Tax Credits Have Been Pricey and Effective
As the home buyer tax credits near their end, analysts are concluding that the program was both expensive and successful.
The Treasury Department estimates that the credits helped 1.8 million people buy homes, but critics reply that two-thirds of the $12.6 billion in credits spent through the end of February went to people who would have purchased a home anyway.
Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Republican from Georgia, who worked as a real estate practitioner for 30 years and pushed through the 2010 extension and expansion of the program, says: “It’s true that a lot of people who got the credit might have bought without it, but they might have bought in 2012 or 2013. This got them to buy in 2009 and 2010, when we needed to shore things up.”
Economist Mark Zandi at Moody’s Economy.com agrees. “The tax credit helped to stanch the price declines, which had substantial benefit for the entire economy,” he says. “The home is still the largest asset on most people’s balance sheet, so when prices are falling, nothing works for most families. But now people can take a deep breath and think clearly again.”
Source: The New York Times, David Kocieniewski (04/26/2010)