Blog :: 11-2009

Black Friday in Real Estate

Buying or selling a house during the holidays

Well, it's Black Friday and many brave souls are trying to get a jump on their Christmas shopping, but I'd guess that today quite a few folks are shopping not for a new Blu-ray but for a new house.  November and December are typically the quietest months in real estate because housing inventory drops and people put their home-buying efforts on the back burner while they busy themselves with holiday preparations.  But this year is different due to the extension of the home-buyer tax credit.  Numbers in Montclair are promising so far for this November: 22 houses have gone under contract this month as compared to only 11 for this time period last year.

In order to have a contract in place by the qualification deadline of April 30th, 2010, serious home buyers know that there's no time to waste.  December will be a critical month for buyers to check out different towns and narrow down searches so that when the right house comes on the market they will be ready to pounce.  Also, many sellers have opted to keep their homes on the market during the holidays because of the extra surge of home buyers as well as to take advantage of the sparkle and magic that holiday decorations can lend to a house.

Homebuyer tax credit extended and expanded

Both the House and the Senate have passed an unemployment insurance bill, which includes an amendment that expands and extends the tax credit.  That bill will be sent to President Obama for his signature in the next day or so.  This is a major victory for consumers and the housing economy.

The tax credit for first time buyers has been extended to April 30th, 2010 and remains at $8000 for marrieds and $4000 for single filers.  However, the income limit has been raised to $125,000 for singles and $225,000 for marrieds. This makes the tax credit more compelling for home buyers and sellers in Montclair, where the median home price hovers around $750,000, as well as for many other towns in Essex County.

The tax credit has also been extended to current homeowners who have lived in their homes as a primary residence for 5 of the last 8 years. For current homeowners, the credit is $6500 for marrieds and $3200 for singles.  Purchase must be for a house that is $800,000 or less.  Click here for a chart summarizing the differences between the previous and new version of the tax credit.