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Senate votes to extend home tax credit deadline

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate voted on Wednesday to give homebuyers another three months to settle on their contracts and take advantage of a popular tax credit that sparked a rush of activity in the housing market.

The Senate, with a vote of 60-37, accepted an amendment by Democratic Leader Harry Reid that extends the closing deadline to September 30 for buyers who met the April 30 deadline to have a signed contract.

The current deadline requires buyers to close by June 30 to get the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers. Existing homeowners buying a new primary residence are eligible for a $6,500 credit.

Reid offered the measure as an amendment to a bill that would extend some popular business tax breaks and extend unemployment insurance benefits for jobless workers.

The proposal would not have a significant impact on future home sales as the extension would be only for home buyers who already had a contract in hand by April 30.

The popularity of the tax credit has caused some anxiety because settlement offices are inundated with buyers trying to close on transactions by the end of this month to get the tax break.

(Reporting by Donna Smith; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

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