Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a new bill this week that would extend the $10,000 homebuyer tax credit to Californians. The state legislature on March 22 passed assembly bill (AB) 183, which gives the Franchise Tax Board authority to extend $200m in tax credits to homebuyers in the Golden State. Buyers of new, unoccupied homes are allocated $100m in credits, and first-time homebuyers of existing homes get another $100m. The credit is extended from May 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2010. The credit is available to buyers on a first-come, first-serve basis, and it’s applied in equal amounts over a three-year period. According to the governor’s office, the initial $100m tax credit approved in February 2009 lasted just four months. According to the real estate data provider, MDA DataQuick, sales in Southern California increased 0.8% in February 2010 from the year before. The median sales price in the area also increased 10% during the same time to $275,000. The economy in California has fallen to the point that the US government allocated $700m to the California Housing Finance Agency to develop workout programs for the unemployed and underwater borrowers. The California foreclosure rate had the third-highest increase in February when 11.9% more homes received a filing, according to ForeclosureListings.com. Only Texas and Michigan saw higher increases. Write to Jon Prior.