April 12. 2013 from mysuncoast.com
Suncoast numbers are strong.
Tourism officials on the Suncoast say it's been a busy visitor season, and many business owners say it's been the best year since the recession. And it’s not just how many visitors are coming, but how much they're spending.
Karen Evanicki has owned Zac's Clothing and Gifts on Venice Avenue for 11 years. She has seen the ups and downs -- more ups recently. "This has been my best year since the recession."
In 2012, Florida and the Suncoast area saw record numbers, and there has been even better news this year so far. In February, Sarasota saw a nearly 7% increase in visitors from the same month a year ago. Manatee County was even higher at nearly 9%.
Not only have they been coming, but it appears they are spending more, too. "They were not spending like they are now. They are opening their pocket books," says Evanicki.
Direct spending is up 11% from last year in Sarasota, and 13% in Manatee County.
Karen is not alone. "The avenues have all been doing really good. The restaurants are packed. The shops, when I talk to the owners, are all doing very, very well. Season has been really good to them this year,” says Cat Quast of Venice Main Street.
It hasn't been just harder to find a parking spot downtown. Places like the beaches have been busy too.
"The Baby Boomer generation is getting older and we are tired of shoveling snow. I think more and more people are coming to Florida," says Cynthia Bliss, visiting from Baltimore.
Overnight temperatures Tuesday night are expected to be below freezing in places like Illinois, New York, Minnesota, Michigan, and Ohio. Compare that to lows around the 60's locally.
Those like Karen believe it may keep more coming and the season going. "I think it is going to extend a little longer. Customers that have come in say they are staying a little longer because of the weather is still bad up north."
Those here are hopeful it will combat an early Easter which usually marks the start of the exodus north. "I see it very strong through April. I am hoping actually hoping even May. We have a lot of good events happing in May."
And that’s another good sign of recovery in an area so reliant on visitors -- not only for now, but perhaps the future.
We also talked to those running one of the local hotels in the area who say it has been a great season for them as well. They say they are starting to see more vacancies towards the end of the month, but they’re hopeful many of those who could not find a place earlier will now be booking those up, too.
Home Prices Poised for Growth in 2013
In stark contrast to this time last year, the housing market is chugging into 2013 with a head of steam.
Home-listing prices were up 5.1% nationally in December on a year-over-year basis, according to data released Thursday by real-estate listings and data company Trulia. Out of the 100 major metro markets covered by the report, 82 of them saw year-over-year gains. At the end of 2011, asking prices had fallen 4.3%, and only 12 markets had posted positive price changes.
“Prices are going into 2013 with strong tailwinds,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia. He cites a general strengthening of the job market, which in turn means more families able to cover a sizeable down payment. An increase in household formation, which is also the product of improving job prospects, and home construction could further bolster demand.
Mr. Kolko notes that the sharpest tightening of inventory is taking place in Western states. Four of the top 10 cities to see the largest asking price recovery were in California, including Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento and Fresno.
Las Vegas, which was hit hard after the bubble burst, came in at the top of the list with a 16.3% year-over-year listing price increase. In the same period in 2011, prices dropped 11.2%.
To be sure, even among the markets with major gains, some are better positioned for a sustained housing recovery than others.
While Las Vegas may have seen the largest asking price turnaround, it remains far below pre-bust levels. The problem, Mr. Kolko says, is that the market remains unstable, with high vacancy rates, lingering foreclosures and subpar job growth.
On the other hand, metros like Seattle, which came in second on the list of cities with the highest asking-price recovery, are on a smoother path to growth because of their strong economic fundamentals, he said.
Meanwhile, rents rose nationally 5.2% in the same period. In 17 of the 25 biggest rental markets, home prices are rising faster than rents, according to Trulia. Whereas ownership was typically more affordable than renting in most markets in recent years, as sales demand rises, that edge is becoming less apparent, Mr. Kolko said.
More: The Wall Street Journal / Januar 3, 2013
From Economic Development News
Cape Coral In The News...Again
Wow, our city is once again receiving some of the highest rankings in the country. So what is all the big news?
After the nation-wide real estate debacle of previous years, the page has turned and now Cape Coral is getting continual top recognition from a wide variety of highly recognized media and organizations.
At the end of last year, the National Association of Builders even rewarded Cape Coral the title of Most Improved Florida Housing Market. Whether its business, lifestyle, friendliness, real estate come back, growth, or retirement - Cape Coral ranks ahead of the crowd and as one of the top places to be.
Just in the last few months, Forbes placed Cape Coral on the top 200 list of Best Place for Business. Forbes also confirmed last year's Money Magazine's recognition of Cape Coral as one of the 25 Best Places to Retire in the nation. We even beat well known Florida cities like Fort Lauderdale and Miami and numerous other household names across the country. Considering that there are about 30,000 cities and municipalities around the country, it is not small news that we keep getting chosen as one of the best.
If you think that the Forbes reporters and researchers are biased, think again, because in 2012 Cape Coral also earned the honor of Best Mid-Sized Florida City for Job Growth from New Geography.
2012 Florida Realtors® June 2012
Florida housing market continues !
Pending sales, closed sales and median prices rose, while the inventory of homes and condos for sale dropped in Florida’s housing market in May, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.
“The recovery in Florida’s housing market and economy continues to grow stronger and stronger,” said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. “Realtors across the state are reporting increased activity – in May, statewide pending sales were up 43.1 percent for existing single-family homes and up 33.4 percent for townhome-condo properties. In some areas, a shortage of for-sale inventory is resulting in multiple bids from buyers and risng price conditions.
“Now, more than ever, successful buyers and sellers are realizing the value of working with a Realtor who knows their local markets.
Pending sales refer to contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed; closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in May was $147,000, up 8.9 percent from the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $112,000, up 14.3 percent over May 2011.
The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in May 2012 was $182,900, up 7.7 percent from the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in May was $312,110; in Maryland, it was $259,207; and in New York, it was $208,000.
The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. Housing industry analysts note that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes.
Statewide sales of existing single-family homes totaled 18,723 in May, up 7.2 percent, compared to the year-ago figure. Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhomes/condos, a total of 9,995 units sold statewide last month, up 5.4 percent from those sold in May 2011. NAR reported the national median existing condo price in May 2012 was $180,000.
June 12- 2012
International sales continue to climb in U.S. market
Due to low prices and the relative weakness of the dollar, international buyers continue to identify the U.S. as a desirable place to own property and make a profitable investment.
According to the National Association of Realtors, total residential international sales in the U.S. for the past year ending March 2012 equaled $82.5 billion, up from $66.4 billion in 2011. Total international sales were evenly split between non-resident foreigners and recent immigrants.
The survey asked Realtors® to report their international business activity within the U.S. for the 12 months ending March 2012.
