Friday, November 6, 2009


Finally, finally our voices have been heard and today we can celebrate what will prove to be a very important move forward for real estate.

The Senate has unanimously voted 98-0 to extend the first time home buyer tax credit. It passed overwhelmingly in the House,(403-12) and the White House reports President Obama will sign the bill today. Not only was the first time home buyer tax credit extended, a NEW $6,500 tax credit for existing homeowners who have lived in their homes for at least five of the last eight years was added to the bill.

Senator Johnny Isakson (a co-sponsor of the measure) said “this bill will help us boost what is the REAL problem in the U.S housing market today and that is what is called the move-up market." Johnny hit the nail right on the head. The move-up market has been stalled and even though the first time home buyer market was helped along with the initial tax credit it was not enough to move the “middle” market. This “middle” market desperately needed a jump start. And, we got it today.

These tax credits will be available through June 30th of 2010; however, buyers who qualify for either of these credits MUST enter a binding contract before April 30, 2010. The bill also increases the income cap to $125,000 for a single person and $250,000 for a couple. And the credit is available for all homes purchased for $800,000 or less. This is ideal, as it will break up the middle part of the market that is currently stalled.

To make things even sweeter, the bill also provides the jobless with up to 20 weeks in additional unemployment benefits. Thank goodness for the help, since the construction industry was hit very hard by this economic downturn. Thanks really need to go to people like Judy Conti of the National Employment Law Project who blasted Senate and said it was “shameful” that the Senate procrastinated on the unemployment extension issue. Conti said “this bill would provide a lifeline for those who are desperate, who are unemployed for no fault of their own”. With a current unemployment rate of 9.8% this extension comes at the perfect time.

And it gets even better!!! The 24 billion dollar bill will also provide help to struggling businesses that had losses in 2008 and 2009. They would now be able to seek refunds for taxes paid on profits over the past 5 years.

So is it official yet? Almost - we are in the home stretch. The bill is expected to be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature on Friday, November 6th.

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