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2010-05-04 09:17:00
End of tax credit unlikely to deter most buyers !

End of tax credit unlikely to deter most buyers

WASHINGTON – April 29, 2010 – The homebuyer tax credit expires for anyone without a signed contract tomorrow at midnight; but a survey finds that it might not slow the real estate market to an appreciable extent. The survey of 1,000 Americans between the ages of 25-64 with at least $35,000 in household income was conducted April 15-20, 2010.

More than 90 percent of consumers believe the homebuyer tax credits helped both first-time homebuyers and the U.S. housing market overall. Among consumers actually shopping for homes, 65 percent believe that the end of the tax credits will have little or no effect on their interest in purchasing a home.

While consumers remain unsure about the direction of the housing market, the survey reveals that they are optimistic, and 46 percent expect real estate prices in their area to increase over the next year. Just 12 percent expect price declines. Over the next five years, 79 percent expect real estate prices to increase, with 20 percent expecting prices to increase substantially.

'The survey underscores the key role the federal homebuyer tax credits played in stimulating residential real estate market activity and the U.S. economy,' says James Mallozzi, chairman and chief executive officer of Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Inc. 'It also shows that most consumers believe the market has hit bottom and are more optimistic about the future.'

Survey respondents cite rising mortgage interest rates and unemployment as the most important factors affecting their decision to purchase a home, along with more stringent lending criteria and fewer mortgage-backed securities purchased by the Federal Reserve. The expiration of the tax credits placed lowest on their list of concerns.

Among those who recently purchased a home, 61 percent cited low mortgage interest rates as 'very important' to their decisions – an amount greater than either the tax credit or even cheaper prices. The 66 percent expecting interest rates to rise underscores potential headwinds for the market.

'The tax credits clearly helped stimulate the market when consumer confidence was low and housing inventory was high,' says Earl Lee, president, Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Inc. 'While the tax credit expiration is a concern for many, the bigger issues now are the availability and cost of financing, as well as if they will have a job.'

Despite the significant downturn in the real estate market, the perception that owning a home is a good investment remains intact. Among current renters, 75 percent still believe owning their home is a better long-term choice for their needs than renting. The majority of consumers also believe that homeownership is a better investment than individual stocks or bonds (75 percent), mutual funds (72 percent), or savings accounts (74 percent).

'The real estate market is precariously balanced. Consumers are clearly motivated to take advantage of the opportunities the current low interest rates and prices afford,' Lee notes. 'While the market is picking up in terms of sales and confidence, and the majority still believe that owning a home is a good investment, the outlook for the market remains highly dependent upon the direction of the economy overall.'

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