Remember back in February when I first talked about the $15,000 homebuyer tax credit? Well… It seems that Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), the original sponsor of that bill, is back at it again.
In addition to increasing the maximum tax credit from $8,000 to $15,000 (with a max of 10% of the home’s purchase), Isakson’s proposal would also make the credit available to all purchasers of a primary residence, not just first-time homebuyers. The income caps ($75k for individuals, $150k for couples) would also be eliminated.
As a former Realtor himself, Isakson has argued that “we don’t have a recession in first-time home buyers. We have a recession in the move-up market.” Thus, he believes that it’s time to expand the credit beyond just first-time homebuyers.
Interestingly, Isakson’s bill is backed by a bipartisan group of co-sponsors, including Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Chris Dodd (D-CT), John Ensign (R-NV), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), James Risch (R-ID), and David Vitter (R-LA). Not surprisingly, he has also picked up endorsements from a couple of real estate industry groups.
While I suspect that this program would actually work from the standpoint of getting people to buy/sell houses, at least in the short term, I’m not a big fan of throwing another $32B at the problem. What do you think?