Fiscal Cliff Threatens Local Housing Market | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 13 December 2012 15:32

By Carl Medford, CRS

Special to the Times

It’s the middle of the Holiday Season and normally the time when airwaves are flooded with tales of illuminated reindeer, halls bedecked with verdant splendor and the Reason for the Season.

Not this year. In fact, with overtones reminiscent of a pulp fiction novel’s title, we’re being bombarded with “Tales of the Cliff.”

To be honest, I’m flabbergasted we’re this close to national fiscal suicide without a meaningful plan. I’m appalled that politicians from both sides of the aisle won’t sit down and sequester themselves until they work this out. I’m offended that we can’t hold their paychecks until this is resolved.

Basic projections include unemployment rising approximately 2 percent; taxes being raised for everyone; dramatic cuts in defense spending, law enforcement and other key community services; expiration of social security tax cuts… and that’s just the beginning.

Local Realtors are concerned about the impacts this could have on our housing market. We’ve been watching the current red-hot market push prices higher. While bad news for wannabe buyers, it’s a much needed improvement. Equity has been returning to the market like the spring thaws after a long, cold winter.

Having come through beleaguering times, we’re very concerned that the Cliff could take hard-won gains over the precipice and back into the abyss from which we’ve just emerged.

We’re also concerned about some of the items that have been put back on the slaughterhouse floor (or the cutting table, for the squeamish), i.e. the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction. Discussions surrounding the elimination of the deductions were rampant in recent months, but faded into the background — thanks, in no small part, to the huge Realtor lobby in Washington decrying any such action.

Just when we thought we’d weathered the storm, we’re hearing the deduction is up for grabs once again.

Bottom line: we cannot afford to go over the cliff. Additionally, we believe that the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction is a fundamental part of the American Dream of homeownership and is critical to improving the health of the recovering housing market.

Many local Realtors, myself included, have already contacted our representatives in Washington. We’re imploring our leaders to put aside party differences and work together for the good of the entire nation. We recommend that you do the same. We cannot afford to move any closer to the precipice. We’re confident you agree.

Go to for instructions on contacting your representatives.

Carl Medford is a licensed Realtor with Prudential California Realty in Castro Valley and a licensed general contractor. This article is sponsored by the Central County Marketing Association at



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