You may have heard about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was signed into law at the end of December. This major legislation affects many things. If you want to learn more about how it affects you, please reach out to a certified tax professional.
The Wonderful World of Wauna decided to dig a little deeper. So, we sat down with our CXO John Moore, who has 23-years of experience in finance, which includes overseeing Wauna Credit Union’s mortgage and lending teams, to talk about how the new laws impact mortgages.
Please note, this blog should not replace advice from a certified tax advisor.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us.
My pleasure. It’s great to talk to somebody who’s beard is almost as magnificent as mine.
Can you give an overview of how the new laws change things?
In general the law lowers the limits related to mortgage deductions. In short if you own expensive real estate you may not get the deductions you used to. The main changes:
- The maximum mortgage debt homeowners can deduct was decreased from $1 million to $750,000. Although those with existing loans are grandfathered in
- The law eliminates tax deductibility for interest paid on home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)
- The deduction for property taxes is now limited to $10,000
How does this change things for mortgages?
The thing it really does is make first mortgages much more appealing. Since the interest in first mortgages is still deductible, and because the rates on first mortgages are almost always lower than equity loans and lines, we expect to see more of our members looking at refinancing.
What about members who want to do home improvement, or previously used home equity loans and HELOCs to finance other things, like education and paying down high-interest debt?
First mortgages can be great for that as well. Since Oregon and SW Washington have seen a dramatic rise in home values, most of our members have a lot of equity in their homes. Those who have a big expense can take care of it with a cash out first mortgage for any home improvement or debt consolidation.
Does this make second mortgages less appealing?
Not necessarily, even though non-housing interest is no longer deductible on equity loans, they still are very useful. First of all, the rates on equity loans tend to be lower than non-secured loans, which means you are still stretching your money further. In addition, just having an equity line handy in case of emergencies can provide tremendous peace of mind.
Any final things you’d like us to know?
Han shot first.
Thanks John for taking the time to speak with us. If you have any questions about mortgages WCU has experts in every branch who are happy to help you with your existing mortgage, or get you on the road to home ownership, and phone consultants available 24/7 at 800-773-3236.