Home Front

A blog about the economy and the Sacramento-area real estate market.

March 23, 2010
Another round of state homebuyer tax credits virtually assured

Sacramento-area homebuyers are almost virtually assured of new $10,000 state tax credits starting May 1 under a bill headed to the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and expected to be signed soon. State lawmakers moved fast Monday, with both the Assembly and Senate getting behind a new round of tax credits to stimulate the state's battered housing market.

The legislation allocates $200 million for tax credits - twice what the state offered last year to 10,659 buyers of new, unoccupied homes. The state's newest housing stimulus will grant $100 million in tax credits to first-time buyers of existing homes, and just like last year, $100 million to anyone who buys a new unoccupied home.

State tax authorities estimated Tuesday that nearly 32,000 homeowners might qualify under the bill. The last day a person can file paperwork to claim one is Dec. 31, 2010.

The governor's people said he will make it happen. He also signaled his intentions while signing two other bills Monday. In signing messages he commended the Legislature for approving tax credits and said it will "lower taxes on the sale of both new and existing homes, stimulating the housing industry and creating jobs for thousands of Californians."

Schwarzenegger proposed such a housing stimulus in his January State of the State Address. It would go into effect the day after a federal $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers is set to expire.

Buyers must be at least 18 years old, and be unrelated to the seller. Nor is it crystal clear at the moment how it will work: But those who qualify and close escrow after May 1 are all expected to be eligible.

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