman named Rosemary Erpenbeck. He said Rosemary was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen and that he knew from the moment he laid eyes on her that she was the one. Rosemary was quiet and very smart, and Paul admired her dedication to her faith. They complemented each other perfectly, and Paul knew he would get into heaven just because Rosie was a part of his life.
Paul and Rosemary were married on May 29, 1954, at Saint Agnes Church. The newlyweds settled into a duplex that Rosemary’s father had built in Fort Wright. The young couple’s home wasn’t quiet for long, because in 1955 their first child, Mary Rose, was born. Paul and Rosemary were blessed with six more children: Paul, Janet, Jim, Dan, Terri and David. Paul was a loving father who worked hard to provide for his family. Paul joined his father-in-law, Anthony Erpenbeck, and Rosemary’s brothers in the construction of fine homes across Northern Kentucky. In 1972, Paul and Rosemary bought a farm in Florence and Paul felt instantly at home. He enjoyed hunting deer, rabbit and turkey, as well as fishing and gardening. Paul was also a dog lover who found his best friends in beagles.
Paul retired from construction in 1979. He developed property and in 1986, Paul encouraged his sons to form their own construction companies – continuing the family home building legacy that still exists today.
Another love of Paul’s was his 15 grandchildren. The kids loved being with their grandpa and appreciated his sense of humor. Paul attended many of their sporting events, dance recitals, band competitions, school events and horse shows. The children adored him.
After 46 years of marriage, Paul’s beloved wife, Rosemary, passed away. Paul endured this tough time by looking to his faith and family for support.
In 2001, while on a bus trip to Washington D.C. for President Bush’s inauguration, Paul met Sarah Blanken. They spent the entire ride socializing, talking politics and discussing Rosemary. Sarah liked that he was a warm and interesting person who could connect with people on a different level. On August 30, 2002, Paul and Sarah were married. Paul was very accepting of his new family and treated his stepchildren, Lynne, Ed, Susan and Barbara, as if they were his own.
On February 18, 2009, while working in his garage, Paul unexpectedly suffered a stroke. He continued working up until the day he died. Paul will be remembered as an “Un-Kahmann” man who had a positive, encouraging spirit. He was an interesting and witty man who always had a joke for his friends and who believed that family and faith were all he needed.
Paul spent a lifetime building a legacy of faith and love that will be cherished forever by all those he left behind. He will be deeply missed.
Expanded tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements in the new economic stimulus package puts more money in consumers’ pockets by providing financial incentive for home owners to go green on their renovation projects in 2009 and 2010. While more efficient homes save on water and energy bills, these tax credits will make such home upgrades even more affordable.
The Internal Revenue Code section 25C tax credit for existing homes, which had expired at the end of 2007, was reinstated as part of the economic rescue package passed by the Bush Administration last fall. Homeowners could be rewarded for installing energy-efficient windows, doors, roofing and insulation as well as furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps.
But remodelers found that the terms of the 25C credit — equal to only 10 percent of the cost of each product and with a lifetime cap of $500 — weren’t strong enough to push enough home owners off the fence and into action.
Now, the credit rate and lifetime cap have been tripled – to 30 percent and $1,500, respectively – the list of eligible improvements expanded, and the deadline for applying has been extended through the end of 2010. Congressional estimates indicate that the new rules for the tax incentive will increase aggregate remodeling activity.
Retrofitting existing homes with energy-efficient features is four to eight times more carbon- and cost-efficient than adding further energy-efficiency requirements to new housing, the study showed.
TAX CREDIT HOW-TO
Details on qualifying improvements will soon be available at the IRS Web site (http://www.irs.gov). It is expected that homeowners will need to complete Form 5695 (Residential Energy Credits) and submit as part of their 2009 income tax returns to claim the credit. Further, homeowners should retain for their own records information that includes:
– Name and address of the manufacturer
- Identification of the component
- Make, model or other appropriate identifiers
- Statement that the component meets the 25C standards
- Climate zones for which the criteria are satisfied
- Additional information for storm windows, if applicable
- A declaration that the certification statement is true
Key Provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
$8,000 first-time home buyer, true tax credit (no repayment) for the purchase of a principle residence between January 1 and December 1, 2009. Recaptured if home is sold within three years. Removes the restriction on the use of tax credit proceeds with Housing Finance Agency-issued tax exempt mortgage revenue bonds.