“Today’s advantageous market conditions have drawn more and more foreign buyers to the U.S. in recent years, signaling how desirable and profitable owning property in this country can be,” said NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc. in Miami and 2002 president of Florida Realtors®. “Low housing prices, a good inventory condition and increased buying power with today’s exchange rates help attract international clients.
“Foreign buyers also have the advantage of working with a Realtor. Realtors who specialize in serving international clientele have a truly global perspective; they know what hurdles foreign buyers face when purchasing property in the U.S., and have the expertise and knowledge that comes from working with clients from different cultures and real estate practices.”
International buyers bought homes throughout the country, but four states accounted for 51 percent of the purchases – Florida, California, Texas and Arizona. Florida has been the fastest growing destination of choice, accounting for 26 percent of foreign purchases. California was second with 11 percent and Texas and Arizona accounted for seven percent.
Proximity to the home country, the presence of relatives and friends, the convenience of air transportation, and climate and location are all important considerations to prospective foreign buyers. Locations on the East Coast generally attract European buyers, while Asian buyers tend to purchase on the West Coast, particularly California.
Florida attracts a diverse set of international buyers including South Americans, Europeans and Canadians.
Meanwhile, Texas remains popular among Mexican buyers. Within markets in an individual state, it is not unusual to find concentrations of people grouped by nationality.
“Foreign buyers recognize that owning a home in the U.S. has many benefits, both financial and social,” said Veissi. “Many purchase property as an investment, vacation home or to diversify their portfolio. In addition, many recent immigrants view homeownership as an important accomplishment. They believe that being a homeowner is one of many ways they become established in the U.S. and attain stability, security and a sense of community.”
International buyers came from all over the globe, but Canada, China (The People’s Republic of China including Hong Kong), Mexico, India and the United Kingdom accounted for 55 percent of all international transactions, according to the survey. Canada and China remain the fastest-growing home countries. Canada accounted for 24 percent of international sales while China accounted for 11 percent, up from nine percent in 2011. Mexico was third with eight percent of sales and India and the U.K. both accounted for six percent.
Forty-five percent of international purchases were under $250,000. In addition, there appears to be a gradual increasing trend toward purchases in the $250,000 to $500,000 price range. In 2012, this range accounted for 30 percent of purchases, up from 28 percent in 2011. The average price paid by an international buyer was $400,000 compared to the overall U.S. average of $212,000.
Florida Realtors News
March 31, 2012
Real Estate Will Rock in 2014
Housing starts will nearly double and home prices will begin to rise in 2013, with prices increasing significantly in 2014.
Those rosy predictions come from a new semi-annual survey of 38 of the nation’s leading real estate economists and analysts by the Urban Land Institute’s Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate. The economists foresee broad improvements for the nation’s economy, real estate capital markets, real estate fundamentals and the housing industry through 2014, including:
• The national average home price is expected to stop declining this year, and then rise by 2 percent in 2013 and by 3.5 percent in 2014.;
• Vacancy rates are expected to drop in a range of between 1.2 and 3.7 percentage points for office, retail, and industrial properties and remain stable at low levels for apartments; while hotel occupancy rates will likely rise;
• Rents are expected to increase for all property types, with 2012 increases ranging from 0.8 percent for retail up to 5.0 percent for apartments.
These strong projections are based on a promising outlook for the overall economy. The survey results show the real gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to rise steadily from 2.5 percent this year to 3 percent in 2013 to 3.2 percent by 2014; the nation’s unemployment rate is expected to fall to 8.0 percent in 2012, 7.5 percent in 2013, and 6.9 percent by 2014; and the number of jobs created is expected to rise from an expected 2 million in 2012 to 2.5 million in 2013 to 2.75 million in 2014.
The improving economy, however, will likely lead to higher inflation and interest rates, which will raise the cost of borrowing for consumers and investors. For 2012, 2013 and 2014, inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is expected to be 2.4 percent, 2.8 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively; and ten-year treasury rates will rise along with inflation, with a rate of 2.4 percent projected for 2012, 3.1 percent for 2013, and 3.8 percent for 2014.
The survey, conducted during late February and early March, is a consensus view and reflects the median forecast for 26 economic indicators, including property transaction volumes and issuance of commercial mortgage-backed securities; property investment returns, vacancy rates and rents for several property sectors; and housing starts and home prices. Comparisons are made on a year-by-year basis from 2009, when the nation was in the throes of recession, through 2014.
While the ULI Real Estate Consensus Forecast suggests that economic growth will be steady rather than sporadic, it must be viewed within the context of numerous risk factors such as the continuing impact of Europe’s debt crisis; the impact of the upcoming presidential election in the U.S. and major elections overseas; and the complexities of tighter financial regulations in the U.S. and abroad, says ULI Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Phillips. “While geopolitical and global economic events could change the forecast going forward, what we see in this survey is confidence that the U.S. real estate economy has weathered the brunt of the recent financial storm and is poised for significant improvement over the next three years. These results hold much promise for the real estate industry.”
For more information, visit www.realestateeconomywatch.com.
February 9, 2012
Trulia.com: House hunter still flock to Florida
Despite the threat of hurricanes and a tsunami of “underwater” mortgages, potential home buyers still view the Sunshine State as paradise.
Among the top 10 metro areas nationwide where demand among online house hunters is strongest, seven are in Florida, according to real estate website -Trulia.com .
Palm Beach and Broward counties are sixth and seventh on the list, respectively. In each county, there are more than twice as many people looking to move than leave, Trulia says. The only non-Florida metros on the list are Tulsa, OK., Riverside, Calif., and Charleston, S.C.
Following the busy hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005, plenty of people left Florida and talked of leaving, fed up with the storms and soaring property taxes that resulted from the housing boom. Nothing like big price declines and great weather to keep people wanting to live here.
“Although locals in Florida, inland California and the Southwest are suffering from high foreclosure rates and lost equity, huge prices declines since the height of the housing bubble have drawn house hunters from across the country,” Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist, said in a statement.
More : http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com
Feb. 3. 2012 from floridarealtors.org
Homebuilders see stable housing market ahead
The CEOs of some of the nation’s biggest homebuilding companies said Thursday that they feel the housing market has stabilized.
But they were careful not to be overly optimistic even with the spring home-selling season coming up. A year ago many housing experts forecast housing would begin recovering in 2011, only to see it play out as the worst year for new home sales on records going back a half-century.
Executives at PulteGroup Inc., MDC Holdings Inc., M/I Homes Inc. and Beazer Homes USA Inc. weighed in on the housing market after their companies reported financial results for October to December.
In that period, sales of new homes rose nationally as builders slashed prices to compete with sales of previously occupied homes, including many that had been foreclosed.
Beazer’s and M/I’s sales and new orders rose sharply in the quarter, while trends were mixed for PulteGroup and MDC Holdings.
