The Senate voted today to pass an extension of the first-time homebuyer tax credit until April 2010. In all, 98 Senators voted in favor of H.R. 3548, with zero votes against (two Senators did not vote). H.R. 3548 is a bill is primarily purposed with extending unemployment benefits. The bill is currently amended to include the extension of an $8,000 tax credit for those buying their first homes as well as an $6,500 tax credit for some borrowers buying a home for a second time. The move comes as no surprise, as HousingWire reported last week. The bill now requires President Obama’s signature into law. Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of leading U.S. companies, with nearly $6trn in annual revenues and more than 12m employees, commended the vote in a statement. “This critical program has already enabled hundreds of thousands of Americans to become first-time homebuyers,” they report. “Encouraging additional home purchases will create a cascade effect, not only boosting the housing sector, but also creating jobs and hastening broad recovery of the U.S. economy – more than 20 percent of which is tied to residential real estate and housing-related industries.” Passed as an amendment, the tax credit can still be removed from the final wording of the bill, if placed under further review. However given recent lobbying efforts in the industry and a feeling of presidential support, this remains unlikely. Write to Jacob Gaffney.

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