Saturday, February 21, 2009

$8,000 Tax Credit for First-Time Homebuyers

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009, which is the part of the stimulus law that deals with the first-time homebuyer tax credit, changes the tax credit that is currently in place. Here are the details:

  • The credit is for 10% of the purchase price, up to $8,000. (The old law was also for 10% of the purchase price, but only up to $7,500.)
  • The new law extends the period during which you can buy a house and get the credit until December 1, 2009. (It used to be July 1, 2009.)
  • The new credit does not have to be paid back if you keep the house for 3 years. (If the purchase date was before January 1, 2009, then the $7,500 credit has to be paid back over 15 years.)
  • The credit starts to get phased out for individuals who make more than $75,000 and for couples who make more than $150,000. (This is the same as the old law.)

Here's how a buyer with no money for a down payment can take advantage of the new credit:

New FHA regulations allow a buyer to borrow the down payment from a relative. The buyer can borrow the down payment and then pay it back to their relative when they get the tax credit. The down payment for an FHA loan is only 3.5%, so the $8,000 will cover the down payment for a house with a purchase price up to $228,500.

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