From the fourth quarter of 2017 through the third quarter of 2018, the average contract interest rate on new thirty-year fixed rate mortgages rose by roughly 70 basis points—from 3.9 percent to 4.6 percent. During this same period, there was a broad-based slowing in housing market activity with sales of new single-family homes declining by 7.4 percent while sales of existing single-family homes fell by 4.4 percent. Interestingly though, these declines in home sales were larger than in the two previous episodes when mortgage interest rates rose by a comparable amount. This post considers whether provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) might have also contributed to the recent decline in housing market activity.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 changed the tax brackets, tax rates, credits and deductions for individuals and similarly altered corporate tax rates, deductions and exclusions. In this post, we examine whether the reform has shifted individuals’ expectations about their financial situation and the macroeconomic outlook. We also ask whether households have already started to adjust their behavior in line with their expectations. In order to answer these questions, we use novel data from a special module of the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) fielded in February 2018 to a nationally representative sample of heads of households.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) introduces significant changes to the federal income tax code for individuals and businesses. Several provisions of the new tax law are particularly significant for the owner-occupied housing market. In this blog post, we compare the federal tax liability and the marginal after-tax cost of mortgage interest and property taxes under the old and new tax codes for a wide range of hypothetical recent home buyers in a high tax state. We find that impacts vary substantially along the income/home price distribution.