The Tax Reform Bill: What it Means for Homeowners and Buyers

tax-reform-2017-effect-homeowners-buyersThe National Association of Realtors (NAR) issued a statement following yesterday’s passage by the House and Senate of the tax reform bill. The bill now heads to President Trump, who has stated he intends to sign it into law before Christmas.

NAR worked with members of the House-Senate conference committee to help educate them on how to improve the final bill. After the vote, President Elizabeth Mendenhall issued the following statement:

“The results are mixed. We saved the exclusion for capital gains on the sale of a home and protected the mortgage interest deduction for second homes. Despite these successes, we still have some hard work ahead of us. Significant legislative initiatives often require fixes to address unintended consequences, and this bill is no exception. The new tax regime will fundamentally alter the benefits of homeownership by nullifying incentives for individuals and families while keeping those incentives in place for large institutional investors. That should concern any middle-class family looking to claim their piece of the American Dream.”

Last-minute changes to the bill include the following improvements:

  • Capital gains exclusion. In a huge win for current and prospective homeowners, current law is left in place on the capital gains exclusion of $250,000 for an individual and $500,000 for married couples on the sale of a home. Both the House and the Senate had sought to make it much harder to qualify for the exclusion.
  • Mortgage interest deduction. The maximum mortgage amount for households deducting their mortgage interest has been decreased to $750,000 from the current $1 million limit. The House bill sought a reduction to $500,000.
  • State and local tax deductions. Both property taxes and state and local income taxes remain deductible, although with a combined limit of $10,000. Both the House and Senate bills sought to eliminate the state and local income tax deduction altogether.

Enactment of the bill does not end NAR’s effort to reduce the negative impact on homeowners. “REALTORS®’ work on tax issues will continue,” says Mendenhall, “and we look forward to joining members of Congress from both sides of the rotunda on that endeavor.”

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