GOP tax plan could hurt homebuyers, Cantwell says

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By Elisa Hahn, KING 5
Image courtesy of King 5

Sen. Maria Cantwell was part of the wave of Democratic lawmakers speaking out Friday against the GOP tax plan, focusing on the proposed changes to deductions.

Those changes could deal a painful blow to a soft spot for many people living in the Puget Sound – homebuyers and builders.

“It’s already hard enough to buy a home in Puget Sound,” said Cantwell. “We don’t want to make it harder.”

Cantwell stood before representatives in the home buying and building industry during a press conference on Friday. Their message – that the Republican-proposed changes to home mortgage interest and property tax deductions could have a chilling effect on the market.

“If there is no incentive to home ownership, we say why even bother? Why not just rent?” said Michael Orbino, managing broker with John L. Scott.  “There is nothing wrong with renting, but our hope is that it’s a phase in life.”

Take the owner of a median-priced home in King County – $750,000. If he’s paying 4 percent interest on a home loan and is in the 25 percent tax bracket, then he would get $7,500 in savings with the current deduction.

Under the GOP plan, the homeowner could only claim a deduction up to $500,000 of principal. If the loan interest and bracket are the same, his savings would be only $5,000.

That would result in a $2,500 loss.

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