Coast home builders and interested buyers talk tax credits

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Some Coast housing experts said they're already seeing the effects of the government's latest buyer incentives.  Earlier this month, President Obama signed legislation to extend the housing tax credit for first time home buyers and help some current home owners.  The credits were buzz around the Parade of Homes this weekend.

For Stephanie Brown and her friends the opportunity for a tax credit is reason enough see what the coast housing market has to offer.

"Definitely has encouraged me to maybe start looking to get the tax break," said Brown. "I think it's encouraged a lot of people to go out there and look at different houses and possibilities that they might not have without the tax credit."

The new Palm Ridge subdivision in Harrison County was a stop on the annual Parade of Homes. One of the builders is Westin Homes where the staff is excited about the $8,000 first-time home buyer credit being extended into April of next year.

Vice President of Construction Rick McMurtry said "That's the positive impact. Whenever somebody can get a credit like that, it's going to make them want to get into a new home. Today we've talked to several people excited about that are past homeowners that are going to be looking at the $6,500 credit also."

The $6,500 tax credit is for current homeowners looking for a new house whose current house has been their primary residence for at least five years.

McMurtry said he expects this to boost the national housing market that has struggled in recent years.

"For the country as a whole, it's got to stimulate it," he said. "Here on the Gulf Coast we are unique. We've got a thriving economy where other parts of the country do not.  We're really confident and trying to position ourselves so we're there when people want to build a new home."

Soon Westin Homes will break ground on its 400th house. Company officials said they've survived these 10 years by adapting to what the clients want.

"Not giving them extra pricing but giving them extra features,"McMurtry said. "So they have the wow factor."

There are income limits and other requirements to be eligible for the tax credit, so for more information check with your realtor.

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