Senate votes to renew tax credit for first-time home buyers
The Senate voted Wednesday to renew the government's $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers through the first six months of next year as part of a broader bill designed to extend unemployment benefits.
For the first time, the tax credit program would also enable many homeowners who buy a new primary residence to receive a $6,500 refund.
The bill, which passed 98 to 0, should reach the House floor by Thursday, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement. His office said the legislation would then go to the White House for the president's signature.
The Obama administration has previously supported extending the $8,000 tax credit, and without congressional action the program would end Nov. 30.
Under the bill, first-time home buyers would receive the $8,000 tax credit if they sign a contract by April 30 and close on it by June 30. The plan would also make those who buy a new primary residence eligible for the $6,500 credit if they owned their current home for at least five consecutive years in the previous eight years.
In the Senate's measure, taxpayers would be able to claim the credit on their 2009 income tax return for purchases made in 2010.