Only PulteGroup ended the quarter with a smaller backlog of homes under contract than a year earlier, and its backlog fell less than 2 percent. Backlog is an indicator of potential home deliveries and revenue for homebuilders.
So the increases bode well for the spring. But executives were cagey about forecasts.
PulteGroup President and CEO Richard Dugas said it’s still too early to get a read on whether spring will be a boom or a bust – though he was pleased with business activity in January and said sales representatives in the field were positive.
“There are reasons to be optimistic about medium and long-term demand, but it will be interesting to see how 2012 develops,” Dugas said in a conference call with Wall Street analysts.
At MDC Holdings, where new home orders jumped 30 percent in January, Chairman and CEO Larry Mizel said positive signs lead him to conclude the industry has stabilized and may begin to recover this year. That’s may – not will.
At Atlanta’s Beazer Homes, customer traffic has been on the rise, reflecting what its president and CEO, Allan Merrill, sees as “significant pent-up demand for new homes forming in many of our markets.”
Merrill noted during a conference call that, even as mortgage interest rates remain near record lows, that demand hasn’t translated into sales. Still, Beazer expects to close more homes in fiscal 2012 than it did last year.
Uncertainty over the economy, high unemployment and concerns that home prices have yet to hit bottom are keeping many prospective homebuyers on the sidelines. Builders also are struggling to compete with cheap foreclosures.
01. 16. 2012 from floridarealtors.org
At Miami economic forum, a sense of cautious optimism
Condo Vultures founder Peter Zalewski sees more confidence in the real estate market this year, as high-rise towers return and prices for luxury real estate inch off a bottom. That could be a problem.
“My biggest concern for 2012 is bravado,” he told an audience during a Friday morning panel discussion on the development industry. “You are starting to see some egos return. You’re starting to see some optimism in pricing.”
Optimism – or what passes for optimism in the post-bust South Florida – set the tone for the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s second annual economic forum.
Bankers said they had money to lend, but few businesses profitable enough for safe loans. Builders said they were almost certain housing prices have finally hit a bottom.
Trade and tourism watchers said foreign buying power continues to shield South Florida from the full impact of domestic economic woes.
Zalewski, who started his Vultures brokerage six years ago in anticipation of a historic real estate bust, specializes in distressed real estate. With condo towers in pre-sales once again and some going vertical, he warned that developers may once again be over-estimating demand for pricey apartments.
“There’s been a lot of hoopla. If these things stall in their tracks, it could create some bad buzz that I think would take us a long time to recover from,” said Zalewski, who also writes a monthly column for The Miami Herald’s Business Monday magazine.
Several speakers at the daylong event at Jungle Island shared an outlook that conditions have improved enough to make 2012 a turning point, with growth slowly gaining steam toward normalcy. But memories of past optimism tempered some of the rosy comments.
Ramiro Ortiz, a Miami banker turned consultant, opened a finance and retail discussion by reminding the audience that, in the same room last year, speakers were bidding good riddance to 2010 and expecting a strong 2011.
12.31.2011 from news-press.com / the Associated Press
'Flopping' needs a hard look
The “flopping” of real estate to make a fast profit at the expense of homeowners and banks may not be illegal, but it has the potential to harm a broad array of people and institutions.
It is time for lawmakers to look into the practice, decide what is right and wrong, and take steps to rein in any corrupt practices.
A News-Press investigation earlier this month revealed a surge of suspicious deals by real estate agents selling bank-owned or distressed homes at extra-low prices, then re-selling at quick and large profits.
Deals considered suspicious under guidelines developed by banking fraud consultant CoreLogic rose 78 percent, from 1,076 in 2007 to 1,916 through Dec. 6.
In flopping, the banker sells a property for less than it’s worth, on the advice of its own real estate agent. Then the agent arranges for the property to be sold to an associate, who resells it at a fat profit, sometimes the same day.
The victims include homeowners and investors who have already lost their shirts on the property, only to suffer again as floppers snatch an unfair share of its diminished value.
Banks and their shareholders also suffer because they get less of the money from the foreclosure-related sales. Government-supported entities like Fannie Mae guarantee many loans, so the taxpayer suffers as well.
12.31.2011 from news-press.com / the Associated Press
Seriously Delinquent Mortgages Hit 3-Year Low
Of the approximately 4 million mortgages that are either 90 or more days delinquent or in foreclosure, the numbers that are delinquent 90 days or more has shrunk to levels not seen since 2008.
August data from Lender Processing Services also showed that a smaller percentage of “first-time” delinquencies new problem loans that had never been delinquent before loans are seriously delinquent, compared to peak in delinquencies two years ago. Of the loans that were current six months prior, 1.4 percent had become seriously delinquent, a rate of less than half of the peak of 2.9 percent in 2009. At the same time, “first time” delinquencies accounted for approximately a quarter of total new delinquencies further signs of an improving trend for new problem loans.
August results showed an all-time high in the number of loans shifting from foreclosure back into delinquent status, suggesting that process reviews and potential loss mitigation activity are continuing. As a result, foreclosure timelines continue to increase, with the average loan in foreclosure having been delinquent for a record 611 days. Average delinquencies in non-judicial states continue to be about six months shorter at time of foreclosure sale compared to judicial states, where backlogs continue to be extremely high.
However, of the nearly 46 million loans that were current as of the end of August, 23 percent were still at risk as a result of negative equity a leading indicator of a borrower’s propensity to default.
While declining delinquencies suggest foreclosure inventories will fall in the long term, the short term picture is not so bright. Foreclosure starts were up in August by nearly 20 percent compared to July 2011, with first-time foreclosure starts reaching 2011 highs. Overall, foreclosure starts remained down more than 12 percent from this time last year.
By Steve Cook
For more information, visit www.realestateeconomywatch.com.
According CNN Money
25 Best Places to Retire
# 1 - Marquette, Mich.
# 2 - Cape Coral, Fla.
# 3 - Boise, Idaho
Cape Coral, Fla., is paradise for water lovers.
% over 50: 38%
Median home price: $95,000
Top state income tax: None
Cost of living index: 96
For retirees who are looking for lower taxes, cheap housing and a gentle climate, Cape Coral scores on all fronts. Home prices here, for example, have fallen more than 60% since the 2006 peak. For homebuyers, that means a lot of bang for the buck: A newly renovated three-bedroom, 1,800-square-foot house with a pool was recently bought here for $145,000.
Lots of Florida towns have seen dramatic price drops, of course, but Cape Coral has something else going for it: It's paradise for water lovers. The town is sliced with 400 miles of canals, half of which have access to the Gulf of Mexico, about 20 minutes away by boat.
This quiet place doesn't offer much nightlife. But there's a public golf course, a weekly farmers' market with live music, and a nearby outlet mall. Training camps for the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins are just 15 minutes away.
