MortgageReal Estate

The debate around the future of the mortgage interest tax deduction continues

No final ruling on tax reform yet

Answers to the future of the mortgage interest tax deduction should hopefully be tucked inside the much-anticipated tax reform plan from the Trump administration once it’s released. But until President Donald Trump reveals his official plan for tax reform, a lot is still up in the air, leaving the industry with brief side comments and interviews of statements about the future of the MITD.

Earlier this year, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the mortgage interest tax deduction will not be changed in the Trump administration’s tax reform.

According to an article in CNBC by Diana Olick, there’s still a chance something could happen to the MITD in the tax reform plan.

From the article:

The hands-down favorite of taxpayers is back on the negotiating table as tax reform kicks into high gear, according to industry sources, even though no one from the Trump administration has said that out loud, and Republican leaders in Congress say not to worry.

"Saying they aren't going to get rid of it isn't saying they won't touch it," said one source who agreed to speak only on background. "There are clearly discussions going on around reducing the maximum of the mortgage interest deduction to the $600,000 range."

There is little detail given beyond this, helping fuel the speculation around the deduction.

Trulia's Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin recently did the math on Trump’s proposed outline for tax reform in order to figure out much it would disrupt the health of the housing market.

“While the proposal does not do away with the mortgage-interest tax deduction, it doubles the standard deduction and eliminates the ability of filers to deduct state and local taxes, including property taxes,” said McLaughlin. “While raising the standard deduction will undoubtedly put more dollars into the pockets of homeowners, it’s less clear how these changes affect the financial advantages of buying a home.”

McLaughlin also investigated the matter with the help of Prashant Gopal and Joe Light at Bloomberg. 

So who would most likely be impacted by the change? Middle income American households making between $68,540 and $129,422 who are looking to purchase a home between $358,000 and $676,000 and who take out a mortgage between $322,200 and $608,400.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors, who has a reputation of fighting for the MITD, renewed their commitment to protecting the MITD, even if it’s adjusted rather than cut.

"We're eager for a productive conversation on tax reform and hope leaders in Congress will move forward with homeowners in mind. Capping the mortgage interest deduction amounts to a de facto tax increase on current or future homeowners and puts homeownership further out of reach for prospective buyers. We would have strong objections over any effort to do so, as would the 1.2 million Realtors we represent,” said National Association of Realtors President William E. Brown.

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