Monthly Archives: August 2019

Property Taxes by Congressional District | Waccabuc Real Estate

Earlier this year, NAHB released 2017 property taxes by state as a blog post and as a longer special study. However, in light of changes made to the tax code by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), further refining the statistics by congressional district is instructive to both members of Congress as well as their constituents.

Property Tax Payments, Effective Tax Rates, and Intrastate Comparisons

The highest average property tax bill was $11,389, paid by home owners residing in New York’s 17th district (Rockland County and portions of Westchester County). The smallest average annual real estate tax bill was $425, paid by home owners in Alabama’s fourth district (Franklin, Colbert, Marion, Lamar, Fayette, Walker, Winston, Cullman, Lawrence, Marshall, Etowah, and DeKalb Counties). The congressional districts in which homeowners pay the 20 largest and 20 smallest annual property tax bills are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

It is not surprising that many of the districts with the highest property tax rates are in states that impose the highest average property tax rates.  Figure 2 illustrates the geographic concentration of high- and low-tax congressional districts.

Figure 2

For example, 17 of the 20 congressional districts with the highest property tax rates are in three states: New Jersey, New York, and Illinois (Figure 3).

Figure 3

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2017 American Community Survey

Congressional districts in New York State exhibited the most variability of effective property tax rates – equal to the percentage of the property value paid in taxes each year (see Figure 4). The difference between rates in the 25th and 13th districts was 2.43 percentage points in 2017, the largest such difference within a state. The average property tax rate in the 25th district (2.79%) is more than six times greater than that in the 13th (0.36%). The smallest differential within a state with five or congressional districts was in Washington, where the highest effective property tax rate is 1.04% (WA-10) and the lowest is 0.75% (WA-7).

Figure 4

Property Taxes and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The state and local tax (SALT) deduction decreases federal tax liability by allowing taxpayers to deduct the total of property tax payments plus either sales or income taxes paid to state and local governments during the year.  Under prior law, this deduction was uncapped but disallowed for taxpayers forced to pay the alternative minimum tax (AMT).  However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) capped home owners’ SALT deduction at $10,000 per year (through 2025).

The value of a tax deduction is determined by the amount deducted from taxable income and the taxpayer’s top marginal tax rate at which the income would have been taxed.  Thus, under prior law, a taxpayer in the top tax bracket (39.6%) who paid $10,000 in state income taxes and $10,000 in property taxes could have decreased their federal tax liability by $7,920 [39.6% x ($10,000+$10,000)].

Until the TCJA-made change expires in 2026, that amount would be reduced to $3,700 (equal to the $10,000 cap multiplied by the new, top marginal tax rate of 37%). The effect of this change on after-tax income is obvious in certain high-tax congressional districts.  For example, the average yearly bill for property taxes alone exceeded $10,000 in six districts in 2017 (NY-17, NY-3, NJ-11, NJ-7, NY-4, and NJ-5).

But as AMT status affects a taxpayer’s possible SALT deduction, one must bear in mind the significant changes made to the AMT by the TCJA.  The most impactful of these changes was the increase of the income threshold at which the AMT exemption begins to phase out.  For a married couple filing jointly, the phaseout threshold went from $160,900 to $1 million in 2018.

As a result, the number of AMT-affected taxpayers is expected to fall 90%–from five million to 500,000—between tax years 2017 and 2018.  The taxpayers who no longer face the AMT may now be able to claim a $10,000 deduction that was previously unavailable to them, lowering their tax liability.

read more…

Builder confidence holds firm | Cross River Real Estate

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose one point to 65 in July, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This marks the sixth consecutive month that sentiment levels have held at a steady range in the low- to mid-60s.

Builders report solid demand for single-family homes. However, they continue to grapple with labor shortages, a dearth of buildable lots and rising construction costs that are making it increasingly challenging to build homes at affordable price points relative to buyer incomes.

Even as builders try to rein in costs, home prices continue to outpace incomes. The current low mortgage interest rate environment should be getting more buyers off the sidelines, but they remain hesitant due to affordability concerns. Still, attractive rates should help spur new home purchases in large metro suburban markets, where approximately one-third of new construction takes place according to the NAHB HBGI. Lower recent have driven new home sales 4% higher on a year-to-date basis thus far in 2019, while single-family permits continue to lag.

