Congressman Bart Gordon announced that starting today, December 1st, first-time homebuyers in Tennessee will be able to take advantage of an $8,000 tax credit for an additional five months, and existing homeowners are eligible for a $6,500 tax credit for new home purchases. Gordon joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues in successfully urging congressional leaders and the President to extend and expand the homebuyer tax credits.
“Since the $8,000 First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit went into effect, more than 35,000 Tennesseans have taken advantage of it,” said Gordon. “The tax credit has been effective at making homes more affordable for working families and individuals, increasing housing demand, and, in turn, helping to stabilize the housing market and strengthen the economy.”
A recent report by the Government Accountability Office found that Tennessee ranks fifth in the country in the use of the First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit, with Tennesseans claiming a total of $256.2 million. Congress approved the tax credit as part of the Stimulus bill in February, but the program was set to expire on November 30, 2009.
In an October letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Gordon and his colleagues wrote, “Nothing is restoring confidence in the market like the First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit. Yet, with an average closing time of three months, many potential homebuyers are nearly out of time to use the credit – and an extension is needed for the credit to maximize its impact for both homebuyers and our housing market.”
Gordon’s bipartisan efforts led to the passage of Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act, legislation that extended the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit through April 30, 2010. The bill also created a $6,500 credit for new home purchases for homeowners who have lived in their current residence for five years or more out of the previous eight years.
The National Association of Realtors, which endorsed the tax credits, reported in October an unprecedented nine consecutive months of increases in the number of signed home sales contracts. Additional NAR research suggests that, to date, as many as 355,000 sales this year can be directly attributed to the availability of the credit nationwide.