Home Buyer Enthusiasm Fades As Tax Credits Expire

Just when the home building industry seemed to be bouncing back, news from California raises troubling questions. The California Building Industry Association says its members reported a significant drop in traffic to their developments in July because the state stopped taking applications for a $10,000 tax credit for new home buyers. The $10,000 credit was authorized by the state legislature last February as a way to jump start California construction jobs. The credit, coupled with the $8,000 federal new home buyer credit, had been a big reason why builders in California saw a jump in sales this past spring. Now with the initial funding exhausted, buyers are less eager. “Activity stopped as quickly as it started, which is bad news for housing and the broader economy,” says Robert Rivinius, the builder association’s president. The trade group is lobbying to get the credit extended. That the expiration of the state tax credits already seems to be dampening buyer enthusiasm in California doesn’t bode well for the home building, real estate sales or auto manufacturing industries nationwide. As the initial boost from government incentives ends, those industries could post poor sales numbers again.

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