It’s been a busy few months for local realtors, who say they’re finally seeing signs of life in the region’s housing market. One of the groups that’s helping to boost sales is first-time homebuyers, thanks to the tax credit they receive.”We paid off back debt to free up more toward our mortgage, so it was really handy. It gave us a little more money to make upgrades to the house,” says Jennie Cates. She and her fiance, Jean-Paul Dugre, decided to buy this house in October, thanks in part to their first-time homebuyer credit of 75-hundred dollars.Jon Dawson of ERA Dawson says low prices, low interest rates and the first-time homebuyer credit are leading to more sales.”We really saw those signs showing showing up in March or April of this year,” Dawson says. For the month of May, home sales in our area went up more than 25 percent over last year. Pending sales increased about 11 percent.”This is really the beginning of the recovery that everybody’s been looking for. I can’t stress enough the importance of housing to lead a recovery, whether it’s local or national, because it means job preservation, it means strength and vitality to the economy,” Dawson says.Robert Norris of Prudential Northeast Properties says they’re seeing more sales now than they have in years.”I believe we’re going to see improvement month over month certainly for some time,” Norris says.And he says a new credit the Maine State Housing Authority is rolling out this week could help the trend continue.”When you add all those little pieces together, all of a sudden we see people coming out, looking at houses and signing contracts,” he says.”It’s really comforting to know it’s your own home,” Cates says.