Kentucky REALTOR® News

Kentucky's February unemployment rate down to 4.1 percent
March 23, 2018

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary February unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, according to the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics (KCEWS), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The unemployment rate for February 2018 was down from the revised 4.3 percent reported for January 2018.

The preliminary February 2018 jobless rate was down 1 percentage point from the 5.1 percent recorded for the state in February 2017.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for February 2018 was unchanged from the 4.1 percent reported for January 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based on estimates from the current population survey of households. It is designed to measure trends in the number of people working. It includes jobs in agriculture and individuals who are self-employed.

In February 2018, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,048,867, a decrease of 950 individuals compared to the previous month. The number of people employed was up by 2,271, while the number unemployed decreased by 3,221.

In a separate federal survey of business establishments that excludes jobs in agriculture and people who are self-employed, Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 3,000 jobs in February 2018 compared to January 2018. Kentucky has added 7,200 jobs since February 2017, a 0.4 percent employment growth.

“Kentucky’s employers continued to add workers in February helping to push the state’s unemployment rate down to 4.1 percent,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Chris Bollinger, Ph.D.

Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to this survey, seven of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors experienced employment growth from the previous month, while four sectors declined.

Kentucky’s, trade, transportation and utilities employment recorded the largest increase in February 2018 with 1,300 jobs. This sector was up 8,400 positions or 2.1 percent from February 2017 to February 2018. From January 2018 to February 2018, wholesale trade decreased by 600 jobs; retail trade increased by 2,400; and transportation, warehousing and utilities decreased by 500 positions.

“Transportation, warehousing and utilities showed strong growth in 2017 and this trend has continued in the early months of 2018,” said Bollinger. “February’s increase occurred among retailers.”

The professional and business services sector gained 1,100 jobs from January 2018 to February 2018, an increase of 0.5 percent, but was unchanged from February 2017. Within the sector, employment in professional, scientific and technical services was up 500 jobs from January 2018 and is up 1,600 jobs from February 2017. Management of companies lost 400 positions from over the month, a loss of 2 percent. Administrative and support and waste management added 1,000 jobs from January 2018 to February 2018, but is down 300 from a year ago.

Kentucky’s manufacturing grew by 1,000 jobs in February 2018, an increase of 0.4 percent. Both durable and nondurable goods manufacturing grew over the month with durable goods manufacturing leading the way with 600 more jobs. Non-durable goods manufacturing added 400 positions. Since February 2017, Kentucky’s manufacturing sector has added 900 jobs or 0.4 percent.

The financial activities sector gained 300 positions from January 2018 to February 2018, but fell by 500 jobs since last February. Within this sector, finance and insurance gained 500 jobs, while the real estate, rental and leasing subsector lost 200 positions in February 2018.

The leisure and hospitality sector increased by 200 jobs from January 2018 to February 2018, a 0.1 percent gain. Accommodations and food service added 300 jobs, while arts, entertainment and recreation lost 100 jobs in February. Since February 2017, this sector has lost 200 positions or 0.1 percent.

Employment in the information services sector rose by 200 jobs in February 2018. This sector has declined 300 jobs or 1.3 percent since February 2017. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

Jobs in mining and logging increased by 100 jobs from January 2018 to February 2018. However, employment in this sector for February 2018 is the same as it was in February 2017.

Employment in the other services sector declined by 100 positions in February 2018, but added 1,900 from a year ago. This represents a growth rate of 2.9 percent from February 2017 to February 2018. Other services includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

The education and health services sector dropped by 200 jobs in February 2018. Within this sector, employment in educational services fell by 100 positions, and jobs in health care and social assistance declined by 100 jobs. Employment in this sector was at the same level in February 2017 and February 2018.

The government sector fell by 400 jobs in February 2018. Within this sector, federal employment declined by 500 jobs; state employment dropped by 300 positions; and local government employment increased by 400 jobs. Since February 2017, government employment was down by 700 jobs or 0.2 percent.

Construction employment decreased by 500 jobs from January 2018 to February 2018, a loss of 0.7 percent. Over the past 12 months, construction employment was down by 2,300 jobs or 3 percent.

“Construction employment increased during the first three quarters of 2017, but has declined somewhat since September,” said Bollinger. “February’s construction employment was down 2,300 from September 2017.”

Civilian labor force statistics include nonmilitary workers and unemployed Kentuckians who are actively seeking work. They do not include unemployed Kentuckians who have not looked for employment within the past four weeks.

