Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, spoke to the members of the National Association of Real Estate Editors, at the organization’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on June 18, 2009. Here’s what he had to say about Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R-GA) proposal for a $15,000 home buyer tax credit with no income limitations.
QUESTION: Sec. Donovan, Sen. Johnny Isakson has again proposed a $15,000 tax credit that would be available to all home buyers, not just first-time buyers. There would be no income limitations, meaning that even millionaires could qualify. The tax credit would be refundable, would go well into 2010, and includes a few other perks. Is this being seriously considered by the Administration, or are you thinking of simply taking the $8,000 tax credit that’s now in effect and extending it so it doesn’t expire on November 30, 2009?
ANSWER: We are aware of Sen. Isakson’s proposal. We’re looking at the $15,000 tax credit’s cost and stimulative effect. This was what they originally proposed at the beginning of the process, and it was cut back due to costs. I’ve spoken with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner about it and we’re trying to determine how expensive it will be, and it could be significant cost, and what the stimulative effect would be. Because it is not just limited to first-time buyers, it could be that lots of people who would have bought homes anyway will claim the tax credit. We haven’t ruled it out. We’re just beginning the process of discussing it.