Fearing foreclosure? Consider a short sale
If you are one of the many homeowners who have fallen behind on your mortgage payments and you don't see any way to avoid foreclosure, a short sale may offer you the least painful way to resolve the situation.
A short sale is when a lender agrees to accept a mortgage payoff amount less than what is owed in order to facilitate a sale of the home by a financially distressed owner. The lender forgives the remaining balance of the loan.
What's in it for a seller?
Obviously, the ideal scenario would be that you magically catch up on your mortgage payments and keep your home. But for an increasing number of Americans, that is not a realistic possibility, so it's to your advantage to take an active role. This is what a short sale is all about -- resolving the problem, as opposed to simply hiding from your lender and hoping the issue will go away or, worse, walking away from the property.
As a seller, there are cons to a short sale. Obviously, you will lose your home -- but that will happen anyway when the bank forecloses. You will also walk away without a cent in profit from the sale. And, your credit score will take a major hit.
However, because you are making a good faith effort, the lender may look more favorably on you, and perhaps be willing to help minimize the damage to your credit score. You are also spared the stress and embarrassment of a long drawn-out foreclosure process. That's may allow you to feel more in control and that you have a more direct role in paying off part of the debt. Remember, too, that every short sale is a negotiated agreement between the owner and the lender. In a foreclosure, the lender can always pursue the seller for a deficiency judgment to recoup the difference between what it was owed and what it actually collected. In a short sale you may be able to get the lender to accept the sale as "payment in full without pursuit of any deficiency judgment." The lender might agree to that release in return for the seller showing the home, maintaining it as well as possible and not trashing it on the way out.
Two short-sale killers
Before you even start considering getting involved in a short sale, there are two situations in which an attempt at a short sale is almost certain to fail.
An attempt at a short sale will fail if:
- No default on loan -- Lenders almost never will accept short sale offers or requests for short sales until the borrower is far behind in payments and a notice of default has been issued.
- Bankruptcy -- If the seller has filed for bankruptcy, forget it. Few, if any, lenders will consider a short sale when the seller has filed for bankruptcy, because negotiating a short sale is considered a collection activity and collection activities are prohibited in bankruptcies.
The lender's motivation
Why would your lender let you walk away from the home and forgive the shortfall on your loan? To save time and money. Foreclosures are expensive and time-consuming for lenders. Once the lender realizes that a foreclosure is inevitable, a short sale may seem like the lesser of two evils. Plus, short sales help the lender look good on paper -- the property was never listed as an actual foreclosure, which helps the lender's numbers.
In a January survey of senior loan officers conducted by the Federal Reserve Board, more than 65 percent of those surveyed said they anticipate steps such as short sales or deed-in-lieu of foreclosures to be at least somewhat significant loss-mitigation steps at their banks for 2008.
Convincing the lender
There's no guarantee, but if you have evidence to back you up, a lender may agree to a short sale.
But don't think it's going to be easy. It's going to take a lot of proof and convincing evidence. To make your case, you, the buyer and any agents should work together to assemble the following package.
1. An authorization letter. You have to sign this -- and usually have it notarized -- giving the lender permission to discuss the mortgage situation with a potential buyer or an agent.
2. A hardship letter. You have to show that your financial situation is desperate. You'll have to be 60 to 90 days behind in your payments and have no significant cash, savings, retirement plans, stocks, bonds, cars, boats, vacation homes, time shares, jewelry, etc., that you can use to catch up or reduce your debt. And you will have to show the situation is irreversible -- that you will have no way to bring your mortgage current in the foreseeable future. You should supply as much evidence and documentation as possible, such as divorce papers, evidence of job loss, delinquent accounts, utility shut-off notices, car repossession paperwork, your last two years' tax returns, recent pay stubs and recent bank statements. Include any mitigating circumstances, such as medical problems or the loss of a job. The more convincing and sympathetic -- yet truthful -- the letter is, the more likely your lender will agree.
3. A statement of the property's value. This can be an appraisal or a broker's price opinion. The lower the estimate of the property's current market value, the better it will be for you. You want to show the lender it will not be able to sell the home for enough to satisfy the loan. It may not be pleasant, but you should make the home look as bad as possible on paper. Include things such as abundance of homes on your street or neighborhood for sale -- especially in foreclosure. Other pertinent information to include is the number of rundown or unkempt homes nearby, increasing crime rate, high taxes and insurance rates, and low-rated schools. Prepare a written summary of your property's condition, including a thorough and detailed list of any negatives, such as maintenance problems and evidence of disrepair. This can be tough emotionally. This is, after all, your family home, but this is a necessary part of the process. The longer a lender must hold onto a property the more expensive it becomes. If the lender realizes the property will bring them nothing but headaches, it will be more likely to OK a short sale. Richard Geller, developer of MortgageReliefFormula.com, says, "It's critical to come in with the lowest -- yet sound and ethical -- valuation possible. If you can get a really low BPO and put that in your offer y9ou have a much better chance."
4. A purchase offer or contract. It's a bird-in-the-hand issue for the lender. A signed contract with a sizable earnest money deposit at a specified price can look far better to the lender than a long foreclosure process, ongoing costs and no guarantee at the end of the road. What's more, lenders will not entertain tentative offers. You're not going to get the chance to ask the bank, "If I could find someone willing to pay X number of dollars, would you approve a short sale?" "Remember, Geller says, "listings and pending sales and last year's sales are meaningless. It's all about what willing buyers pay willing sellers. If there has been no actual sales volume, there are no comparables, so there is a lot of room for a low BPO when the sales that have occurred were forced, foreclosure sales and everything's for sale but nothing is selling."
5. A settlement statement. To go along with the proposed price, this statement -- also called a net sheet -- details exactly how much the lender will end up with and exactly how much of a loss it will be taking. It includes the purchase price, the closing costs and any other costs or fees involved in the transfer of the property. You can get this prepared by the closing agent or real estate lawyer.
Finding a buyer
Before you even thought about a short sale, you probably had your home on the market, hoping to sell it for even a small profit, pay off the mortgage and stave off foreclosure.
But that hasn't worked -- possibly because you're "upside down" -- you owe more than the house is actually worth today.
While you may now be desperate enough to go for a short sale, you're still seeking the same thing -- a buyer. Some homeowners would like to get a tentative OK from the lender before seeking a buyer, but this doesn't happen in most cases -- the lender won't tell you it will accept any less than what it is owed and also probably won't even discuss this until you're 60 or 90 days behind in your payments. Any lender is more likely to agree if a buyer is already in place and you have a legitimate, signed offer with a sizable deposit.
There are a few things you can do to find a buyer. You can go the "For sale by owner" route with a sign on your lawn and classified ads locally and online. Explain to anyone that responds that you are seeking a short sale arrangement.
