Home Buyer Tax Credit Called Effective

Calculating how much the home buyer tax credits cost is an inexact science. At least one analytical firm has concluded that home prices would have fallen 10 percent further without them.

But the cost of propping up prices was significant. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the three credits combined probably resulted in tax revenue losses of about $22 billion through 2019.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, about 1 million buyers claimed $7.3 billion in interest-free loans under the first credit. These loans must be repaid starting in 2011. Another 2.3 million people claimed $16.2 billion in tax credits that don’t have to be repaid and the IRS is still processing these claims through the 2011 tax filing.

Source: United Feature Syndicate, Lew Sichelman (12/26/2010)

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NAR Lauds Proposal to Extend Tax-Credit Closings

The National Association of REALTORS® today expressed thanks on behalf of America’s homebuyers to three Senators for introducing a measure to extend the present home buyer tax credit closing deadline to Sept. 30. They are Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Chris Dodd, D-Conn.

“As the leading advocate for homeownership and housing issues, NAR commends these Senators for their attentiveness and sensitivity to thousands of qualified home purchasers, who through no fault of their own, are not able to meet the closing deadline of June 30 for the home buyer tax credit. Now we urge the Senate and the House to act quickly to pass this legislation and ease the minds and pocketbooks of these home buyers,” said NAR President Vicki Cox Golder.

The measure was offered as an amendment to H.R. 4213, a tax extension bill now in the Senate.

NAR estimates that approximately 75,000 home buyers of distressed properties who have qualified for the tax credit and met the contract deadline of April 30 would not be able to close their transaction by the June 30 closing deadline. REALTORS® have reported as many as one-third of qualified applicants have been notified by lenders that their mortgages will not close before June 30 due to the sheer volume of applications in the pipeline.

“These are not buyers who just entered into the market. These are buyers who previously met all the qualifications for the tax credit, but find themselves at the mercy of a work-flow jam with the lenders or other delays and might not be able to complete the purchase of their homes,” said Golder. “It would be a tragedy for them not to be able to complete the purchase in time to claim the credit.”

Golder said she also wanted to make this clear: “This amendment does not extend the deadline for home buyers to qualify for the tax credit; it extends the deadline for closing the transaction, from June 30 to Sept. 30. Since these applications were already in the pipeline and figured into the program’s cost, the extension of the closing deadline should not incur any further government costs.”

-NAR

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Tax Credit a Mismatch With Buyers’ Schedules

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson testified before the Senate Finance Committee that assigning the IRS to run the home buyer tax credit program was a bad decision.

Tax filing and the rebate plan don’t mesh because most people need the money at the time they close or shortly thereafter. “Most people don’t close on their houses on April 15,” Olson told the committee.

Whether or not the program should be run by the IRS is immaterial, said Sen. Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat. The IRS should step up the get the job done, he said.

Meanwhile, claiming the home buyer credit appears to be a great way to trigger an audit. About 20 percent of all IRS examinations handled via the mail in the last six months were done on people who claimed the credit, Olson testified.

Source: Associated Press, Stephen Ohlemacher (04/15/2010)

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California Extends Home Buyer Tax Credit

California has re-established and extended a $10,000 home buyer tax credit, allocating $200 million to the credit for homes purchased between May 1 and Dec. 31, and between Dec. 31 and Aug. 1, 2011.

Steve Goddard, president of the California Association of REALTORS®, said the tax credit will help create incentive for first-time home buyers to purchase abandoned and foreclosed homes. “It is these homes that will require substantial rehabilitation by the new owners, which will in turn generate a tremendous increase in jobs and accessory purchases connected to home improvement activities,” Goddard said.

The credit will be split between first-time buyers and buyers who have lived in their home for at least two years.

“The tax credit will help push prospective buyers off the fence, clear out inventory, and jump-start the homebuilding industry, which will help create jobs and reinvigorate the state’s economy,” said Liz Snow, CEO and president of the California Building Industry Association, in a statement.

Source: Inman News (03/25/2010)

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Pending Home Sales Stabilize

Pending home sales have leveled from a market swing driven by response to the home buyer tax credit, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in December, increased 1 percent to 96.6 from 95.6 in November, and remains 10.9 percent above December 2008 when it was 87.1.

