Will Real Estate Suffer Under Trump?



Recently I’ve been hearing a lot of the various tax proposals from President Trump and other Republicans.  While most of the focus has centered around lower corporation taxes, under the Trump and Ryan plan, they would condense the tax code from the 7 tax rates to only 3 tax rates of 12%, 25% and 33%.


While they slightly differ on the exact taxable amount, for the purpose of this article, I will use the Trump rate, since this has been most widely discussed in the media.


Single Married Filing Jointly Tax Rate
$0-$37,500 $0 – $75,000 12%
$37,500-$112,500 $75,000-$225,000 25%
over $112,500 over $225,000 33%


Another interesting proposal is that tax rates wouldn’t simply be condensed, but the standard deduction would also increase.  In fact, Trump has proposed to double the standard deduction.  The standard deduction would increase to $15,000 for single filers and $30,000 if married filing jointly.


Itemized Deductions

tax deductionThe 4 largest itemized deductions include home mortgage interest, state and local taxes, charitable gifts, and real estate taxes.  These deductions account for about 17.8% ($195.7 billion) of total tax expenditures.


Rather than claim the standard deduction, according to the Congressional Research Service, only 22% of tax filers, making between $20,000-$50,000 per year itemize their deductions.  Of those making over $100,000 per year, 84% itemize their deductions.  In 2011, overall, 32% of tax filers in any income bracket selected to itemize their deductions instead of claim the standard deduction.


Opponents of Deduction Proposals

real estateSo this is a no-brainer, right?  Who doesn’t want a bigger deduction?  Well I can tell you one group that has voiced their displeasure.  Those that work in the real estate industry worry that an increased standard deduction would affect their business.


The mortgage interest deduction is the third-most expensive subsidy in the tax code, costing the federal government about $69 billion per year, according to the Tax Foundation.  The only deductions that cost more are The Exclusion of Employer Contributions for Medical Insurance Premiums ($206 billion) and Lower Rate for Capital Gains ($85 billion).


real restateMany people believe by increasing the standard deduction, the tax benefit for homeownership here in the U.S would be reduced.  Currently the U.S. homeownership rate is 63.5%.  Do you know what the homeownership in Canada is…69%?  And they don’t have any homeownership incentives.  Under current rules, taxpayers can itemize and deduct the interest paid on up to $1 million on a mortgage, and home equity debt of up to $100,000.


Who Will the Deductions Affect?

Ok so, some may think, who cares?  I don’t come anywhere close to the standard deduction now.  Or even better, I paid off my house, so what do I care?  You may think this won’t affect you at all.  


Let’s say for one second that Congress decides to totally eliminate the mortgage interest deduction.  According to a the Federal Reserve, if the mortgage interest deduction was eliminated, it might push prices down around 7%.  


real estateIf you think about it, it makes sense from an economic standpoint.  By reducing the amount of your effective interest rate, you can afford more house, which pushes up the home prices.  If you remove mortgage interest deduction, the effective tax rate would rise, thus causing home prices to fall.


Clearly, those who receive the short end of the stick could be home builders and realtors since housing prices may drop.  In addition, this could also hinder people who are depending on selling their homes in the near future to finance their retirement.  

Who Will Win?

real estateSo who will be the winners?  Those with cash to buy homes might be able to take advantage of the economic situation to buy.  In addition, those that rent may be able to take larger standard deductions since they may not have qualified to itemize on their schedule A.  


So readers, tell me, do you plan to itemize your deductions?  Will this affect the way that you purchase houses in the future?  Share your thoughts below.


Mustard Seed Money

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  1. Interesting thoughts, MSM.

    I will probably still do standard deductions until using itemized deductions benefits me more on my tax returns. It probably won’t affect me in terms of purchasing a house, as I don’t plan one soon and I live in a blue state. I’m hoping that having Trump as the president would decrease home values in blue states, but that seems highly unlikely.
    Smart Provisions recently posted…How to Pay off Your Debt – Avalanche or SnowballMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Smart Provisions!!! I feel with interest rates potentially rising that it will only be a matter of time before housing prices feel some pressure. But we’ll see what the Trump presidency holds 🙂

  2. Mustard Seed Money,

    Right now, I’m building up cash because I’m looking to purchase another property in 2017. It will be interesting to see if even more people rent given what you have discussed above.

