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Builder: Ending tax credit could halt home sales gains

Home builders in hard-hit markets in Arizona and Nevada voiced concern last week that the tentative signs of a housing recovery in recent months may disappear with the expiration Dec. 1 of the $8,000 housing tax credit for first-time buyers.

With the tax-credit deadline for home closings only a few months away, the builders said they don't expect to receive much additional mileage from the current housing stimulus measure, adding that progress in turning around home sales could come to a halt unless the credit is extended for one more year and expanded to cover all eligible buyers of a principal residence.

The builders were participating in an Aug. 13 media teleconference held by NAHB as part of the ongoing "Revive Housing, Restore America" campaign, which is aimed at getting the Congress to focus on housing as a means of creating jobs and pulling the nation's economy out of a devastating recession.

In a major grassroots effort, builders across the country - joined by their business associates, customers and members of the public - are carrying their message to members of Congress, who are home for their August recess until they return Sept. 8 to Washington.

"It is absolutely critical that every NAHB member lend his or her voice as a constituent in this effort, by personally communicating with their elected officials while they are home this month," says NAHB chairman Joe Robson in a press release.

Last week, with the campaign barely a week old, NAHB generated more than 1,300 letters to Capitol Hill and was receiving encouraging reports of upcoming meetings with builders and U.S. representatives.

In addition to the extension of the tax credit, builders are focusing attention on the urgent need for correcting a faulty appraisal process, ending the credit crunch for acquisition, development and construction (AD&C) loans and expanding Net Operating Loss (NOL) carryback provisions for businesses.

Each of these actions would generate significant job growth. Extension and enhancement of the tax credit would spur 383,000 additional homes sales, including 80,000 housing starts in the near term, and create nearly 350,000 jobs during the coming year.

Contact: NAHB. Tel: 800-368-5242.

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