How Do the New Tax Laws Affect Homeowners?

When the new tax laws were put in motion at the end of last year, a lot of people—including the National Association of Realtors—were concerned about how they would affect the housing market. If you’re a homeowner or a homebuyer, there are a few specific changes that potentially impact you.

First, though, we should talk about a change that, thankfully, didn’t take place, and that’s your ability to not pay capital gains tax when you sell a primary residence that you’ve occupied for two out of the last five years. In several different versions of the house and senate bill, this was going to get modified, but it wasn’t. If you sell a home you’ve occupied for two out of the past five years, you still don’t have to pay any capital gains tax.

There was a slight change to the mortgage interest deduction. It mostly stayed the same, albeit with a slight wrinkle. The majority of homebuyers still can write off their mortgage interest deduction, but the new cap for this deduction is $750,000. This can be for a first loan, a second loan, and it can be for a second property, but it no longer applies to a HELOC loan.

There was also a change with the property tax deduction, which was capped at $10,000. Anyone buying an average or above-average home, though, should still have property taxes below $10,000 and, therefore, be able to deduct them.

The majority of homebuyers won’t be harmed by these changes.

From a homeownership perspective, the majority of homebuyers won’t be harmed by these changes. Most of the deductions that were available to you beforehand are still available. You only start to lose some of your protections as you climb the price charts, and there were also other changes that offset the deductions that aren’t available anymore.

There is another caveat to this situation that’s worth mentioning. We may see an improvement in our local market because people in other states with high property taxes and state income taxes may end up moving here because of the lack of income tax that they can no longer deduct.

Since we only have 2.4 months’ worth of inventory—a record low—and more buyers potentially flocking to our market, our challenge moving forward is finding more inventory. This means if you’ve been thinking about selling your home, there has never been a better time to sell quickly and for top dollar.

If you have any other questions about these tax changes or you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in our market, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d be happy to help you.

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