Representative Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) introduced legislation that would extend the first-time homebuyer tax credit for six months, H.R. 3773. Rep. Edwards was joined by Reps. Judy Biggert (R-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Paul Broun (R-GA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), and Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) as original co-sponsors. H.R. 3773 is the House companion to legislation introduced in the Senate by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), along with Senators John Ensign (R-NV), Harry Reid (D-NV), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
The current provision passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provides an $8,000 credit for first-time homebuyers, and is set to expire on December 1, 2009. According to the Washington Post, first-time homebuyers made up 30 percent of all August sales. This bill would not change the tax credit; it would simply extend it until June 1, 2010.
"The first-time homebuyers' tax credit is critical to the recovery and stabilization we are beginning to see in the housing market," said Rep. Edwards. "It is important that we pass this six-month extension to ensure the upward trend in home sales and purchases, further stabilizing the nation's housing market. Extending this tax credit is good policy for the housing industry and the entire economy, and more importantly good for families looking to purchase a home. I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for working together in a bi-partisan effort to move this important legislation forward."
"The homebuyer tax credit has effectively helped to bring in new buyers and generate greater economic stability, but our recovery is fragile, and much more remains to be done," said Rep. Biggert, who also is the sponsor of legislation that pays for an extension by recapturing unspent stimulus funds. "Extending this credit is an important step towards restoring neighborhoods hit hardest by the downturn, strengthening a key sector of the economy, and protecting jobs in areas ranging from construction to finance. I applaud Representative Edwards for her hard work on this issue, and I look forward to working with her to ensure this credit is extended, and fully offset to minimize the impact on taxpayers."
"In extending the homebuyers tax credit, we will help even more Americans achieve the dream of buying their first home," said Rep. Van Hollen. "By continuing this successful program, we will help our housing market continue to recover. It is one of the many ways we are working to strengthen our economy."
"Owning a home is still the ultimate American dream and Congress should do all we can to make this dream a reality for more Americans," said Rep. Broun. "A strong housing market is a critical part of a vibrant economy. If our economy is to recover, Congress must provide Americans with tools like this homebuyers' tax credit to encourage homeownership and give our economy the shot of caffeine that it needs. The broadening and extension of this tax credit has been one of my top priorities and I appreciate Congresswoman Edwards' efforts to bring Members of Congress from both parties and from different regions around the country together to help our ailing housing market."
"Although there has been some progress, the housing market will continue to be very difficult into next year," said Rep. Sarbanes. "The first time homebuyer tax credit has been very successful in stimulating the housing market and has helped many families purchase their first home."
According to the most recent Department of Treasury data, nearly 530,000 Americans have applied for the tax credit to help them purchase their first home. Approximately 40 percent of all home buyers this year will be eligible for the tax credit.