Oct
31

Senate Seeks To Extend Tax Credit For First-Time Home Buyers

October 31, 2009

us-capitolChicago real estate could use a boost as could the rest of the nation as it reels in a two-year long housing recession.  As prices and sales of homes in the Chicago continues to stagnate to levels not seen in some areas since World War II, the Senate is reportedly ready to extend the tax credit to first-time and existing home buyers well into 2010.

While its passage remains uncertain, the agreement would extend the existing credit for first-time homebuyers, worth up to $8,000, while offering a new credit of up to $6,500 for some existing homeowners, Senate aides said. The reduced credit would be available to all homebuyers who have been in their current residence for a consecutive five-year period in the past eight years. Lawmakers in Washington also raised the qualifying income limits to $125,000 for single taxpayers and $250,000 for joint taxpayers, from the current $75,000 and $150,000, housing-industry sources said. Under the Senate compromise, buyers must have sales agreements in hand by April 30, but they will have until June 30 to go to settlement, said the sources. The measure still faces votes in the full Senate and the House.

The current tax credit did little for the new-home market in September, the Commerce Department recently reported—news that took many industry analysts by surprise. Sales fell 3.6% from August and 7.8% from September 2008. Industry observers had expected a fifth consecutive monthly increase in new-home sales, believing that the tax incentive for qualified first-time buyers—credited with 357,000 sales of previously owned homes so far this year—would do the trick. Instead, sales of typically more expensive newly built houses slipped. “The decline in new-home sales seems to us to be more a function of the attractive pricing available on resales in the current environment than a reflection of weakening demand,” said Michael Feder, president of Radar Logic in New York, which tracks the market.

The new provisions are aimed at broadening availability of the credit beyond first-time buyers and giving the weakened real estate market a bigger boost while preventing real estate investors from benefitting. While Senate lawmakers appear to have reached a deal on the substance of the tax credit, they are still at odds over how it would be brought to the Senate floor.

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About The Author

Read All Stories By Mitch Levinson

Mitch Levinson is the author of “Internet Marketing: The Key to Increased New Home Sales” published by BuilderBooks. He is an Internet marketing expert with expertise in search engine optimization, website development, email marketing, social media and CRM consulting services. He is known for creating effective programs that can be tracked through analytics to prove effectiveness and ROI. Mitch is founder and president of MLC New Home Marketing and MLC FlatFee Realty, as well as managing partner of mRELEVANCE, LLC, a Marketing, Communication, Interactive agency with offices in Chicago and Atlanta. He currently leads the Chicago team. A Multi-Million Dollar Sales Producer who earned an MBA in Computer Information Systems and eCommerce, he brings a unique perspective and experience to the field of real estate communications. Mitch combines the two interests in order to help home builders and developers gain a competitive advantage through the Internet and technology. When he isn’t behind a computer, he enjoys participating in sports and coaching his kids’ teams. Mitch resides in Arlington Heights, Ill., a northwest suburb of Chicago, with his family, which includes two rambunctious labs. Visit my Google+ profile.

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