Nobody in West Michigan can escape the fact that we are now engulfed in the full-bore election year media onslaught. You would need to be living under a rock not to have noticed — and the rock would have to be somewhere out of earshot of radio and tv.
Fortunately, since this is a space where we discuss buying and selling homes, we try as best we can to steer clear of politics; so let’s enjoy this island of non-partisanship… or perhaps that’s impossible, because of the topic, which is too interesting to ignore…
Recently, a study came out of Stanford that answered an intriguing question: do higher taxes drive wealthy people out of state? If you ever plan on selling a high-end home, the answer would be more than academic. Whether our own state’s position on the tax rate hierarchy could measurably affect high-end property marketability — that is, if the well-heeled set are beginning to allow changes in state tax tables to determine their home base — is very much at issue.
So this investigation (it was sponsored by the U.S. Treasury Department), which focused on millionaires, came up with the statistical answer to the question (as Forbes put it) of “Do High State Taxes Drive Away the Rich?
For any agent running million dollar listings — or for any multi-million-dollar property owner considering selling their home anytime soon — that’s one fewer factor to have to address. The study found that U.S. millionaires who earn over $1 million annually are actually one of the groups least likely to relocate to a new state. It could be because their seven-figure incomes are tied to their current locale; or it could be because in the rarified atmosphere mega-incomes provide, marginal tax rates don’t matter (I doubt that — high income folks usually have plenty to worry about, and taxes are certainly in there).
Also interesting: the lower your household income, the more likely you are to move. In a mobile society like ours, that seems to make good sense — and is somewhat reassuring. People are still chasing opportunity; are still motivated to go where jobs can be found.
So what does this mean for those selling a home ? Or buying one?
That depends, as it almost always does, on your individual circumstances much more than on big-picture trends that can be analyzed on a national level. What is definite is that if you are thinking of buying or selling a home in our area this summer, success starts with a solid, localized market analysis. Call me anytime!