Kentucky’s statewide unemployment rate and employment levels are seasonally adjusted. Employment statistics undergo sharp fluctuations due to seasonal events, such as weather changes, harvests, holidays and school openings and closings. Seasonal adjustments eliminate these influences and make it easier to observe statistical trends. However, because of the small sample size, county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

Learn more about Kentucky labor market information at https://kcews.ky.gov/KYLMI.

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Real estate activity remains strong in Kentucky
February 28, 2018
Prices increase and sales hover at all-time highs


Coming off a record-breaking year in 2017, the real estate market in Kentucky continued its run of strong sales activity and increasing home values in January.  

 

Total home sales in January were the second highest on record at 3,024, only 27 sales shy (0.1 percent) of the 3,051 sold during the same month in 2017. January was only the 13th month in the past six years that sales dipped year over year. It did, however, mark the third straight month where homes sold were down compared to the same month the year prior.

 

“Even though home sales were down slightly in the first month of the year, activity is still strong across most parts of the state and hovering at all-time highs, despite the suppressed inventory levels,” said Steve Cline, 2018 president of Kentucky REALTORS® (KYR). “This year should continue to see good movement in the market and will pick up even more if the number of homes available for sale increases, especially through new construction.”

 

Median home prices across the state rose 4.6 percent in January to $122,433, up from $116,994 in January 2017, making it the highest median price recorded for January in any year. Total sales volume hit $544 million in January, a 5.9 percent increase over 2017. Home prices, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), are being driven higher due to lack of available properties not only in Kentucky, but across the entire country.

 

“The utter lack of sufficient housing supply and its influence on higher home prices muted overall sales activity in much of the U.S. last month,” Yun said. “While the good news is that REALTORS® in most areas are saying buyer traffic is even stronger than the beginning of last year, sales (nationally) failed to follow course and far lagged last January’s pace. It’s very clear that too many markets right now are becoming less affordable and desperately need more new listings to calm the speedy price growth.”

 

In Kentucky, however, affordability is less of a problem than in many parts of the country. The median home price nationally was $240,500, almost double what is seen throughout the state. In the three largest metro areas, Louisville, Lexington and northern Kentucky, median home prices were still 30 to 35 percent lower than the U.S. as a whole.  

 

Housing inventory in the state leveled in January, down only 2%, after rising 2.4 percent in December and remaining even in the fourth quarter of 2017. With 5.3 months of inventory reported, this is considerably more than the national level of 3.4 months. Six months of inventory is considered a balanced market. NAR is reporting the tide may finally be turning for housing inventory as new home construction jumped in January and homebuilder confidence is high. These two factors will hopefully lay the foundation for the building industry to meaningfully ramp up production as 2018 progresses.

 

Days on market (DOM), an indicator that shows housing demand, dipped 11.5 percent to 116 days in January. In 2017, days on market dropped to 118 days, which reflects that homes are still moving quickly when brought to market.

 

“The market is only going to become more competitive as the weather changes, buyers continue their search for homes and the promise of higher interest rates stays on the horizon,” says Cline. “Those planning to buy a home this spring should get pre-approved for a mortgage soon and, conversely, sellers that will be listing their home in the spring or summer months should start preparations now so it’s ready to go when the time comes to get it listed. With the economy in good shape, I’m predicting that real estate in Kentucky will continue at a strong pace throughout the year.”

 

Kentucky REALTORS® is one of the largest and most influential associations in Kentucky. Founded in 1922, Kentucky REALTORS® represents more than 10,800 REALTORS® who are involved in all aspects of real estate, including residential and commercial real estate brokers, sales agents, developers, builders, property managers, office managers, appraisers and auctioneers.
 

To view housing statistics for the state, as reported to Kentucky REALTORS®, visit housingstats.kyrealtors.com.

 

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Kentucky REALTORS® recognize John Schickel with its highest legislative award
February 27, 2018

Kentucky REALTORS® has awarded the Jess and Carolyn Kinman Award to Senator John Schickel. The award was presented in the Capitol Rotunda for his efforts as Co-Chairman of the Licensing and Occupations Committee and his involvement with House Bills 112, 309, and 443 from the 2017 General Assembly.

 

“REALTORS® are the very essence of small business, of which I have always been a staunch supporter,” said Senator Schickel. “I am proud to represent Kentucky REALTORS® in their quest to represent home ownership and promote the residential and commercial real estate market.”

