More On Tax Planningfrom The Advisor's Professional Library
- Health Insurance: Health and Medical Savings Accounts A Health Savings Account is a trust created exclusively for the purpose of paying qualified medical expenses of an account beneficiary. Although they are popular, they are not without their pitfalls and the regulations can be complicated. Learn more about how to avoid federal taxation on the accumulation and distributions of HSA.
- IRAs: In General Individual Retirement Accounts are highly popular tools for contributing funds that grow on a tax deferred basis. Depending on the type of IRA, the accumulation can be tax free.
The real estate markets appear to be staying in recovery mode. That doesn’t mean the markets can’t get knocked off-track, of course--think fiscal cliff or loss of the home mortgage deduction--but a review of the recent data is encouraging nonetheless.
According to the National Association of Realtors’ October 2012 Commercial Real Estate Market Survey, the commercial market is sluggish but stable.
The key stats to keep in mind when considering investments in the sector are:
• Sales volume rose 6.0% from a year ago.
• Sales prices declined 4.0% on a year-over-year basis.
• Leasing activity declined 1.0% from the previous quarter.
• Rental rates declined 3.0% compared with the previous quarter.
• Concession levels declined 1.0% on a quarterly basis.
• Financing remains at the top of the current challenges list, followed closely by pricing and the impact of local economies upon commercial markets.
The regional performances varied but were positive. Existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 1.7% in the third quarter and are 9.8 percent above the third quarter of 2011. The median existing single-family home price in the Northeast slipped 0.3% to $246,900 in the third quarter from a year ago.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales rose 5.2% in the third quarter and are 17.8% higher than a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Midwest increased 4.2% to $151,100 in the third quarter from the same quarter in 2011.
Existing-home sales in the South increased 5.4 percent in the third quarter and are 11.7 percent above the third quarter of 2011. The regional median existing single-family home price rose 5.7 percent to $165,400 in the third quarter from a year earlier.
In the West, existing-home sales slipped 1.2 percent in the third quarter due to limited supplies, but are 2.1 percent higher than a year ago. With the tight inventory, the median existing single-family home price in the West surged 20.2 percent to $247,400 in the third quarter from the third quarter of 2011.
National stats for the third quarter of 2012 from the National Association of Realtors are similarly positive:
- The median existing single-family home price rose in 120 out of 149 metropolitan statistical areas based on closings in the third quarter compared with same quarter in 2011, while 29 areas had price declines. In the second quarter 110 areas showed increases from a year earlier, while in the third quarter of 2011 only 39 metros were up.
- The national median existing single-family home price was $186,100 in the third quarter, up 7.6 percent from $173,000 in the third quarter of 2011, which is the strongest year-over-year price increase since the first quarter of 2006 when the median price rose 9.4 percent. In the second quarter the price increased 7.2 percent from a year earlier. Some of the price gain resulted from a smaller share of distressed home sales in the market, but the higher prices significantly reflect a market recovery. Distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales that generally sell at deep discounts – accounted for 23 percent of second quarter sales, down from 30 percent a year ago.
- Total existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, rose 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million in the third quarter from 4.54 million in the second quarter, and were 10.3 percent higher than the 4.25 million pace during the third quarter of 2011. At the end of the third quarter 2.32 million existing homes were available for sale, which is 20.0 percent below the close of the third quarter of 2011 when 2.90 million homes were on the market.
- In the condo sector, metro area condominium and cooperative prices – covering changes in 54 metro areas – showed the national median existing-condo price was $180,800 in the third quarter, up 7.7 percent from the third quarter of 2011. Thirty-three metros showed increases in their median condo price from a year ago and 21 areas had declines.