In November, the monthly index had fallen by 16.4 percent from surging activity in preceding months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says it’s important to recognize how the tax credit is skewing market data.

“There are easily understood swings in contract activity as buyers respond to a tax credit that was expiring and was then extended and expanded,” he says. “These swings are masking the underlying trend, which is a broad improvement over year-ago levels.”

December activity was the fifth highest monthly tally in two years.

Full Story…

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Pending Home Sales Stabilize

Pending home sales have leveled from a market swing driven by response to the home buyer tax credit, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in December, increased 1 percent to 96.6 from 95.6 in November, and remains 10.9 percent above December 2008 […]

Misuse of Home Buyer Tax Credit Reported

A report earlier this month from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration estimates that 73,799 taxpayers have incorrectly claimed the first-time home buyer tax credit. The report concludes: “The IRS is unable to verify eligibility for the majority of Recovery Act benefits at the time a tax return is processed.”

The IRS didn’t dispute the claim, but said it was studying the matter further. Some have suggested that this report and others will encourage Congress to put some safeguards in place before more claims result from the extension and expansion of the tax credit.

Source: The New York Times, Lynnley Browning (12/22/2009)

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Existing-Home Sales Record Big Gains

Driven by the home buyer tax credit, existing-home sales showed another big gain in October with a strong uptrend established over the past seven months, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. At the same time, inventories have continued to decline.

Existing-home sales—including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops—surged 10.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.10 million units in October from a downwardly revised pace of 5.54 million in September, and are 23.5 percent above the 4.94 million-unit level in October 2008. Sales activity is at the highest pace since February 2007 when it hit 6.55 million.

Tax Credit Fuels Surge

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, was surprised at the size of the gain. “Many buyers have been rushing to beat the deadline for the first-time buyer tax credit that was scheduled to expire at the end of this month, and similarly robust sales may be occurring in November,” he said. “With such a sale spike, a measurable decline should be anticipated in December and early next year before another surge in spring and early summer.”  Full Details…

Front Gate Properties, We’re selling the BEST Real Estate in Aiken, SC.

Existing-Home Sales Record Big Gains

Driven by the home buyer tax credit, existing-home sales showed another big gain in October with a strong uptrend established over the past seven months, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. At the same time, inventories have continued to decline. Existing-home sales—including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops—surged 10.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual […]

NAR: Tax Credit Best for Sustaining Housing Recovery

The best available tool for sustaining the still-fragile housing market is the $8,000 home buyer tax credit, and it is essential that Congress extend the credit into 2010, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® testified at a hearing of the U.S. House Small Business Committee today. The tax credit expires November 30. NAR Regional Vice President […]

Aides: Home Buyer Tax Credit Likely to Win Extension

Extending the First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit, due to expire at the end of November, is high on the Democratic Congressional to-do list, legislative aides said.

After Wednesday’s meeting with President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) released a statement that the government should “continue efforts to strengthen the housing market by extending the home buyer tax credit.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, who is a consultant to Democrats in the administration and Congress, is advocating extending the credit through August and making it available to all home buyers. He said failure to extend the credit just as more foreclosures enter the market will push housing prices down.

Also, on Thursday, the House is expected pass legislation to extend the credit through 2010 for people who have been out of the country in the military, intelligence, or foreign services.

Source: The New York Times, Jackie Calmes (10/07/2009)

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NAR: Tax Credit Best for Sustaining Housing Recovery

The best available tool for sustaining the still-fragile housing market is the $8,000 home buyer tax credit, and it is essential that Congress extend the credit into 2010, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® testified at a hearing of the U.S. House Small Business Committee today.

The tax credit expires November 30.

NAR Regional Vice President Joseph L. Canfora, a broker-owner with Century 21 Selmar Realty in East Islip, N.Y., also told the panel that a major stumbling block for consumers has been the implementation of appraisal processes spurred by the Home Valuation Code of Conduct, which is causing delays in closings, as well as cancelled sales that led to artificially low existing-home sales numbers for August, reported last month.

“The credit is working,” Canfora said, pointing out that the 355,000 to 400,000 transactions directly attributable to the credit made a significant dent in the housing inventory and will help to stabilize home prices. Further, the credit has provided a huge indirect benefit to local governments, shoring up property tax bases in particularly hard-hit areas.


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