New Democratic Senators urge further help for the housing industry in the economic recovery package

January 31, 2009

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen today called for additional help in the American Recovery and Investment Tax Act of 2009 for the slumping housing market by extending the first-time homebuyer tax credit through the end of 2009.  In a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), Shaheen commended the Committee’s work to extend the tax credit through August, but urged it be extended until the end of the year to further incentivize prospective homebuyers and spur home ownership.  The $7,500 tax credit is currently scheduled to expire at the end of June. 


“The housing market led us into this recession and will play a key role in leading us out of it,” said Senator Shaheen.  “We need to do everything we can to get the real estate market moving again.  With real estate inventory at record highs, it would be a mistake for Congress to allow this tax credit to expire prematurely.”


“Revitalizing the housing market and increasing home ownership is crucial to getting the country out of the economic crisis we face today,” said Executive Director of the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority Dean Christon.  “There are many families who want to and are ready to buy a home, but are holding back because of economic uncertainty.  The first-time homebuyer tax credit incentivizes these potential buyers, and as Congress works to fix the economy and housing market, we need to keep this incentive in place.”


The full text of the letter follows:


January 30, 2009


The Honorable Max Baucus                                                        

Senate Committee on Finance                                  

219 Dirksen Senate Office Building                                          

United States Senate                                                                    

Washington, DC  20510


Dear Chairman Baucus:


We are writing to commend you for your leadership in shepherding the “American Recovery and Investment Tax Act of 2009” through the Finance Committee. Your bill appropriately directs tax cuts and incentives to American families, renewable energy sources, infrastructure, business and manufacturing. 


We also appreciate your efforts to help restore vigor to our nation’s slumping housing industry by extending the homebuyer tax credit through August, 2009. We recognize and greatly respect that as Chairman you have many priorities to balance in developing far reaching legislation designed to stabilize and stimulate our economy.


The housing industry has long been the engine that drives our economy. Housing has also been at the core of our current economic troubles, and our nation will not embark on a sustained economic recovery until the housing sector recovers. Accordingly, we respectfully urge you to consider including in the bill an extension of the homebuyer tax credit through the end of 2009.


With 3.68 million existing homes in inventory, more than a nine month supply and nearly three times the normal inventory, it will take considerable time to move this high volume of homes on an already sluggish market. We believe that extending the tax credit until the end of 2009 will encourage aspiring and qualified homebuyers to come off the sidelines and carve heavily into that nine month inventory.


We appreciate your consideration of our views and look forward to working with you as the “American Recovery and Investment Tax Act of 2009” is considered in the Senate.




Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH); Tom Udall (D-NM); Kay Hagan (D-NC); Mark Begich (D-AK); Mark Udall (D-CO)

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