Tax Reform & Housing: A Reference Guide

Disclaimer: This guide is not meant to be a resource for tax advice but instead a resource for basic information concerning only certain aspects of the new tax code and how they may impact the real estate market. You should get tax advice from your accountant or tax preparer who will explain how the entire tax code will affect your personal return.

This information comes immediately after the new tax code became law. Some of the information may be revised as the analysis of the new law evolves.

When the tax code was originally being overhauled by the House and the Senate, there were three major proposals being considered that would have substantially impacted the residential real estate market:

  • Changing the requirements for the exclusion of gain on the sale of a principal residence
  • The reduction on the limit of the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID)
  • The elimination of the State and Local Tax deduction (SALT) which includes property taxes

Let’s look how the tax code has evolved from the original proposal, and decipher what impact experts believe it may have on the housing market.

1. Exclusion of gain on sale of a principal residence

Original Proposal: Owners would need to live in their house for at least 5 out of the last 8 years to claim this exemption. Under the former tax framework, a typical owner, who has lived in their house for at least 2 years out of the last 5 years, would pay nothing in capital gain taxes if they sell the house.

The New Tax Code: No change. The “at least 2 years out of the last 5 years” requirement is unchanged.

Impact on the Market: None.

2. Mortgage Interest Deduction

Original Proposal: Reduce the limit on the mortgage interest deduction (MID) amount from $1,000,000 to $500,000.

The New Tax Code: Reduces limit on deductible mortgage debt to $750,000 for new loans taken out after 12/14/17. Current loans up to $1 million are grandfathered.

Impact on the Market: Assuming a 20% down payment, this reduction in the MID will impact buyers that are purchasing a home between the prices of $938,000 and $1,250,000. Any home under the lower price is still covered and any home over the higher price was not covered under the former tax code either.

What does that mean to the market? Experts disagree. Calculated Risk’s Bill McBride:

“I think the impact of reducing the MID from a maximum of $1 million in mortgage debt to $750 thousand in mortgage debt will have very little impact on the housing market.”

On the other hand, Capital Economics claims:

“The impact on expensive homes could be detrimental, with a limit on the mortgage interest deduction raising taxes for those that itemize.”

3. State and Local Taxes (SALT)

Original Proposal: The elimination of the state and local tax deduction (which includes property taxes).

The New Tax Code: Allows an itemized deduction of up to $10,000 for the total of state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes.

Impact on the Market: Most experts agree that higher taxed regions will be impacted as homeowners in those communities now have a cap on these deductions.

Calculated Risk’s Bill McBride stated:

“SALT will have an impact on housing in some areas. Some people might choose to live in one state over another (if they have a choice), based on taxation. This could impact demand in certain states – especially for the middle and upper-middle class homeowners.”

Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics said:

“The impact on house prices is much greater for higher-priced homes, especially in parts of the country where incomes are higher and there are thus a disproportionate number of itemizers, and where homeowners have big mortgages and property tax bills.”

What will be the overall impact on the housing market?

For most of the country, the new tax code will not have a negative impact on the market. As Capital Economics reports:

“Given most households will see an overall tax cut, and potential buyers are likely to put that saving towards their home, we doubt it will have a significant detrimental impact on the housing market.”

There is also no doubt that some higher priced, higher taxed regions will be affected more than others. However, most experts agree that other portions of the tax code will favor the high-end buyer and seller, and this might mitigate many concerns. McBride explains:

“The corporate tax cuts (and other tax cuts) will mostly benefit the wealthy, and this will be a positive for high end real estate.”

What does this all mean to you?

To know for sure, you should sit with your accountant or financial planner and explore how all the aspects of the new code will impact your family.

Most families consider homeownership an essential part of the American Dream, and don’t purchase a home based solely on the tax advantages. The main reasons they buy a home are personal (they just got married, they are looking for a good place to raise children, they want to be near friends and family, they want to better enjoy their retirement, etc.). This will never change.

Looking at the new tax code, Mr. McBride’s opinion makes the most sense:

“There will be some negative impact based on SALT, but overall the impact of these policy changes on housing will be minimal.”cropped-closing-table-1200x6751.jpg

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Here’s WHY You Should BUY

Real Estate Mogul: Here’s Why You Should Buy | MyKCM

Real Estate mogul, Sean Conlon, host of The Deed: Chicago on CNBC, was recently asked the question, should you buy? Or should you rent a house?

 

Conlon responded:

“I am a true believer that you save every penny and you buy your first house… and that is still the fastest path to wealth in this country.”

Conlon went on to suggest that first-time buyers put down 10-20% “if they can make it work,” and to remain in their home at least 4-5 years to see a return on their investment.

Who is Sean Conlon, and why should you listen to his advice?

Within a few years of working in the real estate industry, Conlon had established himself as one of the leading agents in the United States and has founded 3 billion-dollar brokerages dealing in residential, commercial and investment sales. Since immigrating to America from the United Kingdom in 1990, he believes very strongly in the American Dream and the role that homeownership plays in achieving it. Conlon is quoted on his website as saying:

“I treat people the way I would like to be treated if I went in to buy a house and I work harder than anybody I know. I think if you do that in America, you will always succeed.”

Bottom Line

Homeownership is an investment you can leverage against in the future that not only provides shelter and safety but also helps you build your family’s wealth. If you are debating whether or not to purchase a home this year, let’s get together to discuss the opportunities available in today’s market!

Fall, Thanksgiving, Remodeling Tips!

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2016 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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Tax Credits- You don’t want to miss this one!

Tax Credit Rewards Homeowners Who Make Home Energy Improvements

If you installed energy-efficient home improvements in 2014, you may be eligible for a $500 tax credit. Among the home improvements that might qualify for the tax credit:

  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Insulation
  • HVAC systems
  • Water Heaters
  • Roofs
  • Skylights
  • Biomass stoves

Tax credits are valuable because they offset the tax you owe, dollar for dollar. For example, if you owed $10,000 in taxes, a $500 tax credit would reduce what you owe to $9,500.

The Residential Energy Tax Credit had expired at the end of 2013, but just last week, Congress renewed it through 2014. That means you may be able to claim the tax credit when you file your 2014 federal taxes. Congress did not extend the tax credit through 2015.

Warning: It may take a while for the IRS to update its website with information about the renewal, and to post a 2014 version of Form 5695, which you’ll use to claim the credit.

Check the Energy Star website to see if the specific energy-efficiency home improvements you made qualify for the credit. Give that site a few weeks to get updated with the latest information, as well.

The Fine Print

In general, you’ll get a 10 percent tax credit for installing energy-efficiency improvements. But, your tax credit is capped for some items. For example, you can’t claim more than $200 for windows, and a new air conditioner will earn you no more than a $300 tax credit.

There’s also a lifetime cap of $500, so if you took the tax credit in prior years, you have to subtract the credit you claimed from $500. For example, if you took $400 in 2013, you can only take the remaining $100 in 2014.

The cost to install your energy-efficiency improvements may, or may not, be included. For example, window installation is included, but insulation installation is not.

This tax credit applies only to your main principal residence.

This is great news for home owners. Check with your accountant to see if your improvements qualify.

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