House votes to extend home buyer tax credit

WASHINGTON — Home buyers would get an extra three months to complete their purchases and qualify for a generous tax credit under a bill overwhelmingly passed by the House on Tuesday.

Under current law, home buyers who signed purchase agreements by April 30 have until today to close on the sale to qualify for tax credits of up to $8,000. The bill would give buyers until Sept. 30 to complete their purchases.

The extended deadline only applies to people who signed purchase agreements by April 30. The National Association of Realtors estimates about 180,000 home buyers who already signed purchase agreements are likely to miss today's deadline. "We owe this to the people who have essentially followed the rules who are caught by a closing date," said Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

The bill passed, 409-5. It now goes to the Senate, where senators were working Tuesday on a bill that would extend the tax credit and jobless benefits.

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