04 August 2008

Was HR3221 right or wrong...or both?

Ever since President Bush signed the Housing Bill last week, I've seen a ton of comments from both sides of the issue. I've finally decided that both sides are right....and wrong.

 When news hit of the signing, I was asked by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce to comment, as President-Elect of the Utah Association of Realtors, on why the Realtors were in favor of it. Since I live an hour away from the Chamber office and had 90 minutes to get to the press conference I had some road time to consider the question.

With my Realtor "hat" on, it seemed a no brainer.

In a time of amazing uncertainty, a certain amount of stability was going to be added to an uncomfortable market. This appealed to me because, although Utah hasn't suffered anything like the other states have, perception is reality. The perception we've been fed is that the market is collapsing in certain areas of the country, so therefore, we in Tooele County are in trouble as well!

It was (and still is) my hope that the "perception" will change, and that the moves made by the government will lend a sense of much needed calm to the market. I also thought that the possible $7500 "first time " home buyer tax credit (or tax free loan if you will) might entice those fence sitters out there to jump down on the side of purchasing NOW rather than waiting for the bottom to fall out.

Obviously, the jury is still out on these things. 

However, the conservative, business side of me is really struggling with any idea that smacks of a bail out by the Government. I know that given time, the market will sort these things out, as it always does. On the other (or third!) hand, the Realtor part hates that the FHA down payment went up to 3.5%. The taxpayer part of me thinks that if lenders had required a decent down payment in the first place, this might not have been an issue. One side hates the loss of many of the down payment assistance programs while another part applauds the elimination of programs that have produced such a huge number of defaults.

At this point, pulling into the Chamber parking lot, I decided that ALL of the different parts of my Sybille-type self were grateful that Congress seemed to have actually acted in concert on something designed to give us some help NOW, rather than 10 years down the road. I decided I like the 3.5% down requirement, because it will actually give people some buy-in on their home and they might fight to keep it rather than just walk away.

 I decided that I like the tax credit precisely because it's simply a loan, and will be paid back. If it gets those fence sitters around here to buy that first home, allowing the seller to move up, and maybe buy one of the many spec homes sitting empty around here. Building new homes puts our people back to work allowing them to purchase their first home (don't forget, in Utah almost 30% of our economy is tied up in the housing industry!).

 It's worth it!.......... Now if we could just get Congress to vote on drilling for oil....

Filed under:
Anonymous comments are disabled