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Housing market jitters as tax credit expires

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UNDATED (WSAU) Wisconsin financial experts disagree on what will happen to the housing market, now that the big federal tax breaks for home buyers have expired. As of mid-February, the I-R-S said 31-thousand first-time home-buyers in Wisconsin got 217-million dollars in federal tax credits. And Milwaukee area Realtors reported a big jump in activity in last month, to get contracts secured before the April 30th deadline – especially for houses costing less than 200-thousand-dollars. Those deals must be closed by June 30th.

Sara Walker of Associated Trust Company in Milwaukee says the market is in a much better position than it was six months ago to survive another sales decline in the second half of the year. But Wells Fargo economist Brian Jacobson says home sales will start plummeting again, because the government is no longer paying buyers-and-sellers to come together.

Bill Malkasian, president of the Wisconsin Realtors Association, said there’s no doubt the tax credits worked, because they moved property. And Walker said the increased home sales would continue to spur growth in the economy by the added sales of home equipment, appliances, and repairs.

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