California Homebuyers Tax Incentive Funds Depleted … Should We Increases Taxes and Fees to Pay More?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with CA Lic#00706331

California legislators put a hundred million dollars on the table for first time homeowners to grab. Were they surprised when takers actually accepted the offer? Apparently this is so. They are now attempting to put more money in the coffers for this give-away.

The program is a tax credit that spreads across three years, in three equal payments, for buyers of new homes. The definition of new home is that it must be a single family residence, detached or attached, and never previously occupied. After purchase, the buyer must occupy the property for a minimum of two years and receives a credit of $10,000, or 5% of the price, whichever is less.

The program, passed in February 2009, put up one hundred million dollars for this incentive. Amazingly, this money was offered during a time when the state of California is, by some measures, bankrupt!

Now, there are two new bills pending in Sacramento that would add an additional $200-$300,000,000 to this program. In my opinion the original bill was unconscionable, considering the state of the California economy. To double or triple the original giveaway is totally incomprehensible.

These actions should definitely earn California an award for the greatest “tax and spend” state in our short history. Why does this bill only apply to new homes? If the state of California really wanted to help out the real estate market, why wouldn’t this bill apply to any home purchase?

It may be cynical, but could it be this just applies to new homes because the California new home builders contribute millions to the reelection campaigns of our state legislators? What would be extremely interesting, would be to look at the public record in one year from now to see how many state legislators who backed this program, received campaign contributions from new home builders.

For California homebuyers, especially first-time buyers, that qualify for the federal $8,000 credit as well as the California $10,000 credit, this is a great deal. But, is it really fair that tax payers are picking up the tab? Would it not make common sense if California wanted to pass such a program, to have it apply to all home purchases in order to reduce the current oversupply of existing homes? This program is doing nothing to lessen the supply of existing homes, vacant homes and bank foreclosures.

If this new buyer’s credit and pending new bills to escalate the funding, are not enough evidence that the California legislators ought to stay out of the real estate industry, perhaps remember what other mischief they’ve done. Mischief with good intentions and negative results is still mischief. These good folks extended the foreclosure process by 30 days in 2008, and then when that didn’t seem generous enough, added another 90 days this year. When you add up all the legal requirements, our legislators are practically offering almost a year of living “mortgage-free.” Are these California real estate laws really fair to the tax payers of California?

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Ralph Gorgoglione
Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes - Kihei, HI
Hawaii and California Real Estate (800) 591-6121

I have a buyer who has been on the fence for a while and is now wanting to write on some new construction.

I don't think that she really believes me when I told her the credit was all gone.

She's lost 3 offers so far because of low-balling and procrastination.

I hope this illustrates to her that the market has officially turned.

Jul 03, 2009 06:18 PM #1
David Daniels
Owner of FlyersToYou, Inc. and former Top Realtor - Hemet, CA


It's refreshing to read a realistic perspective on why certain housing incentives are simply bad ideas. We're officialy the "IOU" state, and we're still entertaining ways of supporting big builders? That will not put contractors back to work, as it's mostly applying to standing inventory anyway.

I also can't stand that our federal government is paying lenders $4,000 to modify mortgage loans. $4,000 of whose money???? Mine??? I didn't sign those loan documents, THEY did!

Why is it that I, as a taxpayer, have to pay for these things?

I've lived here all my life....and I've never felt like looking at another state to call home. Ever! I like the climate, my family and friends are here...but the decisions being made are incomprehensible.

I raise a 10-year old daughter, and the thought of what she's inheriting tax-wise is worrisome and totally without rationale. Yet, her generation will get stuck with the bill for the next 20 years. And for what? So our homebuilders can recover and get back to the glory days of yore? The new homes are bargain-basement priced, which doesn't do a heck of a lot for recovery either.

Is my daughter going to pay for the rest of her life toward federal bailouts so that Wall Street, automakers, and lenders can do business as normal, when their business models are obvious failures??

Sheesh...perhaps it's not another STATE I need to look for? I wonder what the weather's like in France this time of year?

Great post. I wish I had a better answer for ya, but I also wish I could fly. LOL!


Jul 03, 2009 06:24 PM #2
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

It is unconscionable and hasn't worked for our area since there's virtually no new construction.  Someone should be ashamed. 

Jul 04, 2009 01:28 AM #3
San Diego real estate blog San Diego real estate agent CA Lic#00706331 - San Diego, CA

Hi Ralph, Dave & Ginger,

Thanks for your comments.

There is talk of drafting a law to make California legislatorsa part-time position..just like Texas. Does Ca reall need these people (with their staffs and offices) on a full time basis?

Jul 11, 2009 07:30 AM #4
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