Eliminating the mortgage-interest deduction is a looming option for cutting the nation's budget deficit. Realtors are taking to the road to fight against that and other issues they believe will hurt the already ailing housing market.
Thursday morning, the National Association of Realtors homeownership bus, painted red, white and blue, rolled into Phoenix and parked in front of the wine bar and restaurant Postino on Phoenix's Central Avenue. Local and regional NAR leaders, as well as several agents, were there to protest the potential loss of the tax deduction as well as lower loan limits on government-backed mortgages.
"The mortgage deduction is a hot button for not only Realtors but homeowners," said Holly Mabery, of the Keller Williams Heartland Group, at the event.
According to NAR data, the average mortgage deduction for Arizona homeowners was about $14,000 last year. That's only a few thousand dollars more than the standard tax deduction. The deduction essentially drops the taxable income of homeowners because they can deduct the interest they pay on their mortgage in a year.
Susan Ramsey of Re/Max Integrity of Glendale said the tax deduction gives hundreds of thousands of Arizona homeowners an extra $2,000 to $5,000 from their tax refund.
Ramsey, president of the Phoenix Association of Realtors, said that's money that goes back into the economy, and metro Phoenix's economy needs it.
Much of the debate over the mortgage deduction is because it benefits the wealthy more than middle-class homeowners. The pricier the home and higher the mortgage, the bigger the deduction is for the tax filer.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, about 75 percent of U.S. homeowners who claimed the tax deduction in 2009 earned at least $100,000. Fewer than 25 percent of homeowners earning about $50,000 benefited from the mortgage-interest deduction.
A lot of figures on how much the mortgage deduction costs the U.S. government have been bandied about in this debate, ranging from $800 million to $130 billion a year.
And no one disputes that wealthier taxpayers save much more with the deduction than the middle class, which has been hard hit by the recent economic downturn.
One concern in metro Phoenix involves people who continue to pay on a mortgage larger than their house is worth. If they lose the tax deduction, will that be the final incentive to walk away from their home and loan?
Realtors are also concerned about the psychological impact of losing the deduction.
Christopher Paris, an agent with HomeSmart Elite in north central Phoenix and the incoming Phoenix Realtors president, said too many potential buyers are hesitant to purchase now because of the economy, and the loss of the tax deduction will make things worse for the housing market.
Realtors are also fighting for conforming mortgage limits to climb back to 125 percent of an area's local median price. Congress recently lowered the loan limit to 115 percent.
The Realtors' bus was in Tucson on Friday night and is making its way to Anaheim, Calif., for the group's annual meeting.
by Catherine Reagor The Arizona Republic Oct. 21, 2011 04:28 PM
Realtors decry potential loss of mortgage deduction
Reuters: Business News
National Commercial Real Estate News From CoStar Group
Latest stock market news from Wall Street - CNNMoney.com
- ► 2017 (49)
- ► 2016 (145)
- ► 2015 (146)
- ► 2014 (102)
- ► 2013 (395)
- ► 2012 (392)
- Reagor: Revised program targets underwater homeown...
- Economists warn housing prices will lose more grou...
- Pending home sales fell 4.6% in Sept.
- Scottsdale condo prices up nearly 5% as foreclosur...
- $1.6 billion Prasada project stays on track in Sur...
- Judge approves Chapter 11 for Realty Executives
- Economy picked up over summer
- Scottsdale approves 2nd plan for apartments near a...
- New-home sales up 5.7%, builders slash prices
- Sarkozy Turns to Hu for China Aid as Europe Expand...
- Greece to get 100 bil euros in more rescue loans
- Home prices up in half of major US cities
- Banks score higher in satisfaction survey
- Ad blasts Romney housing comment
- Arizona underwater homeowners to get refinance hel...
- Phoenix homes, part of segregated past, demolished...
- Debt crisis plan is not yet ready
- Massive West Valley development to launch
- Europe's big banks under pressure in crisis
- Developer lays out ideas for dude ranch in Scottsd...
- Combs: Seller isn't absolved in 'as is' sale
- Realtors decry potential loss of mortgage deductio...
- Wall Street Has Worst Quarter Since Crisis in Bank...
- Arizona unemployment rate down in September
- Scottsdale council OKs first plan for apartments n...
- Scottsdale Waterfront rides wave in low tide
- Citigroup to pay $285 mil to settle SEC fraud char...
- Chase's CEO backs a bright outlook
- Origination News - NAR: Lower GSE Loan Limits Alre...
- Perspective: Problem with Housing 2011
- Office-space rent prices decline in Valley
- The new normal: Higher bank fees are here to stay
- Think before switching banks
- Fed: Crisis alters central-bank focus
- Middle-class homeownership dream may be slipping a...
- World population nearing 7 billion
- Mortgage fraud plea involves 40-plus homes
- TDI proposes 667 apartment units for One Scottsdal...
- Phoenix seeks to cancel $97.4 million pact with Ci...
- Myths, misperceptions about credit scores rampant
- EU exec, France want voluntary bank deal on Greece...
- Report: Fewer foreclosures slowed Sept. resales in...
- Fed minutes: 2 policy makers saw need for bolder s...
- Scottsdale Airport Commission rejects apartment pr...
- FDIC backs ban on banks trading for own profit
- Interest in Scottsdale McDowell Corridor redevelop...
- Census numbers detail Arizona's housing bust
- China investment arm buys bank shares to support m...
- Scottsdale entrepreneur thinks inside the box
- European Central Bank offers banks new emergency l...
- Germany, France devise bank plan
- Moody's sees Volcker rule as credit negative for b...
- Windows of time
- Scottsdale-area home prices edge up in 3 areas
- Phoenix-area home prices remain too cheap
- Phoenix-area real estate collapse echoed troubles
- Phoenix-area home price changes vary greatly
- Realty group opens office in Scottsdale
- Gold drops 1 percent after Italy, Spain downgraded...
- Work to start on renovating retail center
- Rush is on to build 3,500 apartments in Scottsdale...
- Mixed-use project coming to Arcadia
- Interest in Scottsdale McDowell Corridor redevelop...
- Maricopa County tops list for home vacancies
- Census: Housing bust worst since Depression
- Phoenix-area bankruptcy filings continue to drop, ...
- Recent data on housing show things looking up
- CBRE Investors pays $53.5 mil for operations hub
- Proposal to shape access to Sonoran Desert
- Sales up 20% at Scottsdale's Windgate Ranch
- Home prices up for 4th month
- Seattle investors buy W. Phoenix apartments
- Ex-leaders of Radical Bunny face SEC grilling
- Arizona trying new ways to assist homeowners
- Moving to downtown Phoenix has saved couple lots o...
- Reagor: Few details on plan for refinancing
- Rental housing becoming less affordable
- Fulton Homes to open 3 new subdivisions | Central ...
- Cross collateralization can trip up borrowers
- IMF vows to tackle Europe debt troubles
- Scottsdale Airpark multifamily housing plans advan...
- Developer leaves Glendale, Scottsdale picking up p...
- Fed plan, fear push 10-year yield to record low, b...
- Seized lands to be placed on auction block
- IMF downgrades its outlook for U.S., Europe
- Agency encourages short sales by offering money
- Doubting value of owning a home
- ▼ October (87)