Consider, however, a short sale is not a do-it-yourself project, and this is one time you should seriously consider getting a real estate agent who has a track record with short sales, foreclosures and bank-owned properties. Real estate agents often maintain a contact list of investors and buyers in the area. Ideally, you will want to find a buyer who has at least a basic familiarity with short sales or works with a broker who does.
In addition to writing up the hardship letter and documenting the property's shortcomings, you should do everything else in your power to help convince the lender that the property would be difficult to sell via normal channels. Gather up any repair receipts and/or estimates. Take pictures (or allow the buyer to do so) of any problems or defects. Allow the buyer and their broker/appraiser to access the property (inside and out) when necessary.
- In some cases, the lender may send you a 1099 tax form, which will list the "shortfall" (the amount the lender has forgiven) as income to the seller. Don't be alarmed: The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 gave short sellers a big tax break by changing the way the forgiven amount was viewed for tax purposes. Prior to passage of the act, that amount was considered as income for the borrower and was subject to tax. However, the new law removed that tax liability.
- If you have more than one mortgage or more than one lender, remember they all have to approve the short sale. Make sure your sales contract includes all lenders' approval in writing. Lenders holding second or third mortgages probably will get nothing if the property is foreclosed, so at least in a short sale they have a chance of recouping some of their investment.
- Some states allow deficiency judgments, in which a lender can pursue the borrower for any remaining balance of the loan. This usually only applies to cases where the home is sold at auction or as an REO, a real estate owned property, by the lender. In a typical short sale agreement, the lender agrees to waive this right. Make certain you're protected from this in the short-sale agreement.
Read more: Fearing foreclosure? A short sale can help http://www.bankrate.com/finance/money-guides/fearing-foreclosure-consider-a-short-sale-1.aspx#ixzz1XVNupv9o
Pending Home Sales Rise in June
Pending home sales increased in June following a wide swing down in April and then up in May, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Activity increased in the West and South but declined in the Midwest and Northeast; all regions show strong double-digit gains from a year ago.
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 2.4 percent to 90.9 in June from 88.8 in May and is 19.8 percent above the 75.9 reading in June 2010, which was the low point immediately following expiration of the home buyer tax credit. The data reflects contracts but not closings.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there may be some increase in closed existing-home sales. “For the majority of transactions, the lag time between pending contacts to actual closings is one to two months. Therefore, the two consecutive months of rising activity should lead to overall improvement in closed sales in upcoming months,” he said. “Though a higher than normal cancellation rate can hold back final closing figures, it could well be that some past cancellations are nothing more than delayed buying decisions rather than outright cancellations.”
July 09. 2011
Gulf Coast growth to outpace state
State population experts predict the population of the Gulf Coast from Pasco to Collier counties will grow from the 2010 Census figure of roughly 4.4 million to more than 6.3 million by 2040, though the rate of growth will steadily decelerate.
That growth of 1.9 million represents a 42.8% increase, topping the state’s 38.7% population growth rate projected for the next 30-year period. The Gulf Coast’s share of the state’s population will move up from 23.5% of Florida’s 2010 population of 18.8 million to 26% of 26.1 million by 2040. The state grew by 2.8 million residents during the past decade, an increase of 17.6%.
Population analysts at the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, or BEBR, project that Hillsborough County’s population will grow the most of the eight Gulf Coast counties. They predict a rise of 607,474 during the course of the next three decades. That figure also makes the county the third-biggest gainer behind Orange County, up 669,544; and Miami-Dade, up 653,765.
But the data shows Lee County growing the fastest of Gulf Coast counties, increasing by 75.6% from 2010 to 2040. With a gain of nearly 468,000 residents that puts the county at more than 1 million. By 2030, Lee County’s population will pass Pinellas County’s, which is projected to slowly decline. For Lee County, the percentage increase to 2040 ranks it as the sixth-highest county growth rate among the state’s 67 counties.
Flagler County, in northeast Florida, is projected to grow the quickest — 125.1% from 2010 to 2040, spurred by the growth of the Palm Coast development. Other counties rounding out the top five fastest growers are Sumter (121.7%), St. Johns (98.7%), Osceola (96.3%) and St. Lucie (83.8%).
Pasco County also ranks among the biggest and fastest growers during the 30-year timeframe. The study projects the county to add 307,703 residents, the seventh most of any county. That represents a 66% rise from the 2010 population of 464,697, which makes Pasco the 10th-fastest grower among the state’s counties and second fastest among the Gulf Coast group.
That amount of growth for Pasco might be low based on recent past experience with the bureau’s projections, according to Richard Gehring, the county’s growth management administrator. “As we approached the Census, BEBR was saying 430,000,” Gehring recalls. “The Census number came in at 464,000.”
more: Gulf Coast Business Review
June 22, 2011
House Price Index rises 0.8% in April
House prices rose 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from March to April, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) monthly House Price Index. It was the first month-to-month price increase since May 2010.
The previously reported 0.3 percent decrease in March was revised to a 0.4 percent decrease. For the 12 months ending in April, U.S. prices fell 5.7 percent, and the U.S. index is 19.3 percent below its April 2007 peak and roughly the same as the January 2004 index level.
The FHFA monthly index is calculated by using the purchase price of houses sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
For the nine Census Divisions tracked during the March-April period, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes ranged from -1.3 percent in the Mountain Division to +2.2 percent in the New England Division.
Florida, which is in the South Atlantic division, was one of only three to show a price drop with -0.2 percent.
© 2011 Florida Realtors® News and Events Florida Realtors
Most Popular Florida Cities
In fact, 10 out of the 24 most popular American cities that have caught the eye of international homebuyers are in Florida – check it out for yourself. And yes, this list is based on popularity. That’s right, there’s more interest in Cape Coral than in Miami.
1. Cape Coral, FL
2. Miami, FL
3. Fort Lauderdale, FL
4. Naples, FL
5. Fort Myers, FL
6. Miami Beach, FL
7. Kissimmee, FL
8. Orlando, FL
9. Jacksonville, FL
10. Tampa, FL
Reportedly, Canadians, Europeans and Brazilians spent about $13 billion on homes in Florida last year. But what gives – are the oranges really that good? We can’t say for sure, but what we do know is that the houses in Florida are being sold at a super discount. Oddly, this blue light special is also happening in Arizona, but last time we checked, the interest in Phoenix and Tucson is pretty tiny. Just to throw it out there, but maybe, just maybe, this is because Florida might be perceived as as being friendlier to non-citizens.
So who wants to move to Florida? With the exception of Brazil, let’s just say that most of these global window shoppers hail from the northern hemisphere and/or across the pond (as in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Russia, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands). Judging by our findings, this interest from abroad isn’t slowing down and may be the jolt that revives the Sunshine State’s struggling housing market.