 

As part of the award, First Federal Savings Bank of Frankfort makes a charitable donation in the name of the award recipient. This year, Senator Schickel selected the Area 7 Special Olympics which operates in Northern Kentucky and is an organization for people with intellectual disabilities.

 

The award is named in honor of Jess Kinman, a former Kentucky REALTORS® president and REALTOR® of the Year who passed away in 2007, and his wife Carolyn Kinman, who worked for many years at the Legislative Research Commission and General Assembly. 

 

The Kinman Award is presented to an outstanding Kentuckian whose involvement in the legislative and political arenas have left an indelible mark on all those who have known or worked with him or her.

 

Kentucky REALTORS® is one of the largest and most influential associations in Kentucky. Founded in 1922, Kentucky REALTORS® represents more than 10,800 REALTORS® who are involved in all aspects of real estate, including residential and commercial real estate brokers, sales agents, developers, builders, property managers, office managers, appraisers and auctioneers.

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Kentucky home sales and prices break records for third consecutive year
January 26, 2018

Inventory shortages may see a turnaround in 2018
 

For the third year in a row, Kentucky’s real estate market set new records in a number of areas despite inventory issues that kept many buyers on the sidelines for much of the year.

 

Total home sales reached in 2017 were the highest ever recorded in the state at 53,058, a 1.8 percent increase over the 52,129 sold in 2016. Kentucky REALTORS® (KYR) reported that over the past six years, home sales increased monthly, year-over-year, in all but 12 months. However, the lack of available inventory finally caught up with the market as year over year sales declined in three of the last four months in 2017.

 

In the fourth quarter of the year, home sales saw an overall decline of 2.8 percent, dropping from 12,592 in 2016 to 12,242 in 2017 as November and December both posted decreases in properties sold (down 4.2 percent and 5.9 percent) while sales increased 1.8 percent in October.

 

The inventory of homes on the market, according to realtor.com, is at its lowest level in at least two decades which has continued to push prices up across the state. The median price in Kentucky jumped to $128,589 for the year compared to $122,166 for 2016, an increase of 5.3 percent and a record high for a year. For the fourth quarter of 2017, the median price increased 11.4 percent over 2016, reaching $133,805. Each of the last three months of the year saw record breaking median prices with December hitting $134,274 in 2017 compared to $121,310 in 2016, an increase of almost 11 percent. The increase in home prices for Kentucky was still below the national median home price of $221,500. In December, Kentucky’s median home price climbed to $120,910, another record for the state.

 

“The low inventory we face in the state and around the country has stymied those who want to become first-time homebuyers, as well as the move-up seller,” said Steve Cline, 2018 president of KYR. “There continues to be huge housing demand from qualified buyers at all price points. Indications show that housing inventory is improving going into 2018, so this will open up supply and allow for buyers and sellers to enter the market.”

 

At the end of the year, housing inventory across Kentucky in December was up 2.4 percent from 2016, hitting 4.3 months and up 5.4 percent in November 2017 versus the same month the prior year. The fourth quarter closed out at 4.4 months of housing inventory which was even with 2016.

 

In Kentucky, the rising inventory trend will help the real estate market continue to thrive, however, nationally, the inventory of available homes fell 11.4 percent in December to 1.48 million, and is now 10.3 percent lower than a year ago. Across the country, the housing inventory has declined year-over-year for 31 consecutive months and is currently estimated at a 3.2-month supply, the lowest level since the National Association of REALTORS® began tracking this data in 1999. Six months of inventory is considered a balanced market.

 

Days on market (DOM), an indicator that shows housing demand, dipped 10.6 percent to 118 days in 2017. In December, DOM dropped to 111 days, a 12.6 percent change from December 2016. In the two largest metro areas in Kentucky - Lexington and Louisville - days on market are down under two months for the year.
 

Total volume of all homes sold in Kentucky broke the $9 billion mark for the first time in 2016 and nearly hit $10 billion in 2017 with $9.8.3 billion in sales, a 7.1 percent increase for the year.

 

"With the economy doing well and reports showing rising wages, the foundation for 2018 being a turning point for first-time buyers is being created," said Cline. "But inventories of available and properly priced homes in multiple ranges have to continue to improve, allowing move-up buyers the opportunity to find a home that meets their needs. Mortgage rates will also be a factor in the strength of the market as predictions show rates could jump to around 5 percent this year."

