Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Florida Realtors(R) Support Push to Advance Homebuyer Tax Credit Aid

ORLANDO, Fla., April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Finding a way to turn a new $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers into money that they can use right away for a downpayment would spark the recovery of Florida's housing market and boost the state's economy, says Cynthia Shelton, 2009 president of the Florida Association of Realtors(R) (FAR).
"A revitalized housing market and commercial real estate industry are crucial to Florida's economic recovery," Shelton says. "While the new tax credit provides a great incentive for first-time homebuyers to find the home of their dreams here in Florida, many qualified buyers may be unable to take advantage of it because they cannot come up with the necessary downpayment to purchase a home in the first place. We need to encourage Florida lawmakers to take action now - converting the tax credit into cash upfront could help thousands of first-time buyers overcome that financial barrier to homeownership, which generates an economic ripple that stimulates the state's overall economy."

With tighter credit restrictions these days, many banks are reluctant to lend money, notes John Sebree, vice president of public policy for FAR. Research indicates that 8,000 to 12,000 prospective first-time homebuyers in Florida could benefit if the federal tax-credit stimulus provision could be accessed on the front-end to help consumers with downpayment and closing costs.

"Finding a state solution to this problem is key," Sebree said. "The money should only be available to people who are eligible for the new tax credit. The state would advance the cash to these buyers, who would then forward their tax credits back to the state. These families could get their $8,000 tax credit in a matter of months, so it basically would be a short-term loan. But we have to move quickly, since homebuyers have to complete their purchase by Nov. 30, 2009, to receive the tax credit."

Gov. Charlie Crist is considering the proposal. A coalition of Florida consumers, Realtors, lenders and homebuilders are lobbying state legislators to come up with a "Florida Formula" to allow first-time homebuyers to use the federal tax credit upfront. Spearheaded by the Consumer Federation of the Southeast (CFSE), a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, the alliance includes the Florida Association of Realtors, the Florida Home Builders Association, the Florida Bankers Association, the Florida Credit Union League, the Florida Manufactured Housing Association, Florida Association of Mortgage Brokers, the Latin Builders Association, and the Builders Association of South Florida.

For more information about the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit, go to the Florida Association of Realtors(R) web site at: http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/n1-021709.cfm

The Florida Association of Realtors (FAR), the voice for real estate in Florida, provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 125,000 members in 67 boards/associations.

SOURCE Florida Association of Realtors
Published Apr. 3, 2009 Copyright © 2009 SYS-CON Media. All Rights Reserved.

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