Biden Sworn In, With Real Estate on Agenda

An economic stimulus plan and down payment tax credit are on his administration’s to-do list.

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Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th U.S. president on Wednesday, taking the reins in the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic shakeout, a deeply divided country, and a host of other challenges. But he’s already signaled that several real estate issues are on his administration’s to-do list.

The National Association of REALTORS® applauded Biden’s inaugural speech that focused on unifying America and restoring economic strength. “America’s 1.4 million REALTORS® are as diverse as the nation and consumers they serve,” NAR President Charlie Oppler said in a statement following the inaugural address. “I was heartened by President Biden’s call for unity. As Americans, we will see leaders come and go during our lives, but our nation succeeds only when we unite. NAR is committed to assisting President Biden and the new Congress as we seek to heal our nation and strengthen the economy … We look forward to partnering on many of our common goals, including policies that will advance and expand the American dream of homeownership, address housing affordability and accessibility, and promote fair housing and racial equity.” 

Several real estate issues have been at the forefront of Biden’s agenda since before he took office. Last week, Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan that included several housing-related proposals, including greater rental assistance and extending the national eviction and foreclosure moratorium until Sept. 30. Biden’s plan calls for $25 billion more in rental assistance to help the nation’s landlords and $5 billion in homelessness protections. This would be on top of the $25 billion in aid that was approved in last month’s $900 billion stimulus package. Read more: Biden Plan Calls for $25B in Rental Assistance, Extending Eviction Ban

Biden also has proposed a down payment tax credit of up to $15,000 that first-time buyers could use at the time of purchase. Saving for the down payment is often cited as the biggest obstacle for first-time buyers. A survey by HomeLight, a real estate referral company, found that 55% of more than 1,000 real estate professionals recently surveyed said they were in support of such a tax credit for first-time buyers. First-time buyer tax credits are not new. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama used them to help home buyers purchase their first homes during the Great Recession.