I have to say I was a bit surprised at the crafting of HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan's statement before the Senate Banking Committee today, specifically with regards to the first time home buyer tax credit. Donovan followed testimony from Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who is pushing for not only and extension of the credit through the first half of 2010, but an expansion to all home buyers with joint annual income up to $300,000.
Isakson told fellow Senators that without such an expansion, "We will have a dramatic and awful situation in the US from which recovery will be more difficult than what we've experienced already."
Going into the hearing, we already knew that the Obama Administration had yet to take a stand publicly on an extension of the credit, which turns into a pumpkin Nov. 30th. A few weeks ago, during a conference call on the government's loan modification program, I asked a "Senior Administration Official" about the credit, and he responded, "There are a lot of ideas out there for what to do with the extension of the home buyer credit, and other credits, and those issues are not yet finalized from our perspective internally." At the time I called that a "punt." Your safest play.