I wanted to give you an update on the stimulus package. After weeks of debate and negotiations, Congress and the administration reached a deal on the $787 billion stimulus package on Wednesday and approved it Friday.
The final bill is pared back from the original House-approved bill, which was needed to garner approval from three key Republican senators. The bill passed the House Friday by a 246-183 vote; the Senate passed the bill by a 60-38 vote that evening. President Obama is expected to sign the bill today.
On Feb. 10, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced the administration's Financial Stability Plan, which provides up to $2.5 trillion to revive the financial markets. Scant details were provided on the entire plan and particularly on how the foreclosure prevention initiative will work. MBA staff, with other industry representatives, met with the Treasury and HUD secretaries on Feb. 11 to discuss ideas on how to stabilize the market and help reduce foreclosure rates.
Congress and the administration reached a deal on H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Both the House and Senate approved the bill on Feb. 13.
The $787 billion legislation represents significant compromise on several major issues. For example, President Obama's promised middle-class tax cut has been reduced and the state fiscal stability fund, to be spent mostly on education, saw a $25 billion reduction.
On the real estate front, the bill restores 2008 government-sponsored enterprises and Federal Housing Administration loan limits for the 2009 calendar year and increases the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage limit to $625,500. The bill voted on Friday also increased the $7,500 First Time Homebuyer Credit enacted under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act to $8,000 and extends the credit to December 1st, with no repayment requirement.
This is good news for first time homebuyers and will hopefully stimulate the economy for those looking to purchase in 2009. Further, it will aid those of us who currently own homes, and help keep our neighborhoods from having properties on the market that are dormant.
If you know any first-time homebuyers who are looking to purchase a home -- please encourage them to do so before Dec. 1, 2009.
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Jolenta Averill, Principal
Lake & City Homes Realty