This week our listings saw an average of 1.3 showings each. Showing activity has dropped off in the past week, likely due to normal seasonality. However, the slowdown could also be a direct result of the first time buyer tax credit expiration on November 30. At this point, it is probably too late to reasonably negotiate an offer and get closed by the end of November. Most of the buyers that are trying to get closed by then have probably already found homes and made their offers.
However, there was some big news this past week about the possible extension of the first time buyer tax credit that has helped drive much of the recent sales in our area. Reportedly, Senators have reached an agreement on the extension that will be brought to the floor soon for a vote. Most of the stories I’ve researched are saying that passage of the extension is almost certainly a sure thing.
The best article I’ve found outlining these details was on the US News & World Report website. The key points that are reported to be included are:
1) The $8000 first time buyer would be extended into 2010. These buyers would have to be under contract by April 30 and closed by July 1.
2) An new credit of $6500 would become available for homebuyers that are moving from their primary residence that they occupied for at least five of the last eight years. This means that first time buyers would no longer be the only ones eligible for a credit.
3) The income limits to qualify buyers for the credit would be increased from $75,000 to $125,000 for single buyers and from $150,000 to $225,000 for married buyers.
These provisions would be great news for the Charlotte real estate market. Not only would it continue to give incentive to first time buyers, but trade up buyers would also be able to participate. In our area, the real estate market is suffering more at the higher price points. So the $6500 credit for move up buyers may spark more activity to help the higher priced listings to sell.
Congress is supposed to meet again on Monday. So the next step in the process is expected to take place then. Check back next week for this important update. In the meantime, Happy Halloween!