Are you eligible for the first-time homebuyer credit? It's still around for folks who had a valid contract in place by April 30 and who, thanks to another tweak to the law, actually close on the qualified residential property by Sept. 30.
Or maybe homebuyers will get even more time.
I really don't mean to pander to homebuyer hopes and tax policy panic. But I've had this nagging fear that we might not yet see the end of this ill-advised credit ever since former fed chief Alan Greenspan made some offhand housing market remarks a few weeks ago.
Then came the July housing report with the not surprising word that that sector of our economy continues to suck.
The dismal housing data was quickly followed by Obama's HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan's televised comments that it was "too early to say" whether the White House would support another round of home buying tax credits.
Donovan and the Obama Administration have been backtracking ever since, notes TaxVox, but the damage was done.
Credit supporters have created a Facebook page, Extend The $8,000 Federal Tax Credit Until 2011 for 1st Time Homebuyer's (sic). At last count, almost 300 people "like" the page.
The social media effort was started by a Realtor from New Jersey, but folks in other parts of the country are jumping on this idling bandwagon. Politicians in Florida are talking up a continuation of the homebuyer credit.
The Sunshine State reactions are not surprising. The campaigns for Florida governor and the open U.S. Senate seat are a free-for-all and such sound bites get lots of media attention. Plus, Florida's real estate sector is among the worst in the country, so everyone there is desperate for any type of help.
This week, though, some sanity seemed to return.
In Housing Woes Bring New Cry: Let Market Fall, New York Times reporter David Streitfeld says, "The
unexpectedly deep plunge in home sales this summer is likely to force
the Obama administration to choose between future homeowners and current
ones, a predicament officials had been eager to avoid."
But the good news, at least for those of us who think the homebuyer credit has simply postponed the inevitable, is that, writes Streitfeld, "there is a growing sense of exhaustion with government intervention. Some economists and analysts are now urging a dose of shock therapy that would greatly shift the benefits to future homeowners: Let the housing market crash."
Crash is a terrible word. But I agree with the concept. We need to let the free market sort itself out as far as housing is concerned.
I'm a homeowner. I don't want to see the value of my house drop. But it does no one any good to keep propping up a part of the economy at the expense of real, long-term recovery.
We need to take our medicine. Stop the madness. Bite the bullet. Pick your own cliche.The answer is the same: No more artificial tax help for the housing industry.
- Implicit support for continuation of the first-time homebuyer credit?
- The homebuyer credit: It's baaacckkk!
- Putting the homebuyer credit to rest
- 'Successful, costly' first-time-plus homebuyer credit ending
- The federal homebuyer credit's 'exit strategy problem'
- The unfairness of housing tax breaks?
- Economy killing home tax break, redux
- Did the home sale tax exclusion kill the economy?
- IRS could have prevented subprime mess
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