The Senate this evening approved a bill that extends several measures regarding the first time homebuyer’s tax credit which are designed to spur the economy and help people who have lost their jobs, including a provision that will extend unemployment benefits for up to 20 weeks in states with high unemployment rates. This represents Congress’s latest intervention to help the country through its worst recession in decades.
The measure extends the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit through through April 30, 2010, and creates a new $6,500 credit for homebuyers who have been in their current residence for the last five years or more.The bill, which passed 98 to 0, will hopefully be approved by the House on Thursday and then be rapidly signed by President Obama. It would provide unemployment benefits of at least 14 weeks for people out of work, while those in the more than two dozen states with unemployment rates above 8.5 percent would receive up to 20 weeks of benefits.
While there are signs the housing market is stabilizing, there is still so much more to be done. The credit has succeeded in lessening the glut of homes for sale, and here on Kauai it is allowing local families an opportunity to purchase their first homes. Affordability is getting better monthly and the dream of owning a property in the islands is coming into the reach of more people daily. Let’s hope the house ratifies this and puts this conversation to bed for the next period of time.