Time running out on home buyer tax credits

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - New home sales jumped 27percent in March--the biggest monthly increase in almost 47 years.

The East Texas housing market felt some of that growth.

"It is a great time to buy," said Lucinda Kittrell with the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors.

She said many people have been taking advantage of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit.  There is also a $6,500 credit for current homeowners looking to relocate.

"That has been huge," said Kittrell.

Buyers have to act fast.  They must be under contract by the end of April and close by the end of June.

Kittrell said the credit helped drive new and existing Tyler area home sales up nearly eight percent in March 2010, over March 2009 sales figures.

"Now, what happens in August, September, I don't know," said Kittrell. "We'll just have to wait and see."

But, she is optimistic.

Robert Aiken, owner of Robert Aiken Custom Homes, has been and East Texas builder for nearly 20 years.

"We've weathered all these ups and downs," he said.

He says the East Texas market is unique, but homes under the $200,000 mark seem to be selling particularly well.

The median home price in the Tyler area is $126,000--also up from the previous year.

"I like to think it's going to continue, but that's going to depend on the economy," said Aiken.

The $8,000 credit was enough motivation for Stacy Roark.  She closed on her brand new home earlier this year.

"I have not got [my check] back yet, but I'm anxiously waiting," she said.

Some experts say record low interest rates also helped spur new home sales.  Those rates are expected to increase throughout the summer.  Some analysts say demand for homes will fall during the summer.

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