Buying a home no longer offers attractive tax breaks, due to near-record low mortgage rates and an increase in the standard deduction.
CNBC real estate correspondent Diana Olick taps into the calculations of John Burns, principal of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, who asserts that the one-two combo "removed one of the main reasons people had urgency to buy." Which, maybe, just maybe, doesn't do justice to many young adults reasons for not buying. Like, not having a husband or wife or life partner yet? Or, maybe, being shy $40,000 or $50,000 on a down payment?
The tax benefit may really be a factor, though, when it comes to renter-by-choice young adults who may have high enough incomes to do either--rent or own--but choose to rent because it allows them to be nimbler, and owning doesn't provide that tax incentive. Olick writes:
The standard marital deduction has risen from $1,300 in 1972 to $12,600 today, meaning that the first $12,600 of itemized deductions has no benefit to consumers. According to Burns' analysis, a typical first-time homebuyer, financing 95 percent or less of a median-priced U.S. home (around $200,000) pays less than $12,000 in mortgage interest and property taxes annually. That is not enough to hit the itemization level. Even with other deductions that bring the taxpayer over the $12,600 limit, the tax savings are minimal.
Looks like Olick's giving the Mortgage Interest Deduction a jab as not helping people it's purportedly designed to help--the entry-level home buyer.