How the GOP's tax plan could hurt the value of your home

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Until recently, the mortgage interest deduction was right up there with Social Security as a sacrosanct institution on Capitol Hill, protected by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Backed by the powerful National Association of Realtors and supported broadly by middle-class homeowners, previous efforts to dismantle the mortgage deduction have gone nowhere.

Related: The Best and Worst States for Taxes in 2017

However, the Better Way tax-reform "blueprint" from Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan would essentially get rid of the mortgage interest deduction, without policymakers having to vote to eliminate it. The plan would make the standard deduction far more valuable -- increasing it from $12,600 to $24,000 for a married couple. This would result in far fewer people itemizing their taxes, which is necessary in order to claim the mortgage tax deduction. (President-elect Donald Trump's tax plan calls for raising the deduction even higher, to $30,000 for joint filers.)

Under the House Republicans' plan, an estimated 38 million of the 45 million filers (or 84 percent) who currently itemize would opt instead for the standard deduction, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center. The GOP proposal states that "far fewer taxpayers will choose to itemize deductions, with the vast majority of taxpayers finding they are better off by taking advantage of the larger, simpler standard deduction instead."

Under current rules, taxpayers can itemize and deduct the interest paid on up to $1 million on a mortgage, and home equity debt of up to $100,000. The mortgage interest deduction is the third-most expensive subsidy in the tax code, costing the federal government about $70 billion per year, according to the Tax Foundation.

RELATED: Here are the best cities to buy a home:

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Alabama: Madison

  • Median property tax bill: $763
  • Median home listing price: $228,775
  • Median household income: $92,965

Madison is located in the Huntsville Metro Area, which has been experiencing economic prosperity due to its growing research, technology and manufacturing industries, according to Sperling's Best Places. In fact, Alabama as a whole is the best state for your money in 2017, according to another GOBankingRates study.

The median home value in Madison is $196,500, which is about $74,000 higher than the median home value in Alabama. According to Zillow, home values are expected to continue increasing in the Madison area.

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Arizona: Tucson

  • Median property tax bill: $1,701
  • Median home listing price: $179,000
  • Median household income: $37,149

The housing bubble hit Arizona particularly hard, but some housing markets have rebounded. Home prices in Tucson are affordable, especially compared to prices in Phoenix ($250,000) and Scottsdale ($564,000). Take note, however, that incomes in Tucson are low. But, if you can find a higher-paying job in this city, your paycheck will likely stretch further.

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Arkansas: Jonesboro

  • Median property tax bill: $698
  • Median home listing price: $172,500
  • Median household income: $40,583

Jonesboro has a low median home listing price on top of relatively low property taxes. Memphis, Tenn., is actually located close to Jonesboro and boasts cheaper homes. However, homebuyers — especially families looking to settle in and start a new life — might be turned off by Memphis’ high crime rates.

Photo credit: Jonesboro.org 

California: Los Gatos

  • Median property tax bill: $5,275
  • Median home listing price: $1,899,000
  • Median household Income: $122,860

Los Gatos might be one of the most expensive places to buy a home, but a high cost of living comes with benefits. For example, Los Gatos schools spend more per student than the national average, according to Sperling's. And, nearly 70 percent of the population has graduated from a four-year college. Another great aspect of Los Gatos is the city’s very low crime rates — both violent and property crime rates are below the U.S. average.

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Colorado: Colorado Springs

  • Median property tax bill: $1,124
  • Median home listing price: $269,900
  • Median household income: $54,228

Colorado Springs emerged as the 40th most populous city in the U.S. in May 2016, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The city’s housing prices compare favorably to Denver: The median home price in Colorado Springs is about $175,000 less than in Denver. And with home values growing, the housing market in Colorado Springs seems like it will continue its healthy streak.

See: 6 States With the Biggest Real Estate Bubbles 

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Connecticut: Westport

  • Median property tax bill: $6,898
  • Median home listing price: $1,539,000
  • Median household income: $151,771

Residents in this coastal town boast a median household income of more than $150,000, but also a median home listing price in excess of $1.5 million. But if you can afford to buy a home here, consider it.

Like many other wealthy cities, Westport has low crime rates compared to the rest of the country. And, Westport's education system is top-notch, featuring nationally ranked schools — including Staples High School, which made U.S. News' list of the best high schools in America.

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Delaware: Lewes

  • Median property tax bill: $741
  • Median home listing price: $369,990
  • Median household income: $53,505

When researching Lewes, you'll find encouraging stats when it comes to education. Schools in Lewes spend more on their students than the national average, according to Sperling's. The city is also home to one of the best school districts in Delaware: Cape Henlopen.

