The House voted to extend Wednesday’s closing deadline for home buyers so they can get up to $8,000 in tax credits.  The vote was 409 to 5, with 18 not voting.

The new bill, the Home Buyers Assistance Act of 2010, push the deadline to midnight Sept. 30 for contracts that were signed by midnight April 30.  The measure now goes to the Senate, where the Democrat-controlled chamber had attached a proposed extension to two versions of the jobs and economic stimulus bill, which failed twice this month due to the lack of Republican support.

An aide to Frank M. Kratovil Jr. (D-Md.), one of the three main sponsors to the bill, said the measure has widespread support, including from House leaders. “Congressman Kratovil has been somebody who’s been pushing to make sure that this tax credit stay live for as many people who want to take advantage of it as possible,” said spokesman Kevin Lawlor.

The National Association of Realtors, which has been lobbying congressional leaders for an extension, expected the House to push the approved bill to the Senate tonight or tomorrow.  The group estimated that up to 180,000 people would bust the existing deadline – including almost 9,200 in New York state – leaving behind up to $8,000 in tax credits each.

Relatively speaking, it’s simple bill, and a spokesman for the trade group said the proposal might not even have to go to the usual step of a House-Senate conference, which negotiates compromises over differences in bill versions.

“They won’t even have to do that if they leave it alone, just say ‘Yea,’ ” spokesman Lucien Salvant said.

“We are cautiously optimistic. We think this has a good chance, but I don’t want to build up too many hopes,” he said with a laugh, “because anything can happen in the hallway between the House and Senate.”

Even with an extension, some home closing deals might fall apart. Some contracts say the deals must close by the end of June 30. That gives sellers a chance to walk away. 


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