 

Kentucky REALTORS® is one of the largest and most influential associations in Kentucky. Founded in 1922, Kentucky REALTORS® represents more than 10,800 REALTORS® who are involved in all aspects of real estate, including residential and commercial real estate brokers, sales agents, developers, builders, property managers, office managers, appraisers and auctioneers.
 

To view housing statistics for the state, as reported to Kentucky REALTORS®, visit housingstats.kyrealtors.com.

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Kentucky shows slight population growth
January 3, 2018

New estimates released by the Census Bureau today show that the resident population of Kentucky was 4,454,189 as of July 1, 2017, an increase of 0.4% from last year and an increase of more than 2.6% from the 2010 Decennial Census.  Kentucky remains the 26th largest state by population, trailing Louisiana (25th) and coming in just ahead of Oregon (27th).

All of Kentucky’s population growth since 2010 has been in the population segment age 65 and older, which has grown by 23% since the last Decennial Census.  The number of individuals younger than 65 has declined during this time.  Persons age 65 and older now constitute 16% of the population, up from 13.3% in 2010 and 12.5% in 2000.  In the past year, more than 52,000 Kentuckians turned age 65.

There were 1,010,539 Kentuckians under the age of 18 in 2017, the smallest number since 2005.  Persons younger than 18 now constitute 22.7% of the state’s total population, compared to 23.6% in 2010 and 24.6% in 2000. Read More

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KREC: New online portal & license numbers
December 15, 2017

The Kentucky Real Estate Commission (KREC) is excited to announce the launch of a new online services portal. The portal will provide licensees with expanded online services, including the ability to view and edit your licensing profile, initiate licensing changes, and process other licensing requests electronically.

 

In order to access the portal, you must login and create a NEW ACCOUNT using your Social Security number OR the identification number (OP_ID) that was sent in an email from the Kentucky Real Estate Commission on November 22 and resent on December 8. If you don't have the OP_ID, you will need to contact the Kentucky Real Estate Commission at ppc.krec@ky.gov or (888) 373-3300.

 

TO CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT:

Click on the link: https://oop.ky.gov/DPLServices/Login.aspx

 

Once you click the online services link, you will need to click the 'Create Account' link on the right side of the screen. When you enter your information on the next screen, you will select 'Individual Access' in the 'User Type' box.

 

After creating your account, you will receive a new license number. Please note, you will still be able to reference your old license number as a legacy number for all searches.

 

As a result of the online services transition, your firm name, licensee name, or business address may have been inadvertently misspelled or abbreviated. If you would like to correct or change this information, KREC's $10 change fee will be waived for 30 days. Please make any corrections by midnight on Thursday, February 15 using the online services system. After that time, a $10 fee will be reinstated for changes.

 

Create your account today and begin using the exciting new features provided by the online services portal. Thank you for your cooperation and patience as KREC completes this transition. If you have questions, please contact the Kentucky Real Estate Commission at ppc.krec@ky.gov or (888) 373-3300.

 

What is an OP_ID #?

OP_ID is a unique number that KREC (and the Public Protection Cabinet) can reference to identify an individual instead of utilizing his/her social security number. It is an abbreviation for Occupations and Professionals.

 

What happens if licensees/brokers do not create a new account before February 15, 2018 (extended date)?

You will be charged $10 transfer fee. In addition, you will also want to ensure that, during the transfer of all the data (name, address for both residential & firm) from the old system to the new system, that all your information transferred correctly without errors. When creating your account, please check to make sure all data is correct. If the firm name or firm address is incorrect, the principle broker can make corrections by February 15 at NO CHARGE - after February 15, 2018 there will be a $10 charge for corrections. Also, a new account must be created by the renewal deadline of March 31, 2018 or brokers and agents will not be able to renew online.

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Kentucky housing market heats back up in October
December 4, 2017

After slipping a bit in September, the housing market in Kentucky picked up in October following the national trend for the month. The number of homes sold in October rose 1.8 percent to 4,421 sold versus 4,342 sold in 2016. For the year, the number of homes sold jumped to 45,236, up from 43,905 in 2016, for a 3 percent increase. At this pace, 2018 is on track to break last year’s record for the most homes sold in a calendar year.

 

Nationally, total existing home sales increased 2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million in October from a downwardly revised 5.37 million in September. After the increase in October, sales are at their strongest pace since June, but still remain 0.9 percent below a year ago.

 

The Commerce Department reported that new home sales increased 6.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 units in October, making it three straight months for improvements. That was the highest level since October 2007 and followed September's slightly downwardly revised sales pace of 645,000 units.

