With President Obama's deficit commission taking aim at the coveted mortgage interest deduction (MID), Big Builder asked readers their thoughts on how proposed changes to the MID might affect future home sales.
The commission's original draft proposal called for eliminating the MID completely, but its final recommendations released at the beginning of December call for the deduction to be converted to a 12% nonrefundable tax credit available to all taxpayers. However, the credit would only be available for mortgages less than $500,000 and would not apply to mortgages on secondary or investment properties.
Three-quarters of respondents said they would not support any changes to the MID. One respondent noted, "[It's the] backbone of housing. Eliminate the deduction, and you eliminate part of the reason for owning a home.Government spending is the root of the problem, not homeowners' housing deduction."
However, 14.9% of respondents said they would support a full elimination of the MID, and 9% said they would accept a reduction in the MID. "People want to own a home with or without a tax break," said another respondent.
As for the role the MID plays in a home buyer's decision to purchase a home, almost half the respondents--47.8%--said it helps buyers pull the trigger on a purchase, but it is not the major impetus, with 35.8% saying it is the primary driver. Only 14.9% said the MID doesn't play into a buyer's decision at all.
When asked if the MID provides builders the opportunity to charge a premium on the homes they build, 58.2% said the deduction doesn't factor into pricing at all. However, 23.9% disagreed, saying it does allow them to charge a premium and it always has, and 10.4% said it used to factor into their pricing but doesn't in today's selling environment. Another 3% said it does allow them to charge a premium in today's environment although it never has before, and 4.5% were still unsure.