Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tax Credit Could Revive Neighborhoods

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tax Credit Could Revive Neighborhoods

Article excerpt

What if you had a key that would unlock the vast potential of city neighborhoods? What if that key would also reinvigorate efforts to save the beauty of thousands of historic homes?

Currently, Congress has this key: the Historic Homeownership Assistance Act. This targeted tax credit could begin a wave of unmatched private investment in historic St. Louis property. Unfortunately, Congress has been in possession of this key for more than two years, and interest in using it seems to be waning.

Recent market research of possible city home buyers demonstrated a great deal of interest in historic structures. The strong statements of individual design and old-world craftsmanship of city homes appeal to a great number of potential home buyers. More than 50 percent of St. Louis houses would qualify for listing on local and state historic registers. If we combine the aesthetic desires of home buyers with recent good news about declining crime rates and the affordability of city living, St. Louis is a marketer's dream. The final selling point may be this tax credit. The Historic Homeownership Assistance Act (HA1134, S496) could provide a 20 percent tax credit, based on qualified rehabilitation expenses, for homeowners who rehabilitate or purchase a newly rehabilitated historic home. The developer may offer a "pass through" tax credit to the buyer, which is a great selling point. If the homeowners are unable to use the tax credit, they could receive an alternate benefit in the form of a Historic Rehabilitation Mortgage Credit Certificate. This certificate could be used to "buy down" the interest rate of the mortgage or, when buying in a distressed area, to lower the down payment. So, homeowners, developers and lenders will benefit from saving our treasures of the past. The objectives of this bill are clear: Focus interest on historic homes and districts in cities and towns across the nation. …

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