Washington, DC – March 24, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Legislation that would seek to encourage consumers to purchase new energy-efficient homes has been endorsed by the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, said Rep. Kathy Watson (R-Bucks/144th), author of the proposal.
“Consumers are becoming very smart when it comes to the carbon footprint of their purchases,” Watson said. “When people are looking to buy new homes, key considerations will be their total energy cost for the year and their tax liability. This legislation aims to address both those concerns.”
House Bill 790 would establish the Energy-Efficient Home Assistance Program for a trial period of two years within the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
Under the legislation, grants of up to $5,000 can be used to offset closing costs, or down payment assistance such as mortgage rate buy-downs on new homes that are built to certain energy-efficient standards and/or include certain alternative energy systems. To receive a grant under this program, the home must be the primary residence of the grantee, their maximum income cannot exceed 150 percent of the statewide median income, and the home must be new construction with no prior occupants.
In addition, grants of $2,500 can be used to offset certain mortgage costs if the home exceeds the energy and water conservation requirements set by the statewide Uniform Construction Code and is certified as an Energy Star home. Additional grants in the amount of $2,500 may be provided to the purchaser of a new home if the house incorporates alternative energy technologies such as solar photovoltaic, solar hot water heating or wind energy systems.
“Research shows that new homes with energy-saving heating systems can reap energy savings of up to 80 percent, compared to a conventionally built home,” Watson said. “This pays dividends, not only with the family budget, but in helping to encourage people to buy new homes again and strengthen the home-buying market.”
The legislation now moves to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration.
Representative Katharine M. Watson
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Jennifer Algoe Keaton
Member site: KathyWatson144.com
Caucus site: PAHouseGOP.com