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How About Half of $15,000?

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Here's your morning stimulus bill check: According to the New York Times, lawmakers are now favoring the House's tax credit proposal rather than the Senate's suggested $15,000 tax incentive for home buyers. News reports indicate the tax credit would be around $7,500 or $8,000 and the incentive would be limited to first-time home buyers within certain income brackets. According to the Wall Street Journal, the restrictions "phase out at $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples. Eliminating repayment provisions would cost the government between $2 and $3 billion, while the larger $15,000 credit would cost an additional $35.5 billion." The Journal notes that while trimming back the housing incentive wouldn't impact the bill's chances of passage, the smaller housing credit will likely disappoint real estate professionals who had been hoping the $15,000 would sway so-called fence sitters ie people waiting to buy. [NYT/WSJ]