LOS ANGELES (Nov. 5) – The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) today commended Congress and the Senate for its swift actions in extending and expanding the provisions of the Federal Tax Credit for First-time Home Buyers. The U.S. House of Representatives earlier today voted 403 to 12 for passage, as did the U.S. Senate late yesterday. The legislation now goes to President Obama for signature.
“Over the past several months, C.A.R., the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR), and our more than 1.2 million members have repeatedly urged congressional representatives to extend and expand this crucial piece of legislation,” said C.A.R. President James Liptak. “Today’s victory for home buyers also is testament to the role REALTORS® can play when they unite for a worthy goal.
“Although ideally the legislation sent to President Obama would have applied to all home buyers, C.A.R. applauds our federal representatives for realizing the benefits of the federal tax credit and the role it has played in the ongoing economic recovery,” Liptak said. “More than 1.4 million first-time home buyers nationwide were eligible for the initial credit. We expect that number to increase dramatically in the months ahead once this new legislation is in place.”
As it now stands, the federal tax credit will be extended through April 30, 2010, with a 60-day extension if a binding contract is in place prior to the deadline. First-time home buyers will continue to be eligible for a tax credit of up to $8,000, while existing homeowners will be eligible for a reduced credit of up to $6,500. To qualify for the $6,500 credit, existing homeowners must have lived in their current residences for at least five years. The bill also increases the qualifying income limits from $75,000 for single tax filers and $150,000 for joint filers to $125,000 and $225,000, respectively. The purchase price of the home is capped at $800,000 in both instances.
Under additional provisions included in the bill, taxpayers can claim the credit on purchases completed in 2010 on their 2009 income tax returns. The legislation maintains the provision that home buyers do not have to repay the credit provided the home remains their primary residence for 36 months after purchase, and waives this requirement for active duty military personnel who move due to a military order.