University of Rochester

Federal Tax Credit to Stoke U.S. Housing Market Makes University of Rochester Incentive Even Sweeter

December 24, 2009

With a credit on their taxes and cash toward their closing costs, University of Rochester employees can realize up to $17,000 in benefits if they find a home in city neighborhoods closest to the River Campus and the Medical Center.

More staff and faculty are expected to apply for the University's Home Ownership Incentive Program since the extension of a federal tax credit for new homebuyers. So far, 78 employees in the last 18 months have used the incentive program and closed on their principal residences in city neighborhoods located in Sectors 4 or 6.

"The enthusiastic response tells us that employees want to live close to the University for all kinds of reasons: convenience, saving on transportation costs, and living in neighborhoods where there is a strong sense of community," said Ronald Paprocki, senior vice president for administration and finance.

The Home Ownership Incentive Program, which was announced in March 2008, offers a total of $3,000 from the University and a comparable amount from the City of Rochester, and from either Advantage Federal Credit Union or Canandaigua National Bank & Trust. The homebuyer has the potential of receiving up to $9,000 toward the purchase of a home in targeted neighborhoods that include the 19th Ward, Plymouth-Exchange, and other communities on the west side of the city in Sector 4; to the east, the neighborhoods include Highland Park, the South Wedge, and other communities in Sector 6.

In addition, first-time homebuyers also can apply for a federal tax credit of up to $8,000 for a principal residence. Use of the tax credit has been extended by Congress and is available for qualified purchases with a binding sales contract in place on or before April 30, 2010, and then a closing date by June 30, 2010. The extended federal tax credit also authorizes up to $6,500 for repeat homebuyers during the same time period.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, homebuyers who purchase a home in 2008, 2009 or 2010 may be able to take advantage of the first-time homebuyer credit. The credit applies only to homes used as a taxpayer's principal residence. The tax credit reduces a taxpayer's tax bill or increases his or her refund, dollar for dollar. It also is fully refundable, meaning the credit will be paid out to eligible taxpayers, even if they owe no tax or the credit is more than the tax owed.

The first step for employees interested in the University Home Ownership Incentive Program is to contact the University's Benefits Office at (585) 275-2087 to verify employment eligibility. Information regarding the University Home Ownership Incentive Program, including a brochure with details, can be found online at Regular full-time and part-time faculty and staff are eligible for the program.

Since 2003, the University has encouraged employees to work with a number of local banking institutions that offer lower interest rates and other benefits.