All in all, if our findings are any indication, America’s real estate market may be a driving force in either making us the world’s second home or an even more multicultural community.
Doreen Herring, Director of Communications and Marketing
REALTOR® Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach, Inc.
from msn Real Estate
15 cities with the most improvement in home prices
Residents in these cities are breathing a sigh of relief, as home values begin to appreciate again. But these aren't double-digit gains. Those days are long gone, economists say.
What you will find, however, are cities with better than average job growth, and metros fortunate enough to have missed out on the housing bubble and related overbuilding. These markets have chugged along so slowly they have nothing to "correct," analysts say.
But not all these metros have happy endings. One market in particular, Cape Coral, Fla. — a poster child for everything wrong in real estate this decade — has finally hit bottom and is now inching back up. However, the climb back will take far longer than the boom; homes there are worth half of what they were in 2006.
Cape Coral second safest city in Florida
Cape Coral is the second safest big city in the state, according to 2010 crime rates released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Port St. Lucie edged out the Cape for the top spot among cities with 100,000 or more residents.
“From being the capital in foreclosures to being second in safety, that's a good thing,” said Mike Quaintance, president of the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce. “I'll take that any day.”
Quaintance said safety falls among the top three factors potential residents ask about when they call the chamber, along with education and jobs.
As a result, he said the ranking will help draw more residents to the area who, in turn, will help local businesses flourish.
“It allows for new business opportunities as those people relocate here and transfer their wealth to the area,” Quaintance said.
There were 4,063 crimes, ranging from larceny to murder, committed in the city of 165,000 last year, or 2,467 crimes per 100,000 residents.
Port St. Lucie, population 156,000, saw 2,301 crimes per 100,000 residents.
Mayor John Sullivan said the Cape’s low crime rate doesn’t surprise him, as the city often places among the safest in the state.
“(The police) have been doing good all along,” he said. “They're doing their jobs.”
The Cape may have slipped in the rankings compared to last year when, according to former Chief Rob Petrovich, the city's crime rate made it the safest among cities with 75,000 or more people.
The department recently announced that 2010 marked a 20-year low in crime for the city. Chief Jay Murphy has maintained that citizens deserve a large portion of the credit for their willingness to call in crime.
“This is proof of the teamwork between the residents of Cape Coral and their police department," Murphy said in a press release.
The ranking, which was issued Thursday by Cape police and used crime data released by the FDLE last month, was met with mixed reaction from residents and business owners.
“I'm very surprised,” said Nancie Applegate. ‘We're always hearing cops and sirens.”
Bill Breakstone, owner of Better Hearing Centers of Florida, disagrees. He said the Cape feels safe, which helps drive sales for his business.
“If the seniors don't feel safe, they don't move here and buy hearing aids,” Breakstone said.
Cape leaders happy new construction numbers up
Cape Coral was once the center of the construction boom. But when the economy tanked, it became the center of the housing slump. Now though, there are signs that building is happening again.
The building of a new home was once a very rare sight in Cape Coral. But today, it's happening more often.
"There's a hint of optimism in the air," said Heather Mazurkiewicz, with the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association.
In March, the city of Cape Coral issued 35 building permits for single family homes. That's the highest amount in any month since August of 2007.
Last month was good too - 26 permits were issued in April which the second highest amount in more than a year.
Jeff Miloff, with Aubuchon Homes, says his team currently has about 18 homes under construction.
"That's a lot compared to two or three years ago. We were lucky to have three or four under construction," he said. "Finally we're feeling a lot better."
One area of the Cape where a lot of building is happening is in the Sandoval community. On just one street there, six homes have recently been sold.
The entire community is being built from the ground up. And that means construction workers are back on the job after a long, hard recession.
At the same time, builders caution, business still isn't what it was during the boom.
"We're not going to reproduce that again. And to be honest, we shouldn't. We have to compare to what we're doing in this market now," said Mazurkiewicz.
And in this market, she says, builders are busy.
04.02.2011 from news-press.com / the Associated Press
home sale strong
Homes are selling in Cape Coral.
Inventory for single-family homes is down more than 4,300 homes compared to four years ago, said Paula Hellenbrand, past president of the Cape Coral Association of Realtors.
In fact, there aren’t enough homes to keep up with interested buyers.
“We have made a major impact on the market,” said Hellenbrand, who also is the broker/owner of Encore! Realty Services. “It’s all about supply and demand. There is a higher demand and lower supply ... The market is fantastic, it’s the best it’s been in five years.”
Steve Koffman, a broker and Realtor with Century 21 Sunbelt, believes the lower inventory is partly due to banks having pulled 22 percent of foreclosed homes off the market in the fall to go back through the process and ensure all procedures were followed correctly.
He said the question is whether those homes will be placed back on the market all at once, or if they’ll trickle in a few at a time. Either way, business in the Cape has been good, he said.
Koffman’s Century 21 team was ranked third in the country and first in Florida last year for sales within the company. Over the past few weeks, his agents have sold three million-dollar homes. Normally, only one sells each month in all of Cape Coral, he said.
“There are definitely a lot of people looking for homes right now,” Koffman said. “... Price is driving everything ... Foreclosures are selling twice as fast as regular home sales.”
About 60 percent of homes that have been selling recently are foreclosures and short sales, Koffman said.
But that doesn’t mean other homes aren’t selling, too. Hellenbrand said it’s definitely a seller’s market on the lower end of the price spectrum and that well-priced listings are selling quickly.
The market of homes priced under $150,000 is strongest right now. And the market moving up toward $250,000 also is strong, but not as strong, she said. Homes priced in the $250,000 to $500,000 range have about five to six months of inventory, Hellenbrand said, while homes from $500,000 to $1 million have more inventory that there is demand.
News about Cape Coral, Florida Real Estate
12/16/2010 from news-press.com / the Associated Press
The Cape Coral-Fort Myers economy was second worst in the country,
according to a survey released Wednesday - but there are some tentative signs that things might be turning around.
According to the Washington-based private, nonprofit Brookings Institution, among the top 100 metro areas, Cape Coral Fort Myers:
- Was dead last in change in gross metropolitan product from the peak in the third quarter of 2006: down 15.5 percent.
- Had the highest percentage of homes taken back in foreclosure by lenders: 21.02 per 1,000 mortgageable properties.
- Fared worse overall than any metro area except Boise, Idaho (Augusta, Ga., was best).
This area's bad rating was due in part to a stark 8 percent increase in unemployment in the past four years, but Barbara Hartman, spokeswoman for Southwest Florida Works in Fort Myers, said there's been a slow, fitful recovery in recent months.
Unemployment peaked at a record 14.2 percent in January, she said, but it's slowly decreased since then. October, the last month available, had a 12.9 percent rate.
