The U.S. Senate in an effort to customize their version of the Bailout Bill and add a few more perks the House missed, voted to give home buyers a credit of 10% of the sale price or a maximum of $15,000 on a home purchase. Of course the bill is not actually a done deal... It has to go back to The House and then be signed by The President before it takes effect. Right now I'm guessing the bill will be changed along the way and won't be ready for consumers anytime soon... if ever.
Unlike the previous version of a $7500 tax credit that must be paid back..the new bill will not require buyers to reimburse the government...ie taxpayers... for the money. I understand the idea behind the bill but once again I think the folks in DC are off the mark.
Would a $15,000 credit stimulate sales in the South Bay-Beach Cities...yes and no. Certainly getting an extra $15K credit looks like a good deal for anyone buying but the problem is that while the credit is nice, it's pretty useless if banks are not making loans. And therein lies one of the major problems with many of the ideas about real estate and the housing market floating around Washington.
You can pass stimulus packages 'til the cows come home..but they are pretty useless if consumers can't use them. If the boys in DC are really serious about doing something about the housing crisis then I would suggest that the first step is putting a few conditions on the money they are passing around to lending instutions... namely if you want money from the government you have to make loans on homes.