What Is the First-Time Homebuyer Act of 2021?

Couple buying their first home

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The First-Time Homebuyer Act of 2021 is a bill that, if passed, would provide first-time homebuyers with a federal tax credit of up to $15,000. Additionally, the bill stipulates that homebuyers would need to meet income criteria and buy a home that meets purchase-price limits.

Key Takeaways

  • The First-Time Homebuyer Act of 2021 would offer first-time homebuyers a tax credit of up to $15,000 if it is ever passed.
  • It was first introduced in April 2021, and as of December 2022, it still has not moved forward through the legislative process.
  • The bill stipulates that first-time homebuyers must meet income and home purchase-price limits.
  • To qualify, you would need to be 18 years or older and not have an ownership interest in a home in the last three years.
  • Homes acquired from a relative would not qualify for the First-Time Homebuyer tax credit.

How Would the First-Time Homebuyer Act of 2021 Work?

The First-Time Homebuyer Act of 2021, sponsored by U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and several others, aims to establish a new refundable tax credit for first-time homebuyers. The tax credit would be worth up to 10% of the home’s purchase price, to a maximum of $15,000.

  • Alternative name: $15,000 First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

The First-Time Homebuyers Act of 2021 intends to help households with lower incomes purchase homes. According to the bill, individuals and married people who file jointly would qualify for a tax credit worth up to o$15,000. Unmarried individuals who purchase a home together could split the credit and married couples filing separately would also receive a $7,500 tax credit each.

To qualify for the proposed credit, your modified adjusted gross income can’t exceed 160% of the median income in the area where the property is located. The purchase price of the home can’t exceed 110% of the area’s median home purchase price.


While Congressman Blumenauer introduced the bill to the Ways and Means Committee in April 2021, it has not passed in the House or Senate.

History and Examples

In recent years, first-time homebuyer tax credits have proved very successful. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 provided up to an $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers and was claimed by close to 1.5 million purchasers, according to Congressman Blumenauer.

Here are a few examples of how this new version could work.

If you were a first-time homebuyer and met the rest of the criteria for the tax credit, you’d be able to claim up to $15,000 of the home’s purchase price as a deduction on your taxes. This lowers the amount of taxable income you have to report, which lowers your taxes for that tax year.

Let's say your city has a median income of $50,000. You could qualify for the tax credit if you have a modified adjusted gross income of up to $80,000 (below the 160% threshold). If your city has a median home price of $150,000, you could qualify for the credit when purchasing a home priced up to $165,000 (below the 110% threshold). You’d then be able to claim $15,000 on this home.

The credit is a refundable tax credit, which means that the credit you receive from the purchase offsets the amount of taxes you owe. For example, if you owed $3,500 in taxes but received a $10,000 credit from a home purchase, you’d get a refund of $6,500 when you filed your taxes.


The proposed legislation has not been approved and is subject to change during the legislative process.

Who Would Qualify for the First-Time Homebuyer Act?

First-time homebuyers with incomes below 160% of their area’s median income qualify. To calculate that, find your area's median income and multiply it by 1.6. That would be the maximum income you could earn to qualify. For example, if your area's median income is $50,000, you could not earn an income of more than $80,000.

Qualified homes must have a purchase price at or below 110% of an area’s median sales price. You could use the same calculation as above, but with 1.1. For example, if your area's median sales price for a home is $150,000, your home's purchase price would need to be $165,000 or less.

There are other requirements as well, such as being 18 years or older.

As the bill is currently written, to receive the credit, first-time homebuyers also need to meet the following requirements:

  • Not have any homeownership interest in the three years previous to the purchase
  • Not have already used the credit in another tax year
  • Can’t claim a home that was acquired from a relative
  • Can’t have the property’s basis determined from the previous owner’s basis
  • Can’t sell the property or not use it as a primary residence during the tax year they are claiming
  • Can’t claim the credit if another taxpayer is claiming it for the same tax year
  • Will not be approved for the credit if an official copy of the settlement statement is not included with the filing

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How would you qualify for the first-time homebuyer tax credit?

You must be 18 years or older. First-time homebuyers with incomes below 160% of their area’s median income would qualify and their home must have a purchase price at or below 110% of an area’s median sales price.

What is first-time homebuyer tax credit?

The first time homebuyer tax credit would be a refundable tax credit worth $15,000 for homeowners who qualify under certain requirements.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Congressman Earl Blumenauer. "Amidst Unprecedented Housing Demand, Blumenauer Introduces Legislation to Support First-Time Homebuyers."

  2. Congress.gov. "H.R.2863 - First-Time Homebuyer Act of 2021."

  3. Democratic Policy Committee. "H.R. 3221, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008."

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