• More than 75 percent of homeowners utilize the mortgage interest deduction over the period they own their home.
• For many homeowners, property taxes are their largest tax deduction, one that continues even after a mortgage is paid off.
• The value of both mortgage interest and property tax deductions is capitalized into house prices. Eliminating the mortgage interest deduction, for example, would cause on average a 15 percent decline in value of homes. Decreasing the deductions, even for a limited group, compresses the value of all homes.
• Further declines in home values will harm housing markets, and stymie our nascent housing recovery.
• Reducing the capital gains exclusion thresholds would harm household retirement savings and reduce financial flexibility.
In regard to the FHA, we want to ensure that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) single-family program has the tools and policies in place to meet its mission of providing access to safe, affordable mortgage financing to qualified borrowers nationwide. FHA’s single-family mortgage insurance program helps preserve private financing options for homebuyers regardless of local, regional or national economic conditions.
We also advocated for the restructuring of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and encouraged the return of private capital. By doing so we can ensure that affordable mortgages are available to consumers in all types of markets, and avoid a major disruption to the nation’s economy that would result from the total collapse of the housing finance sector.
Those of us who attended the meetings felt very confident our message was heard loud and clear. NAR has a tagline on its website that says: “Homeownership is not a loophole.” I am proud to be part of an organization like ABR that works hard each day to ensure that is not just a saying.