Key lawmakers in the Senate have tentatively agreed to extend the existing $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers and also offer a new $6,500 credit for existing homeowners who have lived in their current residence for a consecutive five-year period in the past eight years. There are some income limitations, but they're more lenient than the original restrictions: individuals making $125,000 a year or married couples making $225,000 a year will not be eligible.
For home buyers, this is good news since many more will now qualify, however the program has received mixed reviews, especially for the projected costs. It will cost roughly $10.8 billion. That's a hefty sum to add to the current housing credit, which will have cost taxpayers about $8.5 billion by the time it expires Nov. 30.