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Santa Clarita Real Estate Update
January, 2010 - Issue #63
You may Now Qualify for a Homebuyer Tax Credit
by Joshua Suess
President Obama recently approved the extension on the first-time homebuyer tax credit, which will extend the tax credit until April 30, 2010. The extension not only gives an $8,000 tax credit to homebuyers who are purchasing their first home but also offers a credit of $6,500 to homeowners who have lived in their current home for at least five years.

If you are a first-time homebuyer (meaning you have not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase), then you may be eligible for up to an $8,000 tax credit. If you are an existing homeowner who has lived in your principal residence for five consecutive years out of the last eight and you are purchasing another home to be your principal residence, then you may be eligible for up to a $6,500 tax credit. This is referred to as a "repeat buyer." Both must purchase a home after November 6, 2009 and before May 1, 2010.

There are also income limits. If you file taxes as single or head of household, you may be able to claim the full credit ($8,000 for first-time buyers and $6,500 for repeat buyers) if your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is less than $125,000. Married couples filing a joint return have a combined income limit of $225,000. Partial credits may be available for single or head-of-household taxpayers who earn between $125,000 and $145,000, and married couples who earn between $225,000 and $245,000 - but the credit may not be available for those earning above these amounts.

Any home with a purchase price of less than $800,000 qualifies. This includes resale homes, new construction, condominiums/ town homes, etc. The home must be used as your principal residence. Vacation home and rental property purchases do not qualify.

If the amount of income taxes you owe is less than the credit amount you qualify for, the government will send you a check for the difference and qualified buyers can apply the tax credit on their 2009 or 2010 income tax returns. The best part of this program is that the credit does not have to be repaid unless the home owner sells or stops using the home as their principal residence within three years after the purchase.
Joshua Suess is with the Suess Home Selling Team at Re/Max 702-4640 www.suesssellshomes.com

2010 Housing Market Update
by Jennifer Thompson

The California Association of Realtors recently released its 2010 Housing Market Forecast. According to CAR's president, James Liptak, "2010 will mark the beginning of the 'new normal' for California's housing market. This 'new normal' likely will feature a steady stream of home sales driven by distressed properties in the low end of the market, coupled with moderate home-price appreciation." As the banks continue to manage the flow of the distressed properties coming into the marketplace, these properties will continue to account for a large part of our home sales in 2010.

With our current inventory levels remaining below normal in the low end of the market, first-time home buyers and investors will continue to drive our home prices to rise slightly, only to level off midyear. Those selling in the high end of the market will continue to face the challenge of home buyers seeking to secure financing. As we continue to work through the stabilization of our economy, our housing market is showing signs of a steady but slow recovery.
Jennifer Thompson is a Realtor® with Regal Realty of California 295-8715 www.regalrealtyca.com
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