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June 26, 2009

Washington, D.C., June 26, 2009 — The American Land Title Association has sent a letter to Congress urging support for two related bi-partisan bills that would expand the tax credit for first-time home buyers to $15,000.

In a letter sent June 26 to the Senate and House, ALTA asked legislatures to extend the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit and remove income and other restrictions on who can qualify for the credit.

Click here to read ALTA's Letter to Congress

The Senate version of the bill, S.B. 1230, was introduced by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and is co-sponsored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn. The companion bill in the House, H.R. 1245, was introduced by Rep Ken Calvert, R-Calif. Both bills are known as the Home Buyer Tax Credit Act of 2009.

The proposals would extend the home buyer credit to multi-family properties used as the borrower's primary residence, eliminate income caps of $75,000 and $150,000 on individuals and couples seeking to claim the credit. The bill would extend the current credit, which expires Dec. 1, 2009, for one year after enacted.

The idea of expanding the tax credit first surfaced in the federal stimulus bill at the beginning of the year, passed the Senate but was dropped from the final version. The legislation has gained renewed attention since a noticeable uptick in purchase transactions driven by the $8,000 tax credit.

"There's near total agreement among real estate related trade groups that the $15,000 unrestricted credit is the single greatest thing we could do to stimulate the housing market, and our ALTA members have already reported a surge in purchase transactions directly correlating to the tax credit," said Kurt Pfotenhauer, chief executive officer of ALTA. "To make this credit available to all home buyers regardless of income, could be one of the key answers to ebb the recession."

According to a survey conducted in June by the American Land Title Association, 46 percent of land title professionals believe they have seen an increase in purchase transactions associated with first-time home buyers since the $8,000 tax credit went into effect.

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