The U.S. housing market saw sustained improvement in 2012, and the landscape is looking even better for the coming year. For one, after bottoming out late in 2011, home prices have been recovering. The gains could be checked somewhat, however, as improving residential values bring more “underwater” homeowners out from negative equity. Even so, economists and analysts are calling for 3.1 percent price appreciation in 2013; and a seller’s market is likely to emerge as buyers work to close on purchases while mortgage rates are still near the bottom and affordability is still fairly high. The Federal Reserve is actively helping to keep interest rates low for now. So buyers who qualify for home financing will find that, even with a modest budget, their purchase power will be considerable. Location has always been central to real estate sales, but it will take on even more importance next year as buyers hunt for good deals and sellers seek to maximize returns. More than ever, it will be necessary to know the unique local market conditions. And while 2013 could hold revisions to the mortgage interest deduction, most buyers will not be greatly affected unless they are purchasing considerably more expensive real estate or buying in a more expensive area. | Read More