On November 7th, 2009 the First Time Home Buyer Credit was extended and expanded to provide a $6500 credit to existing homeowners that qualify under a set of rules. The Credit was set to expire November 30th. It had been an active topic of congressional conversation for months prior. April 7th is just nine days away and there has been little or no published news about Congress discussing the credit ahead of the April 30th expiration (you have to be in contract on or before April 30th and the transaction must close on or before June 30th).
In October, conventional wisdom was, “you have to assume the Credit is going to expire but it will probably be extended.” This time around it seems much more likely that it will be allowed to expire on April 30th. The National Association of Realtor’s 2009 Profile of Buyers and Sellers reported that in 2009, only six percent of first time buyers cited the Buyer Credit as the “Primary Reason for Purchasing a Home.” That’s in contrast to 62% the said it was the “desire to own a home” that caused them to buy. The Credit was the 4th most cited reason for buying (graphic below).
What does that mean? When the Credit expires the sky shouldn’t fall. The Credit is a great benefit for those that qualify and find a home that they want to own but it isn’t a reason to settle. Sure $8000 goes a long way for most people but that’s 2.6% of a $300,000 transaction. Not, in my mind, enough to sacrifice.