Good news! President Obama signed into law a three-month extension on the deadline for home buyers to obtain a federal home buyer tax credit of up to $8,000.
Eligible taxpayers who contracted to buy a home, qualifying for the first-time home buyer tax credit before the end of April 2010, now have until September 30, 2010 to close the deal. To be eligible, buyers need to be in a binding contract that was in place by April 30.
The homebuying season is starting early this year, thanks to the expanded first-time and move-up homebuyer tax credit.
Typically, the busiest time for home shopping starts in March and continues through May, but this year buyers who want to take advantage of the tax credits have to have a signed contract by April 30 and close the deal by June 30.
That is getting people off the couch.
“The tax credit will absolutely have an effect,” says Pete Flint, CEO of residential real estate search engine Trulia.com. “It is going to shift demand from the later part of the year to the first part. January and February will be very strong. The next three months, there will be a surge in demand.”
Read more about the Tax Credit here.
Source: USA Today, Stephanie Armour
First-time homebuyers dominated the U.S. real estate market in 2009, accounting for roughly half of all residential transactions, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
That trend is likely to continue well into the new year. That’s because interest rates are hovering near all-time lows, home-price affordability is near all-time highs and a third factor – Congress’ extension of the first-time homebuyer tax credit until April 30, 2010 – make conditions quite favorable for those considering homeownership for the first time.
Still, with the prospect of making one of the largest investments you’ll ever make in your life, you can easily become overwhelmed. Some of the questions you may be asking are: Will I be able to afford the home of my dreams? Do I have enough money for a down payment? Will I qualify for the tax credit? Will I make smart home buying decisions? If you go into the process prepared, your first purchase – like the current timing – can be just right.
U.S. real estate received a big boost from Congress earlier this month when President Obama signed into law a five-month extension of the first-time homebuyer tax credit and a new tax credit benefiting existing homebuyers.
The first-time credit, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was set to expire Nov. 30. Both credits will be available for qualified buyers through April 30. “Congress did the right thing by extending and expanding these tax credits,” said Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services President Earl Lee. “The first-time homebuyer credit played a significant role in the U.S. housing market’s recovery in 2009, and both will help the market in the new year.”
According to the National Association of REALTORS, nearly half of all home sales are now being made by first-time purchasers. In fact, 47 percent of all Americans who purchased homes this year had not owned one during the previous three years, said NAR, up from 36 percent in 2006. NAR forecasts that existing home sales will rise 2 percent this year to just over 5 million. NAR predicts a 13.6 percent gain in 2010 to 5.69 million homes sold.
The first-time homebuyer tax credit equates to as much as $8,000, or 10 percent of a principal residence’s purchase price and is available to those who have not owned a principal residence in the past three years. Existing homeowners who have lived in their current home for at least five consecutive years of the previous eight and who are purchasing a home to be their principal residence may be eligible for up to a $6,500 tax credit.