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Florida: Fort Walton Beach

  • Median property tax bill: $1,374
  • Median home listing price: $179,900
  • Median household income: $49,552

Situated in Okaloosa County, Fort Walton Beach has an affordable housing market. Also, economic conditions make Fort Walton Beach even more appealing — Sperling's predicts job growth will grow nearly 40 percent over the next 10 years.

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Georgia: Buford

  • Median property tax bill: $2,199
  • Median home listing price: $299,900
  • Median household income: $43,750

Located just outside the Atlanta area, Buford is still close to Georgia’s capital and economic hub. Buford's median listing price for homes is actually a bit higher than Atlanta's. However, Buford home values are slightly higher, according to Zillow.

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Idaho: Boise

  • Median property tax bill: $1,468
  • Median home listing price: $244,900
  • Median household income: $49,209

According to Zillow, Boise's housing market is currently a buyers’ market. With home values up nearly 11 percent in the past year and predicted to rise even more, buying a home in Boise sooner rather than later could be a solid investment.

Learn: How to Invest in Real Estate 

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Illinois: Vernon Hills

  • Median property tax bill: $6,862
  • Median home listing price: $345,000
  • Median household income: $89,667

Vernon Hills provides a great setting for buying a home and starting a new chapter in your life — but watch out for the taxes. The median property tax bill for Lake County, where Vernon Hills is located, is nearly $7,000.

But, it offers other benefits for homeowners and residents. The affluent village offers great cultural and economic diversity, notably the commercial and manufacturing sectors, according to Sperling's.

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Indiana: Munster

  • Median property tax bill: $1,656
  • Median home listing price: $224,900
  • Median household income: $72,532

Munster's housing market has experienced a rise in home values in the past year, and Zillow forecasts that home values will rise 2.2 percent within the next year.

Photo credit: Munster.org 

Iowa: Ames

  • Median property tax bill: $2,397
  • Median home listing price: $274,500
  • Median household income: $42,373

The median home listing price in Ames isn’t cheap nor is it expensive. However, there are other real estate trends in the city that could benefit a homebuyer. For example, the price per square foot of real estate in Ames has declined 25 percent since last year, according to Trulia.

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Kansas: Olathe

  • Median property tax bill: $2,787
  • Median home listing price: $278,500
  • Median household income: $76,519

Olathe's unemployment rate beats the U.S. average, according to Sperling's, and future job growth looks promising for people who want to buy a home and settle down. Another bonus for homebuyers: Kansas is one of the best states to get a mortgage loan thanks to competitive 30-year fixed rates.

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Kentucky: Murray

  • Median property tax bill: $875
  • Median home listing price: $160,000
  • Median household income: $29,993

Homebuyers can benefit from a relatively low median property tax when searching for a new place to live in Murray. And there are a couple of other factors in Murray that can benefit residents. For example, Murray has a lower cost of living than Lexington-Fayette, according to Sperling's. In fact, housing costs in Lexington-Fayette are more than 20 percent higher than in Murray.

Photo credit: Murrayky.org 

Louisiana: Zachary

  • Median property tax bill: $894
  • Median home listing price: $245,000
  • Median household income: $72,012

Like Murray, Zachary sports a median property tax under $1,000. Rising home values are also a good sign for homebuyers. According to Zillow, home values increased nearly 14 percent over the past year and are expected to jump another 5.4 percent within the next year.

Photo credit: Cityofzachary.org 

Maine: Falmouth

  • Median property tax bill: $3,309
  • Median home listing price: $512,450
  • Median household income: $99,324

Falmouth is located along Maine's coast. Although housing is expensive in Falmouth, it offers plenty of attractive features for homebuyers looking for a safe place to raise a family. Its violent and property crime rates are lower than the U.S. average.

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Maryland: Rockville

  • Median property tax bill: $4,193
  • Median home listing price: $474,950
  • Median household income: $98,530

Although home prices are higher here, home values in Rockville are also higher than in nearby Gaithersburg. And whether you currently have kids or plan to in the future, Rockville offers excellent numbers when it comes to education. Schools in Rockville expend more than $16,000 — and nearly $15,000 specifically on education expenses — per student, well above national averages, according to Sperling's.

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Massachusetts: Wellesley

  • Median property tax bill: $4,750
  • Median home listing price: $1,599,500
  • Median household income: $159,615

Yes, home prices are high in Wellesley — but so are incomes, which should help cover housing costs. Plus, you’ll find low crime rates and some of the best schools in Massachusetts.

