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SALT LAKE CITY - Utah home buyers now have a second chance to hit a "Home Run" with the extension of a successful grant program designed to stimulate job creation and Utah's economy.

Today, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert announced the second phase of the Home Run program, which will allow up to 2,000 Utahns to receive $4,000 toward the purchase of a newly constructed home.

"The infusion of this money into the housing market will allow us to leverage our federal stimulus funds to give us the greatest return on investment and promote economic development in the State," Governor Herbert said.

"The 'ripple effect' of this program could help us see, through this $8 million investment, nearly 9,000 jobs saved or created, plus some $25 million in income and sales taxes returned to the State as a result of increased economic activity."

The successful first phase of the Home Run program resulted in the award of 1,652 grants of $6,000 in less than 12 weeks earlier this year. That $10 million program helped leverage $376 million in sales of new homes, according to an analysis by the University of Utah's Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

The more modest grant amount in the second phase will allow even more home buyers to participate in the Home Run program and realize the American dream of home ownership, particularly in the category of more affordable homes.

Increased home sales will allow thousands of Utahns to go back to work in the construction industry. The initial Home Run program helped eliminate existing inventory on the market, while this second phase will spur the start of new projects.

The increase in construction activity will have a multiplier effect on all other sectors of the state's economy.

"We know from experience that the creation of new homes does more than just benefit developers and contractors. It revitalizes broad sectors of the economy, from painters and plumbers and electricians to decorators and furniture shops and specialty stores," Governor Herbert said. "Programs like Home Run are the best use of our economic stimulus dollars because they put people back to work."

The limited Home Run 2 program is designed to work in conjunction with the $8,000 Federal Tax Credit for first-time home buyers to allow even more Utahns to get into a new home this fall. Both programs expire on Dec. 1, 2009.

Home Run 2 will be administered by the Utah Housing Corporation. Eligible home buyers' income may not exceed $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples, and applicants need not be first-time home buyers to qualify.

For more information, visit www.utahhousingcorp.org.

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