The National Association of Realtors (NAR) today called for expansion of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit to include all home buyers at all income levels. The push for a broadened tax credit comes after US Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary Shaun Donovan announced home buyers pursuing Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages may soon use the tax credit as a down payment at the closing table. An expanded tax credit, combined with HUD's initiative to make the credit available at the closing table for down payment purposes -- called 'monetization' of the tax credit in the industry -- would make federal assistance available to anyone pursuing a government-insured mortgage. NAR, from its legislative summit this week, also urged Congress to make the '08 loan limit increase formula and loan limit caps permanent, and to "fortify" mortgage giants Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) to ensure the continued availability of capital for mortgage lenders. "Housing is the engine of economic growth, and real estate is the road to economic recovery," says Charles McMillan, NAR president and Dallas-based broker, in a statement today. "With many of the country's current problems resting on a wobbly foundation of declining home prices, rampant foreclosures and increasing job loss, our members will be asking Congress to pass further legislation that moves the housing market forward." Write to Diana Golobay. Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments.