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Real estate market here better than elsewhere

By Mark Wineka
mwineka@salisburypost.com
Just as there isn’t one national weather forecast that fits the whole country, there shouldn’t be one nationwide picture for the housing industry.
“All real estate is local,” said Tim Kent, executive vice president of the N.C. Association of Realtors.
North Carolina ó and Charlotte in particular ó has weathered the current housing market slump better than most other regions, Kent told the Salisbury-Rowan Association of Realtors Tuesday.
U.S. homes sales are down 17 percent, but North Carolina’s volume of sales has dropped only 2 percent overall. Charlotte is one of the few major cities reflecting stable housing prices, Kent said.
Meanwhile, Charlotte and Raleigh represent two of the best job markets in the country, and North Carolina overall is projecting a population increase of 3 million people over the next two decades.
Being 45 minutes from Charlotte, Rowan County Realtors should be optimistic, Kent said.
“They need someplace to sleep at night,” he said of the new people who will be moving to the region and state.
Kent predicted a turnaround is coming soon. Buried in the recent landmark housing legislation was a provision giving first-time home buyers a $7,500 tax credit.
The credit is available to first-time buyers purchasing a home between April 9, 2008, and July 1, 2009.
Individuals filing a tax return as “single” are eligible for the tax credit if their adjusted gross income is less than $75,000. A couple filing a joint return must have an income less than $150,000.
The credit is for 10 percent of the cost or the home, up to the $7,500 limit.
Unlike most tax credits, however, the tax incentive must be paid back. Those who take the credit will be required to pay it back over 15 years at no interest. The law says people taking the credit must repay $502.50 each year.
The tax credit also is called a “refundable” credit. For example, if a purchaser is eligible for the $7,500 credit and owes $6,000 in income tax, the purchaser would receive an income tax refund of $1,500 ó the difference between $7,500 and the amount of tax owed.
Kent predicted the tax credit could allow the new home buyers to purchase furnishings or make bigger down payments.
Read Wednesday’s Post for more on Kent’s comments.

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