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Michigan: Beverly Hills

  • Median property tax bill: $3,314
  • Median home listing price: $359,900
  • Median household income: $103,011

No, we're not talking about the 90210 — this is the other Beverly Hills. Residents here seem to earn a lot — the median household income is more than $100,000. Buying a home here might be a good investment since home values are expected to rise more than 2 percent within the next year, according to Zillow.

Photo credit: Villagebeverlyhills.org 

Minnesota: Minnetonka

  • Median property tax bill: $3,058
  • Median home listing price: $385,950
  • Median household income: $80,068

Zillow predicts Minnetonka home values will increase 3 percent in the next year. Minnetonka enjoys low crime rates, especially when compared to Minneapolis and St. Paul, according to Sperling's. The city also boasts greater projected job growth than Minneapolis — one more reason to consider buying a home in this city.

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Mississippi: Petal

  • Median property tax bill: $1,050
  • Median home listing price: $174,900
  • Median household income: $50,955

Buying a home in Petal is pretty affordable. Plus, crime rates are low by national standards, and the city has a cheaper cost of living than nearby Sumrall and Purvis.

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Missouri: St. Louis

  • Median property tax bill: $2,432
  • Median home listing price: $127,500
  • Median household income: $34,800

St. Louis boasts excellent home affordability. And with more than a fifth of houses and apartments vacant, according to Sperling's, there is a good chance housing prices in St. Louis will remain affordable in the near future.

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Nebraska: Omaha

  • Median property tax bill: $2,999
  • Median home listing price: $189,900
  • Median household income: $48,751

Omaha’s housing market is putting up some encouraging numbers for people looking to make some money off their house. According to Zillow, home values have been increasing in the last few years, rising more than 5 percent over the past year. The upward trend is expected to continue next year.

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Nevada: Reno

  • Median property tax bill: $1,786
  • Median home listing price: $356,302
  • Median household income: $46,489

Reno has recovered impressively from the housing crash of 2007-08. Home values rose 13 percent over the last year, according to Zillow. And the economy might get stronger. According to Sperling's, Reno's projected future job growth over the next 10 years exceeds the U.S. average at nearly 41 percent. It's one of the reasons GOBankingRates.com ranked it one of the best cities to own investment property

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New Hampshire: Bedford

  • Median property tax bill: $5,422
  • Median home listing price: $477,107
  • Median household income: $123,423

Bedford is located about 50 miles from Boston. With a high median household income, Bedford is considered an upscale town and boasts low crime rates. In fact, crime rates in Bedford are lower than in other suburbs such as Goffstown and Londonderry, according to Sperling's. And, Bedford's home values rose nearly 4 percent year-over-year, according to Zillow.

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New Jersey: West Windsor

  • Median property tax bill: $7,016
  • Median home listing price: $670,800
  • Median household income: $161,716

Households in West Windsor are prosperous, as the city’s $160,000-plus median household income is far higher than the national median. And if you're planning to start a family, you can count on your kids receiving a solid education. U.S. News ranked West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South as one of the top high schools in the country.

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New Mexico: Los Alamos

  • Median property tax bill: $1,771
  • Median home listing price: $286,500
  • Median household income: $107,031

Los Alamos has a relatively high median household income and a good education system — perfect if you're raising a family. In fact, Niche ranked Los Alamos Public Schools as the best school district in New Mexico.

Photo credit: Getty

New York: Jericho

  • Median property tax bill: $9,941
  • Median home listing price: $848,000
  • Median household income: $137,463

Nice homes in a nice area don’t usually come cheap, and Jericho is no exception. But don't let that deter you from buying a home here. Jericho Senior High School is top-notch, earning a perfect 10 out of 10 from GreatSchools. And, Jericho's low violent and property crime rates can also help boost home values.

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North Carolina: Asheville

  • Median property tax bill: $1,365
  • Median home listing price: $329,000
  • Median household income: $44,077

Asheville has become a growing hotspot for businesses and private individuals alike. The city’s unemployment rate is lower than the country’s average. More importantly, Asheville home values experienced double-digit growth in the last year and are predicted to rise within the next year, according to Zillow.

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North Dakota: Grand Forks

  • Median property tax bill: $2,408
  • Median home listing price: $239,000
  • Median household income: $44,134

The median listing price for homes in Grand Forks is right around the U.S. median. Although Zillow's data found that home values fell slightly in the past year, values are expected to increase within the next year.

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Ohio: Cincinnati

  • Median property tax bill: $2,537
  • Median home listing price: $139,900
  • Median household income: $34,002

Cincinnati's low median listing price is favorable to buyers. And, unemployment is lower here than in other Ohio cities such as Dayton and Cleveland. According to Zillow's October market overview, Cincinnati home values are expected to rise about 3 percent within the next year.