 

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says sales activity in October picked up for the second straight month, with increases in all four major regions, including the South, up 1.9 percent, which includes Kentucky. "Job growth in most of the country continues to carry on at a robust level and is starting to slowly push up wages, which is in turn giving households added assurance that now is a good time to buy a home," he said. "While the housing market gained a little more momentum last month, sales are still below year ago levels because low inventory is limiting choices for prospective buyers and keeping price growth elevated."

 

Home prices in Kentucky have continued to climb, with the October median reaching $129,829 compared to $118,144 in October 2016, an increase of almost 10 percent. For the year, median home prices are up almost 4 percent, hitting $127,194 for the first ten months of the year.

 

Housing inventories saw a slight increase in September, but fell by over 4 percent in October 2017 versus the same month a year prior. Year-to-date, the state’s housing supply is down over 14 percent, dropping from 4.9 months of supply in 2016 to only 4.2 months in 2017. Homes are also selling much faster, with days on market in 2017 hitting 119, a 10.5 percent decline from the 133 days in 2016.

 

“The housing market is still very competitive,” said Mike Becker, president of Kentucky REALTORS®. “The weather is cooling off and activity usually levels off in the last few months of the year. That doesn’t seem to be the case, as foot traffic and overall sales are continuing on a record pace. Based on year-to-date information, 2018 may turn out to be the busiest year we’ve ever seen despite the low levels of inventory.

 

Kentucky REALTORS® is one of the largest and most influential associations in Kentucky. Founded in 1922, Kentucky REALTORS® represents more than 10,800 REALTORS® who are involved in all aspects of real estate, including residential and commercial real estate brokers, sales agents, developers, builders, property managers, office managers, appraisers and auctioneers.
 

To view housing statistics for the state, as reported to Kentucky REALTORS®, visit housingstats.kyrealtors.com.

 

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Kentucky unemployment data for October 2017
November 30, 2017

Unemployment rates fell in 88 Kentucky counties, stayed the same in 10 and rose in 22 counties between October 2016 and October 2017, according to the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics (KCEWS), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the commonwealth at 2.9 percent. It was followed by Oldham County, 3.1 percent; Fayette County, 3.2 percent; Jessamine and Scott counties, 3.3 percent each; Campbell, Monroe and Shelby counties, 3.4 percent each; and Boone, Kenton, Marion, Spencer, Todd and Washington counties, 3.5 percent each.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 12.7 percent. It was followed by Leslie County, 8.7 percent; Harlan County, 8.5 percent; Jackson County, 7.9 percent; Letcher County, 7.7 percent; Elliott County, 7.6 percent; Lawrence County, 7.5 percent; Wolfe County, 7.4 percent; and Clay and Lee counties, 7.3 percent each.

Kentucky’s county unemployment rates and employment levels are not seasonally adjusted because of small sample sizes. Employment statistics undergo sharp fluctuations due to seasonal events such as weather changes, harvests, holidays and school openings and closings. Seasonal adjustments eliminate these influences and make it easier to observe statistical trends. The comparable, unadjusted unemployment rate for the state was 4.3 percent for October 2017, and 3.9 percent for the nation.

Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working. Civilian labor force statistics include non-military workers and unemployed Kentuckians who are actively seeking work. They do not include unemployed Kentuckians who have not looked for employment within the past four weeks. The data should only be compared to the same month in previous years.

Learn more about Kentucky labor market information at https://kcews.ky.gov/KYLMI.

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Kentucky REALTORS® outlines legislative priorities for the 2018 session
November 30, 2017
2018 Legislative Priorities
To view/download a copy of the 2018 document, click here

Kentucky REALTORS® released its 2018 Legislative Priorities detailing the legislative initiatives of the real estate and small business community for the upcoming session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

Kentucky REALTORS® (KYR) knows that homeownership has positive impacts on neighborhoods, communities, and the overall vibrancy of the Kentucky economy. KYR advocates for policies that increase access to the American Dream of homeownership by promoting growth, attracting new jobs and talent, and encouraging positive community development.

The legislative priorities for KYR are crafted through a multi-step process that begins with its over 10,000 members. A survey is sent out to the full membership to determine which issues matter most, with those issues analyzed by the Governmental Affairs Committee. The Committee takes into account the survey responses and any carryover issues from previous legislative sessions and crafts an agenda, which is then approved by the Board of Directors and the Delegate Body.

