The Twin Cities real estate market is off to a promising start in 2013, with area home sales up 11% over last year. While January is typically one of the sleepiest months of the year, unseasonably strong home buyer activity suggests that the spring market will be robust.
During January, there were 2,797 home sales in the 13-county Twin Cities metro area. Buyers were out and about during the month hoping to strike a good deal on a home and take advantage of near record-low mortgage rates. Pending sales were up even stronger than closings, rising 13% during January.
Sales of steeply discounted foreclosure homes fell slightly during January while sales of upper-bracket houses increase. As a result, the median price of all closings during the month rose 14% to $160,000.
While there were plenty of house hunters, the same can’t be said of home sellers. During January there were 4,798 new listings, a 6% decline from last year. Total listings in January stood at 12,000, a 32% decline from last year. At the current sales pace those listings would last less than three months.
With inventory falling, some expect that the Twin Cities has become a seller’s market, but that’s not the case. Sellers still offered hefty discounts in January, getting only 93 percent of their original list price. Buyers are still having their say.
Additionally, home sale prices are still being suppressed by high levels of foreclosures and short sales. During January, distressed sales represented 43% of all deals. Though that is...
Do you own a home? Are you thinking of buying a home? Were you one of the many that purchased a home last year? April 15th will be rolling around soon and it’s important for you to know what tax breaks and credits for which you qualify as a home owner.
Here are a few of the tax breaks for which you may qualify:
Mortgage interest paid at settlement. On mortgages of up to $1 million, home owners can deduct the interest paid at settlement if you itemize your deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040). This amount should be included in the mortgage interest statement provided by your lender.
Points. If you pay points to obtain your home mortgage, these fees can be deducted as long as they are associated with the purchase of a home. If you refinanced your home, these points are still deductible, but it must be done over the life of the mortgage.
Property taxes. You can deduct your state and local property taxes, as long as they are based on the assessed value of the real property. However, if your money is being held in escrow for the purpose of paying property taxes, you cannot claim this deduction until the money is actually taken out of escrow and paid.
Selling costs. Did you sell a home in the past year? You may be able to deduct the amount of your selling costs, such as repairs, title insurance and broker’s fees. The IRS only allows the deduction of repair costs if the repairs were made within 90 days of the sale. Selling costs are deducted from your gain on the sale.
Home office. If you use a portion of your home exclusively for the purpose of an office for your small business, you may be able to claim a deduction on your taxes for some costs. You may also be able to take advantage of this deduction if part of your home is used for storing items for your business.
Mortgage insurance premiums. You...