Are you a broker representing a first-time homebuyer? Get ready to work.

Issues like the new tax law and low inventory are making it a difficult market for buyers, particulary in urban areas

Semi-detached rowhouses on a street in East New York, Brooklyn
Semi-detached rowhouses on a street in East New York, Brooklyn

It is a no-good, very-bad, terrible time to be a first-time homebuyer, especially in a market like New York City where inventory is tight and bidding wars are commonplace.

Factors ranging from the new tax law to the low housing supply to rising mortgage rates have combined to make 2018 a particularly bad year for first-time homebuyers, according to the New York Times.

The new Republican tax plan will likely make it more expensive to buy a home, as taxpayers will no longer be able to deduct all of their state and local taxes from their federal taxes, which includes property taxes. These deductions are now capped at $10,000.

The law lowered the deductions for mortgage insurance premiums and mortgage interest as well.

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The country is also dealing with a historically low supply of housing, which is making houses that are on the market more expensive. And supply may still be years away from returning to its normal levels.

Additionally, credit conditions remain tight. This is impacting both people looking to buy their first homes and people looking to move, as homeowners might decide not to sell if they think it will be hard to get a new mortgage.

Morris Davis, chair of real estate and professor of finance at Rutgers Business School, told the Times the main factors that should impact buyers’ decisions are where they want to live and how long they want to be there, rather than how much money they want to make off their home.

“A first-time home buyer is taking a bet on a metro area,” he said, “and the first thing I’d ask the first-time home buyer is: Are you willing to commit to this metro area and this school district for the next 10 years?” [NYT]Eddie Small

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