You read that right! First time home buyers that get into contract before May 1st and close between May 1st and June 30th get a big fat tax credit!
I could rehash the details, or I could give you the skippy straight from the horse’s mouth (and by horse, I mean the San Francisco Association of Realtors.) You’re getting the latter:
$18,000 in Combined Home Buyer Tax Credits for a Limited Time
Californians have a brief window of opportunity to receive up to $18,000 in combined federal and State home buyer tax credits. To take advantage of both tax credits, a first-time home buyer must enter into a purchase contract for a principal residence before May 1, 2010, and close escrow between May 1, 2010 and June 30, 2010, inclusive. Buyers who are not first-time home buyers may use the same timeframes to receive up to $16,500 in combined tax credits if they are long-time residents of their existing homes as permitted under federal law, and they purchase properties that have never been previously occupied as provided under California law.
Under the federal law slated to soon expire, a first-time home buyer may receive up to $8,000 in tax credits, and a long-time resident may receive up to $6,500, for certain purchase contracts entered into by April 30, 2010 that close escrow by June 30, 2010. Additionally, under a newly enacted California law, a home buyer may receive up to $10,000 in tax credits as a first-time home buyer or buyer of a property that has never been occupied. The new California law applies to certain purchases that close escrow on or after May 1, 2010 (See Cal. Rev. & Tax Code section 17059.1(a)(4)). California law generally allows buyers of never-occupied properties to reserve their credits before closing escrow, but buyers seeking to combine the federal and state tax credits will not be able to satisfy the timing requirements for such reservations (see Cal. Rev. & Tax Code section 17059.1(c)(1)(A)). Other terms and restrictions apply to both tax credits.
For more information, CAR has prepared a Home Buyer Tax Credit Chart with a side-by-side summary of the federal and California laws. The State Association also has prepared a legal article entitled Home Buyer Tax Credit Update which might be of interest
So, while I wouldn’t suggest running out and buying a home if you weren’t planning on doing it already, if you are already on the fence, $18,000 in dollar bills in one hand might be enough to tip you to the homebuying side. 🙂