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First-time buyers crucial to recovery

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Editor's Note: Inman News is pleased to introduce "House Keys," a new weekly column about homeownership by veteran real estate writer Marcie Geffner. "House Keys" offers a fresh look at today's changing images and perceptions of homeownership through current news events and personal stories. For information about publishing this column on your Web site or in print, contact Elaine Baker: (510) 658-9252 ext. 128. Can first-time homebuyers save the U.S. economy? Plenty of politicians, pundits and prominent economists believe so. In fact, new homebuyers are so crucial to a recovery that the federal government has anted up an $8,000 tax credit for those who haven't owned a home in the previous three years, and the state of California has added on a whopping $10,000 tax credit for residents who buy a brand-new home in the state this year. Last year, first-time homebuyers accounted for about 40 percent of the homes sold in the U.S., according to the National As...