Government Tax Credit Sparks Last Minute Home Sales

POSTED: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 5:46pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 6:16pm

EL PASO, Texas -- First time home buyers in El Paso are scrambling to take advantage of the government's $8,000 tax credit before the offer expires on Friday.

Realtors say they've seen an increase locally in home sales over the last few weeks because of the program.

In March, 519 homes were sold in El Paso, compared to 470 homes the same time last year.

Doug Hamilton, president of the the Greater El Paso Association of Realtors says the program is helping people who normally wouldn't be able to afford a new home, get one.

"It's just a wonderful program for so many people," said Hamilton.

But time is running out.

First time home buyers must sign a contract by the end of this week and complete the transaction by June to qualify for the tax deal.

Hamilton says home sellers and builders are already coming up with their own deals to avoid a sales slump once the government's deal ends this Friday.

"They can help ease the gap here by giving a similar incentive or closing cost or varying ways like that," he said.

The first time home buyer tax credit program was set to end last November but was extended to the end of this month.

Current homeowners can also get a $6,500 credit if the buy a second home.

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