Allison Jensen at Keller Williamsis among the Alexandria real estate agents who said that the first-timehomebuyers’ $8,000 federal tax credit played a major role in helping to revivethe housing market this year. Throughout Northern Virginia, sales rose byalmost 12 percent for the first six months, as compared to the same period in2008.
“I see brisk salesthrough the deadline,” she said. With the credit due to expire on December1, she added, “I just hope they will extend it, because it really gotthings moving.”
She may get her wish.Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have introduced resolutions toextend the credit through next year at least, while expanding it to allhomebuyers. (As it is, first-time buyers are defined as those who have notowned a home in the last three years.)
Most notably, Rep. DavidDreier (R-Ca.), proposed extending the credit to next year and including all homebuyers.Going even further, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) proposed adding a credit for peoplewho bought last year and advocated extending it permanently. All of theproposals await action from the House Ways and Means Committee when it returnsfrom recess this September. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), leads the committee.
In the office of VirginiaCongressman Gerald Connolly, whose 11th District includes parts of FairfaxCounty, chief of staff James Kinshaw reported that, “He is sure to besupportive. He believes that the first-time homebuyers’ tax credit has played avital role in the overall stimulus effort to stabilize the economy.
“Several proposalshave been introduced, and [Connolly] is discussing them with local realtors todecide which is the best way to move forward. We must be sure we avoidincreasing the deficit, but I think he is committed to finding a way to dothat.”
Rep. Frank Wolf (R)represents District 10, which also covers parts of Fairfax County. He seems toshare his Democratic colleagues’ feelings.
“We know that [Wolf]has been generally supportive of the tax credit, and I believe that he willcontinue to be,” said Dan Scandling, the congressman’s spokesman.
Representing Alexandria aspart of his 8th District, Rep. Jim Moran (D) is waiting for the recommendationsfrom the President Barack Obama’s Tax Reform Task Force, according to his staffmember Frank Shafroth. One major roadblock, he said, is the estimated $2.7billion cost in revenue lost over the next 10 years.
Spreading the Wealth
The National Association ofRealtors plans to lobby Congress actively for the extension when it reconvenes.
“We have a sizeablegovernment-affairs group that lobbies congressmen on many issues,” saidPublic Affairs Director Lucien Salvant. “This will certainly be one ofthem.
“Cash for Clunkersproved to be very popular and successful,” he added, “But it willhardly have the kind of long-term effect on the economy that the first-timehomebuyers’ tax credit did. We want to extend it to all homebuyers.”
Home purchases will spreadthe wealth through the economy, he explained, since they account for $63,000worth of related acquisitions including furniture, appliances and cars.
As he put it, “President Obama andCongress have said that the way out of the recession is through housing.”