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Tax Credit Could Rise

By Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY
Lawmakers and businesses are calling for expansion of a tax credit for first-time home buyers that has helped spark home sales in an otherwise dismal real estate market.

With the tax credit scheduled to expire in fall, some business groups say the amount of the credit, now capped at $8,000, should be raised to $15,000 and applied to anyone who buys a home.

First-time buyers make up a hefty 40% of home purchases, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which is about 5 percentage points higher than the historical average.

The credit, introduced in July 2008, was expanded in February as part of the economic stimulus package. The proposals may face headwinds amid growing public criticism of government spending to rescue the economy and the widening budget deficit.

Some economists say a tax benefit is vital to spur home buying and help stabilize prices. Read More