In the last post, Larry questioned whether our savings from renting over owning were net of tax. I found it an interesting question, as I've never really thought about it, so I did.
Firstly, the principle of savings is tax free - the money itself is not taxed, but the interest is. The tax on the interest would be relatively little. Putting aside appreciation in my example, we still saved more than we would have paid on the principle of the mortgage. Then there is the thirty odd thousand that we would have paid in interest. We make about $500/month in interest on our capital, so in the last 3 years we have made about $18,000 on that, less maybe $5K in tax (to be honest, I have never paid any attention to what percentage I pay in taxes, but it doesn't seem any where near 25% of gross. I don't really mind paying taxes, as long as they are spent wisely. They seldom are, but I don't have to pay thousands of dollars a day to stay in the hospital, and Canadian universities don't charge 30-40 thousand a year for tuition, etc.). Add that $13K to the $24K in rent/own savings and we are up at least $37K.
OK, I have to address the appreciation. I thought at the time (2003-2004) that prices were due for a haircut (as did many of you). I was wrong. But what if prices had retreated by 10%? There would be no appreciation, and that $400K house would be worth $360K - maybe less because of it's problems. The $18K in principle pay down would mitigate things a bit(?), but... There would also have been about 6K in property taxes over that time, plus PTT, agents' commissions, etc.
Then I thought, wouldn't that $30K in interest paid be a kind of taxation in the truest sense of the word?
Oh well, I have always recognized that you have to spend money to make money, unless of course, you are a money lender. Then you get your money for nothing, and your chicks for free.
I take some solace in the idea of a 50% correction, which would put that house back to about $350K. Our down-payment will be bigger, and our mortgage will be smaller.