8000-tax-creditCongress late Wednesday night extended the deadline by three months of a popular home-buyer tax credit that has helped fuel the real estate market in recent months.

The extension is only for those buyers who signed a purchase contract by April 30 and need extra time to close their deals. The deadline to close was Wednesday and the extension will push that deadline to Sept. 30. The incentive offers up to $8,000 for certain buyers.

Real estate brokerage offices and mortgage lenders have been backlogged with the number of people trying to close their deals by the Wednesday deadline, according to the National Assn. of Realtors, a group that lobbied heavily for the extension. The group estimated that the extra time would assist some 180,000 people nationally and 17,700 Californians who qualify for the credit but did not appear as if they would meet the Wednesday deadline to close their deals.

The President is expected to sign the bill soon.