The jobs lost here were a result of the home-building crash that followed the implosion of prices in 2006, Hartman said. "The bottom fell out. That affected every other industry."
But now the jobs picture isn't all bleak, she said. "The main industry sector keeping us afloat is health/education, mainly medical. Anything medically related like registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, occupational therapists."
There have also been signs recently that the leisure and hospitality industry has been starting to come back, too, she added, and small businesses are hiring more.
Dr. Michael Collins, a Fort Myers-based eye surgeon who's moving into a larger building this month to keep up with an increase in business, said his field is staying strong because "People still have eye problems, still have health problems. Without your health, what do you have?"
As for the big numbers of bank-owned foreclosure properties, there are two ways to look at that, said Jeff Tumbarello, a real estate agent with Steelbridge Realty and director of the Southwest Florida Real Estate Investors Association.
Because of the resulting low home prices, he noted, this is one of the most affordable places in the country to buy a house. "You can buy a house in either Cape Coral or Lehigh Acres if you make $30,000.
Bank-owned homes make up about 40 percent of sales nowadays, with short sales at 15 percent and conventional sales 45 percent, Tumbarello said.
Ironically, he said, the area was seen as having a healthy economy when the boom was inflating prices to an unsustainable level and now "Everybody is hammering a sustainable market."
09/15/2010 from Floridaweekly / Business News
Foreigners buying Florida !!
A perfect economic storm — spawned by a strong Euro, a weak dollar and a depressed American housing market — has made Southwest Florida an enticing location for foreign investors interested in purchasing real estate.
The infusion of foreign capital into the local real estate market reflects Florida’s standing as the nation’s leader in that regard. According to the National Association of Realtors, 22 percent of all properties purchased in the United States by foreign buyers are located in Florida. California is the second most popular site for international purchases, with a 12 percent share. The association defines an “international” buyer as anyone who is not a U.S. citizen, U.S. immigrant or foreign born resident of the United States.
“We see a lot of German and Canadian buyers,” says Tim Blanton, a Realtor with Sandals Realty in Fort Myers. “Most of the buyers are looking for investment properties, usually homes they can purchase and then rent.”
BLANTON Mr. Blanton says most of the international buyers intend to hold onto their properties for a while and view them as long-term investments they believe will appreciate over time.
European and Canadian buyers predominate locally, agents say. Nationally, the top five countries of origin for international buyers are Mexico, the United Kingdom, Canada, India and China, according to National Association of Realtors. That Southwest Florida attracts principally European and Canadian buyers is reflective of the area’s longstanding popularity with tourists from those places. Statewide, Canadians comprise almost a third of the international real estate buyers.
Mr. Blanton says foreign clients account for about 15 percent of his total business and usually are looking for waterfront homes that need no work. Most of these properties, he adds, are priced between $400,000 and $1.3 million. He cites Cape Coral as a popular destination, although he says that sales range over a wide area.
Mr. FUCHS “(Attracting) international clients is something you have to work at,” says Mr. Blanton, who partners with real estate agents in Hamburg, Germany. “Networking is important and service is key. It is similar to the United States. If you do a good job for someone in Germany, say, then they tell their circle of friends and that is how you build that client base.”
“Most of the foreign buyers pay cash,” says Tom Doyle, a Naples Realtor. “It can be difficult for an international buyer to obtain financing, because many lending institutions consider them to be too risky.”
The National Association of Realtors says more than 80 percent of all real estate sales in Florida involving international clients are cash transactions. Buyers often form consortiums or partnerships and pool resources in order to afford what can be substantial outlays of cash, observes Mr. Blanton.
Mr. Doyle adds that the majority of his foreign clients look for properties in “second-home communities” that are priced in the range of $100,000 to $300,000. Mr. Doyle says Germans, Canadians and Brits comprise the bulk of his international business.
Michael Schneider-Christians, a Cape Coral Realtor who specializes in international sales, says the tight credit market that is squeezing most Americans is even tighter for foreigners who seek to purchase real estate in this country. A down payment of 30 percent of the purchase price is common in transactions involving international buyers, he says.
Mr. Schneider-Christians says many foreign buyers purchase homes and lots as investments, although some are looking for businesses to buy. He represents a German client, he says, who recently made a cash offer of $980,000 for a motel in Venice. Mr. Schneider- Christians travels widely overseas as part of his international practice. Last week, he was in Berlin, for example, although that trip was primarily for a personal reason — his father’s 90th birthday celebration.
“Even with the economic difficulty here, many international buyers believe that America offers better business opportunities,” he says. “The European social systems with mandatory benefits and the like are often great for the workers, but not always the best for employers in terms of costs.”
The United States, he adds, continues to be viewed as a stable environment for business development, despite the recent economic downturn.
More typically, though, the foreign buyer is looking for a home that can be purchased, rented to an American and kept for sale at a later time, when, presumably, prices will have risen.
Typical of this category are Gert Spors and Daniel Tacke, two German businessmen who last week completed the purchase of a home in Cape Coral. They paid $80,000 — cash — for the home, which they intend to use as a rental property. And although the Euro is down (from a worth of about $1.60 two years ago to its current level of roughly $1.28), Mr. Spors and Mr. Tacke still feel they got a great deal. An $80,000 translates to a cost of somewhere in the neighborhood of 62,500 Euros. But had they purchased when their native currency was at its strongest, they would have paid just 50,000 in Euros.
“We had come to this area on vacation awhile back,” explains Mr. Spors, who runs a forklift dealership, “and we liked it here. People in Germany know about Florida, so we weren’t surprised. We knew the market prices were down, and we felt this was a very good time to buy.”
Mr. Tacke, a truck dealer, says that he and Mr. Spors are now in the market for a second home, which will also be a long-term investment they will rent.
“We’ve been looking at listings in the $150,000 to $180,000 range for the second home,” Mr. Tacke says. “We’ve seen some nice (homes) in that price. We want our second purchase to be a waterfront home with a pool.”
Mr. Spors and Mr. Tacke say they most likely will seek financing for the second purchase.
“International buyers see waterfront properties as an extremely wise investment,” says Mr. Blanton. “They believe that access to water will have a better return down the road.”
Europeans find the combination of a depressed housing market in Southwest Florida and a relatively strong Euro to be a powerful lure for real estate investment, says Siegfried Fuchs, the Cape Coral Realtor who worked with Mr. Spors and Mr. Tacke.
The Canadian dollar trades at about equal value with the U.S. dollar, so xxxxxxxxx
currency considerations are not as strong with those buyers. But the Canadian presence (think “Snowbirds”) in Florida dates back decades. Brokers say Canadians are more likely than Europeans to use homes they purchase in the area as vacation retreats.
