(KCPW News) Local realtors and homebuilders are applauding a housing stimulus bill signed by President Bush yesterday. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act provides a $7,500 tax credit to first-time home buyers who purchase and move into a home between April of this year and July of next year. Chris Sloan, President-elect of the Utah Association of Realtors, says the bill will mean good things for Utah's sluggish housing market.
"This will in fact keep our economy moving the way it should be. It will free up all of those people that need the jobs. This sector counts for as much as a third of our economy," said Sloan.
The $7,500 tax credit is refundable, meaning home buyers will receive a check from the government if their tax liability dips below zero. However, it has to be repaid within 15 years of purchasing the home.
Chris Gamvroulas, President of Ivory Development, says the bill will have positive effects on other industries as well.
"We expect that this will stimulate not just home buying, but many other sectors of our economy, certainly manufacturing, supply chain, service industries, not to mention the tremendous impact on the local labor pool. This will be a tremendous help, so it's critical that we get the word out to consumers right away," said Gamvroulas.
The housing bill also expands refinancing options and raises the limit on loans from the Federal Housing Administration. The Salt Lake Board of Realtors reported that home sales in the county were up nearly 40 percent in the second quarter of this year, but down nearly 30 percent compared to the same period last year.