Over the summer, many in the housing industry applauded the temporary first-time-homebuyer tax credits written into the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, but apparently buyers were not as impressed.
The tax credit gives first-time homebuyers a credit of up to $7,500 for buying a home between April 8 of this year and July 1, 2009. Real estate agents say it has not been effective in getting people to buy homes, which would reduce the excessive inventory on the market.
The problem, they say, is that buyers are turned off by the repayment requirement of the credit. The credit needs to be paid back over a 15-year period, beginning on a buyer's 2010 tax return. In effect, it is an interest-free loan.
"For the economist … it was a clear benefit. Money today is better than money tomorrow," said Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said at the trade group's annual conference, held in Orlando over the weekend. "Nonetheless, the average Joe Homebuyer does not see it that way."
To entice more first-time buyers, the Realtor group is lobbying lawmakers to remove the repayment requirement.
The Realtors also want all homebuyers to be eligible — not only those who have not been homeowners for the past few years.