American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

stimulus1H.R. 1, the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,” passed the House on February 13, 2009, by a vote of 246 – 184. Later that day, the Senate also passed the bill by a vote of 60 – 38. The President signed the bill on February 17, 2009. The bill is a $780 billion package, with roughly 35% of the package devoted to tax cuts (mostly for 2009) and the rest to spending intended to occur in 2009 and 2010.  The mix of provisions of interest to REALTORS® changed frequently throughout the legislative process, with changes continuing to be made just hours before the measure was released prior to the vote. In the end, the elements of NAR’s housing agenda were included. Congress and the President have announced that a finance and housing package (including tax provisions) will be the next “big” initiative, so Congress has by no means finished its work as it affects the housing industry and REALTORS®. The bill includes the following provisions: Homebuyer Tax Credit, FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Loan Limits, Neighborhood Stabilization, Commercial Real Estate, Rural Housing Service, Low Income-Housing Grants, Tax Exempt Housing Bonds, Energy Efficient Housing Tax Credits & Grants Transportation Investments and Broadband Deployment.

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Two Weeks Worth of Stats

LISTINGS Residential (Single Family & Condo)
February 16 – 22, 2009 494
Last Year 544
February 8 – 14, 2009 131
Last Year 150

LISTINGS Residential (Single Family & Condo)
February 9 – 15, 2009 487
Last Year 574
February 1 – 7, 2009 175
Last Year 176

Last Weeks Statistics

LISTINGS Residential (Single Family & Condo)
February 2 – 8, 2009 448
Last Year 639
January 25 – 31, 2009 83
Last Year 210

Housing hopes rest with U.S. Senate

The economic stimulus package moves to the Senate on Monday with new provisions and an amendment that directly address the housing crisis. Measures are included to spur sales and help homeowners at risk of foreclosure.

The United States Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan amendment to the Economic Stimulus Bill creating a $15,000 tax credit to individuals who purchase a home in the next year.

Specifically, the amendment to the pending economic stimulus bill would provide a direct tax credit to any homebuyer who purchases any home. The amount of the tax credit would be $15,000 or 10 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less. Purchases must be made within one year of the legislation’s enactment, and the tax credit would not have to be repaid.

The amendment would allow taxpayers to claim the credit on their 2008 income tax return. It also seeks to prevent misuse by only allowing purchases of a principle residence and by recapturing the credit if the home is sold within two years of purchase. The amendment would sunset the current $7,500 housing tax credit on the date of enactment.

Below are two more ideas likely to show up in amendments (as reported on CNNMoney):

Create a 4% mortgage: Senate Republicans are likely to introduce a provision that would encourage lenders to offer a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 4% for a limited period of time. The loans would only be available to credit-worthy home buyers and homeowners seeking to refinance. The government would guarantee the loan for a number of years and the measure could involve not only a government guarantee but a subsidy as well.

Hold off on foreclosures: Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., told reporters last week that he would like a provision in the stimulus package that would impose a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures. Dodd may consider other housing measures as well. Postponing a foreclosure for three months might allow some troubled borrowers to keep their homes by buying them time to work out a new loan agreement with their mortgage servicer.


LISTINGS Residential (Single Family & Condo)
January 19 – 25, 2009 485
Last Year 611
January 26 – February 1, 2009 306
Last Year 576
January 11 – 17, 2009 143
Last Year 207
January 18 – 24, 2009 130
Last Year 144