Daily News 5/27/2015

May 27, 2015

Wednesday – May 27

Luxury home builder Toll Brothers reported a better than expected quarterly profit due in part to a lower tax provision coupled with a pick up in business in California. Toll Brothers is forecasting an increase in housing demand with the improvement in the job market and an uptick in wages. The company reported net earnings per share of 37 versus the 35 cents expected on profits of $67.9 million, while total revenues edged lower by 1% to $852.6 million. Toll Brothers operates primarily in major metropolitan areas in the contiguous United States.

In yet another gauge on home prices, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported on Monday that home prices rose 1.3% in first quarter of this year. The gain was the fifteenth consecutive quarterly price increase in the purchase only index. From February to March, prices were up 0.3%. The FHFA’s Home Price Index is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Over the past 12 months from the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015, the index was up 5%.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service reported on Tuesday that a crime syndicate hacked into the IRS website and stole vital personal financial information of 104,000 taxpayers. The IRS website features a service called “Get Transcript”, where you can easily download several years of tax forms —this is where the thieves obtained the information. The crooks then used the data to claim tax refunds in other people’s names. But the IRS said that the information could be used for far more devious acts than just receiving the illegal returns … the fraudsters can open up bank accounts, credit lines and steal tax refunds in the future.