Some positive real estate news out of Washington

Obama 2008I’ve been reading about some great proposals that have found their way to Congress and hopefully will offer a lift to the current housing market.

The first is the reintroduction of down payment assistance.  The Nehemiah program, which was banned in October, was the oldest and largest provider of down payment assistance.  This program, like others, would help buyers purchase homes with some monetary assistance.  Bill H.R. 600 has been introduced into Congress that would help reinstate this program.  Scott Syphax, who is the CEO of the Nehemiah Corporation of America, said this, “With foreclosures on the rise and banks maintaining their stranglehold on credit, we commend Congressman Al Green for recognizing the important role down payment assistance can play in the market’s recovery. Through H.R. 600, DPA offers a simple solution that can empower thousands of worthy families to take advantage of depressed home prices therefore reducing the glut of homes on the market. Further, it does so without spending a single government or taxpayer dime according to the Congressional Budget Office. Creating opportunities for sustainable homeownership will be a cornerstone to strengthening a crumbling housing market and breathing life back into the economy. As the Obama Administration takes the reins tomorrow, we call on Congress to reach across the aisle and prioritize broadening opportunities for responsible homeownership in America by reinstating DPA.”  This could be very useful to many buyers out there.

The National Association of Realtors is hoping that all buyers, not just first-time buyers, will be eligible for a tax credit without having to repay it over time.  An evaluation was done saying if this was the case, America could see an increase in home sales by over 550,000.  The current $7500 tax credit must be repaid over 15 years.  The chief economist of the NAR, Lawrence Yun, said this new incentive could significantly reduce inventory and stabilize home prices.  He said, “The bigger the incentive, the faster housing can help pull the economy out of recession. The cost to the Treasury would be far less than the additional costs of a prolonged recession with insufficient housing stimulus.”  More on this can be read here.

Lastly, while NAR is hopeful that the Obama administration will push to jump start the housing market, they are going to continue to push for more reform.  The first is proposal H.R. 384, which is a bill called the TARP Reform and Accountability Act.  It hopes to make mortgages more available, by enacting a buy-down program to decrease interest rates and preventing foreclosures. 

NAR is also supporting the tax credit for all home buyers, and hoping to extend the deadline to purchase through December 31, 2009.  Right now, in order to qualify, first time buyers must have purchased between April, 2008 and June, 2009.  Other reforms that the NAR is pushing for can be found here.

These are all great reforms that Realtors are pushing for in Washington.  If you have any questions about this news or comments, please contact me online.

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