Kansans have used the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit at a comparable rate with surrounding states, according to a national study prepared for Congress.
The National Association of Realtors estimates that 2.2 percent of the state's 1.03 million households will use the tax break to buy their first house.
That's higher than Missouri (2 percent) and Nebraska (2.1 percent) but lower than Oklahoma (2.7 percent) and Colorado (2.5 percent).
The credit lured an estimated 1,500 additional buyers into the Kansas market through September, with 22,900 first-time buyers taking advantage of the credit, according to NAR.
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These estimates were calculated before the tax credit was extended by Congress through April 30 and expanded to include a $6,500 credit to current homeowners purchasing
a house between Nov. 7 and April 30.
"We're very appreciative that we've had that tax credit to work with," said Roger Weast, president of Wichita's J.P. Weigand & Sons, who said 2009 sales figures will be down. "It certainly would have dimmed our year without it."
"Without the tax credit, it would have been a really down year," said John McKenzie, president of Wichita's Coldwell Banker Plaza Real Estate. "It's going to be a down year anyway."
Same story at Keller-Williams, where broker Penny Johnson said the tax credit has pushed hesitant buyers back into the Wichita market.
"We certainly saw people who got off the fence to make the deadline," Johnson said. "And now that they've extended the credit to people who've lived in their house for five years, there are sellers falling all... over themselves to get into the market."
NAR estimates 52,800 home sales this year in Kansas, down about 5,600 from the seasonally adjusted 2008 figure.
Stan Longhofer, who directs Wichita State's Center for Real Estate, said that usage of the tax credit will be tough to accurately measure until September 2010, when tax return data can accurately measure the use of the credit.