More good news for consumers, our members, and the housing market recovery. Following the Senate's favorable vote yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives just voted 403 to 12 to extend the home buyer tax credit, expanding the parameters to include existing homeowners and not just first-time buyers. As you may know, C.A.R. and our partners at NAR have worked for months urging Congress and the Senate to extend and expand this crucial piece of legislation. We expect President Obama to sign the legislation in short order.
As it now stands, the federal tax credit will be extended through April 30, 2010, with a 60-day extension if a binding contract is in place prior to the deadline. First-time home buyers will continue to be eligible for a tax credit of up to $8,000, while existing homeowners will be eligible for a reduced credit of up to $6,500. To qualify for the $6,500 credit, existing homeowners must have lived in their current residences for at least five years. The bill also increases the qualifying income limits from $75,000 for single tax filers and $150,000 for joint filers to $125,000 and $225,000, respectively. The purchase price of the home is capped at $800,000 in both instances.
Under additional provisions included in the bill, taxpayers can claim the credit on purchases completed in 2010 on their 2009 income tax returns. The legislation maintains the provision that home buyers do not have to repay the credit provided the home remains their primary residence for 36 months after purchase, and waives this requirement for active duty military personnel who move due to a military order.
Nationwide, more than 1.4 million first-time home buyers were given the opportunity to become homeowners as a result of the Federal Tax Credit for First-time Home Buyers. We expect that number to increase dramatically in the months ahead with this new legislation in place. Thank you to our members who called, wrote, and e-mailed their congressional representatives and voiced their support for the home buyer tax credit. Your voices were heard - today's vote is a direct result of your actions and involvement.