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Real estate pushes stimulus wish list

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With President-elect Obama calling for Congress to stimulate the economy by passing the biggest public works bill in 50 years -- and the Bush administration signaling likely agreement on a bailout for automakers -- the real estate industry remains determined to get its own slice of the government assistance pie. The National Association of Home Builders and about 100 other groups representing builders and manufacturers have formed a coalition, Fix Housing First, that's put together a list of demands from Congress including more generous tax breaks for home buyers. Also, real estate broker Lennox Scott of John L. Scott Real Estate has co-authored a housing stimulus position paper that calls for, among other things, ditching the $625,000 loan limits going into effect Jan. 1 for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Housing Administration loan guarantee programs. Scott says the programs should be able to fund loans all the way up to 125 percent of the median home price, whatev...