Expanding the federal Homebuyer Tax Credit is not a good idea
Congress is currently considering whether or not to extend, and even expand, the Homebuyer Tax Credit. The current credit which gives up to $8,000 to new homebuyers (singles earning up to $75K and couples earning up to $150K) will expire on December 1st. Leading the fight to have the credit extended and expanded is (big suprise) the National Association of Realtors. They are proposing that the credit be increased to $15,000 and be available to all homebuyers, not just first-timers. This is an expensive proposition that will do very little to encourage home buying that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise. What it will do is cost $75,000 for each home purchase that it actually incents, temporarily inflate home values to the good of the sellers and not the buyers, and cost the federal treasury $15 billion that it does not have.
For a great analysis of the proposal including a full explanation of why it should not be considered by Congress check out this new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorites.