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Real Estate Industry News: Tax Reform Plan Affects Housing

Housing experts point out the irrelevancy of mortgage deduction risks due to a tax reform plan that encourages homeowners to take a standard deduction instead of itemizing. At the same time, landlords and investment property owners continue to receive a property tax and mortgage interest deduction.

If predictions come true that more people will rent instead of buying a home, it’s a better time than ever to buy an investment property. The latest real estate industry news points out the mortgage interest deduction has often spurred home buying, particularly with people who reduce their tax liability by itemizing deductions. According to an article by therealdeal.com, homes throughout the United States are selling at the fastest clip in the last three decades.

However, the latest tax reform measures would likely shake up the housing market.

Reducing the inventory of homes

The inventory of homes is already at a low, but tax reform will likely cause an even greater inventory crisis. Experts point out the new tax rules would say people don’t have to pay capital gains on home sales if they’ve resided in a home for 5 of the last 8 years. A person may only sell once every five years in order to reap the capital gains exclusion.

Currently, homeowners simply need to live in a home 2 years in the past 5 year period immediately preceding the sale. Home flippers who waited the full 2 years will have to come up with a new plan for overcoming the capital gains taxes.

Catering to the rental market

While wealthy people grabbed a lot of the inexpensive homes for sale during the housing decline, a number of everyday investors got into the landlord business in recent years. People who own rental properties continue to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes as part of their expenses. Landlords that provide their tenants with utilities also deduct electric, water, and other utilities.

With tax reform protecting landlords, it’s a great time to hunt for an investment property. Some of the most lucrative rentals are starter homes with three or four bedrooms, at least two bathrooms, and between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet of living space. When buying a rental, look for fenced backyards and laundry rooms.

While tax reform will likely impact the housing market, experts point out that it’s still better to own than to rent. Homeowners continue to build equity which creates greater wealth. Although most middle-class people will take the standard deduction instead of itemizing, tax reform is not likely to derail the American dream of home-ownership.

At Sunbelt Real Estate, we show aspiring homeowners the steps on the “housing ladder” so they can build wealth. For more of the latest real estate industry news, please contact us.

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