If it were possible to bet on whether the squabbling and partisanship in Washington will persist, I know where the safe money would be.
Given that it is basically impossible to describe the political climate without mentioning the constant bickering of our leaders and their inability to find agreement on almost every topic imaginable, does anyone believe they will actually be able to get this done?
Furthermore, it should be almost common knowledge that any attack on homeownership deductions is an exercise in futility. Regardless of party lines or political affiliations, keeping intact the section of the tax code that protects home ownership deductions is an idea everyone can get behind.
This is at least partially why the proposed tax reform is just that - a proposal. It is unlikely to pass in its current form, partly because of fierce opposition from powerful groups dedicated to protecting homeownership, such as the National Association of Realtors, National Association of Home Builders and the Mortgage Bankers Association. But it is still worthwhile to mention some of the bill’s key points.
One of the biggest issues these groups had with the House tax reform bill was it proposed moving the cap for mortgage interest deductions from $1 million to $500,000 for new home sales only. Existing purchases are grandfathered.
In the Senate version just recently released, however, it appears that the cap will remain at its current level of $1 million. This could be due to the negative response to the proposed change from constituents and industry groups dedicated to homeownership.
In a market such as Wilmington, capping the mortgage interest deduction on the sale of a new home priced at $500,000 or less may not seem like an attack on the middle class. In other markets - where it is barely possible to get an entry level home for that amount - the concern about the tax reform creating a negative impact on the middle class is extremely well-founded.
The reform is being characterized as taking the incentive out of homeownership, as it also places new restrictions on the capital gains tax exemption that protects homeowners from having to pay when selling a principal residence. The idea that homeownership is one of the best, most-effective, tried-and-true methods for building wealth is a widely accepted notion.
Remember the American dream of homeownership?
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the level of homeownership in our country is at a 50-year low. The fact that NAR’s findings, released from a study earlier this year, show the House roadmap to reform would result in a 10 percent decrease in home values and an $815 increase in middle-class homeowners’ tax liabilities that would only exacerbate the problem.
Regardless of your level of cynicism concerning our leadership, and whether you are an elephant, donkey or something in between, it’s always worthwhile to stay informed, speak out and ensure your representatives know where you stand.
To find out about your options and capitalize on the incredible wealth-building power of real estate, give me a call at the number below.
Patrick Stoy (NMLS Numbers 39527 and 39166) has 18 years of mortgage lending experience. Patrick is CEO of Wilmington-based Market Consulting Mortgage, which he started in 2005 with a mission to build lifelong customer relationships by providing real value. To learn more about Marketing Consulting Mortgage, visit www.macmtg.com. Patrick can be reached at [email protected] or 910-509-7105.
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