TALLAHASSEE, Fla. /Florida Newswire/ -– Governor Charlie Crist today met with Florida REALTORS® to discuss Florida’s housing market. Governor Crist encouraged first-time home buyers to take advantage of the tax credit made available through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The $8,000 tax credit applies to primary residences as long as they are purchased before December 1, 2009.
“Even though today is Tax Day, first-time Florida home buyers can still claim the tax savings on their 2008 tax return – even if the closing is after today – by requesting an extension or filing an amended return,” Governor Crist said. “Or they can also claim it on 2009 tax return, which will be filed next year. Either way, I encourage Floridians and newcomers to Florida to take advantage of this tax break and bargain prices on Florida real estate.”
Governor Crist also discussed his continued commitment to reduce the tax burden on Florida homeowners and business property owners. He has proposes a set of property-tax reforms that builds upon previous legislation resulting in the largest property tax cut in state history.
The National Association of REALTORS estimates that the impact of the federal economic stimulus package and lower interest rates will result in approximately 900,000 additional home sales in 2009 compared to conditions before the stimulus package. According to Freddie Mac, interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.87 percent for the week of April 9, 2009, down significantly from the average rate of 5.97 percent in March 2008.
According to the Florida Association of REALTORS, Florida’s existing home sales rose in February, making it the sixth consecutive month with an increase in sales activity. Existing home sales rose 20 percent in February 2009 compared to the number of homes sold in February 2008. Statewide, existing condo sales increased 25 percent over the total units sold in January.
About the First-Time Florida Home Buyer Tax Credit
For homes purchased before December 1, 2009, the credit does not have to be paid back unless the home ceases to be the taxpayer’s main residence within a three-year period following the purchase. First-time homebuyers who purchase a home in 2009 can claim the credit on either a 2008 tax return, which are due today, or on a 2009 tax return, due April 15, 2010. If the purchase occurs after April 15, 2009, home buyers can still receive the credit on a 2008 tax return by requesting an extension of time to file or by filing an amended return.
Information about the tax credit for first-time home buyers can be found at www.FlaRecovery.com in the “Tax Relief” section. For more information about Florida’s use of the federal recovery dollars made available through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, please visit www.FlaRecovery.com