Realtors rise to defense of mortgage tax deduction

September 06, 1992|By Knight-Ridder News Service

WHICHITA KANSAS — WICHITA, Kan. -- The National Association of Realtors expects a new move in Congress to wipe out the income-tax deduction for home-mortgage interest, the association's president says.

Dorcas Helfant, the association's first female president, said last week that the nation's largest trade association is prepared to fight any attempt to eliminate or limit the federal deduction that for years has provided an impetus for home sales.

"We believe it's going to be under attack in the next Congress," she said at the convention of the Kansas Association of Realtors.

There have been attempts in recent sessions of Congress to eliminate or reduce the deduction because of its impact on tax revenues. But those efforts have been blocked.

Ms. Helfant said the group would have liked the Democratic and Republican parties to include support for the income-tax deduction in their platforms.

Ms. Helfant, owner of a Virginia Beach, Va., realty company, said the national association's 800,000 members are pleased with the housing-related planks of both parties.

Most important, she said, are the pledges by both parties to preserve the home-loan-guarantee programs of the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and Farmers Home Administration. Ms. Helfant said she expects average growth in existing-home sales, except in the far West. The Midwest is booming, she said, because housing is affordable and employment is high.

But last week's jump in fixed-rate mortgage-interest rates to more than 8 percent could affect that prediction.

"We hope rates will stay low," she said. "But the recent lowering of the value of the dollar will result in higher interest rates."

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