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Homes in US gained US$2 trillion in value this year

[NEW YORK] It has been a robust year for the US housing market.

The value of the entire US housing stock increased by 6.5 per cent - or US$2 trillion - in 2017, according to a report from Zillow. All homes in the country are now worth a cumulative US$31.8 trillion.

The gain in home values was the fastest since 2013, when real estate was in the early stages of its recovery from the recession. Yet it still trails the surge in other assets, with the S&P 500 Index up about 19 per cent, and bitcoin increasing exponentially.

Los Angeles is the most valuable US housing market at US$2.7 trillion, according to Zillow's estimate of owner-occupied and rental homes, with New York second, at US$2.6 trillion. The 10 most valuable metropolitan areas are worth US$11.3 trillion combined, or 36 per cent of the total value of the US housing stock.

A home might be a worse investment next year, as the new federal tax law reduces key benefits to ownership. That includes a lower limit on the amount of debt eligible for the mortgage-interest deduction and a cap on state and local tax deductions. Those changes will land hardest on homeowners in coastal markets with high property values - and taxes - and could lead to price declines, according to the National Association of Realtors.

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