House hunting usually slows down this time of year, as people put their searches on hold during the holidays. This winter could be different, however, thanks to the extension -- and expansion -- of the first-time home-buyer tax credit.

"We're going to see far more interest in the fourth quarter than we generally do because of the tax credit," says Heather Fernandez, vice president of Trulia.com, a real-estate search engine. Traffic surged on the site on Nov. 5, the day Congress approved the credit extension, she says.

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