Housing industry could foot bill for payroll tax cut

December 13, 2011

So apparently there is something Republicans and Democrats can agree on: the housing industry is an easy target.

The latest proposal from both Senate Democrats and House Republicans to pay for the extension of the payroll tax cut calls for extra fees to be tacked on to what Fannie and Freddie charge lenders.

In effect, this will create a new tax on home purchases, as the banks will pass those additional fees on to the borrowers, obviously. Just what we need in a struggling market. The fees, of course, are charged to help cover bad mortgages, not pay for general government spending, so this sets a very bad precedent for the industry.

Both parties like it because its seen as a politically painless way to avoid allowing the tax cut to expire going into an election year. Although it in effect creates another tax to pay for it, it's just complicated enough that most people will miss it.

Jonathan Sweet is the editor in chief of Professional Remodeler, an award-winning trade publication for remodelers and home improvement contractors. He started his career covering homes and small businesses at a daily newspaper and has spent more than a decade writing for several construction trade publications including Qualified Remodeler, Construction Pro and Concrete Contractor+Jonathan Sweet


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