Two years ago, the National Association of Realtors, the largest trade group in the nation with 1 million members, floated its idea of a housing solution to attendees at its annual convention. NAR later presented Congress with a Four-Point Housing Stimulus Plan to help stabilize the housing and mortgage markets. The crux of the package suggested using $130 billion of the $700 federal billion bailout funds on housing, specifically earmarked for an interest-rate buydown and more tax credits. That buydown idea did not happen. It would have been a one-percentage-point, interest-rate buydown on fixed-rate loans for all buyers. The reduction reportedly would have resulted in approximately 840,000 additional home sales and reduced the inventory of homes by as much as 20 percent. What was adopted was an $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit and a new existing homeowner tax credit of $6,500. The first-time bonus was especially popular, even extended for an additional period. This y...
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