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Realtors Ask State for Cash Advances

April 1st, 2009 by flanews

Realtors and homebuilders say stimulus dollars for home buyers arent moving fast enough. Theyre asking the state to offer cash advances for people who qualify for a home buyers tax credit. As Whitney Ray tells us, the state would loan money to buyers, then the buyers would send their tax credit to the state.

People who buy a home before December 1st are eligible for an 8-thousand dollar tax credit. The credit is part of a federal plan to save the housing market. But Florida Home Builders say its not moving homes fast enough.

The dilemma with it is that it cant be used for down payment because the individual doesnt claim it until their next tax return is filed, said Doug Buck, the director of government affairs for the Florida Home Builders Association.

Florida homebuilders and realtors are calling on the state to front the money to home buyers. The buyers would use the cash for a down payment, then forward their tax credits to the state, but giving cash advances to people who cant afford a down payment could lead to more foreclosures.

The Florida Association of Realtors say since banks are reluctant to lend money, advancing the cash is the best way to help families buy.

This would only be available to people who have already qualified for that tax credit and theyre going to be getting the money in a couple of months so were just offering them a short term loan basically, said John Sebree with the Florida Association of Realtors.

Governor Charlie Crist is considering the plan.

Hopefully well have some good news to share with the Homebuilders, said Crist.

If the state creates a money pool for cash advances, experts say as many as 12,000 more homes could sell this year. The latest numbers from the Florida Homebuilders Association show sales have risen 20 percent from a year ago. Realtors attribute the spike to falling home prices. The median price of a home in Florida is now 140,000 dollars.

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