Regarding the American Dream
President of the National Association of Realtors®, William E. Brown, wrote a letter to the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, as well as the Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Kevin Brady, expressing the NAR’s feelings about the challenges and opportunities Brown believes will be upcoming in the Trump administration. The letter was sent to all members of the House and Senate, but Brown primarily focuses on the House Republican Tax Reform Blueprint.
More specifically, he writes, “the interaction of two specific features of the plan, which are designed to simplify the tax system” as they would have “the unintended consequences of nullifying the long-standing tax incentives of owning a home for the great majority of Americans who now are, or who aspire to become, homeowners.”
Brown goes on in the letter to detail the specifics of the Blueprint that could become problematic for homeowners. He states, “the Blueprint calls for the standard deduction to be almost doubled from its current levels. The plan also includes the repeal of the deduction for state and local taxes paid, as well as, the elimination of most other itemized deductions.”
He explains the gravity of this potential reform by stating, “Either of [the aforementioned] monumental changes alone would marginalize the value of the current-law tax incentives for owning a home. Unfortunately, the combination of these two revisions would cripple the incentive effect of the federal tax law for all but the most affluent of taxpayers.”
Protecting first-time homebuyers
Brown continues by explaining, “two potentially devastating problems in the aftermath of these modification (are anticipated). First, the impact on the first-time homebuyer could be enormous.”
In many cases, the tax incentives enable first-time homebuyers to be able to afford their very first home. Brown states, “at a time when the rate of first-time home-buying is well below the average of the past few decades, this could be particularly debilitating for the housing industry and the entire economy.”
Home and property value
If that weren’t enough of a reason to take notice of the impending possible reform, Brown goes on to detail the second reason.
He states, “the decimation of the mortgage interest and real property tax deductions would very likely cause a significant plunge in the value of all houses[…]the housing sector has not fully recovered from the thrashing it took during the Great Recession, this drop, even if temporary, could be calamitous.”
This would mean that millions of Americans might quickly find, “the value of their largest financial asset has dived below the amount of debt that is owed.”
NAR protecting homeowners
Brown realizes the Blueprint is aimed at modifying the tax system and attempting to “supercharge growth in our Nation.” He believes there has to be another, better way.
In a statement to The Real Daily, Brown said, “the NAR continues to believe that any tax reform proposal should respect and uphold our system’s longtime support for homeownership. That means avoiding changes that would negate the important incentive effects of the mortgage interest deduction and the state and local property tax deduction.”
He continues, “We’ll be making that case in the months ahead and look forward to working with policymakers in Washington to promote an overhaul of the tax system that engenders positive change for all Americans.”
Read it for yourself
This letter aims to bring this belief to the attention of lawmakers before any changes are made to the existing tax laws.
Read the full letter here (PDF).
If you are interested in learning a little more about the Blueprint, you can read an overview of it here (PDF).