New Year, New President

Onward We Go

By Frank Pellegrini

We’ve just inaugurated a new President, and as we move forward as a nation in a different direction, uncertainty seems to be the dominant factor. No one knows how the new administration in Washington will work with the new Congress. Republicans are cheered, of course, about having control of the legislative and executive branches, but it was only eight years ago that Democrats had the same level of power, and they lost the legislature after two years.

One item that concerns me is the possibility that the home mortgage interest deduction might be revisited by the new Congress. It’s hard to tell how accurate reports are, but there seems to be some substance to the discussion. I hope changes to this vital economic tool are quickly taken off the table, as does nearly everyone in the real estate industry. Eliminating the mortgage interest deduction would no doubt do great damage to our industry, and likely the entire economy as middle class families work to cope financially without that valuable deduction.

I urge you to follow developments in Washington and stay in touch with your local and national associations, representatives and senators as events unfold. Let’s make sure our voices are heard as decisions are made.

Meanwhile, signs point to a growing real estate market this year. On the construction front, the builders are predicting another strong year. Last year, the National Association of Home Builders projected 1.16 million total housing starts in 2016, which was up nearly 5 percent from the previous year. Now NAHB is forecasting a 10 percent increase in single-family production for 2017 and a 12 percent rise for 2018.

On the whole, I’m optimistic about our industry in 2017. Refinances are drying up, but existing home sales will be good, more Millennials will be moving into the housing market and the commercial market is stable.

What’s your point of view? I’d love to start a conversation. Call or email me, or write a comment below.