Southland Closes 2012 With Higher Sales and Prices

As seen on DQNEWS.com

La Jolla, CA—Southern California’s housing market ended 2012 with the highest December home sales in three years, the result of robust investment activity, a record level of cash buyers and more sales gains in move-up markets. The median sale price jumped nearly 20 percent from a year ago, pushed higher by greater demand and the market’s shift away from foreclosure resales and toward more mid- to high-end deals, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 20,274 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 5.1 percent from 19,285 sales in November, and up 5.3 percent from 19,247 sales in December 2011, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

A rise in sales from November to December is normal for the season. Last month’s sales were the highest for the month of December since 22,328 homes sold in December 2009, though they were 17.2 percent below the December average of 24,488 sales since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin. The low for December sales was 13,240 in 2007, while the high was 36,865 in 2003.

The median price paid for a home in the six-county Southland was $323,000 last month, up 0.6 percent from $321,000 in November and up 19.6 percent from $270,000 in December 2011. For the past four consecutive months the median has been the highest since it was $330,000 in August 2008. The Southland median has risen or held steady month-to-month for 11 consecutive months and has increased year-over-year for nine consecutive months.

“The housing market had more to offer in 2012 than many anticipated. A lot of markets not only found a price bottom as foreclosures waned but they started to see their first meaningful gains in nearly two years. Buyers on the fence were drawn back into the housing game by amazingly low mortgage rates, a brighter jobs outlook and, in some cases, a renewed sense of urgency,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

“Last year should also be remembered as the year the move-up market awoke. If these upward trends hold, which requires a sustained economic recovery, we should eventually see more inventory hit the market. More would-be sellers will be satisfied with what their homes can fetch, and fewer people will owe more than their homes are worth, freeing them up to move. The rise in inventory would at least tame price appreciation.”

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Click here for a foreclosure update from DQNEWS.com

Mortgage cancellation relief for home owners has been extended!

As seen on Reatlor.org

On Jan. 1 both the Senate and House passed H.R. 8, legislation to avert the “fiscal cliff.” The bill will be signed shortly by President Barack Obama.

Below are a summary of real estate related provisions in the bill:

Real Estate Tax Extenders

  • Mortgage Cancellation Relief is extended for one year to Jan. 1, 2014
  • Deduction for Mortgage Insurance Premiums for filers making below $110,000 is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012
  • 15 year straight-line cost recovery for qualified leasehold improvements on commercial properties is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012.
  • The 10 percent tax credit (up to $500) for homeowners for energy improvements to existing homes is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012.

Permanent Repeal of Pease Limitations for 99% of Taxpayers

Under the agreement so called “Pease Limitations” that reduce the value of itemized deductions are permanently repealed for most taxpayers but will be reinstituted for high income filers.  These limitations will only apply to individuals earning more than $250,000 and joint filers earning above $300,000.  These thresholds have been increased and are indexed for inflation and will rise over time.  Under the formula, the amount of adjusted gross income above the threshold is multiplied by three percent.  That amount is then used to reduce the total value of the filer’s itemized deductions.  The total amount of reduction cannot exceed 80 percent of the filer’s itemized deductions.

These limits were first enacted in 1990 (named for the Ohio Congressman Don Pease who came up with the idea) and continued throughout the Clinton years.  They were gradually phased out as a result of the 2001 tax cuts and were completely eliminated in 2010-2012.  Had we gone over the fiscal cliff, Pease limitations would have been reinstituted on all filers starting at $174,450 of adjusted gross income.

Capital Gains

Capital Gains rate stays at 15 percent for those the top rate of $400,000 individual and $450,000 joint return.  After that, any gains above those amounts will be taxed at 20 percent.  The 250/500k exclusion for sale of principle residence remains in place.

Estate Tax

The first $5 million dollars in individual estates and $10 million for family estates are now exempted from the estate tax.  After that the rate will be 40 percent, up from 35 percent.  The exemption amounts are indexed for inflation.

Blog post by: Realtor.org