The Senate has approved an extension of the $8,000 first-time homebuyers’ tax credit for homes under $800,000 through April 30; increased the income ceiling for eligibility to $125,000 for individuals and $225,000 for couples; and introduced a new $6,500 credit for existing homeowners that have lived in their current homes for at least five years and now want to “move up.” It’s on to the House for a vote.
UPDATE (11/5): The House approved the legislation by a vote of 403-12. It’s on to Obama to sign.
UPDATE (10/6): President Obama has signed.

17 thoughts on “Senate Approves First-Time (And Move-Up) Homebuyer Tax Credits”
  1. Was there ever any doubt? I don’t think Congress or the president has ever met a bailout/handout to special interests that they didn’t like. Congrats, real estate and banker lobby! You know who loves you, don’t you?

  2. Not just banksters, but pretty much any seller who had to sell and was facing a capital loss is now getting handed between $6,500 and $8,000.

  3. I just noticed that this post has the tag “Real Estate Economics”, so I thought it’d be apropos to post a link to Simon Johnson and James Kwak’s post at the Washington Post’s site, The home-buyer tax credit: Throwing good money after bad. The “money ‘graph”:

    But the tax credit stabilizes the housing market, people say. What does this mean? It means that the credit keeps housing prices artificially high. But housing is something that all people need. Why do we want it to be expensive?

    …and continues:

    As of July, the real price of housing, according to the Case-Shiller Composite 10 Index … was still 20 percent higher than in January 2000 and more than 30 percent higher than its average for the entire 1990s. Now, there is a risk that a weak economy can cause housing prices to fall well below their long-run average. However, housing prices appear to have stabilized, at least for now, and at too high a level. That is in part due to the tax credit, in part due to the partial economic recovery we are witnessing.

    Emphasis from the original. As they say in the blogosphere, read the whole thing.
    And speaking of banksters, anyone interested in how the finance industry has effectively captured our government would be wise to read Prof. Johnson’s great piece in The Atlantic in May, “The Quiet Coup”.

  4. Ok,
    Some folks know this, some do not.
    In the current environment, buyers can possibly obtain conforming loans if they present sterling credit, large down payment, etc.
    For non-conforming loans, you need 20% down payment, significant cash-flow, and a strong stomach.
    Any property bought or sold in San Francisco will be subject to these constraints. This is not rocket science folks. Look at the number of people who can purchase properties w/ conforming mortgages and compare that with the supply.
    On the non-conforming side, the wealthy mostly are settled, and licking their wounds from the past year(s).
    If you’re selling a sub-million dollar property, you need to help the buyer “conform”.
    If you’re selling a D7 or Noe Valley property, you need to find someone who has preserved cash and confidence.
    Personal finance is not very complicated, and real estate prices are a direct outcome of personal finance.
    [off soap-box, with large sigh]

  5. FHA mortgage options for multi-unit properties in SF County break down as follows:
    2-Unit $934,200 Max Loan
    3-Unit $1,129,250 Max Loan
    4-Unit $1,403,400 Max Loan
    Minimum down payment allowed 3.5%. 10% down payment required for new construction properties.

  6. Question: If I already purchased in 2009 will this bill increase the income limits for me as well? I already filed a 2008 return amendment for the first-time credit but my income limited me to receive only a portion of it. I get the whole bang-bang now, right?

  7. kingham–
    Yes, you should. You’ll have to refile another amended 08 return and return what you got, then add the credit on your 09 return. I’m not a tax planner, but it would seem to make sense to do both at the same time so you don’t end up owing a bunch to the IRS temporarily.
    Anyone notice congress has managed to step neatly over the boom years? To qualify for the credit, you’d have to have either lived in your house since 2004 or earlier, or not owned a house since 2006. Sucks for you if you bought in 05, 06, 07. 08 and 09 were covered by the different new buyer credits.

  8. Does anyone know if you have to sell your home that you have lived in 5+ years to claim the $6.5k tax credit or can you buy a new home without selling the old one and still receive the credit?

  9. So here is the question. I bought my FIRST home in Dec of 2007. It is an FHA loan if it makes any difference. Does this new thing give any credits to new homeowners as myself? Thank you

  10. Yes, i have the same question.
    Do you have to SELL your home that you have lived in 5+ years to claim the $6.5k tax credit or can you buy a new home without selling the old one and still receive the credit?

  11. At this point, the tax credit is just subsidizing suburban sprawl, which is the last thing we should be doing, especially with government money.
    Does this credit also apply to condo buyers? If so, it might have some impact on the San Francisco market.

  12. We lived in our previous house since 2004 sold it and upgraded in 2009. Would we qualify for the $6500? Since the bill was just passed now?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *