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Federal budget deal real estate wins

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The federal budget deal signed by the President on Friday, February 9, 2018, contains a number of wins for real estate, including a temporary extension of federal flood insurance and extension of NAR-backed tax provisions that include relief from debt forgiveness, the deductibility of mortgage insurance premiums, and several energy-efficiency related provisions.

Extends the National Flood Insurance Program until March 23, giving lawmakers time to work on longer term reauthorization and reform legislation. It also adds $27 billion in mitigation and resiliency funds to address issues arising from last year's hurricanes. The extension makes $12 billion available under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to fund U.S. Army Corp of Engineers flood mitigation projects.

Retroactively extends for the 2017 tax year:

Mortgage Debt Forgiveness
This provision will prevent homeowners who were forced to sell their home through a short-sale last year, or who faced a foreclosure, from being taxed on the “phantom income” they received when a lender cancelled their debt.

Deduction for Mortgage Insurance Premiums
This provision will allow approximately four million homeowners to deduct the mortgage insurance premiums they paid as part of their mortgage. NAR estimates that roughly two million homebuyers annually purchase a home that is subject to mortgage insurance. This provision helps make homeownership more affordable for first time and entry-level homeowners.

Energy efficient commercial buildings deduction

This provision extends the deduction for the cost, up to $1.80 per square foot, of energy-efficient commercial building property. Increasing the energy efficiency of commercial buildings not only helps the environment, it saves building owners and tenants money that they can use to grow their businesses and the economy. 

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