WaPo columnist Kenneth Harney reports that congressional bills to extend the popular $8,000 first time home buyers tax credit into 2010 are getting traction. The deadline to take advantage of the currently-on-the-books credit is November 30 (less than 100 days away).
Also on the table are efforts to make the credit apply to all home purchases and to increase the tax credit to a maximum of $15,000.
But can any of this happen before the Nov. 30 deadline? The key complicating factor here is Congress’s heavy load of higher-profile, pressing issues that will get attention before anything else in September and October. That includes health-care reform, climate change and energy, financial system regulatory reform and a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency, among others. On top of that, a tax-credit extension would cost billions in lost revenue — a big negative when the federal budget deficit is already wallowing in a record amount of red ink.
In the end, however, given the political economics of the housing credit, the odds favor some sort of extension, probably later rather than sooner. Don’t bank on a bigger credit, however, or on a broadening of the concept to cover all buyers next year.
For it’s part, NAR is working hard behind the scenes to get the tax credit extended.