Pleasanton Weekly

Real Estate - October 21, 2011

Tax benefits vital to housing market, Realtor says

Mortgage interest deduction may provide stability in economy

by Jeb Bing

Witnesses before the Senate Finance Committee at a hearing this week were in complete agreement that now is not the time to make changes to the mortgage interest deduction, said Ron Phipps, president of the National Association of Realtors.

"NAR is pleased that a range of witnesses testifying at the committee's hearing on tax incentives for homeownership reinforced the message Realtors have been delivering to Washington: do no harm," Phipps said.

As the leading advocate for housing and homeownership issues, Phipps pointed out that the NAR firmly believes that the mortgage interest deduction is vital to the stability of the American housing market and economy.

"While progress has been made recently in bringing stability to the housing market, it is not recovering at the rate it should be and is far too fragile to sustain any tax increases," he said. "Raising taxes on America's homeowners by changing the tax rules that apply to homeownership now or in the future will further stall the housing recovery and critically erode home values."

He said that owning a home is a long-standing and abiding fundamental American value because it benefits individuals and families, strengthens communities, and is integral to the nation's economy.

"It is imperative that Congress preserve the mortgage interest deduction and that the nation's 75 million home owners continue to receive this important tax benefit, which helps primarily middle- and lower income families," he said.

"NAR will remain vigilant in opposing any plan that modifies or excludes the deductibility of mortgage interest," he added.

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