Monthly Archives: January 2011

Capital Gain Taxes – The Same for Now

Toward the end of 2010, many people wondered what would happen to capital gain tax rates on January 1, 2011. Some even scrambled to close the sale of property before the end of the year. As it turned out, Congress extended the capital gain rates in mid December; at least for two years. The following is a brief summary of portions of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Jobs Creation Act of 2010 (not surprisingly referred to as “the extension of the Bush Era Tax Cuts”) which are likely to impact real estate investors.
• Capital Gain and Dividend Rates – Current rates were extended for two-years for all taxpayers with a maximum rate of 15% for both.
• Personal Tax Rates – Current rates were extended for two-years for all taxpayers with the top rate remaining at 35%.
• Social Security Tax – The employee tax rate of 6.2% on the first $106,800 of wages drops to 4.2% in 2011.
• Alternative Minimum Tax – Current exemptions were extended for all taxpayers for two-years.
• Estate Tax – An exclusion amount of $5 million and a tax rate of 35% for amounts in excess of the exclusion was established for two-years; the exclusion will become indexed beginning in 2012.
• Gift Tax – Like the Estate Tax, a Gift Tax exclusion amount of $5 million and a tax rate of 35% for amounts in excess of the exclusion was established for two-years, with the exclusion being indexed beginning in 2012.
• Other Extensions – The $1000 child credit; an additional standard deduction for real-estate taxes; extension of 15-year cost recovery for certain leasehold improvements, restaurant buildings and qualified retail improvements (through 2011); and the extension of various energy credits (through 2011).
Although the legislation provides some certainty for two years, we may find ourselves questioning our future rates again in 2012. Since that is also an election year, it may be interesting!
Source: IPX1031® January Newsletter

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Maintaining Status Quo

The New Year ushered in with the local real estate market still maintaining the current “status quo”. The Active and Sold statistics are almost identical to the number we quoted for the month of November. Inventory is consistent at about 50 Active listings, the Days on the Market are only off by 1 day, the Sold properties are close to the same and the Price per square foot is very, very close. This only adds to the conclusion the market here is definitely stabilizing. At least we are not declining as we were over the past 4 years. Please see the CMA (comparative market analysis) table to the right.
The hottest type of property to sell right now is what we refer to as: an investor dream house. This would be a home built within the last 20 years, 3+ bedrooms and with a purchase price of around $150,000. With the normal 20% down, on a fixed 5% 30 year mortgage, the property maintains a positive rental cash flow. These homes are mostly foreclosures and when they come on the market, we are seeing multiple offers. Of course, this is not helping the traditional Seller or property values, but right now, it is the reality.
Here is an interest rate update from my favorite Mortgage Broker, Leonard Pagel: “The world of interest rates remains trending towards higher levels. The projections for higher rates have been supported but, in my opinion, it has been moving upward slower than many would have thought. That being said, higher rates have brought some people off the real estate sidelines and interest in purchasing property has noticeably increased over that last few months. It is an interesting conflict that buyers are worrying whether values may not have bottomed while fearing higher rates impacting payments. It is making their decision more complicated.”
The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform have still not made a decision on changing the Federal tax deduction for mortgage interest. I will post a new blog as soon as we hear that a decision has been made.
We look forward to assisting you for all your real estate sales, property management and loan needs.

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