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The claim: Legislation passed giving first-time homebuyers access to a $25,000 credit
Congress has started the debate about new incentives for first-time homebuyers, as President Joe Biden proposed during the 2020 campaign.
But the discussion hasn’t yet advanced to a vote. The only bill introduced so far in the House of Representatives hasn’t even had a hearing.
That’s a far cry from a post circulating on Facebook that claims lawmakers passed a $25,000 credit for first-time homebuyers.
Users have shared the information thousands of times. One post from April 29 was shared 11,000 times and generated 1,500 comments as of May 4, with several commenters pointing out that it hasn’t yet passed.
“New house, no down payment,” the post reads before asking for someone with more information to send a direct message.
A user who shared the post did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Proposals on the table
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden proposed a permanent “refundable, advanceable tax credit” worth as much as $15,000 when buyers purchase their first home.
So far, two versions of a bill that would provide financial assistance for first-time homebuyers have started circulating in Congress.
A “discussion draft” was on the agenda for a March 10 virtual hearing in the House Financial Services Committee. It was among about two dozen bills, many of them discussion drafts, under the hearing’s banner “Justice for All: Achieving Racial Equity through Fair Access to Housing and Financial Services.”
The draft of the Downpayment Toward Equity Act of 2021 says grants worth up to $25,000 would be available for “first-generation homebuyers.” That includes those who have not owned homes themselves and whose parents or legal guardians have not owned or lost their home. Individuals who have spent time in foster care also would be eligible.
The draft also includes income thresholds among its eligibility requirements, according to the National Council of State Housing Agencies.
The Downpayment Toward Equity Act of 2021 has not been introduced on the floor and has no number.
Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., introduced a separate bill on April 28. As of May 4, Congress.gov had not received text of the bill, but Blumenauer's office linked to the proposal.
The First Time Homebuyer Act would create a tax credit, not a grant, worth up to 10% of the purchase price of a home, or $15,000, according to a press release from Blumenauer’s office.
The credit is for first-time homebuyers, not first-generation homebuyers as in the Downpayment Toward Equity Act draft, “who have not owned or purchased a home within the prior three years before the purchase.” The bill also has thresholds for income and purchase price of the home.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. It has not received a vote.
Our rating: False
The claim that legislation passed giving first-time homebuyers a $25,000 credit is FALSE, based on our research. While bills have circulated on Capitol Hill, none has passed in the current Congress.
Our fact-check sources:
Joe Biden campaign website, accessed May 4, Housing proposals
House Financial Services Committee, March 10, Virtual Hearing - Justice for All: Achieving Racial Equity Through Fair Access to Housing and Financial Services
House Financial Services Committee, accessed May 4, Downpayment Toward Equity Act of 2021 draft
National Council of State Housing Agencies, accessed May 4, Downpayment Toward Equity Act of 2021 summary
Congress.gov, accessed May 4, H.R. 2863
Rep. Earl Blumenaur, April 26, First Time Homebuyer Act press release
Rep. Earl Blumenaur, April 26, First Time Homebuyer Act text
The Washington Post, April 20, Potential first-time home buyer program seeks to create equity in housing
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: First-time homebuyer incentives not yet passed in Congress