NEW TAX LEGISLATION WILL IMPACT HOMEOWNER DEDUCTIONS
The “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” passed at the end of 2017 nearly doubles the standard deduction, so far fewer Americans are expected to itemize this year. For those who do, however, it could mean less homeowner deductions are available than in the past.
Previously, homeowners could deduct interest paid on the first $1 million of mortgage debt, but that threshold has been lowered to $750,000 for new mortgages. (Existing mortgages will not be impacted.)
Additionally, taxpayers will no longer be able to fully deduct state and local property taxes plus income or sales taxes. The new legislation restricts this deduction to $10,000. It also eliminates the deduction for moving expenses (except for members of the Armed Forces) and interest on home equity loans unless the proceeds are used to substantially improve the residence.10
It’s yet to be seen how the tax bill will impact the real estate market overall. While some economists predict a price reduction in certain markets, Republican lawmakers project the bill will increase take-home pay and stimulate the economy overall. According to Realtor.com Senior Economist Joseph Kirchner, “Some house hunters—particularly wealthy buyers—will see an increase in after-tax income, making an already tough housing market even more competitive. This increased demand could drive prices up even higher than they are already.”11
What does it mean for you? If you’re an existing homeowner, be sure to consult a tax professional if you’re concerned about the impact the new tax bill could have on you.
And if you’re planning to buy or sell this year, we can help you determine how the tax bill could affect demand in your current or target neighborhood and price range.
INTEREST RATES WILL RISE
No one knows exactly what will happen with mortgage rates this year, but the Mortgage Bankers Association anticipates the Federal Reserve will raise rates three times in 2018, with Freddie Mac’s 30-year fixed rate mortgage reaching 4.8 percent by the end of Q4, up from around 4 percent at the end of 2017.12
Kiplinger.com Economist David Payne also predicts interests rates will rise this year, with short-term rates outpacing long-term rates as the Fed aims to curb inflation in a tightening job market. He predicts the bank prime rate that home equity loans are based on will increase from 4.25 percent to 5 percent by the end of 2018. 13
What does it mean for you? If you’re in the market to buy, act now. Rising interest rates will decrease your purchasing power, so act quickly before interest rates go up. Give me a call today at (661) 979-9000 to get your home search started, or email me at Sonja@sonjabush.com.
And if you’re a current homeowner who is considering refinancing or a home equity loan, don’t wait. I can help you estimate your property’s fair market value so you’ll be prepared before contacting a lender.