Beginning in 2013, under the American Taxpayer Relief Act, H.R.8, long-term capital gains rates have been tiered to income tax brackets. Individuals in the 10% and 15% income tax brackets will benefit from a zero long-term capital gains rate; individuals in the 25%, 28%, 33% and 35% income tax brackets will be subject to a 15% long-term capital gains rate; and individuals in the 39.6% income tax bracket will be subject to a 20% long-term capital gains rate. Property held for less than one year is subject to the ordinary income tax rates of 10% to 39.6% upon sale.
There is also an additional 3.8% tax on Investment Income that may affect the Sellers of luxury second homes but should not affect most of the ski condo owners who choose to sell.
Finally if you own more than one residence, there have been some tightening of how long you must live in one of the properties for a period of time to claim it as your principal residence. Where you once could exclude $500,000 worth of capital gains if you lived in a residence for 2 of the last 5 years of ownership, the system will now change to a percentage of the time you owned the property in total. However, this change will not affect most long time second homeowners for the next many years as the IRS will allow you to treat all years of residential ownership prior to 2009 as your primary residence for all properties owned.