Twenty-three Kentuckians, representing a broad spectrum of public and private sector experience and all corners of the state, will serve on the new Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform, Gov. Steve Beshear announced today.
The Commission, to be led by Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, will work over the coming months to develop recommendations to make the state’s tax code more responsive to the ups and downs of the economy, as well as to make taxes more equitable for Kentuckians. The revisions should allow for tax revenues that are adequate to address the needs of the state’s citizens and businesses. Read More.
Are you wondering how to break through your own glass ceiling and make this year your best year yet?
Here are 3 tips to help you be at the top of your game:
1. Cultivate a positive mindset, no matter what:
Did you know that your success depends on your mindset, not on the economy? Here are some things you can do that make sure that you are thinking positively. Read More.
Fewer people bought new homes in December. The decline made 2011 the worst year for new -homes sales on records dating back nearly half a century.
The Commerce Department said Thursday new-home sales fell 2.2 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 307,000. The pace is less than half the 700,000 that economists say must be sold in a healthy economy.
About 302,000 new homes were sold last year. That’s less than the 323,000 sold in 2010, making last year’s sales the worst on records dating back to 1963. And it coincides with a report last week that said 2011 was the weakest year for single-family home construction on record. Read More.
There were fewer homes listed for sale at the end of 2011 than in any of the previous four years, a positive sign for the housing sector.
But appearances can be deceiving, and it remains to be seen whether the drop is the beginning of a real recovery or if inventory is being held down by sellers waiting for prices to pick up and banks moving slowly on foreclosures.
The 1.89 million homes on the market at the end of December represented a 6% decline from November and a 22.3% decline from one year ago, according to data compiled by Realtor.com. Read More.
Just your luck — you have to sell your home in winter, the slowest and dreariest sales season of all.
But cheer up. You can use staging, the reduced competition and some seasonal opportunities to your advantage.
“You wouldn’t necessarily choose to sell your home in winter,” says Katie Severance, a broker for ReMax in Upper Montclair, N.J. “But there are certain extra steps you can take to really help your chances.” Read More.
Optimism is building that the housing industry is nearing a bottom — finally.
Home sales and home building are forecast to rise this year after sliding steeply the past five years in housing’s worst downturn since the Great Depression.
Recovery is expected to be slow, and home prices are widely expected to fall this year. But investors are betting on the start of an upturn, bidding up home builder stocks and causing them to outperform the broader stock market.
Chief executives are more positive. JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon said last week that housing is near its bottom but could stay there a year. Stuart Miller, CEO of home builder Lennar, said the market has started to stabilize because of low prices and record-low interest rates.
Market researcher RBC Capital Markets has also turned from a “bearish” view on housing to saying that 2012 “will mark a step in the right direction.” Read More.
Foreclosure filings and repossessions fell to their lowest level since 2007 last year.
Total filings, including default notices and bank repossessions were down 33% for the year to 2.7 million, according to RealtyTrac, the online marketer of foreclosed properties.
One in every 69 homes had at least one foreclosure filing during the year, while 804,000 homes were repossessed. That’s a significant improvement from the peaks reached in 2010 – when 1.05 million homes were repossessed – and the lowest levels seen since 2007. Read More.
Pending home sales continued to gain in November and reached the highest level in 19 months, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 7.3 percent to 100.1 in November from an upwardly revised 93.3 in October and is 5.9 percent above November 2010 when it stood at 94.5. The October upward revision resulted in a 10.4 percent monthly gain.
The last time the index was higher was in April 2010 when it reached 111.5 as buyers rushed to beat the deadline for the home buyer tax credit. The data reflects contracts but not closings. Read More.
After half a decade of withering sales and slumping prices, there are strong and diverse signs that the single-family housing market is poised for a rebound.
In some metropolitan areas, the market has bottomed, with both sales and prices on the rise and foreclosures on the decline.
This contrarian — and largely overlooked — thesis flies in the face of the persistent gloom that has nagged the industry since 2007, when the subprime crisis flared.
Industry analysts and players cite a number of reasons — some traditional (employment), others unique to the post-credit bubble era (foreclosures) — for the long-awaited sea change. An analysis of industry and government data also support the forecast. Read More.
Barclays Capital analyst Stephen Kim predicts a housing recovery buoyed by improving jobs numbers and the fact prices for nondistressed homes will have stabilized without government support.
“In the absence of a government homebuyer incentives, prices for non-distressed home sales have stabilized for almost a year,” Kim said. “This is the most important trend in the housing industry right now, and we are amazed at how little attention it has been getting from the media and the street.” Read More.