Home Buyer Tax Credit Program Receives 50 Million Boost

The Federal Housing Tax Credits for home buyers may have expired earlier this year, but there's still another way Harris County residents can get help with their loans. Wendy Siegle has the details.
The Houston housing market took another hit last month — home sales were down 18.6 percent compared with September last year. But there is a program that may help out the real estate business in Harris County. County Judge Ed Emmett is trying to get the word out about a new tax credit program that gives qualifying home buyers a credit of up to $2000 dollars a year for the duration of their loan.

Steve Krueger, Judge Ed Emmett, Steve Harris
From left to right: Steve Krueger, Judge Ed Emmett, Steve Harris

“You’re talking about significant savings over the life of a loan.”

It’s called a Mortgage Credit Certificate or MCC. Steve Harris is the program’s manager. He says the program just received a $58 million dollar boost to assist low to moderate income families. He says eligible home buyers can get a direct federal income tax credit that’s equal to 30 percent of the interest paid on their loan. Harris stresses that it’s a tax credit, not deduction.

“A credit is direct money back in the pocket of the home buyer.”

To be eligible, home buyers must live mainly in unincorporated Harris County — that excludes the city of Houston, which has a program of its own. Those who qualify may only purchase homes with a price tag of up to $250 thousand dollars.

“It really is a work-force housing denominated program that can help many, many Harris County residents to obtain a home of their own.”

Right now the program is not limited to first-time home buyers. But Harris says that changes at the end of the year. For more information, visit harriscountyhfc.org.