Sunday, August 16, 2009

ArtParty from Green-Rice Gallery

I held an ArtParty from Carla Garrison,owner of the Green-Rice Gallery in Noda last night between 6 and 9 pm. It was the third time I have hosted these folks, and they did not disappoint either with their attendance or their artwork.

Several of the artists were in attendance, and one, Matt Hooker, spent part of his evening working on a skyline painting.

Jeff and Janet Ganoung from the Great Harvest Bread Company on Kings Drive brought some of their delicious breads for us to enjoy.

We also had a wine tasting from PRP, and Megan Magri hosted that event.

It was a lively crowd, and our party got somewhat extended past 9 pm. Look forward to more of these events in the future.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Trains, Trains, and Trains

There was a meeting last night at the Government Center hosted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The main focus was improvements to be made to rail lines as it affects the downtown area of Charlotte.

One of the main points was changing the CSX rail line that runs east and west, paralleling the Brookshire Freeway and spanning I 77 near the Johnson C. Smith Campus. This also runs past the growing North Carolina Music Factory. That line crosses over two Norfolk Southern lines as they converge behind the ADM Grain Silo's near the Northwest edge of the Fourth Ward. This CSX line will be dropped below grade by some 30 feet!

The most noticible impact this will have on us will be the reduction of noise as the trains will no longer need to blow their whistles as they pass over other tracks, and will no longer need to be staged to allow other traffic to pass.

This will also open the way for expanded and upgraded Amtrak traffic as it will approact the new to be built Amtrak Station on Trade Street near Graham.

One thing about railroads, they are sometimes slow, but they are steady and relentless. The light at the end of the tunnel is significant progress coming to Charlotte!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Buyers Tax Credit Extension Promised- What It Means For Everyone

The stimulus bill passed in February provides first-time home buyers a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the home's purchase price or up to $8,000, whichever is less, when they file their taxes. Since then, new buyers using FHA-insured loans will be allowed to treat the tax credit as additional down payment funds, or use it to pay for the closing expenses. That program < HERE> was set to expire November 30th. As it gets closer to that date some consumers trying to come up with the necessary funds may be fearful that time will run out, dashing their dreams of owning their home. With recent improvements in the housing market, declining inventory and other positive metrics, Congress should see the long term value in extending the Tax Credit.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he expects congress to extend the tax credit by the end of the year. Reid envisions maintaining the credit at the $8,000 level. He said there has been an effort to make the credit available to those other than first-time homebuyers, but acknowledged that may be a steeper climb.
Do I Hear $15,000?..... Raising The Ante
The Home Buyer Tax Credit Act of 2009, introduced by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), would raise the tax break from $8,000 to $15,000, or 10 percent of the home's purchase price, whichever is lower; remove income restrictions - the current credit is available only to households making $75,000 or less - and extend it to all home purchasers, not just first-timers.
Bankers say that increasing the first-time buyer program would go a long way toward stimulating home sales and, in turn, the economy. Jay Brinkmann, the chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, estimates that just upping the tax credit to $15,000 would lead to an additional 400,000 home sales.
I am Not Buying, What's In It For Me?
This is not only good for first-time buyers but possibly all homeowners.
1) As first timers move into the market it takes pressure off the resale inventory. To the extent that existing homeowners who want to move up probably have to sell their existing home, this new policy can have a dramatic impact. Recently up to 40% of all home sales have involved first time buyers.
2) See all those foreclosures in your town or subdivision? They are weighing down the value of your home even if you can't see it happening. First-Timers generally buy at the low end of the market and will absorb these abandoned homes.
3) Studies have shown that first-time buyers have a significant impact on the local economy and contribute in other socially positive ways.
4) A thriving resale market helps maintain home prices as they recover from the recent downfall.