    I think long run, again given your analysis, a simplified tax code can only benefit Americans. Yes, there is the possibility we have to pay more tax than before, but what if we should have been paying that tax anyway from the start? Thoughts I have…

    Great article. Looking forward to reading more of them from you.
    Erik @ The Mastermind Within recently posted…How to Think About MoneyMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing Erik!!! That’s awesome that you have a plan to use your cash in 2017 to buy another property. I’ll be curious if this turns into a buyers market or is sellers market this year. In some ways the Trump presidency has led to be unknown of typical Washington politics.

  3. I’ve itemized for some years now, but I’m very close to the point where I can’t anymore. That’s all thanks to the 15 year mortgage at 2.75%. The amount of interest I pay each year, while still significant, is way down over what it used to be.

    I did some research on this the other day and apparently only 30% of people itemize. So 70% take the standard deduction. With interest rates so low, I bet many people don’t reach the itemization bar anymore. Now if interest rates skyrocket again that’s a different story. So for most people purchasing a modest house, the interest rate deduction just isn’t giving them the benefit of the past.
    Liz@ChiefMomOfficer recently posted…The 3 Ways I’ve Used Insurance – and the 2 I Wish I Had (Plus Bonus on Businesses!)My Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing Liz!!! I read that California and New York were the two states that utilized itemized deduction the most and it makes sense when I thought about. They have some of the highest property values in the country. So it’ll be interesting to see if they are affected at all.

  4. We’re close to the point where itemization goes away. Honestly I prefer it would. It’s a burden of complexity to create my taxes. It’s also not really what drove me to buy my house. After all I bought to have a place of my own with space and land. The deduction is a nice kick back that helps me to break even compared to local renting sooner, but it isn’t the decision point. After all your getting back essentially a third of what you paid in interest and taxes. I.e. It’s not free money, it’s just a reduction in costs. As for the reduction in my own home price, it might also have knock on effects to the price of other goods in society, so it’s not a forgone conclusion as a home owner I’d suffer. Also real estate is more local then national. As such who knows how my personal home would respond. This is all avoiding the monkey in the room of federal budget impacts…
    Full Time Finance recently posted…How to deal with Child Care CostsMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Full Time Finance!!! Like you I didn’t buy a house for the tax breaks although I won’t say no to the government giving me a tax break 🙂

      It’ll be interesting to see how all of this sorts out and the long term implications.

  5. We itemize most years, but I think doubling the standard deduction would get us to come out better. And I think people want to own houses for multiple reasons, not just itemization. (and as real estate investors, if people decide to rent more, it helps us anyway.)

    What I’m more concerned about is the effect the tax proposal might have on organizations that rely on charitable donations and single parent families who’d lose Head of Household status.
    Emily Jividen recently posted…Confession Time: I Have Paid Too Much in Mutual Fund FeesMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Emily!!!

      Great minds think alike 🙂

      I thought about those things as well but didn’t want to make the article post too lengthy talking about too many topics all at once so I concentrated on real estate this go around.

      But I have a feeling that the charities may feel some of the changes as well.

  6. From a Canadian realtor point of view, government’s action had led to some unintended consequences, like adding a 15% foreigner tax for non Canadian citizens or permanent resident in Vancouver. That foreigner tax led to more than 25% drop in sales volume and almost 0% drop in price, which was the intent of the tax initiative – to make housing more affordable. So guess who is crying foul when the government just killed 25% of your revenue sources?

    For every action that the government takes there are always winners and losers. The only way to protect yourself is to build a sound and secured financial health for yourself so you can overcome any financial storm. If you are in tip top shape, you may even be able to take advantage of the storms that the government or economy throw at you.
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    • You know Leo I actually read an article in the WSJ a couple of months ago talking about that tax in Vancouver.

      That’s really interesting hearing all the unintended affects when government institutes policy.

  7. I’ve been thinking about the potential impacts of a $30,000 standard deduction for married couples since reading about the proposal a couple weeks ago.

    On real estate, I don’t think it will have much of an effect on purchasing a primary residence. People tend to buy houses because they want to. Maybe they have a growing family, maybe they want to feel settles. Many people don’t even think about tax deductible interest when buying.

    I do think a higher standard deduction would incentivize more people to pay off their mortgage early, since (if they arent going to itemize) they can no longer claim their interest is tax deductible.

    My biggest concern about a higher standard deduction is a potential negative impact on charitable giving.

    We’ll see what ends up getting passed, but the proposed plan would mean I would no longer need to itemize.
    NinjaPiggy recently posted…How to Crush Your Retirement Savings GoalsMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing NinjaPiggy!!! I have to admit when I was writing this article I initially thought about putting both Real Estate and Charitable deductions together. But then found that it led me writing into too many tangents so I concentrated on real estate. But I definitely agree that it will impact charities.

  8. I tend to agree with NinjaPiggy. When we purchased our home, we didn’t give the tax deductions even a thought. Not saying that is right but it wasn’t a primary concern or care. It will be interesting to see what happens to the home values. The Pres has some interesting ideas, let’s see how it plays out.
    Mr Defined Sight recently posted…Are Introverts Better Money Savers?My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Mr. Defined Sight!!! I have to admit I too didn’t think about it either. But I have a friend that swears they wouldn’t have bought their house had they known Trump was going to essentially wipe out mortgage interest deductions.

    • Thanks for stopping by Wall Street Physician!!! I am actually surprised that Trump isn’t striking while the iron is hot and pushing through tax reform. You figure it’ll be a quick win and can provide people extra money in their paychecks when their paychecks are adjusted mid year 🙂

  9. It also depends on where you live. Living in Silicon Valley with 3BR/2BA going for $1.2M in average neighborhoods, mortgages are ridiculous and instantly drive itemizing. But even before a mortgage, it’s been better for me to itemize than take the standard deduction for most of my career.

    The one benefit of living here is the high salaries. Saving 30% of a 6 figure income is a lot nicer than 30% of half that…
    Jack @ Enwealthen recently posted…Lending Club P2P Portfolio Update: Q4 2016My Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing Jack!!! I definitely agree that where you live will definitely impact if you itemize your tax return. I definitely think that California and New York filers will get hit a lot harder than other parts of the country.

  10. When people consider the tax reduction due to itemizing mortgage interest, only the amount above the standard deduction is incremental tax savings. Example, the standard deduction for a married couple is $12,600. You paid $15,000 in mortgage interest last year so your incremental tax savings is ($15,000 – $12,600) x marginal tax rate.

    The focus on itemized deductions w.r.t. mortgage interest has always confused me. A married couple has to pay $12,600 annually in interest for the right to reduce their tax bill by approximately 25 or 28 cents on the dollar for every dollar in interest payments above $12,600. In other words, they have to pay $12,601 in interest to reduce their income tax bill by an additional 25 cents.

    Some people live in states with high state income taxes such that just itemizing their state income tax bill puts them over the standard deduction. This leads to a mindset where state income tax is a sunk or unavoidable cost. They don’t think of the mortgage interest as incremental because there was never a scenario where they could have been under the standard deduction. That still means you have to pay $1 in mortgage interest to get a 25 or 28 cent savings on the tax bill.

    There are people in many parts of the country who have a mortgage but don’t itemize because their mortgage interest doesn’t put them over the top. 30 year fixed mortgage at 4% means you would need to a $320,000 mortgage to pay more than $12,600 in interest. In year 2 of the mortgage, your interest payments would fall below the $12,600 threshold.

    That makes me think that it is the high end of the real estate market (jumbo mortgages) that will suffer under Trump’s proposal which is supposedly the whole purpose. The most expensive real estate in the US are in cities that overwhelmingly voted for Clinton.

    I was taught there are only two reasons to take out a mortgage – 1) you don’t have the money to buy the house with cash or 2) you have the cash but you think you can earn a return greater than what you are paying the mortgage company.

    • Thanks for sharing Dan!!! I definitely read that New York and California would be affected by these tax changes the most and it makes sense like you stated above.

      I love your reasoning behind taking out a mortgage. So true!!!

      Thanks as always for stopping by and sharing!!!

  11. If the standard deductions does double to say $30k for married filing jointly, then we would be close to seeing no benefit in itemizing. Based on our taxes from last year, we would be above this new threshold by a few thousand dollars. If that were the case I might just take the standard deduction to keeps things simple. Like others have said, we didn’t buy a house with tax deduction and itemization in mind. In terms of its effect on the housing market, I guess only time will tell. I think what Dan said above could be possible where high end real estate markets would see most of the effects.
    SomeRandomGuyOnline recently posted…Invest or Pay Off Student Loans: A Closer Look at the NumbersMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing SRGO!!! Like you I didn’t buy a house for the mortgage interest deduction but I do appreciate the tax benefits that I use to derive from it 🙂

      I think New York and California would definitely be hit the hardest and it’d be interesting to see the impact in those states.

  12. We have always itemized. Between taxes, mortgage, interest, charity, etc., our itemized deductions have always far exceeded the standard deduction. I’m interested to see which deductions go away if they raise the standard deduction. I highly doubt they get rid of the mortgage interest deduction despite it being very costly to the government and it favoring the wealthy more than anyone. But it seems to be one of those untouchable deductions in a lot of people’s minds that would create a lot of backlash if they did cut it.

    The theory behind home values dropping because of the higher standard deduction wiping out a lot of the value of the mortgage interest deduction makes some sense, but I’m still not sure it would actually happen. I don’t know anyone who has actually taken into account tax deductions when considering how much house they can buy.
    Go Finance Yourself! recently posted…The Three Stages of Financial IndependenceMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Go Finance Yourself!!! I have only met one person that told me that they wouldn’t have bought their house if they knew Trump was going to double the standard deduction. I didn’t quite follow their logic but I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion 🙂

  13. Nice analysis. I haven’t even considered thinking about it like that. I took the standard deduction last year and I’ll probably take it this year as well.

    I’m actually hoping Trump causes real estate to decline a bit haha. Socal is pretty expensive in general, hopefully he’ll make it “more affordable” 🙂
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  14. Another great article MSM. In my humble opinion, real estate values are the least of our worries with Trump as president. I hope he proves me wrong, but if the worst thing that happens is housing prices dropping by 7%, I think we should count ourselves as lucky.

    As far as the correlation between real estate value and the size of the standard deduction goes, I might be oversimplifying but I don’t think it is large as long as the interest deduction isn’t eliminated all together. Increasing the standard deduction may have the opposite effect as it puts more money in the hands of middle class consumers who as we know like to spend, spend, spend on their homes. Those that own very valuable homes will still get the benefit of the interest deduction.
    Zero recently posted…Desire and Dale CarnegieMy Profile

    • It will definitely be interesting to see how the Trump presidency shakes out. It will be interesting to see if the standard deduction increase acts as a stimulus and the impacts it will have on the economy.

  15. From a self-interest point of view, I would welcome the doubling of the standard deduction. As we approach paying off our mortgage, our yearly interest is coming down fast. That said, our real estate taxes are still fairly high at nearly $7k and the Maryland (and county) income taxes are a bit elevated as well.

    One concern I have with the current mortgage deduction is that realtors and loan officers seem to pressure buyers into purchasing a larger house than they need or can afford. They cite the tax savings due to the itemized deduction, but they are still paying handsome sums of interest to the banks.
    Mr. Need2Save recently posted…The Evolution of the Emergency Fund // From Kiddie Pool to Olympic SwimmerMy Profile

    • I definitely think it will cut the pitch that realtors and loan officers are making when people buy houses.

      Although personally I don’t buy a house based on the potential tax savings I’m not going to say no when it’s available 🙂

  16. I’ll be itemizing as usual. But as a homeowner, rental owner, and business owner, I’ve got lots of deductions and a pretty complicated tax return.

    In terms of behavior changes – no, I don’t think any of the new policies, no matter what they are will affect how I go about my life very much. We’re not planning to move any time soon, but if we were, I don’t know that any of this would affect our decisions.
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  17. Forecasting my 2016 taxes into Turbotax with all my complications from primary house, rental property and side business, I’m at 29k in itemized deductions, so if we start the counter at 30k, I guess its standard deduction moving forward as my itemized have been going down as I pay down the mortgage.

    I don’t think this will affect the real estate market more than the interest rates and stricter regs into lending money process.

    When I was looking for a house to buy, I didn’t even think about “taxes” at the time.
    Dividends 4 Future recently posted…Mid-January 2017 UpdateMy Profile

    • I agree with you Dividends 4 Future!!! I didn’t even consider the tax savings from the mortgage interest deduction when I bought my house.

      But it will be interesting to see how it plays out. A lot of times I feel like there are unintended policy decisions that shake out.

  18. What about Australia? Sydney now has the biggest and oldest property bubble in the world (in recent times). In the wake of the GFC property in Australia continued to go up and in Sydney it has not stopped. Last year alone the increase was circa 20%.
    However, in Australia, mortgage payments on residential property ARE NOT DEDUCTIBLE and never have been.

    • Thanks for sharing Thai Shares!!! I can’t say I’m overly familiar with Australia’s home prices but that’s interesting that they don’t have deductible mortgage interest.

  19. Hi MSM,

    Sadly over here in the UK they removed tax relief on mortgage interest before I got on the housing ladder….it doesn’t seem to have really affected property ownership much over here, as the prices just seem to go up and up – but now its more normal to need 2 earners to pay the mortgage rather than the just one.

    I have to say, I always look to reduce my tax (legally!) wherever possible, so I do itemise everything on my tax return, but that is mostly because I think I can allocate my money far better than the government can!
    FIREin’ London recently posted…Do you really want to invest in the AIM market?My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing FIREin’ London!!! That’s interesting that the removal of tax relief on mortgage interest hasn’t affected home prices at all.

      Seems like the world is trying to find safe assets like real estate and really pushing prices up.

  20. Nice article. I am of the opinion that anything we can do to lower home prices is a good thing, since prices are ridiculous right now, relative to wages. These interest rate deductions as well as home loan programs designed to put homeownership in reach of all have let us all buy things we can’t afford, thus artificially jacking up prices. As someone who doesn’t own a home, I’d welcome a chance to get in at cheaper prices, but as it stands right now, buying a home is a pretty bad investment for me since they’re so expensive, in general. Rising interest rates at some point should also hopefully drop home prices here. Obviously as a homeowner you might have a different perspective than mine here.
    10 @ Dividend Ten recently posted…Recent BuyMy Profile

    • I’d be ok if home prices retreated a little bit. My wife and I might be in the market in a couple of years for a new house so having my investments outpace house prices would work out well 🙂

  21. Losing the mortgage tax break would eliminate the reason to deduct for most families making less than $100k per year.
    I personally prefer a flat tax or fair tax without all the confusion & deductions. It would flip 100+ years of income tax upside down and casue short-term chaos, but, would be better.

    The greatest challenge is that we are all so accustomed to claiming every possible deduction. The fear of having zero deductions means resistance to change, even though most people want the tax code simplified.
    Josh @MoneyBuffalo recently posted…How We Saved for an Adult Gap YearMy Profile

    • I am all for a simplified tax code. I don’t know how sales tax and property taxes work out so well for states but all of a sudden it’s not right for federal income taxes. I’d be interesting to hear the analysis and back up around those perspectives.

  22. NIce article! For the 7th year in a row now, I always ask, “why don’t we itemize, we probably have enough to claim.” And 7 yrs in a row after about 5 minutes of looking at the big hitters, we’re still super short of the standard deduction. Something to be said for keeping things simple. 🙂

    That was when we were making too much to claim most exemptions, also a nice problem to have. Now that we’re back to a salary and a third of where we have been things may change going forward. It would have to be dramatic for us to benefit more than the standard deduction allows now.
    Mr. SSC recently posted…I STILL Have a Spending ProblemMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing Mr. SSC!!! I can’t wait to see what the final standard deduction will be. I’d love to see it double and I’m sure most others would to 🙂

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