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No talk of new homebuyer tax credit: Obama's housing adviser

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. officials are not discussing renewal of a popular homebuyer tax credit that expired in April, U.S. President Barack Obama’s top housing adviser said on Wednesday.

“It is not high on anyone’s list that we have heard. We have not heard Congress talking about renewing it,” Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said in response to a reporter’s question about a possible tax credit renewal.

Donovan on Sunday fueled speculation the administration might push for an extension when he told CNN it was too early to make a decision about renewing the tax credit. Congress would have to approve any renewal.

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes took a record plunge in July to their slowest pace in 15 years, underlining the housing market’s struggle to find its footing without government aid.

Donovan on Wednesday also clarified remarks that the administration would be stepping up its efforts to combat foreclosures.

“There is $1 billion for HUD in the Wall Street reform bill, and so again, that was not new news. That was that we will be rolling that program out which was funded in the legislation,” Donovan said.

He also said the administration in the next few weeks would implement the expansion of a previously announced Federal Housing Administration program to help borrowers who owe more than their home is worth refinance their homes.

“It is something that we have talked about before, so it wasn’t any new program,” Donovan said.

Reporting by Corbett B. Daly; Editing by Andrew Hay

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