Short-term gap financing for Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects:
A. Provision allowing states to turn in portion of 2009 LIHTC allocations for cash.
B. Special appropriation of $2 billion in HOME funds.
Up to a ten-year deferral of tax from business debt cancelled as part of a repurchase or restructuring.
5-year carryback of 2008 net operating losses for businesses with gross receipts of less than $15 million (three year average).
Extension of enhanced bonus depreciation.
Extension of increased small business expensing.
Enhancements to the section 25C program for energy efficiency remodeling improvements to existing homes.
One-year patch of the Alternative Minimum Tax.
Increase New Markets Tax Credit allocating authority for 2008 and 2009.
Delays for one year the start of 3% government contractor withholding requirement.
$2 billion for full year payments to owners of Section 8 project based rental assistance properties.
$2.25 billion through HOME program and Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to fill financing gaps.
$1 billion for CDBG.
$2 billion for Neighborhood stabilization program.
$1.5 billion for homelessness prevention activities (help with rents, etc).
$250 million for energy retrofitting and green investments in HUD assisted projects.
$1 billion for Section 502 direct loans under the Rural Housing Service.
$10.4 billion for Section 502 guaranteed loans under the Rural Housing Service.
$27.5 billion for highway spending.
Other Key Provision
Increases in FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits to 2008 levels.
Check out the latest from the respected Economists of the National Association of Home Builders. Click the header for a more detailed report.
Economic Growth Is Even Weaker Than It Looks
Real gross domestic product (GDP) contracted at an annual rate of 3.8% in the final quarter of 2008, according to the “advance” report released by the Commerce Department on Jan. 30. This was the weakest performance since 1982, although the decline was smaller than generally expected. (We had estimated a 5.5% decline.)
The Labor Market Is in Free-Fall
The current recession began in December 2007 as payroll employment topped out, and the contraction in employment has been accelerating dramatically ever since. The cumulative loss of jobs through January now comes to about 3.6 million.
Bank Lending Policies Still Are Tightening
Efforts by the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, Congress and the White House to improve the functioning of financial markets have shown some success, particularly in interbank and short-term securities markets, and huge quality spreads have narrowed a bit in some components of bond and mortgage markets
Housing Affordability Measures Surge, But Demand Weakens Further
The large cumulative decline in national average home prices, historically low mortgage interest rates and surprisingly resilient median family income have combined to push up standard measures of housing affordability in recent times.
Vacancies Still Are Excessive in Homeowner and Rental Housing Markets
The weakness of housing demand and the persistent upswing in mortgage foreclosures are keeping vacancies in the housing stock at historically high levels despite massive cutbacks in new housing production. And an economically induced slowdown in household formations is only exacerbating a bad situation.
The Fed Must Pull Out the Rest of the Stops
The Fed now has the target federal funds rate at its effective floor – at or close to zero. Furthermore, our central bank has aggressively provided short-term liquidity to sound financial institutions, including primary securities dealers, through creative use of the discount window.
Treasury’s ‘Financial Stability Plan’ Disappoints Financial Markets
On Feb. 10, Treasury Secretary Geithner unveiled the Administration’s eagerly awaited “Financial Stability Plan,” characterized as “Deploying our Full Arsenal to Attack the Credit Crisis on all Fronts.” Unfortunately, the financial markets expressed a good deal of skepticism about the plan as the stock market fell sharply and investors sought out the security of the Treasury market
Fiscal Stimulus Passes in House and Senate
Both the House and the Senate have now passed their respective versions of President Obama’s huge fiscal stimulus proposal, although neither can be described as ringing examples of bipartisan cooperation.
The Outlook Remains Uncertain While Policies Are in Flux
President Obama has talked about a three-legged policy stool that must be assembled if the U.S. economy is to avoid a protracted recession that could degenerate into a deflationary depression.