Thursday, May 19, 2011

How buyers lost money with the home buyer tax credit

SmartMoney explains how free money from the government became a money loser for home buyers:
The government's recent $8,000 cash incentive for first-time home buyers has proved even more costly for recipients than for taxpayers. ... Typical buyers have lost twice as much to price declines as they received from the program.

The median home value fell to about $170,000 in March from $185,000 a year earlier, according to That means a buyer who closed on a house just before the tax-credit program expired in April 2010 collected $8,000 but has since lost $15,000 in value. Those who bought earlier in the program have done worse; the median price is down $20,000 from March 2009. ...

The credit wasn't great for taxpayers, either. IRS says it paid $26 billion in home buyer credits in 2009 and 2010, enough to cover the maximum $8,000 credit for more than 3 million buyers. (It says at least $513 million went for fraudulent claims. Some claimants hadn't bought houses. Some filed twice. Some were under age 18 or incarcerated.)

1 comment:

  1.  That's probably a predominately unrealized loss.  The loss to tax payers was realized.