Friday, November 6, 2009

New & Revised Home Buyer Tax Credit Extended

The much-anticipated extension & revision to the home buyer tax credit has finally been approved. The Senate's vote yesterday resulted in a 98-0 win and today it was passed in the house. The bill now moves to the President's desk for a final signature which he is expected to sign.

First-time home buyers have been eligible for tax credits of up to $8,000 since last January as part of this year's economic stimulus package. The newly backed program will expand the credit to include existing home owners.

Under the revised program, those who have owned a home for at least five years will be able to apply for tax credits of up to $6,500 when they purchase their next home. To qualify, buyers will have to sign a purchase agreement by April 30, 2010 and close by June 30.

The maximum purchase price on a home will be $800,000 with vacation homes not eligible. Income limitations are $125,000 for single tax payers and $225,000 for joint filers.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) have been lobbying hard for the extension and expansion of the tax credit. NAR claims that so far, about 1.4 million first-time homebuyers have qualified for the program and they estimated that 350,000 of these buyers would not have otherwise purchased.

The tax credit is also set to be extended for another year for military personnel serving outside of the United States until June 30, 2011.

Senator Johnny Isakson, who heavily pushed for the extension, along with his own version that would have increased the credit to $15,000 stated, "This is probably the last extension."

But, really? You think so? When April 2011 comes around and the housing market is still not in full recovery mode, will the politicians be able to let this go and actually come to an end, or could it possibly become a more permanent subsidy?
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