Long-treasured mortgage interest deduction may face changes

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WASHINGTON — The home mortgage interest deduction could face major changes as Washington policymakers search for ways to reduce the deficit as part of the debate on the so-called fiscal cliff. And that’s sending shivers through home buyers and much of the housing industry.

The home mortgage interest deduction is one of the most cherished in the U.S. tax code. It’s also one of the most expensive, estimated to cost the federal government $100 billion this fiscal year. For that reason, the deduction taken on income tax returns is expected to be on the table in Washington’s search for more money to reduce the budget deficit and resolve the fiscal cliff.

It’s also sparking a debate about the true effect of the deduction, which critics argue benefits the wealthy much more than the middle class. They contend that the break hurts first-time home buyers by driving up house prices and that other countries that have no such deduction still have high homeownership rates.

It’s also sparking a debate about the true effect of the deduction, which critics argue benefits the wealthy much more than the middle class. They contend that the break hurts first-time home buyers by driving up house prices and that other countries that have no such deduction still have high homeownership rates.

Read more at latimes.com

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