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Congress extends homebuyer credit

Obama expected to sign bill

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President Obama is expected to sign a bill passed by Congress today extending and expanding the first-time homebuyer tax credit to homes under contract before May 1.The credit, equal to 10 percent of a home's purchase price, remains capped at $8,000 for first-time homebuyers, but income limits have been raised. Congress also approved an expansion of the credit to allow homeowners who have been in a principal residence for at least five of the last eight years to claim a tax credit of up to $6,500 if they sell that home and buy another.That will provide an incentive not only for entry level, but move-up buyers -- a goal supported by real estate industry groups.An extension of the existing tax credit -- currently set to expire at the end of the month -- was controversial, as it will cost an estimated $10.8 billion over 10 years. Critics said most of those who have claimed it would have bought a home anyway.Earlier this year, former real estate broker Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., introduce...