The “fiscal cliff” deal reached days ago by federal lawmakers also affects homeowners. One major point is Congress voted to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act to Jan. 1, 2014.

The policy, enacted in 2007 to help ease the nation's housing crisis, offers tax waivers on real estate debts forgiven in mortgage refinancings, foreclosures or short sales. That debt has not been considered taxable income under the law. In the case of a short sale, for instance, the seller would get an IRS bill on the difference between the sale price and the unpaid mortgage balance.

Other real estate-related points in the bill:

A deduction for mortgage insurance premiums for filers earning below $110,000 has been extended through 2013, and retroactive to include 2012.

A 10 percent tax credit, which is capped at $500, for homeowners who make energy improvements to existing dwellings was also extended through 2013 and retroactive to include 2012.

The 15-year straight-line cost recovery for qualified leasehold improvements on commercial properties was extended through 2013 and retroactive to include last year.

The price is rising

Real estate information website Trulia is reporting the Charleston region's real estate front continues to improve with higher asking prices. Trulia reported last week that asking home prices in the Charleston region are up 3.2 compared to December 2011, surpassing rents, which rose 0.7 percent over the same span.

Trulia reported Charleston's home prices went from being down 5.3 percent in December 2011 to being up 3.2 percent last month.

Reach Tyrone Richardsonat 937-5550 and follow him on Twitter @tyrichardsonPC.