Tens of thousands of Missourians have bought homes this year, but very few of them have taken advantage of a state program that offers more up to $1,750 in tax credits.
The state’s ‘homeownership purchase enhancement’ or ‘HOPE’ program is similar to the $8,000 tax credit offered by the federal government, but you can get the state money from in addition to that credit. You can also qualify for the HOPE program even if it isn’t your first home. It’s all based on financial requirements that vary depending on where you bought your home.
“For example in Kansas City, in a 1-2 person household the maximum income is $70,500. In St. Louis it’s $68,300. Jefferson City is $67,000. Columbia is $63,700, and the rest of the state is $58,700,” said Greg Spurgeon, who oversees the program for the Missouri Housing Development Commission.
The requirements are even looser for households with kids.
“We applied the maximum income guidelines that we are eligible to do. So I think that definitely should help many more families qualify than otherwise would,” Spurgeon said.
Eligible homeowners can get $1,250 in tax credits, and an additional $500 to make energy efficient improvements on the home.
“MHDC allocated $15 million towards the program, there’s approximately $13 million still available for applicants,” Spurgeon said.
He expects there are many more eligible families than the 828 applications than have been approved.
“It takes some time with a new program to get the word out, for people to talk to each other and spread the word,” Spurgeon said. “Going off the number of closings that have occurred in the state of Missouri during this time frame I’m sure there are people out there that have not yet applied. For whatever the reason is, maybe they just don’t know or are confused how to do it. But I’m sure there are.”
Spurgeon says you don’t need to visit an office to apply, everything you need is available online. The MHDC has relied heavily on those taking part in the transactions of a sale of a home to help spread the word.
“We’ve really concentrated on marketing the program to mortgage lenders throughout the state as well as the realtor network as well. Some of our industry partners that we have established relationships with. We really focused on making sure they know so they can let clients know about the program,” Spurgeon said.
The sale of the home has to close by August 31st of this year to be eligible for the tax credit.