Saturday, November 07 2009
Expected to contribute approximately $22 billion to the economy, Congress overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan measure this week extending the $8,000 home buyer tax credit to April 30, 2010.
The legislation, which is part of a larger bill that also extends unemployment benefits, was signed into law by President Obama today.
More people are now eligible to take advantage of the law, which includes a $6,500 tax credit for buyers who are current home owners and have lived in their home for five of the past eight years.
Income limits for eligible home buyers were also expanded to $125,000 for single buyers and $225,000 for couples, up from $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples. Qualifying home prices are capped at $800,000.
NAR's Government Affairs Division has compiled facts on the changes made to the current tax credit. NAR members sent more than 500,000 letters to leaders in Congress and made nearly 13,000 telephone calls to Senate offices last weekend to encourage support. So far this year, REALTORS® have spent nearly $14 million lobbying Congress, according to federal campaign finance records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican and a former member of NAR, was key in extending the credit, as well as pushing it through initially. Other prominent boosters include the National Association of Homebuilders and the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Listen to NAR President Charles McMillan's podcast announcement.
NAR economists estimate that approximately 2 million people will take advantage of the tax credit this year.
Sources: NAR and The Associated Press, Julie Hirschfeld Davis (11/06/2009)
Wednesday, September 16 2009
More than 40 percent of all home buyers in 2009 will qualify for the federal tax credit, costing the government about $15 billion, twice the original estimate, but most housing experts applaud the policy and favor expanding it.
Now the decision is up to Congress.
Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Economy.com, believes that the credit should be expanded to all homebuyers, even investors, through summer of 2010. “The risks of not doing something like this are too great,” he said. “I don’t think the coast is clear.”
James Glassman of JPMorgan Chase also favors expanding the credit but continuing to limit it to first-time buyers.
Industry members who are lobbying for the extension are optimistic and say they believe an extension will be approved in some form. “There will be a lot of water under the bridge, a lot of compromise, between now” and a final bill, said Richard A. Smith, chairman of the Business Roundtable’s Housing Working Group.
Source: The New York Times, David Streitfeld (09/15/2009) http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2009091601?OpenDocument