1. Tax advantages: There are significant tax advantages to buying a home before the end of this year. First, homebuyers are able to enjoy the homestead exemption on their property taxes for the entirety of 2014 which can amount to hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in tax savings. In addition, buyers can deduct some up-front costs paid on their mortgage in the year the home purchase took place – including discount and origination “points”. Also, depending on your income level, a buyer may be able to deduct mortgage insurance paid in 2013. Any mortgage payments made before the end of the year will allow you to deduct that interest paid for the year, so making a January payment in December can boost 2013 tax deductions. Naturally, buyers should always check with their tax advisor to see how these tax saving opportunities might be of benefit.
2. Buyer demand: Inventories of homes for sale traditionally decline as we move closer to the end of the year. If a buyer is selling their existing home it is an opportunistic time to place a home on the market. According to the National Association of Realtors, between 30 and 35% of home buyers were first timers who are great candidates for buying the home of move-up buyers.
3. Optimal mortgage rates: Despite the recent strength in home prices (which would intuitively make one think affordability has declined); near record low mortgage rates have caused home affordability to actually increase year over year. This means home buyers can buy more house for the same total cost that could have a year ago. Locking in a low mortgage rate will have benefits that last decades.
4. Moving costs: Since moving companies are less busy than they are in the summer, it is easier to get on the moving schedule and your pricing power is stronger. Moving costs can be as much as 30% lower in the winter.
5. Holiday cheer: Buying now will ensure that you can be moved in and unpacked in time for the holidays. Nothing is better than a first winter holiday in a new home.