La Jolla, Calif.

Sales of luxury homes spiked in the final months of 2012, as high-end homeowners rushed to take advantage of lower tax rates before January 1.

Not only were these sellers concerned that fiscal cliff talks would lead to a hike in the capital gains rate but many were already facing a 3.8% Medicare surtax on investment income slated to go into effect in 2013 as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The sellers of this five-bedroom property decided to upgrade to a house on the beach one block away — and they made sure to close the deal ahead of the January 1 tax law changes, said agent Drew Nelson of Willis Allen Real Estate.

By raking in about $3 million in profit in 2012 instead of 2013, they saved more than $110,000 on the 3.8% Medicare surtax on investment gains and another $150,000 or so on the hike in the capital gains rate to 20% from 15%.

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