If all home buyers become eligible for a tax credit without a repayment feature, it could result in an additional 555,000 home sales, enough to meaningfully draw down excess housing inventory, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® says.
An evaluation of options for a home buyer tax credit by NAR shows wide ranging implications and benefits. A full credit to all buyers means an additional 2.22 million households would meet the income requirements for purchasing a home, but only one in four of those households would actually make a purchase.
Under the current $7,500 first-time home buyer tax credit, which must be repaid over 15 years, 264,000 households meet the purchase requirements. Using the same assumptions, with plans to hold their home for a median 10 years, it would mean only 66,000 additional sales.
NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth, said a flexible approach to the tax credit would have added benefits. “A home buyer tax credit also should be allowed to be used as a part of downpayment. This would instantly add an equity cushion for homeowners – a vested financial interest provides the foundation for sustainable homeownership, which helps improve economic stability,” he said.
NAR estimates only 25 percent of newly eligible households would become homeowners, and does not capture the effect of increased trade-up buying activity. As such, these projections may understate the full impact of a home buyer tax credit.