Silver lining in economic crisis for first-time home buyers - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Silver lining in economic crisis for first-time home buyers

Scott Higashi Scott Higashi

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - There's a bonus in Wall Streets turbulence for home buyers, especially people trying get into their first home.

Under the economic stimulus package Congress passed over the summer, first-time home buyers qualify for a tax credit of up to $7500.

It applies to purchases made between April 9th, 2008 to June 30, 2009. That's an added incentive in Hawaii, where real estate experts say the housing market is holding ground.

They say the financial roller coaster on Wall Street has had only a mild effect on the real estate market in Hawaii compared to the mainland.

"What we found in Hawaii is the lenders who loan money to home buyers weren't focusing on the subprime market. They've really looked at borrow qualification and so at the end of the day you have fewer foreclosures, and fewer short sales occuring in this market in comparison to other markets on the mainland," said Scott Higashi, Vice President of Sales for Prudential.

Another reason Hawaii's housing market is relatively insulated from the chaos on Wall Street is because the inventory of homes on the islands is limited.

To apply for the home buyer tax credit, you simply claim it on your 2008 tax return form. The credit is 10% of the cost of the home. So, if you're buying a home for $60,000, you'll get a tax credit of $6,000.

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