The Washington Business Journal
By: Michael Neibauer
September 2, 2010
D.C., Maryland and Virginia accounted for more than 155,000 claims under the three federal first time homebuyer credits offered since 2008, and a new report details how each jurisdiction ranked nationally.
Residents of the three area jurisdictions claimed a total of $1.12 billion through three credits offered under the Housing, Recovery and Assistance acts, the Government Accountability Office found. The report does not break down the numbers by region.
Virginia took the most -- 94,310 claims totaling $678.9 million. Maryland residents submitted 56,982 claims totaling $410.5 million. And District denizens submitted 4,698 claims totaling $33.7 million, according to the report released Thursday.
The Housing Act provided taxpayers a refundable credit equal to 10 percent of the home's purchase price, to a maximum of $7,500. The Recovery Act provided a refundable 10 percent tax credit, but increased the maximum to 8,000. And the Assistance Act extended the Recovery Act credit through April 30, and it allowed certain long-term homeowners in the market to claim a $6,500 tax credit.
According to the GAO's research, D.C. came in 51st of 53 jurisdictions -- 50 states, the District, the Army Post Office and "other" -- in claims under the Housing Act, and 50th in claims under the Recovery and Assistance acts combined.
Maryland ranked 23rd under the Housing Act and 22nd under Assistance and Recovery.
Virginia ranked 11th in both Housing Act and Recovery and Assistance Act claims.
Virginia accounts for 2.5 percent of the nation's population, but 2.9 percent of the total tax credit take, said U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. Realtors, Connolly said, say the tax credits made a "dispositive difference in helping the market to stabilize," eating into the backlog of available homes on the market.
"You're seeing the impact of the expiration of this program in the new data on existing and new home sales," said Connolly, who voted for the last two credits after he took office in January 2009.
The federal assistance is widely credited with fueling the national housing market in 2009 and the first half of 2010, just as the new car tax credit may have staved off disaster for the auto industry.
Nationally, first time homebuyers submitted 3.32 million claims totaling $23.5 billion over two years, about $1.5 billion more than original estimates from the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.