In a state that is in every sense, bankrupt, the governor just signed another home buyers credit bill into effect!
Before we talk about the new credit details, lets review the background; Consider that California has a $20.7 billion deficit in the general fund budget over the next 16 months. California owes $8.8 billion in short-term loans that have to be paid off by June and over $120 billion in outstanding bonds and interest that will be paid over decades. The state’s pension fund, CalPers, has $16.3 billion more in liabilities than assets plus California also faces a $51.8 billion for the health and dental benefits of state retirees and future retirees.
The sad fact is, California has the lowest credit rating of any state in the nation, just above junk bond status. One major problem is the rise in California’s debt-service ratio (DSR). That is, the ratio of annual general fund debt–service costs to annual general fund revenues and transfers. This is often used as one indicator of the state’s debt burden. The higher it is and more rapidly it rises, the more closely bond raters, financial analysts, and investors tend to look at the state’s debt practices, and the more debt–service expenses limit the use of revenues for other programs. Debt servicing is projected to comprise 9% of general fund revenues by the end of 2014-15. According to Bloomberg News, the market believes a developing country like Kazakhstan, with about 15.7 million people, is less likely to default on its debt than California, which is the eighth largest economy in the world.
Well, now that we have reviewed the financial background, why not issue $200 million in tax credits to California home buyers?
The new (some say extension of the 2009 new home credit) bill, AB 183 will provide $200 million for home buyer tax credits, allocating $100 million for qualified first-time home buyers of existing homes and $100 million for purchasers of new, or previously unoccupied, homes. The eligible taxpayer who purchases a qualified personal residence on and after May 1, 2010, and on or before Dec. 31, 2010, or who purchases a qualified principal residence on and after Dec. 31, 2010, and closes the sale before Aug. 1, 2011, will be able to take the allowed tax credit. The credit is equal to the lesser of 5 percent of the purchase price or $10,000, in equal installments over three consecutive years. Purchasers will be required to live in the home for at least two years or forfeit -repay the credit. Before acting on this preliminary information, one should first, consult your legal/tax professional.
Disclosure: San Diego real estate broker