How does the stimulus package affect Kalamazoo homeowners?

Kalamazoo, Michigan - February 24, 2009:

February 24, 2009

Source: Frank Mortl, III
Job Title: Chief Executive Officer
Phone: (269) 382-1597

The Greater Kalamazoo Association of REALTORS® (GKAR) announced today its full support of the housing stimulus provisions within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The $787.2 billion stimulus package that was recently signed into law by President Obama, represents great news for home buyers across the country, but in particular, the greater Kalamazoo area.

The new legislation accounts for a qualified first-time home buyer tax credit of $8,000, and removes the requirement that the credit be paid back if the buyer stays in the home for at least three years. It also extends the expiration date for the credit from July 1st to December 1, 2009. Homebuyers must have purchased a home after January 1, 2009, and before December 1, 2009, to be eligible for the $8,000 credit.

The bill will also reset the conforming loan limit cap at $729,750, up from $625,500. Numerous home owners in Michigan experienced a marked decrease in their conforming loan and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) limits on January 1st, and the stimulus bill reinstates 2008 loan limits through December 31, 2009.

"The stimulus package should provide the homeownership key that could unlock thousands of dollars of long-term values, equity investments and tax savings for the first-time home buyer," said Frank Mortl, III, CEO of GKAR. "With interest rates so low, now is the perfect climate to buy a home in the greater Kalamazoo area for anyone in the market for a new home."

To qualify for this year's first-time homebuyer credit, the homebuyer must not have owned a home in the previous three years and the home must be the primary residence. Unlike last year's credit, if the property remains as the homeowner's primary residence for at least three years, then the payback requirement is waived.

"The Recovery Act is doing its job of trying to stimulate the housing market," said Mortl. "This is one credit where taxpayers can reap the benefits almost immediately."

The Michigan Association of REALTORS® (MAR) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) have long advocated for higher conforming loan limits. The conforming loan limit provisions and other housing elements in the stimulus package are a step in the right direction for the real estate industry and for the greater Kalamazoo area as a whole.

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