The stimulus package introduced by the U.S. House of Representatives
and guided by president elect Obama
‘s administration proved somewhat disappointing for the real estate sector.
Realtors have repeatedly asked Congress to simply expand the $7500 first time home buyer tax credit; not only making it available to all home buyers, but also eliminating the requirement that it be repaid. The Realtors association believes this modification would be enough to create an additional 555,000 in sales in the next two years.
Meanwhile, NAHB has asked representatives for a much more aggressive approach. They have asked Congress to consider offering a non-repayable tax credit of up to $22,000 for all purchasers this year.
Last week’s House version of the stimulus package, however, simply made the first time home buyer tax credit non-repayable.
However, NAR has expressed support for the TARP Reform and Accountability Act
(H.R. 384) introduced by Chairman Barney Frank
last week. This bill includes many of NAR’s recommendations for the remaining $350 billion in bailout money earmarked by Congress last fall. Key provisions include mortgage buy-downs to reduce interest below prevailing rates, increased foreclosure mitigation and prevention efforts, and liquidity in mortgage markets.
The U.S. Senate
has yet to introduce its version of the stimulus package, with any differences between the two chambers brokered and resolved before the package’s anticipated passage in mid to late February. This leaves ample time for all of us to contact our Congressional representatives
and encourage them toward package modification.