• Well good; it’s officially official.  The 1st time homebuyer $8000 tax credit has been extended. 

    And, for Super Mario bonus points, they even threw in a move-up homebuyer’s tax credit of $6500. 

    Here are the new rules that potential purchasers must adhere to:

    •                            Get under contract by April 30th, 2010
    •                            Close by June 30th, 2010
    •                            Single people must have an income of $125,000 or below
    •                            Married people must have a household income of $225,000 or below
    •                            Must be buying a primary residence
    •                            Must be 18 or older
    •                            Home cannot exceed $800,000 purchase price

    All of those rules apply to move-up buyers.  Additionally, move-uppers must have lived at the resi­dence they are vacating as their primary home for at least 5 consecutive years out of the past 8.  Lastly, the new tax credit is not retroactive.  So, I guess the mad dash to the closing table by the end of this month has ended.  We can go back to enjoying the holidays and stop giving ourselves panic attacks from bad inspections or slow sellers. 

    This stimulus extension comes on the heels of the G-20 summit, where representatives of the 20 most powerful economic countries convened to discuss fiscal policy.  The latest release from this brain-trust: keep that stimulus flowing.  Unemployment in America recently hit 10.2% (which translates to 18.2% if you count the underemployed or those who gave up trying to find a job) and the numbers globally are just as bad.  So, even though continued stimulus has a depressing effect on our currency and global clout, it was a decision that had to be made.

    The grand concern that develops from this: inflation.  Thus far, the needles on the primary gauges of inflation haven’t moved much, but the precursors are starting to make some serious noise.  Noticed that gas prices have started going up again?  And usually the winter is supposed to bring them down a bit?  Yeah, that’s not an accident.  Try buying some jewelry for your sweetheart this holiday season.  Notice that everything is on sale but gold is not?  Yup.  There’s a reason for that, too.

    So, the captains of this economic ship know full well that they are sailing in very dangerous economic waters.  Thus far, the shoddy employment situation has cancelled out the non-stop churn of the money printing presses.  But eventually the gobs-o’-cash training wheels will have to come off, and when they do,  it will be a hard trudge back to pre-recession strength.

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