Real NEastate: Northeast sellers benefit from tax credit

Q: I am thinking of selling my house this year, and a real estate agent left me a flyer saying now is the best time to sell. Will the $8,000 First-time Buyer Tax Credit really help me sell my house this spring? Or is this guy full of it?

A: It’s always busier in the spring in Philadelphia real estate. But this year, big tax credits hinge on buyers getting into sale contracts by April 30, 2010. They have until July 1, 2010 to close the sale.

The market statistics speak for themselves. In November 2009, when the first $8,000 tax credit was originally set to expire, the urgency for first-time buyers was strong. Even though fall and winter are typically a slow time of year for real estate in this part of the country, Northeast Philadelphia managed to sell nearly 400 homes, the most of any other month that year. The monthly average in 2009 was close to only 258 with a total of 3,095 homes sold in the Northeast for the year.

An indicator the tax credits have been influencing the 2010 spring market in Northeast Philadelphia is that almost 17 percent more homes were sold in March 2010 than in March 2009. April will prove to be an even busier month for home sellers, since the expansion of the tax credit to current homeowners of $6,500, along with the $8,000 for first-time buyers who qualify. There is incentive for a much larger pool of homebuyers for the April 30 deadline than the November 30, 2009 deadline.

There is no doubt sellers are benefiting from this current tax credit. Speaking from personal experience, it’s been busy in Northeast Philadelphia. I’ve had multiple offers on all of my Northeast listings. They’re sold. I’ve made several appointments to show homes to buyers in the Far Northeast, only to have them cancelled because the properties were sold. Last week alone, seven out of the 12 homes my buyers wanted to see went under contract before they even got a chance to even see them.

Will there still be buyers looking for homes after April 30? Sure. But now really is a good time for sellers to find a buyer.

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.

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