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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Let first-time home buyer credit expire

The Concord Monitor editorial page, never shy about advocating government intervention in the markets, comes out against extending the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit, which either goes to people who would buy homes anyway or pushed consumers into buying homes they otherwise couldn't afford.
That credit is slated to expire at the end of next month, and applications filed now may no longer grind through the mill fast enough to qualify. That's led the real estate industry and some members of Congress, most recently Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, to push to extend the credit for another six months or so. That would be a mistake.

The credit has helped to keep the housing market from sliding quite as far as it might otherwise have, but the money has largely gone to people who would have bought homes anyway because home prices have dropped so dramatically. Brookings Institution economist Ted Gayer estimates that 85 percent of the 1.9 million people who will receive the tax break would have purchased homes anyway.

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