One of the most popular home ownership myths in Charleston, SC is that owning a house is a huge tax break as compared to renting. I don’t know how many times people have personally told me that they want to buy a home because they NEED a tax deduction! I just shake my head in disbelief because I have done the math.
If your mortgage interest and other qualifying expenses such as charity contributions aren’t more than the standard deduction, ($11,600 for joint filers in 2011), there is no tax advantage to owning a home as opposed to renting an apartment in Charleston, SC. Assume that you buy a $200,000 house with a 5% downpayment at a 6% interest rate. Your mortgage interest for the year would be $11,336. The Standard Deduction for joint filers is $11,600.
In this example, there is NO TAX BENEFIT. Even when there is a tax benefit, you most likely paid much more money to maintain the house than you are saving in taxes. If your mortgage interest is more than the standard deduction and you choose to itemize, there is little to no advantage.
For example, assume that your mortgage interest in 2011 is $15,000. You would get to deduct an additional $3400 if you itemize BUT you spent $15,000 in mortgage interest to save $850 on your taxes (assuming 25% tax bracket).
Don’t forget that you would also have all of the other expenses of home ownership that you would not have incurred when renting an apartment in Charleston, SC in an HHHunt community.