At the end of April, the Trump Administration unveiled its much anticipated proposed tax reform plan. According to new analysis of the plan by the listing site Trulia, it could have very mixed results for both current and potential homebuyers, and possibly jeopardize some of the advantages of buying a home over renting in New York City.
Partnering with Prashant Gopal and Joe Light from the news organization Bloomberg, Trulia’s chief economist Ralph McLaughlin examined the proposal to see who might be most affected by the changes, as well as in what areas they might most affect the financial advantages of buying a home over renting.
The proposal does not eliminate the mortgage-interest tax deduction (MITD), or the ability of homeowners to lower taxable income by the amount of interest paid on their mortgage, it actually doubles the standard deduction from $12,700 to $24,000. It also removes the ability for filers to deduct local and state taxes — including property taxes.
While raising the standard deductions means that many homebuyers will be able to write more off their annual income, it could also create a situation where some homebuyers would no longer take the MITD because the standard deduction is greater, says McLaughlin.
So, for these homebuyers, the financial advantage of buying opposed to renting would be “reduced.”
According to Trulia, the Americans most affected by this change would be households earning between $68,500 and $129,422 annually and buyers looking to take out a mortgage between $322,200 and $608,400 on homes valued between $358,000 and $676,000.
Trump’s proposal will also move the benefits of MITD even more out of reach of the country’s middle class, says McLaughlin. Currently, the top 43 percent of household earners are able to itemize their mortgage interest if they buy a home. However, under Trump’s proposed reform, only the top 17 percent would be able to itemize their mortgage interest.
The week the administration revealed the plan, nearly 22 percent of all listings on Trulia were priced in the affected range of $358,000 and $676,000. McLaughlin says this “suggests that homebuyers of over a fifth of homes currently for sale might not be able take the MITD if the tax proposal passes.”
In the New York metro area, the value of homebuying greatly decreases under the proposed tax plan. A homebuyer purchasing a $676,000 home in the New York metro area would see a drastic 23.2 percentage point swing in the buying to renting affordability metric — from being 3.7 percent cheaper to buy under the current tax system, to 19.4 percent being more expensive to buy a home than rent under the proposed plan, according to Trulia’s data.
It should be noted that in the New York metro area the current median home value is $650,000, according to Home Value Index by Trulia’s sister site Zillow.
This proposal could deter many New York City area renters from taking the leap into buying.
“If the Trump Tax plan passes, we expect there will be immediate short-run impacts on first-time homebuyer demand, as the cost benefits of buying a home would fall away for these households,” McLaughlin told BuzzBuzzNews.
The long-term impact is less certain. “A higher deduction will make it easier for these households to save up for a down payment, potentially boosting demand several years down the road,” McLaughlin says.
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