January 26, 2009

CARDIN AND ENSIGN INTRODUCE $20,000 TAX CREDIT TO JUMPSTART AILING U.S. HOUSING MARKET

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) and John Ensign (R-NV) are urging their colleagues to act quickly to pass a new $20,000 refundable tax credit for first-time homebuyers to help jumpstart our nation's ailing housing market. Senator Cardin, a member of the Budget Committee, and Senator Ensign, a member of the Finance Committee, are working closely this week with their colleagues to consider this bill as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or as a stand-alone measure (S. 312).

 

Nationally, according to the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index, home prices have fallen more than 21% from their peak. Despite these lower prices and record-low interest rates, sales of existing homes are on the decline and housing starts are at a 50-year low. The need to act has grown more urgent.

 

"We need to encourage prospective home buyers to get off the sidelines and help break our downward economic spiral. Whole communities are being affected by this housing crisis that is roiling our national, state and local economies; causing cutbacks in services; and hurting millions of hard-working Americans and their families at a time when they most need help," said Senator Cardin .  "Most people want to claim their share of the American Dream of home ownership, but many are scared off by the foreclosure and credit horror stories they read about or see in their neighborhoods.   This tax credit will give many Americans the confidence they need to take their first step into the housing market, which will help stabilize our communities and our economy."

 

"When it comes to the housing market, my home state of Nevada has been hit the hardest," said Senator Ensign. "It is not only hurting families and homeowners but also risks dragging down our economy further. This bipartisan plan is a proven model that encourages homeownership while targeting the serious problem of excess inventory in the housing sector."

 

The Cardin-Ensign First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit (S. 312) would provide a $20,000 refundable tax credit to first time-homebuyers for their principal residence. The credit is per purchase, not per person. Individuals with incomes at or below $75,000 and couples with incomes at or below $150,000 would qualify for the credit. The provision would expire one year from date of enactment.