Maybe, but I doubt it. A couple of reasons:
First, the $8,000 tax credit was designed to increase purchasing activity in starter/lower-priced homes. And to support that end of the market. In many areas, that end of the market is now red-hot. There are still many depressed areas, and the market for more expensive homes is still soft. But in some areas--such as Northern Virginia--lower-priced starter homes are being snatched up for full price in just a few days. So, the question is: When Congress considers whether to extend the tax credit, will there be enough of a broad-based need to generate the votes required to pass the bill? Maybe, but . . .
Second, there's rapidly growing concern over the size of the U.S. budget deficit. With all the stimulus packages, the bail-out bills, initiatives such as health care reform, etc., it's becoming more and more difficult to pass legislation that adds to the budget deficit. So, if low-end housing isn't an urgent, pressing issue in the fall, I expect that Congress will be reluctant to extend the credit.
And finally there are plenty of houses for first-time buyers to buy. Why focus on short sales? In fact, of all the different ways to go (regular purchases, REOs, and short sales), short sales are the most tricky, difficult, unpredictable, and time-consuming. If I were in Congress, I wouldn't take that into account. I'd say: The buyers have had a whole year to buy. They can buy all sorts of properties. And even if they're interested in short sales, those usually take a few months. If a first-time buyer had wanted to buy, there was ample opportunity. Jumping in relatively late in the cycle and trying to close a deal on a short sale was a decision the buyer made. We gave them a chance.
Look: If you want to buy, then buy. Assume that the tax credit won't be extended.
Hope that helps.