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Realty Exec Wants More Housing Incentives

Another round of real estate incentives? The Century 21 real estate company is asking Congress for more help boosting the real estate market. Tom Kunz, Century 21's president and chief executive, stopped by The Post Thursday morning. He and some of the company's franchisees had just made the rounds on Capitol Hill, asking lawmakers to boost the current, and temporary, $8,000 first-time-buyer tax credit to $15,000 -- and to make it available to anyone buying their principal home.He also thinks government should push 30-year fixed mortgage rates down to 4-4.5 percent for about a year.

The $8,000 credit has been great for first-timers, Kunz said, but the market needs more. "Some first-time buyers are taking the foreclosed properties. What we wanted was to open up these markets above it" -- the higher-priced move-up homes -- "and get that same kind of effect going forward," he said.

Kunz said the large number of re-defaults among people who have received loan modifications is a reason to direct more incentives away from foreclosure prevention and toward the rest of the market. "Let's work more on the demand side versus trying to halt what's probably going to happen anyway," he said.

"There is no way that first-time buyers are going to solve this issue by themselves," Kunz said.

Weekend reading: In Saturday's Real Estate Section, Renae Merle reports on homeowners who are looking at the toughest real estate market in a generation -- and deciding it's a good time to try selling without an agent.

The Weekend Poll


By Elizabeth Razzi  |  May 8, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Selling , The market , Weekend Poll  
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