There’s a home price recovery… but it’s really, really slow

Just about everybody agrees that the housing market is finally recovering — but don’t expect big price gains.

Nearly two-thirds of the nation’s housing markets will see price declines for the year through next June. Overall, the gains will be just 0.3%.

One big factor that could weigh on prices: The fiscal cliff.

If Congress can’t agree on a deal to halt a series of tax increases and spending cuts, a recession is likely, and that would hit the housing recovery hard.

In addition, if the Bush-era tax cut on capital gains is allowed to expire — allowing the rate to increase to 20% from 15% on Jan. 1 — it would take a significant bite out of the profits high-end sellers would realize and give them less to spend on buying a new home.

But even if we avoid the fiscal cliff, there are other factors weighing on home prices.

In order to raise more tax revenue, Congress is considering putting a cap on the mortgage interest tax deduction, a key tax break aimed at encouraging homeownership — mainly among the upper-middle class.

Most of the benefit of this deduction goes to wealthier households. Mortgage borrowers with incomes of $250,000 or more realize an average annual tax savings of $5,460, according to the Tax Policy Center. Meanwhile, those making less than $40,000 a year, save just $91.

Capping the deduction would discourage buyers from buying bigger, more expensive homes, said Chen.

But it’s not just the high-end of the market that could get squeezed.

With Congress distracted by the fiscal cliff, there is a real chance that the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act of 2007 could expire come January 1. If the act were to lapse, struggling homeowners will have to start paying income taxes on the portion of their mortgage that is forgiven in a foreclosure, short sale or principal reduction.

That means homeowners will be on the hook for thousands of dollars in taxes that they likely can’t afford.That will force more people who could have sought a less damaging alternative, like a short sale, to choose foreclosure instead.

Estimates assume that about half of the fiscal cliff tax hikes and spending cuts will occur.  The forecast does not take into account any change to the mortgage interest deduction. Should that deduction expire,  home prices might be even weaker over the short-term.

We expect home prices to start heating up again next fall. Between June 2013 and 2014, it expects prices to climb 3.4% and to continue to grow at an annual rate of about 3.3% over the five years through June 2017

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About thenoelteam

As a Broker with RE/MAX Alliance, I work energetically for my clients whether they are a buyer or seller. I help you achieve your goal of owning a home or getting the best price for your home in the shortest time possible. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in communications and finance, I was licensed in 1977 and since then I have sold over 3600 properties amounting to over $1 billion in sales. I currently rank in the top 10 in home sales for Colorado. I offer the same quality of service and superior communication to all clients, ranging from starter homes to multi-million dollar estates, commercial and income properties, relocations and foreclosures My goal is to provide you with the best representation possible whether you are buying or selling. Over the years, one of the things that I've discovered is that there is a difference in the way individual Realtors do business. For me, I have always felt that honesty and personal integrity are the foundations upon which a successful business and career are built and sustained. I have an extensive background and knowledge base in real estate, including financing, which has enabled me to provide outstanding, quality advice and service not found with many agents today. My commitment to communication creates a positive relationship between my client and myself that results in a successful property sale or purchase. My passion for real estate, commitment to my clients and personal integrity has helped me to achieve success placing me in the top 1% of all brokers in nationwide. In my career, I have earned a number of awards and received considerable recognition for my success but the most significant recognition comes from the fact that over 75% of my business comes from past clients. My success is a true measure of my client satisfaction.
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