“There are several tough issues that need attention in this state,” said 2017 KYR President Mike Becker. “As we move closer to the session, tax reform and pension reform are looming on the horizon and both could have extreme impacts on the economy and, ultimately, the real estate industry. We are pushing for responsible changes that do not place a disproportionate burden on the backs of homeowners and the middle-class and also looking out for other matters that could have the same effect.”

Specifically, KYR’s interests fall into the following categories:

  • Enacting Tax Reform
    • Protecting the mortgage interest deduction and property tax deduction
    • Opposing sales tax on services
    • Creating a first-time homebuyer savings account program
  • Protecting and Advancing the Real Estate Industry
    • Eliminating regulations that burden small businesses and independent contractors
    • Engaging in the continued implementation of HB 443 (2017 RS), which reorganized the Kentucky Real Estate Authority
    • Working with the administration and legislators to ensure the highest level of consumer protection, educational standards, and professionalism among licensees
  • Driving Growth and Economic Prosperity
    • Promoting economic development initiatives that bring new jobs to Kentucky
    • Supporting meaningful pension reform that sustains funding for the critical areas of state government involved in attracting new investments and growing our economy
    • Promoting workforce development programs that bring Kentuckians back into the job market and provide the opportunity to put down stable roots in the housing market
  • Stimulating Community Development
    • Allowing localities the flexibility to generate funding for public infrastructure
    • Supporting expanded and improved access to fast and reliable internet service across the Commonwealth
    • Building strong and healthy communities by supporting initiatives to combat the opioid abuse epidemic
       

Kentucky REALTORS® is one of the largest and most influential associations in Kentucky. Founded in 1922, Kentucky REALTORS® represents more than 10,800 REALTORS® who are involved in all aspects of real estate, including residential and commercial real estate brokers, sales agents, developers, builders, property managers, office managers, appraisers and auctioneers.

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Tax reform proposals should concern Kentucky homeowners
November 15, 2017

by Michael Becker, President – Kentucky REALTORS®

 

Tax reform proposals from both the House and Senate make sweeping changes to the tax benefits that homeowners have enjoyed for years. Unfortunately, if the current federal tax proposals stay as they are, this is likely to change. Here’s why:

 

Roughly 1.2 million Kentucky residents own their own home, and over 381,000 (roughly 32 percent) claimed a deduction for mortgage interest (MID).  If the federal plan doubles the standard deduction and removes most of the exemptions available, however, many fewer homeowners would itemize their taxes, essentially taking the MID and other off the table. But wait, there’s more….

 

Homeowners are currently allowed to deduct the taxes they pay to state and local governments, but that deduction is on the chopping block. Also slated for elimination are deductions for moving expenses, home equity loans, property taxes (capped in House version), student loans (House version) and more. In addition, even though the standard deduction is raised, the personal exemptions are eliminated altogether in both proposals, meaning families are losing out even more - especially if they also own a home.

 

By example, a family of four, making a combined income of $75,000 a year, and owning a home valued at $250K, could end up with a higher tax obligation, potentially more than $2,000 depending on a variety of factors relating to deductions and exemptions, if either of these proposals were to become law.

 

Kentucky REALTORS® understand that while some individuals may see a tax decrease under these proposals, estimates suggest that many middle-class homeowners, the very group that was promised good news with this reform, could in fact see a net average tax increase. In fact, according to the study: “Impact of Tax Reform Options on Owner-Occupied Housing” by PwC, homeowners with adjusted gross incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 would see their taxes rise by an average of $815. In addition to the direct financial impact of these tax reform proposals, homeownership is dis-incentivized and home values could be negatively impacted by up to 10% - as much as $10k - $20K on average depending on the area of Kentucky in which the homeowner lives.

 

Corporate tax cuts may be helpful in the worthy goal of improving the economy and driving job growth, but homeowners may be saddled with negative ramifications.  Meanwhile, their children and grandchildren will be asked to bear the burden of $1.5 trillion being added to the deficit.

 

Tax reform is vitally important, but the final product should reflect the tremendous value that homeownership offers all of Kentucky’s communities. If you own a home, or aspire to someday, you’d be wise to examine how this affects you and then let your representative know where you stand.

 

Kentucky REALTORS® is one of the largest and most influential associations in Kentucky. Founded in 1922, Kentucky REALTORS® represents more than 10,800 REALTORS® who are involved in all aspects of real estate, including residential and commercial real estate brokers, sales agents, developers, builders, property managers, office managers, appraisers and auctioneers.

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