Like many of you, I was somewhat taken aback in the economic stimulus package Congress passed and President Obama signed. I was hoping that we would see better and bigger incentives to encourage people to buy now. I wanted Congress to pass legislation that would make this market we have lived in for the past 20 months turn around fast. In short, I wanted more.
Since that time, here is what I have experienced:
Two of my listings, each of which have been on the market for the past 8 months, sold almost immediately to two first-time home buyers.
More of my fellow agents – many of whom stopped working altogether – are now coming back into the office. They are calling clients. They are sending letters to their sphere of influence telling them about the housing provisions in the stimulus package and the benefits.
In office meetings, there is an air again of excitement, albeit tempered, and a feeling of hope again.
And despite the continued bad economic news that we hear about on television and read in the papers and on the internet, there is notion that we will get on with our business, because people have to have a place to live.
Will the Housing Stimulus package get us back to the good markets of the late 1990’s, or possibly the boom markets of the second millennium? No one can answer that – at least not now. I do know that the package has helped, at least a little bit.
But …and this is a big BUT…now that the first steps toward recovery have been taken, we can’t afford to take any steps back. I am disappointed that the Obama Administration has proposed reducing the value of the mortgage interest deduction (MID). I am even more concerned that the Administration does not seem to realize the residual effects of limiting MID.
NAR has extensive research on the negative consequences of changing MID. A decrease in the MID for homeowners making $250,000 or more would negatively impact home prices across the country. It could worsen the credit crunch. In short, the effects of this proposal don’t just hit the “rich” — they trickle down directly to every price point in the market and every income range.
The bottom line today is that the very segment of the economy that has been hit the worst in this recession does not need another punch in the the stomach, especially if we need that very segment of the economy to lead us out of this recession.
For now, I will take what I have been given and make the most out of the incentives that are in place. Certainly if MID is perserved, there is hope that the market will recover. Don’t take that hope away, Mr. President. – Steve Brown, VP & Liaison to Committees