Homes vs. Cars: Which Stimulation Package is Working?

The Center for Public Integrity runs the numbers, and finds that Americans are cashing in on "Cash for Clunkers" at a rate of $77 million a day, vs. $39 million for the first-time homebuyer credit.

"Numbers for both programs are a bit fuzzy, but the clunkers program, which won a $2 billion increase in funding in a Senate vote Thursday evening, seems to have burned through in ten days close to the amount of cash the first-time homebuyer credit cost in a month."

Full Story: Cash Stimulates Auto Sales, Real Estate Not so Much



Cash-for-Clunkers not comparable to Mortgage Program

My gut reaction to this was to say something snarky along the lines that this just shows how Americans are still in love with cars more than anything else (they are, which doesn’t bode well for getting most of them out of their cars and on to transit, the subject of another story in today’s PLANETIZEN).

More to the point however, cash-for-clunkers cannot be compared to the mortgage credit program. For starters, buying property is far far more complex than buying a car, which is hardly more complicated than buying a flat screen TV. Second, while car dealers love and have embraced the cash-for-clunkers program as it has (temporarily) juiced car sales, banks are still not committed to making mortgages. With or without the mortgage credit, I can tell you from first-hand experience, it is next to impossible to get a mortgage or even to refinance an existing one.


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