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All the HMI indices inched higher in July. The index measuring current sales conditions rose one point to 72, the component gauging expectations in the next six months moved a single point higher to 71 and the metric charting buyer traffic increased one point to 48.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the South moved one point higher to 68 and the West was also up one point to 72. The Northeast remained unchanged at 60 while the Midwest fell a single point to 56.

The HMI tables can be found at nahb.org/hmi.

read more…

Building material prices fall | Katonah Real Estate

Prices paid for goods used in residential construction decreased by 1.1% in June (not seasonally adjusted) according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The decline broke a four-month trend of increases and was only the fifth month over the past two years in which prices fell.

Over the past 12 months, building materials prices have decreased 1.6%, just the fifth June year-over-year decrease since 2000.  The decline is a sharp reversal of June 2017 to June 2018, during which prices increased 8.8%.

The PPI report shows that softwood lumber prices decreased (-1.7%, not seasonally adjusted) in June—the index’s third consecutive monthly decline. Prices remain at their lowest level since February 2017.  While weekly prices have been volatile since mid-May according to Random Lengths, the difference between the average prices of softwood lumber in May and June mirrored the PPI data (-1.8% v. -1.7%).

One of the special indexes published by BLS tracks lumber and plywood in one category.  Similar to softwood lumber, the lumber and plywood index fell 2.3%.  Prices paid for softwood lumber and lumber and plywood have decreased 23.1% and 17.6%, respectively, since June 2018.

The price index for gypsum products continued its downward trend in June, declining 1.9%.  In the last 10 months, gypsum prices have only increased twice.

Prices have declined by 6.2% and 10.8% since January 2019 and August 2018, respectively.

Ready-mix concrete prices increased 1.2% in June and remain relatively volatile.  Prices have risen by more than 1.0% in two of the past three months, something that has only happened in 18 of the previous 231 months.

read more…

Most homebuyers would sacrifice a big yard for a shorter commute, realtor.com says | Bedford Hills Real Estate

aerial neighborhood houses

Realtor.com added a new filter that allows people to look at homes for sale based on the commuting distance to their work. 

The new search option, created in response to user feedback, is designed to help buyers understand how long it will take to drive to and from work before pulling the trigger on a home purchase, realtor.com said in a statement. About 85% of people in a survey of 600 users of realtor.com said they would compromise on various home features, including lot size, square footage, and style of the home, to reduce their commute time. 

“Buyers would choose to save their sanity and sacrifice various home amenities in turn for a shorter commute,” realtor.com said.

The new feature currently is available only on the company’s IOS app, meaning right now you can only see it on iPhones, which represent about a third of the mobile market. In coming days it will be added to realtor.com’s Android app as well as its website, according to Shannon Baker, a spokeswoman for realtor.com.

The average American’s commute inched up to 26.9 minutes from 26.6 minutes in 2018 from the previous year, according to Census data. While that 18-second increase was small, it added up to two and a half extra hours on the road when tallied over the course of the year. 

Washington, D.C., has the nation’s worst commute, at an average 41 minutes each way, according to Geotab, a company that sells GPS fleet management systems, based on its computation of Census data. That’s followed by Boston and New York, both at 40 minutes. San Francisco is fourth, at 36 minutes, followed by Atlanta and Chicago, at 35 minutes. Los Angeles and Miami are seventh and eighth, at 33 minutes. Rounding out the top 10 is Philadelphia and Seattle, both at 32 minutes. 

This is what the filter looks like:

realtor.com's new filter

read more…

https://www.housingwire.com/articles/49485-most-homebuyers-would-sacrifice-a-big-yard-for-a-shorter-commute-realtorcom-says?utm_campaign=Newsletter%20-%20HousingWire%20Daily&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=74291785&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9j58HHTMliEJmwZipM5rhh_O4VD6CzS9EkZVIHI7VToGUFvt5LIsNcWzip68L6WdCbZpAtAHtmu061zfsIR8Kj1ZsByg&_hsmi=74291785