Sarah Yaussi's article on August 20 ($7,500 Tax Credit Fails to Spark Traffic) not only presented a misleading view of the effect of the new home buyer tax credit on sales activity, but also wildly misconstrued certain data. First, it makes no sense to draw definitive conclusions from a survey that was conducted less than two weeks from the day that the housing legislation was signed into law. It is simply too soon to try to measure the tax credit's impact on sales activity in the housing market.
Second, the survey data was grossly misinterpreted. The fact that 39% of sales reps surveyed reported that their efforts to market the tax credit generated "favorable buyer interest" is a GOOD thing, not the opposite. In fact, that's a strong response, particularly when you consider that first-time home buyers make up only about 40% of the overall market. It is also important to note that many buyers of newly built homes stand to indirectly benefit from the credit because it will help them sell their existing homes. This activity will obviously take more than a couple of weeks to show up on the radar.
Finally, I must take issue with the article's characterization of the survey results as "in stark contrast" to reported interest in NAHB's www.federalhousingtaxcredit.comWeb site. Numbers don't lie, and our site tracking clearly shows that an average of 10,000 visitors per day are viewing this Web site to find out about the tax credit. This is without any advertising, and clearly demonstrates that there is considerable consumer interest out there. It also bodes very well for the 2 million households who are expected to claim the credit for a home purchase before the timeline expires.
Let's give the tax credit a chance to work before we go taking pessimistic potshots at it.
National Association of Home Builders