The federal government extended and expanded the $8,00.00  first-time home buyer tax credit on Nov. 6 through mid-2010.  A $6,500 tax credit for existing homeowners, who must have used the home as a principal residence for five consecutive years out of the previous eight.

The homebuyer tax credit extension is making realtors happy and also helping the housing market to recover.  The tax credit can be used on foreclosed and short sales as long as the house will be the buyer's primary residence.  The other changes include: 

Effective Dec. 1, income limits eligible for the credit have risen from $75,000 for a single person to $125,000, and from $150,000 for a married couple to $225,000.

An extension of the credit deadline until April 30 for a signed contract and a closing date no later than July 1.

A cap on the cost of a home, which previously had no limit, to $800,000.

2 million buyers have taken advantage of the tax credit in 2009.  The tax credit is part of the $787 billion federal stimulus package and has contributed $22 billion to the general economy.