Realtors Favor Expansion of Tax Credit to Repeat Buyers
Realtors indicated in a recent survey the first-time homebuyer tax credit up to $8,000 has had a significant impact on spurring consumer interest in getting into the housing market. Some even called for an expansion of the program past its current expiration date and to homeowners that do not yet qualify. Of nearly 1,000 real estate agents surveyed in a recent Weichert poll, 71% indicated the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit was the single largest factor motivating the buyers they've worked with so far in 2009. Another 20% of respondents said affordable home prices were the motivating factor and 8% indicated low interest rates played a major motivating role, real estate company Weichert said in a statement. The majority of respondents -- 92% -- said the market will decline if the tax credit expires at the end of November while 97% of respondents favored extending the credit through Dec. 31, 2010. “The tax credit is working to restore confidence and stimulating the overall economy but we still have a long way to go before we return to a normal market,” said James Weichert, president and founder of Weichert. “As this survey shows, many in our industry are concerned that we will lose much of the ground that has been made toward a recovery if the tax credit is not extended.” Agents that responded to the survey also indicated expanding the credit to existing homebuyers and not just first-time buyers would further stimulate the housing market and higher-priced properties in particular. The Weichert survey seems to oppose results of a survey from Zillow.com that indicated a third of prospective first-time homebuyers said an extension of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit would have "no influence" on their decision to purchase a home in 2010. In the survey of adults who qualify for the credit, 18% said extending the credit from Dec. 1, 2009 to Nov. 30, 2010 would be the “primary influence” in their decision to purchase a home. An additional 25% said it would be a “significant influence,” 27% said it would have “some influence,” and 31% said it would have “no influence.” Write to Diana Golobay.