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Rep. Steel Champions Homeownership Amidst Inflation Woes

The "More Homes on the Market Act" aims to ease homeownership challenges in California.

In a bold move addressing the housing crisis exacerbated by rampant inflation, Congressional Representative Michelle Steel has co-sponsored a pivotal bill, the "More Homes on the Market Act," aimed at rejuvenating homeownership in California. As Californians grapple with soaring housing prices, forcing many to seek homes outside the state, this legislation emerges as a beacon of hope for those facing a dire scarcity of real estate options.

The act, co-authored by Rep. Steel, proposes significant amendments to the existing tax framework, notably enhancing incentives for homeowners to sell properties. By revising the capital gains tax stipulations, the bill seeks to stimulate the stagnant real estate market in areas like Orange County, where the glossy reality of shows like "Selling the OC" stands in stark contrast to the harsh realities of the housing market.

Under the proposed legislation, single filers would see their capital gains exclusion double from $250,000 to $500,000, while married couples filing jointly could benefit from an increase from $500,000 to $1 million. This adjustment, a long-overdue update to the 1997 exemption, aims to reflect the dramatic inflation and surge in housing prices over the past decades. Representative Panetta, a Democrat, acknowledges the necessity of this "simple fix" to aid homeowners in downsizing and selling their properties while preserving their financial security.

Focused on safeguarding the interests of genuine homeowners rather than speculative investors, the bill stipulates that the exemption applies only to primary residences occupied by the owners for at least two of the past five years. This careful crafting underscores the bill's commitment to fostering genuine homeownership and community stability.

Earning bipartisan support, the bill has attracted a diverse group of 27 co-sponsors, including Democrats like Reps. Katie Porter and Ted Lieu, and Republicans such as Reps. Mike Garcia and Michelle Steel. However, it remains pending in committee, with the Congressional Budget Office yet to analyze the fiscal implications of this proposed exemption increase on the U.S. Treasury.

Rep. Steel's proactive stance in co-sponsoring this bill highlights a dedicated effort to tackle the pressing issue of housing affordability. It is a step towards revitalizing the American dream of homeownership, where the dream has been increasingly out of reach for many.


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