$15,000 Home Buyer Credit – What’s the Deal?

2/14/09: Credit has been reduced to $8K. See my updated post here.

The big headline is the news of the most recent stimulus package with a special home buying credit. So what’s the story? In short, we don’t know yet. It’s still in Committee because the House version and the Senate version are different (Remember “I’m just a Bill, on Capitol Hill…” if there two versions don’t match–and they never do–then it goes to a committee.)

As of right now, according to CNN:
The Senate bill would double the size of an existing temporary home buyer credit to $15,000. It would also allow all home buyers to claim it and remove the requirement under current law that the credit be paid back. The House bill also removes the repayment requirement but leaves the credit maximum at $7,500 and would offer it only to first-time buyers.
If the Senate version wins out – that is HUGE! $15,000 of free money to ANY home buyer with NO income restrictions! The current Senate version has the credit going into effect the day it is signed and lasting for one year. The Senate version is also non-refundable, meaning that if you don’t owe at least $15,000 in taxes, you can’t take advantage of the full credit (it does, however, let you spread it over two years.) In that way, the Senate version has been criticized as being disproportionately favoring the wealthy.

This WSJ blog has some interesting detail though — again, this is all preliminary, so don’t get too excited–or disappointed–just yet.

Stay tuned!

Update 2/12: Still in committee, but word on the street is that the latest draft contains a provision for First-time home buyers to get a tax credit of up to $8,000. The bill is expected to hit the President’s desk by Monday.

Update #2 2/12: Coming out of committee is the compromise of $8000 credit, does not need to be repaid, available through the end of November, and available only to first time buyers (those who have not owned a primary residence in the last 3 years.)

Ready to start your search for a home in the DC or Northern Virginia area? Consider attending one of my free first time home buyer classes – details are here.

Or start searching for homes in the MLS here.


One thought on “$15,000 Home Buyer Credit – What’s the Deal?

  1. Very Timely post. I did a sales meeting on this very issue this morning. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the conference committee, but in any event it looks like there will be a substantial credit available in the very near term. What a great time to be in the market for a new home.

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