The Sun found that more than 700 recipients of the homeowners' credit purchased their city homes within the last five years. The list includes young professionals whose parents helped them buy homes for $300,000 or more. Though the credit applies only to taxes on the first $300,000 of value, the program is open to homeowners with more valuable properties.

Some state legislators questioned whether the rules should be tightened.

"There's certainly nothing wrong with bringing young professionals into Baltimore City — it's a good thing," said state Sen. Richard F. Colburn, an Eastern Shore Republican. "But if, say, because of parental help they're able to purchase a very expensive home, there should be some limitation. … If the parents are helping them buy the home, then they can help them with the property taxes, too. You have to afford what you buy."

Clarke, noting that Rawlings-Blake hopes to attract 10,000 new families to the city over the next 10 years, is more enthusiastic about the idea of medical residents and others with temporarily modest incomes buying in Baltimore and getting the homeowners' credit for a while.

"If it's attracting people to come here and buy here, that's what we want," she said.

jhopkins@baltsun.com

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For more information

To find out if you qualify for the Homeowners' Property Tax Credit, go to http://www.dat.state.md.us/sdatweb/htc.html or call 410-767-4433.

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