By Robert Freedman, senior editor, REALTOR® Magazine
What are the chances of getting the first-time home buyer tax credit extended, particularly before its expiration Dec. 1? No one can know that, of course, but what’s clear is that the leadership in Congress wants it extended—and if you have the leadership on board, you’re in a strong position. Yet with health care reform consuming Congress’ attention, even the leadership faces a challenge ensuring the tax credit gets the consideration it deserves.
After sitting down with Linda Goold, NAR’s director of tax policy, and Samuel Whitfield, an NAR legislative representative, I learned the tax credit has really been the economic recovery’s workhorse. The IRS says 1.4 million households have used the credit. What’s more, a number of independent looks at the credit, including one by Economy.com (owned by Moody’s) and Campbell Surveys, estimate that between 350,000 and 400,000 home purchases would not have happened without the credit. NAR has come up with a similar estimate.
Goold and Whitfield say there’s bipartisan support for extension, and NAR is on Capitol Hill daily reminding lawmakers that the clock is running. But it’s coming down to the wire.