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Oklahoma: Stillwater

  • Median property tax bill: $1,154
  • Median home listing price: $179,720
  • Median household income: $32,255

About an hour’s drive north of Oklahoma City, Stillwater offers a diversified economy thanks — in part — to Oklahoma State University. In terms of living expenses, Stillwater’s cost of living is lower than the national average.

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Oregon: Portland

  • Median property tax bill: $3,139
  • Median home listing price: $399,900
  • Median household income: $53,230

If you’re set on buying a house in the Pacific Northwest, Portland offers a high-quality atmosphere for laying down roots. Despite rising housing prices, the population of millennial homebuyers grew in recent years, according to the National Association of Realtors.

See: Top 20 Cities Where Home Prices Are Skyrocketing 

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Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh

  • Median property tax bill: $2,686
  • Median home listing price: $174,900
  • Median household income: $40,009

Home values in Pittsburgh have increased nearly 15 percent in the past year and are expected to rise another 6 percent in the next year, according to Zillow. And compared to Philadelphia, living in Pittsburgh is considerably cheaper — about 12 percent cheaper, according to Sperling's.

Photo credit: Getty

Rhode Island: Portsmouth

  • Median property tax bill: $4,215
  • Median home listing price: $439,000
  • Median household income: $77,483

Portsmouth is the best city to buy a home in Rhode Island thanks to its solid median household income, as well as encouraging trends in the housing market. Home values grew about 11 percent in the past year, and Zillow predicts it will rise more than 3 percent within the next year.

Photo credit: Getty

South Carolina: Fort Mill

  • Median property tax bill: $1,003
  • Median home listing price: $329,295
  • Median household income: $61,100

Fort Mill's future job growth is predicted to expand more than 40 percent over the next 10 years, according to Sperling's. Plus, home values are expected to rise more than 7 percent next year, according to Zillow.

Photo credit: Getty

South Dakota: Brandon

  • Median property tax bill: $2,178
  • Median home listing price: $249,900
  • Median household income: $69,792

Brandon is located in the greater Sioux Falls metro area and offers low crime rates, according to Sperling's. The cost of living is also lower than the national average.

Photo credit: Getty

Tennessee: Oak Ridge

  • Median property tax bill: $1,037
  • Median home listing price: $148,000
  • Median household income: $52,534

Oak Ridge is a suitable place to buy a home, especially considering its affordable median home price. Zillow also predicts home values will rise 4.5 percent in the next year. 

Photo credit: Getty

Texas: Austin

  • Median property tax bill: $4,432
  • Median home listing price: $380,000
  • Median household income: $55,216

Austin’s median home price falls toward the pricier side, but you can still live comfortably on a decent salary. Another GOBankingRates study found you only need to make $53,225 — which is lower than the median household income — a year to cover expenses in Austin. 

See the Results: How Much You Need to Live Comfortably in the 50 Biggest Cities 

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Utah: Logan

  • Median property tax bill: $1,118
  • Median home listing price: $189,950
  • Median household income: $35,770

Logan, located north of Salt Lake City, boasts fairly affordable housing. In fact, housing expenses in Logan are about 36 percent less than costs in Salt Lake City. Meanwhile, the overall cost of living in Logan is nearly 11 percent lower, according to Sperling's.

Photo credit: Getty

Vermont: Montpelier

  • Median property tax bill: $3,817
  • Median home listing price: $229,500
  • Median household income: $60,676

Montpelier’s median home listing price is slightly lower than the U.S. median. But, Montpelier’s median home value is more than $40,000 higher than the national median.

Photo credit: Getty

Virginia: Ashburn

  • Median property tax bill: $5,095
  • Median home listing price: $489,990
  • Median household income: $122,687

Ashburn is located near Washington, DC, and offers nice homes for those who commute into the capital. Seated right in Virginia’s prosperous technology corridor, Ashburn is expected to see a 37.8 percent increase in job growth over the next 10 years, according to Sperling's.

Photo credit: Getty

Washington: Redmond

  • Median property tax bill: $3,855
  • Median home listing price: $700,000
  • Median household income: $99,586

Redmond offers some alluring features for people looking to buy a home. For example, crime rates here are lower than rates in Seattle, and housing costs in Redmond are cheaper than in nearby Bellevue, according to Sperling's.

Photo credit: Getty

West Virginia: Wheeling

  • Median property tax bill: $684
  • Median home listing price: $125,500
  • Median household income: $36,085

Wheeling has seen an incredible 31 percent increase in median home sale prices since last year, according to Trulia. Despite that increase, Wheeling’s median list price is still lower than the U.S. median.

Photo credit: Getty

Wisconsin: Brookfield

  • Median property tax bill: $4,169
  • Median home listing price: $337,450
  • Median household income: $91,485

Brookfield is a suburb near Milwaukee and boasts suitable conditions for buying a home and starting a family. The city experienced a 5.1 percent year-over-year increase in median home values, and values are predicted to increase another 3.3 percent within the next year, according to Zillow.

Photo credit: Facebook.com 

Wyoming: Lander

  • Median property tax bill: $1,270
  • Median home listing price: $229,500
  • Median household income: $53,028

If you appreciate beautiful scenery, consider buying a home in Lander. The cost of living, including housing, in Lander isn't as high as the national average, according to Sperling's.

Up Next: The Best City in Every State for a Successful 2017 

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Even with Republican control of the House, Senate and the White House, the Republican tax plan is nowhere near a done deal. Nearly three-quarters of Americans recently polled by the National Association of Home Builders say that they support the government providing tax incentives that encourage homeownership, and lobbyists for the real estate and construction industries are already gearing up to fight the provision.

Related: Companies That May Not Make It Through 2017

If the blueprint were to become law, it would have ramifications for millions of taxpayers, homeowners and sellers, but the overall impact on the housing market (and your wallet) may be smaller than you think. Here's what you need to know:

1. Home values could fall in the short-term.

The total elimination of the mortgage interest deduction might push prices down around 7 percent, according a recent paper from the Federal Reserve. The impact might be smaller if the deduction is not fully repealed. That's a relatively small decrease compared to the double-digit decline seen after the housing bubble burst in 2006, but it would mean a paper loss of nearly $17,000 on the average $240,000 home. Still, the impact of increasing the standard deduction, rather than eliminating the mortgage-interest deduction, would likely have a smaller impact.

2. But only a small portion of taxpayers uses the mortgage-interest deduction.

While it enjoys broad support, the vast majority of homeowners don't benefit from the mortgage interest deduction as it currently stands. The benefit is only available to those who have a mortgage on their home and who itemize their taxes.

Only about 20 percent of taxpayers currently claim the deduction, and it has an average benefit of just over $2,000, according to the Tax Policy Center. "You go to [mid-tier markets] like Texas, Florida, and Arizona, and no one talks about buying a home to save on taxes," says John Burns of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, which provides data and advice to real estate investor. "It's not even part of the equation anymore."

3. Most consumers would still be better off buying.

It's cheaper to buy than to rent a home in most parts of the country, and that wouldn't change with the elimination of the mortgage deduction. "This doesn't fundamentally affect the rent-versus-buy decision," says Trulia Chief Economist Ralph McLoughlin. "It makes it less of a better deal to buy than to rent, but buying still remains a good financial option if a household can stay in their home for seven years."

A calculation by Politico finds that a homeowner with a $65,000 annual salary would see the tax benefits of buying a $263,000 condo plummet from $3,325 a year to $166. Tying up your assets and losing the ability to easily relocate may not be worth that much, although there are other benefits of homeownership, such as growing equity and protection from rising rents, and there are many emotional incentives that compel people to become home owners.

4. Middle-income homeowners would feel the biggest bite.

Any impact on home prices would likely be concentrated on more moderately priced homes, where the owners aren't paying enough in interest to outweigh taking the new deduction but aren't in a high enough tax bracket to get a huge break.The Tax Policy Center estimates that middle-income taxpayers would see an average tax cut of only $260 per year under the Republican plan. That's hardly enough to offset even a modest loss in home equity, although long-term demand would likely see prices bounce back over time.

5. High-income homeowners would benefit.

The wealthiest homeowners would benefit from both the tax cut and continued access to the mortgage-interest deduction, since they'd likely continue to itemize. Those making more than $1 million a year typically save nearly $9,000 thanks to the deduction. Under the Republic tax plan, the top quintile of taxpayers would also receive an average tax cut of $11,000 a year.

Due to larger mortgages and a higher tax rate, wealthy borrowers already benefit disproportionately from the mortgage interest deductions, which wouldn't change. Wealthy taxpayers often choose to finance the purchase of a home even though they could pay cash, as part of a broader tax planning strategy.

More from The Fiscal Times:
The 9 States With the Hottest Housing Markets Heading into 2017
The 10 Biggest Hits From the 2017 Detroit Auto Show
The 15 Unhealthiest States in America

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