Tax credit expiring
Those who have never owned a home have about a month to take advantage of a program that could save them thousands. April 30 is the deadline for the first-time homebuyer credit, which gives back up to $8,000 to those who qualify, and real estate ...
Those who have never owned a home have about a month to take advantage of a program that could save them thousands.
April 30 is the deadline for the first-time homebuyer credit, which gives back up to $8,000 to those who qualify, and real estate agents and bankers say people are taking advantage of the program.
People like Alyssa O'Connor heard about the credit through the news and now at age 21 she owns her first home.
"It (the credit) influenced me to buy my house," she said, adding she didn't like to pay high rent. "So I researched that and decided to go ahead and buy a house to get the credit and also to get out on my own again."
Realtor Ninetta Wandler, of Everett Real Estate in Dickinson, said she's seen people take advantage of the program.
"It was more frantic last year, even though they are not extending it (this year)," Wandler said.
Wandler said a house or a mobile home is eligible for the credit, which is 10 percent of the final cost of the home, up to $8,000.
In November, Congress approved and President Barack Obama signed the Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009, extending and expanding the first-time homebuyer credit. The homebuyer credit is an extension of a previous act called the Housing and Economic Recovery act, passed by Congress in April 2008.
The tax credit now applies to sales occurring on or before April 30, However, in cases where a binding sales contract is signed by April 30, a home purchase completed by June 30 will qualify, according to the National Association of Home Builders Web site.
Those who take advantage of the tax credit have to stay in their home for at least three years or else they have to pay the money back, Wandler said.
The act has also established a tax credit of up to $6,500 for qualified existing home owners purchasing a principal residence before April 30 or purchased by June 30 with a binding sales contract signed by April 30, according to the Internal Revenue Service Web site.
Realtor Jason Hanson, Home and Land Co., said he knows there are potential homebuyers that are aware of the program but it is difficult to distinguish which ones will be using the credit."
"We have so many people coming into town to buy anyway," Hanson said. "There's definitely those wanting to take advantage of it. It's kind of hard to tell exactly how many -- we've got a lot of first-time homebuyers."
He added there are many moving to the area due to an increase in oilfield jobs.
There have been 66 homes sold in southwest North Dakota from January to March, according to Badlands Board of REALTORS information.
Jack Stebbins, a real estate broker with Western Edge Realty in Bowman, said his office hasn't been quite as busy with those looking to take advantage of the credit.
Gate City Bank in Dickinson is seeing a lot of traffic due to the credit, adding it has picked up in the last few weeks, said Stephanie Dinius, mortgage loan officer.
"For the most part, they can get into a first-time homebuyer loan for as much as rent is," Dinius said.
Those interested in the tax credit claim it on their federal income tax return, according to the IRS Web site.
Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., voted to extend the tax credit as part of the act.
"It really has been successful in trying to stem the dropping of home values," Dorgan said. "What we've been trying to do is stimulate activity in the housing sector to try and put a floor under those values, and I think it has been helpful.
"Has it been completely successful? No one will know that until we study it afterwards."
O'Connor said she enjoys being a homeowner.
"I like it a lot. it's nice to be able to remodel, make something that you know is yours more homey," O'Connor said. "You're actually paying money toward an investment and not just giving a landlord a paycheck."