The first-time homebuyer tax credit that was introduced as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 authorizes a tax credit of up to $8,000 for qualified new purchasers buying a principal residence on or after Jan. 1 and before Dec. 1, 2009.

Designed to spur consumer spending and reignite residential mortgage lending activity, the tax credit has fallen a bit short of industry expectations.

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