Thursday, November 05, 2009

Home buyer tax credit = more global warming

According to Harvard economist Edward Glaeser, Congress and the White House are intent on harming the planet:
ENVIRONMENTALISTS who are worried about global warming should pay attention to the congressional debate about extending the home buyers tax credit. Federal tax policies toward housing have long encouraged Americans to emit more carbon. President Obama could do the country, and the planet, a service by either refusing to sign the extension of the $8,000 credit or by insisting that it be accompanied by offsetting reductions in the home mortgage interest deduction.

According to the Residential Energy Consumption Survey, per person energy use in owner-occupied housing is 39 percent higher than in rental units. Energy use, per household member, is 49 percent higher in single-family detached houses than in apartments in buildings with more than five units. These differences reflect the strong connection between home size and energy use. The average four-bedroom house consumes 72 percent more electricity than the average two-bedroom house.

Yet the tax code encourages Americans to live in big, energy-guzzling homes, instead of thrifty apartments, and Congress seems intent on further unbalancing the federal budget to egg on home buyers.


  1. Yeah, okay...President Obama is going to veto a bill that includes an extension to unemployment benefits when the unemployment rate is near 10% and was approved in the senate by a vote of 98-0. Sure, just go head and delay those benefits that the unemployed are counting on to survive until congress gets around to overide the veto easily. The point that the American way of life is unsustainable (which is a valid argument) can be made without such nonsensical suggestions.

  2. Since this is supposedly a blog devoted to the state of the housing market, how about a discussion on the effects of the inclusion of the $6,500 move-up credit on home prices over the next six months and beyond?

  3. I am a little unclear as to what is being said here. Are you saying the the tax credit is only for Single family homes and not condos? (or smaller, more energy efficient housing) I am not aware of a restriction on the tax credit to be only for detached homes.

  4. The article sounds like political satire. Can you imagine the criticism if President Obama made this is agenda? Fox News would be talking about how Obama wants to set federal residential "size" guidelines. Home ownership "licensing." "Death panels."

    I agree with the point (even if it's sarcasm). I think Americans are going to have to downsize, become more conservative, better city planning. But, that incentive already exists in the current downturn. I don't see anything wrong with trying to ease its effect.

  5. Tuskenrayder,

    I think the impact will be more supply, lower prices, and increased sales volumes. This isn't compared to say, the previous year, but to what the market would look like without it. The demand push already happened with the first instance of the stupid credit. Now they're enticing owners to put their houses on the market because increased transactions will help line NAR's pockets. The stupidity is wonderful.

  6. Whats going on in the DC metro area on the topic of housing or prices? Im kinda burned out of what Obama or the democrats are doing. I get fox news on tv too, I dont need to come here and read more about it.

  7. DC prices are up because of the stupid tax credit. Another mini bubble. It will end, and the aftermath will be great for the buyers who were smart enough to not be lured into paying an extra $30k more than they should for a stupid $8k bribe.

  8. As if CO2 is a deadly gas that causes global warming. As if mankind causes global warming. As if the globe is actually warming.

    Such wack-job fantasies. Doesn't anyone follow science anymore, or is it all about following the crowd and mob rule? Fear of ridicule?

    I don't give a phuck about public ridicule, which is why I can still think for myself.

    I sold my stinkin' lousy investment of a home and my savings is going toward silver bullion and that's now making loads of money, thank you.

  9. Even Though I have saved half min $ for a house, but I will not buy until this stupid tax credit expire