Illinois REALTORS® applaud President Obama and Congress for extending and expanding the first-time homebuyer tax credit, which has been a very effective stimulus tool for the housing market and the overall economy. What the first-time buyer credit did was significantly impact the entry-level end of the market. By expanding it, we’re going to see some move-up buyers take action.

As of today when the President signed H.R. 3548, the expiration date for the credit is extended to April 30, 2010. You can share this link for the new tax credit countdown ticker with your clients

Here are some basics to know about the new tax credit.

  • First-time buyers who have not had interest in a principal residence for three years are still eligible, and the maximum amount remains the same – $8,000 (or $4,000 for married couples filing separately).
  • Current homeowners, who have consecutively maintained the home they want to sell as their primary residence for five of the last eight years, are also eligible. However, the maximum amount for those homeowners is lower: $6,500 (or $3,250 for married couples filing separately).
  • Qualifying buyers must sign a purchase agreement by April 30, 2010, and close before July 1.
  • The tax credit may not be used to purchase a home for more than $800,000. Vacation homes are ineligible.
  • The income limits to earn the maximum for both tax credits have been raised to $125,000 for single buyers and $225,000 for married couples.
  • All buyers who want to get the credit must include documentation of the purchase on their tax returns.
  • The credit is extended for through June 30, 2011, for members of the military serving outside the United States for at least 90 days.

This is a major victory for consumers and the housing market! We thank all Illinois REALTORS® who took the time to call or write to their members of Congress.

Look for Q&As and updates at