Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site


Campaign Goodies for House Sales

Regardless of who wins the election today, homeowners planning to sell their houses can celebrate - if the winner keeps his election pledges.

About these ads

President Clinton says he will eliminate taxation on up to $500,000 in capital gains on the sale of a residence by a couple who have lived in it for at least two of the past five years ($250,000 for an individual). Republican candidate Bob Dole promises a tax break up to $250,000 for those who have owned and lived in their home for at least three of the past five years. For those with 10 years or more residency, the capital-gains break will increase by $25,000 a year up to $500,000.

Who might want to postpone a home sale to see if these changes are enacted?

Mark Watson, a personal financial planning adviser for KPMG Peat Marwick LLP, says homeowners age 55 and older whose capital gains are likely to exceed the present one-time exclusion of $125,000 should wait. So should those with hefty capital gains who don't plan on buying a new house of equal or greater value, he says.

But for many, a new tax deal will offer no advantage.

Phone costs may fall by $1 trillion

So far, it's unclear how much consumers will benefit from phone-industry consolidation - a trend highlighted by this week's $21 billion merger of MCI and British Telecom to form Concert Global Communications PLC.

But deregulation, a driving force behind the mergers, may bring consumers $1 trillion in benefits between now and 2010, says the Institute for International Economics. The price and quality gains would come heavily in developing nations.

About these ads

Since the 1984 breakup of AT&T, long-distance rates in the US have fallen 70 percent. In Japan, prices are down 50 percent since 1985.