The mellowcat is wading into the debate about extending the first-time homebuyer tax credit, which is now set to expire on December 1.  Lots of people are now taking advantage of this $8000 giveaway, and there are some who say the tax credit should be extended, and the credit amount should be increased.  Realtors and others in the home-selling trade argue that the tax credit has helped turn around the housing market, and that as a result home prices are stabilizing, or even increasing.  Probably by about $8000.  Now, mellowcat watches enough HGTV “my first place” episodes to know that people are still buying homes with little to nothing left in savings after making that purchase, so the eight grand would come in handy.  But it’s not like you get a check for it right away – it’s a credit to your 2009 income tax, so you’d have to wait for a refund in 2010 (or a reduced tax bill, if you owe more than the credit).  The IRS lets you adjust your withholding in anticipation of getting the credit, but that’s not quite the same as getting the full amount handed to you so that you can cover your closing costs or buy living room furniture.  Mellowcat is confused; how is this helping people purchase their first homes?

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