Last month, the Trump Administration announced a new tax plan, dubbing it the “biggest tax cuts in history.” The question is, will it hurt or help the housing market?
As it sits now, the new tax proposal may not be the best thing for homebuyers, sellers, or owners, according to real estate professionals. Why? Well, in a nutshell, it will put many of the financial advantages of buying a home at risk. Let’s take a look at what we know so far.
The most notable part of Trump’s tax plan is the raising of the standard deduction, from $12,700 to $24,000. While it doesn’t do away with the mortgage-interest tax deduction, it could limit the share of buyers eligible to even claim it. Or in other words, doubling the standard deduction may put more money into homeowners’ pockets, but it also may make the mortgage interest deduction a lot less valuable and possibly reduce housing demand, leading to lower-value homes.
Also on the chopping block are state and local tax deductions, which could potentially hurt homeowners in the country’s most expensive states most, since they wouldn’t be able to write off property tax payments from federal taxes. This could cost them hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Young, first-time homebuyers—a vital part of today’s housing market—are affected most by the raising of the standard deduction. It basically risks leaving them out in the cold due to the size of the loan they’ll need to take out to claim the mortgage interest deduction. In a nutshell: it pushes the dream of buying a home further out of reach.
The financial advantage of buying over renting would be greatly reduced. Homebuyers with incomes in the $68,540 to $129,422 range buying a home priced $358,000 to $676,000 and obtaining a mortgage from $322,200 to $608,400 will be affected the most. And the number of household earners able to itemize their mortgage interest will fall from 43% to 17%. Although the tax proposal keeps the mortgage interest deduction alive, by raising the standard deduction and eliminating the state and local tax deductions, it may cancel out some of the tax benefits of owning a home.
The Bigger Picture
So, will the Trump administration’s tax proposal hurt or help the housing market? As with most things in life, it depends. It’s not entirely black and white.
On one hand, the loss of the MITD may be made up for by the larger standard deduction increase. Potentially, this could put more money in a homeowner’s pocket at the conclusion of the year. On the other hand, the tax benefits may erode for some and it may be more difficult for first-time buyers to make a purchase.
But, keep in mind, these are still just proposed tax reforms. They still need to make it through Congress, which means none of these plans are completely guaranteed.