I took a walk around my Denver neighborhood last weekend and–in addition to Colorado’s usual bizarre spring weather of sunshine plus wind and snow–noticed several open houses and even more for-sale signs posted in front yards. The spring buying season is here. As we enter this season, here’s the latest Seattle real estate and mortgage news.
1. Mortgage rates decreased.
After increasing throughout January and February, long-term mortgage rates recently slipped from 4.46 percent to 4.44 percent. (This time last year, the long-term mortgage rate was slightly lower at 4.3 percent.) Fixed-rate mortgages also recently decreased from 3.94 to 3.9 percent.
These decreases are good news for those buying or selling homes right now; lower mortgage rates tend to motivate individuals who are on the fence to finally buy.
2. Interest on home loans is still partially deductible.
Many homeowners have had questions about how the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would affect their ability to deduct interest from home equity loans and lines of credit. (Check out our blog post from earlier this year for more about how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will affect you).
Responding to these questions from homeowners, the IRS recently issued a statement outlining exactly how the tax changes will affect interest deductions for homeowners. According to the IRS, you can still deduct the interest if you take out a loan to pay for home renovations or improvements like investing in a new roof, or adding a wing onto your home.
However, if you take out the loan to pay for things like credit card debt, student loans, or vacations, this interest is not deductible. To clarify, you can still use home-equity loans to pay student loans and credit card bills, but you can no longer take the interest deduction on the amount used for these purposes.
3. Seattle is tied with Denver for the lowest housing inventory in the country.
As a former Seattleite who currently lives in Denver, I can’t help but feel slightly pleased that the cities I’ve lived in are such in-demand places to live. Though obviously, this fact has absolutely nothing to do with me and more to do with the fact that both cities are very cool.
4. Rising property taxes in Washington are boosting public schools.
The unfortunate part of this news is that, as some of you may have noticed, King County property taxes have risen 43 percent in the past four years. To respond to homeowners’ growing concerns, the Seattle Times recently published an article answering common questions about Washington property taxes. The fortunate part is that “the largest share of state and local property taxes in King County–about 57 percent–goes to public schools. Smaller slices go to cities, county government, Sound Transit, fire districts, and libraries.”
Also in real estate news, Seattle’s last half-a-decade’s flurry of construction has started to slow down. Perhaps the city is finally settling into its ranking as one of the nation’s hottest spots.
And finally, here’s an interesting article about purchasing real estate with the strange, futuristic cryptocurrency Bitcoin and an uplifting story about how residents worked together to save a West Seattle coffee shop located in an historic bungalow.