The Congressional Research Service says lower prices, not the homebuyer tax credit, have gotten houses selling again:
Results presented in this report suggest that lower home prices and low mortgage rates were quantitatively more important in stabilizing the housing market than the tax credit. For example, the effect of home prices and mortgage rates on the typical buyer’s mortgage payment is estimated to have been about eight times that of the first two versions of the tax credit. In addition, lower home prices and mortgage rates tended to benefit first-time and repeat buyers, as opposed to the tax credit which until recently just benefited the former. Estimates of the number of additional home purchases that can be attributed to the ARRA and WHBAA versions of tax credit are presented and compared to those reported by private industry analysts. The estimates raise questions about those reported by industry analysts, as well as questions about how effective the tax credit may have been at reducing the home inventory.
In other words, if you lower the price of houses to the market-clearing level, they sell. How about that.
Via the TaxProf.