With the economic stimulus bill making its way to President Obama, I thought I’d give you some info on the Realtor® perspective (more specifically, the NAR perspective).
First off, if you’re in a Googling or Wikipedia-ing mood, the official name of the bill is American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. And kudos to Congress for not trying to force an acronym on us (“Super Timely Important Measure for Using Lawmakers…”).
Right now, the bill has passed the House and is doing the whole House-Senate dance thing.
There are two parts of the bill that are of interest to NAR.
1. An extension of the 2008 high-cost-loan limits for GSE’s and FHA to the end of 2009.
2. A change to the first-time-homebuyer tax credit that eliminates the repayment feature.
About point #2: The House version only applies to first-time buyers, it ends June 30th, and it will not be retroactive for those who used the credit in 2008. A good start, at least. The Senate version extends that tax credit until August 31st. (NAR wants to get it changed to December 31.)
As the bill bounces around in the Senate, there are likely going to be changes. Could be Republican amendments, could be Democratic ones. For example, Senator Johnny “Johnny” Isakson of Georgia suggested what he calls a “Fix Housing First” amendment that would greatly expand the tax credit — both in sheer dollars and to include all buyers.
Once merged and passed (and yes, it will pass), it should be signed into law by the end of the month. Stay tuned right here for commentary and perspective.