Whether it's a good idea or a bad one is a matter of perspective. It's a tax credit related to a mortgage, and it can put up to $8,000 into the pocket of first-time home buyers.
A quick look at housing start permits reveals the sad state of the residential construction industry. In January 2006, approximately 152,600 permits were issued for new-home construction. In January 2007, just 114,100 permits were issued. In January 2008, it was a mere 77,400. That's a 50 percent drop in two years.
According to www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com, "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 authorizes a tax credit of up to $8,000 for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009, and before December 1, 2009."