First-time home-buyer tax credit expiring soon

WASHINGTON, March 4 - The National Association of Home Builders wants potential home buyers to be aware that they still have the opportunity to take advantage of the $8,000 first-time home buyer or $6,500 repeat buyer tax credits, as long as they act quickly--the credits expire on April 30, 2010.

"It's not too late to take advantage of the home buyer tax credit," said NAHB Chairman Bob Jones, a builder and developer in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. "There are plenty of existing homes on the market, and even though the move-in ready newly constructed homes inventory has dwindled, builders may still be able finish a home in time."

The IRS provides an additional two months beyond the deadline to close the deal. Buyers who sign a sales contract by the April 30 deadline are still eligible if they close the sale of the home by June 30, 2010.

More people than ever before are eligible for a home buyer tax credit, NAHB estimates that close to 70 percent of all potential buyers should qualify for some form of a credit.

"First-time" buyers don't have to be buying their first home ever; they are defined by the IRS as those who have not owned a principal residence in the past three years. Repeat buyers may be eligible for a new $6,500 credit, as long as they have owned and lived in their current home at least five consecutive out of the past eight years.

The current credits also increase the income limits, enabling single taxpayers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples earning up to $225,000 to potentially qualify for a full credit.

NAHB's Web site at federalhousingtaxcredit.com, which has received more than 6.5 million visitors since the site launched, provides basic information about the credits, detailed question and answer sections, and links to additional home-buying resources for consumers.

"If you've been considering buying a home for any reason, the home buyer tax credit, in addition to historically low interest rates and competitive home prices, make it an ideal time to buy," said Jones.

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