News in early April that pending home sales rose 8.2% in February due largely to the federal home buyer tax credit provided the first real evidence that the renewed federal home buyer tax credit is working. Big Builder Online asked its readers if they've been seeing the same results.
The majority of respondents--43.5%--said they have seen an uptick in sales to a limited extent due to the approaching April 30 deadline, while 21.7% said they have seen a significant uptick. However, 34.8% of respondents said they haven't seen any boost in sales from the tax credit.
The response was mixed on how effective the extended tax credit has been for bringing in first-time home buyers: 30.4% of respondents said it has been more effective, 30.4% said less effective, and the remaining 39.1% said it has been just as effective as the original federal home buyer tax credit.
One respondent noted that there's still "not enough incentive to overcome fear of job loss. Consumer confidence is paramount."
More than half of the respondents--56.5%--were in agreement that the expanded credit has been less effective in attracting move-up buyers.
"Move-up buyers are still trying to either sell their homes or are trying to get their buyers approved on financing so they can turn around and buy,"said one respondent.
However, 21.7% said it's been just as effective as the original tax credit, and 4.3% said it has been more effective.
A little more than half of the respondents--52.2%--said they are optimistic that sales will pick up toward the end of April as the deadline nears, with respondents saying "expiration dates always work" and "procrastinators will get off the fence."
Still, 34.8% of the respondents view the glass as half-empty, and 13% are uncertain. "I think we'll get a lot of 'tire kickers' but no more serious buyers. I think we've squeezed them all out of the market," said one respondent who doesn't think the final weeks will bring more sales.