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Hilderbran Seeks Extension of Tax Break for Low-income Housing Providers
Thursday, March 26, 2009 • Posted March 26, 2009

AUSTIN – Rep. Harvey Hilderbran (R-Kerrville) has filed legislation that encourages the transfer of homes from nonprofit organizations to low-income workers by extending the tax exemption for these groups, which use volunteer labor and sell homes at zero profit.

“Organizations such as Habitat for Humanity are leading the way in providing affordable homeownership opportunities to deserving working Texans,” Hilderbran said. “By extending the property tax exemption from three to five years, these groups can purchase larger tracts of land and develop more homes for qualified families without having to pass the property taxes onto the homebuyer. This type of public/private partnership makes sense in Texas.” 

By extending the tax break, HB 2555 will allow these nonprofits to hold the land two years longer than currently allowed before taxes are owed. After five years and the development and sale of the home to a qualified buyer, the property goes back on the tax roll at the normal appraised value.

Habitat for Humanity – Kerr County Executive Director Steve Hamilton said that the local group has completed 80 homes for low-income families in the community over the past 20 years and will begin development of a 50+ home development on the east side of Kerrville in the coming months.

“Representative Hilderbran’s proposed bill would help assure that our program continues to address the need for affordable housing in Kerr County for many years to come,” Hamilton said. “Obtaining affordable lots and being able to hold them until we are able to build on them is critical to our future.”

Matt Hull, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Texas, added, “This bill will help Habitat for Humanity and other organizations across the state take advantage of current market conditions and acquire property to build on for years to come.  Being able to acquire and manage land at an affordable price and hold it until the families are ready to build their homes is the first step in ensuring the end product is truly affordable.” 

Habitat for Humanity and other self-help housing providers work with homeowners to build their own homes and to become ready for the responsibility of homeownership.  Through homebuyer counseling, financial literacy training, asset building and homeowner readiness classes, Habitat for Humanity has been able to assist over 5,000 families in Texas realize the dream of homeownership while maintaining a foreclosure rate lower than state and national averages.

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