The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced that first-time buyers using FHA loans would soon be allowed to monetize the $8,000 federal first-time home buyer tax credit and use the funds for a down payment.

In a Big Builder Online survey last week, 71.4% of respondents said they support this new program, while the remainder of respondents disagreed or were still on the fence regarding it. And the majority of respondents--78.6%--said they expect this program to help boost sales.

"We have a large number of first-time home buyers who have stable secure incomes but struggle with down payment savings; partial down payment assistance will increase sales," noted one respondent.

However, 57.1% of respondents said they think there is risk in giving buyers the opportunity to monetize the credit for down payment purposes.

"If they don't have the money for the down payment, then they are a default risk," said one respondent.

Another respondent said, "I would suggest that a percentage limit on down payment assistance would help ... we don't need 100% down payment assistance. I hope we have all learned that there is no substitute for skin in the game."