A few weeks ago, the news media was all abuzz with opinion pieces stating that the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit had run its course, and the prospect for extending the credit was very uncertain.
However, in the past couple of weeks, we have seen the tide shift, as several Members of Congress and the White House have said they are considering extending the credit into 2010. In fact, an article in today’s Washington Post, “White House Faces Pressure on Jobs,” makes several references to the credit and indicates that Congress is working behind the scenes to develop legislation that would include an extension.
Why the change?
Well, as it turns out, recent data on home sales and jobs show just how tenuous the economic recovery currently is. After four straight increases in home sale, the August numbers were down slightly. As time runs out on the current tax credit, those numbers could dip further. We need to keep the credit going until enough inventory is cleared to return us to more normal market conditions.
On Wednesday, NAR testified before the U.S. Small Business Subcommittee, and again emphasized that the tax credit is our best tool for sustaining the housing recovery. With more than 350,000 home sales attributed to the credit, it’s clear that it is one of the most successful economic stimulus provisions.
Of course, our testimony is just one way we are reaching out to Congress. Members, like you, are hitting home with the message, too. So far, more than 140,000 REALTORS® have sent letters to Congress on this issue through our most recent Call for Action. That’s a record for NAR, and it clearly has made a difference. If you haven’t responded, please visit the Action Center today and let your Representatives and Senators know how important the tax credit is to your clients.
With your help, I am hopeful that we will get an extension before the deadline – and perhaps have one more “win” to celebrate when we meet at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo this November. – Charles McMillan, 2009 NAR President