A federal tax credit for rehabilitation of owner-occupied homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places is something that many local historic preservationists (and St. Louisans who care about the health of our historic neighborhoods) have been proposing for many years. Now, US Rep. Russ Carnahan has proposed a bill that will do just that.
Right now, federal law provides a 20 percent tax credit for developers and business people who rehabilitate historic property for residential rental and commercial use. But this credit is not available to owners of single-family historic homes or for developers of historic single-family homes and condos that will be owner-occupied. The current regulation leaves a big gap in the City’s ability to ensure the stability of our historic neighborhoods, since rental property has more incentive potential than owner-occupied property.
From the City’s viewpoint, homeownership is an important key to neighborhood stability - and homeownership is the primary way in which most families, especially young ones, build net worth.
Congressman Carnahan’s bill levels the playing field by giving homeowners the same incentives as rental property developers receive. With this incentive, more homeowners will be encouraged to rehabilitate historic homes - and to do so in an historically appropriate way.
This is a good bill for St. Louis.