Friday, October 30, 2009

First-time homebuyers are looking at the real possibility of a tax credit extension into 2010

Lawmakers are also considering tax credits for repeat buyers to enhance local economies

With the first-time homebuyer $8,000 tax credit set to expire at the end of November, both the Senate and House of Representatives are busy working through agreements to extend this popular program, and keep in place the loan limit for U.S.-backed mortgages at $729,750 for two years, thereby holding down interest rates.

More than 1.4 million first-time buyers have benefited from the $8,000 tax credit and that incentive helped to increase home sales in St. Charles County by 10.6% this September, compared to a year ago. St. Louis County saw an increase of 5.8% during the same period. The median home price has declined during the same time frame, by 3.4% in St. Charles County and 0.7% in St. Louis County.

To keep the up tick in housing sales going, legislators are trying to extend the tax credit incentive through June of 2010 for homebuyers who have a contract on a house by the end of April. Also proposed is up to $6,500 in tax credits for repeat buyers who have owned their home for at least five years, and an income increase to $125,000 a year for individuals and $225,000 for couples.

The Senate is expected to look at the extended tax credits next week (it’s been bundled with legislation to extend unemployment insurance) and then the House will have it’s chance to pass the legislation.

Without a doubt, the tax credits, decreased interest rates, various home ownership program assistance have helped countless qualified buyers purchase a home, and have provided more jobs for Americans in desperate need of jobs.

No doubt, this has been a rough patch for our citizens, our economy and our state of being. With extended housing incentives, we’ll be that much further to recovery and a positive outlook.

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