Mr. Fuchs estimates that international sales make up about 85 percent of his business. That is an unusually high percentage of international business. The National Association of Realtors says less than 2 percent of all Realtors nationally report “that 76 percent or more of their transactions were with foreign clients.” Mr. Fuchs has sold about 14 “items” this year to international buyers. These sales include both homes and lots that are suitable for development. He aggressively seeks the business, and his website has English and German versions. It also boasts a clip of Mr. Fuchs delivering a sales pitch in his native language and plays heavily on the European concept of Southwest Florida as an idyllic retreat.
“The sun shines in Florida almost 360 days a year,” the site exclaims. “Let it shine for you, too!”
Local brokers report that international sales have slowed some this year, although indications are that the market may be gearing up again. This reflects a statewide slippage in international transactions.
Real estate analysts are not sure what caused the slight decline in international activity, but Mr. Fuchs says the instability of the Euro, financial turmoil in places like Greece and the BP oil spill definitely played a role.
“I have had a number of calls from (potential international clients) wanting to know if there is oil washing up on the beaches down here,” he says. “There was real worry that the oil could be a major problem, and that concerned many people who are interested in Florida real estate.”
Mr. Fuchs says there seems to be a reawakening of interest now that the BP spill no longer dominates the headlines.
Another cause for optimism is that non-traditional markets for Florida real estate are now emerging.
There is not a heavy presence of Russian buyers in the area, but Gordon Rock, a major Russian real estate firm, predicts that could change. According to the firm, Russians seeking to buy foreign real estate increased by about 25 percent last year. The firm states that 45 percent of Russian buyers say they are interested in securing real estate in Florida “because of deep discounts and distressed properties.”
Gordon Rock says the two principal reasons Russians seek to buy homes out of country are the desire for a vacation retreat and for investment purposes.
How robust the rebound in international sales will be in Southwest Florida remains to be seen. Brokers say all activity — international and domestic — is expected to increase when the “season” arrives late this year. Concerns about political and financial stability in South Africa and the Far East, which are two other areas favored by international real estate buyers, might mean more business for the United States in general and Florida in particular.
“The market really seems to be picking up again,” says Mr. Blanton.
The National Association of Realtors says that international buying remains “focused on a few areas of the country — Florida, Texas, California and Arizona.”
Mr. Spors, the German home buyer, says Florida is still the ideal for many of his countrymen. “It is nice place, and the prices are very, very good,” he says. “Those are good reasons to buy anywhere.”
While brokers and analysts do not believe that international purchases alone can resuscitate Florida’s ailing housing market, they agree that things would be even worse if out-of-country buyers decided to go elsewhere.
07/28/2010 from news-press.com / the Associated Press
Home prices a bit higher
Home prices rose in May for the second straight month as federal tax
incentives pulled more buyers into the market. Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home
price index released Tuesday posted a 1.3 percent increase in May from April.
Cape Coral-Fort Myers isn’t one of the areas surveyed in Case-Shiller but Florida Association of
Realtors figures show that in June the median price of an existing single-family home was $96,600 —
up 10 percent from $87,900 a year earlier.
Prices bottomed out last year in this area after almost four years of steady decline. The market
reached its peak in December 2005 when the median existing home went for $322,300,
according to association statistics, which track homes sold with the assistance of a Realtor.
Nationally, 19 of 20 cities showed price gains month over month. Minneapolis and Atlanta led the
way with 2.8 percent and 2 percent increases, respectively. And San Diego posted its 13th straight
monthly gain, the Case-Shiller index said.
Only Las Vegas recorded a price decline. The metro hit a new record low in May. Home prices there have
lost 56.4 percent of their value since peaking in August 2006.
And while Detroit recorded a 0.7 percent increase from April, the average home price there is about
same as it was in 1994.
Overall, the gains underscore the impact of the government’s homebuying tax credits. Buyers
rushed to purchase before the credits expired at the end of April. The index is an average of home sales
in March, April and May.
May is typically a strong month for selling homes. Most economists don’t expect the price gains to last
through the year and many predict home prices will fall through the rest of the year.
“I bet in six months 15 to 20 cities will have falling prices,” said IHS Global Insight economist Patrick
Newport. He predicts prices will fall another 6 percent to 8 percent before turning around next
07 / 22/ 2010
Published: Monday, July 12, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 11:19 p.m
Published by Herald Tribune.com
Home building in Southwest Florida is on the mend
Florida builders and their subcontractors are getting busy again.
Builders in Manatee County are firing up their cement mixers and nail guns the fastest. But other parts of the region also are beginning to see an uptick in both permits and sales.
Permits in Manatee County more than doubled in the first three months of the year -- 283 this year compared with 132 during the same period a year earlier, according to county government records. Sarasota County and North Port also saw rapid growth.
Only Charlotte County continues to struggle, with permit activity rising and then falling again in monthly intervals.
"Three of our six traditional markets are functioning fine," said Pat Neal, a Lakewood Ranch home builder. "First-time homebuyers are definitely in the market as long as they can qualify" for Federal Housing Administration loans.
"Older persons with active lifestyles also realize this is a good time to buy," he said. "And then there are speculators -- people who are taking advantage of market conditions to buy small homes with the intention of riding prices up and trading them in for larger homes in five years' time."
Thanks to demand from these buyers, some builders like Neal have hired more employees. Others are entering the market for the first time to fill a void left by rivals that will never recover.
July 19. 2010
Cape Coral real estate: Prices for Gulf-access homes stabilize with increase in sales
special to news-press.com
Cape Coral has long been a destination for second home owners and seasonal residents commonly known as snowbirds.
They flee the Midwest and Northeast, heading south when the first frost forms. We also welcome people from Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and other areas of the world. Our sunny days and waterfront lifestyle make Cape Coral a perfect place to enjoy winter. Let's face it, sitting by the pool overlooking a canal is much more appealing than winter in Canada or the Midwest.
Our snowbirds are more affluent and have the ability to own homes up north and spend the winter season here in the bright warm weather. In search of a waterfront lifestyle, they typically purchase homes toward the end of the winter season, closing their sales in April and May.
Home sellers have responded by placing their homes on the market at the beginning of the winter season when demand rises. As a result, in most years, we have witnessed an increased number of Gulf-access homes sold during the first half of the year.
Demand for Gulf-access homes is the driving force for their pricing. Median prices started falling in late 2005 because of the lack of sales and an increased number of homes on the market. The number of our Gulf-access homes sold monthly fell from about 90 per month in mid-2005 to about 20 per month in January 2007.
In late 2007 Gulf-access home sales began to increase to more than 90 per month. This rapid increase in sales was exactly what we needed to stabilize the prices of these saltwater homes. Since late 2008, the median price of a Gulf-access home in Cape Coral has hovered around $300,000.
Although sales have been strong, they have not been strong enough to significantly drive up prices.
Obviously, many factors influence the demand for Gulf-access homes. In most years we see increases because of our northern and foreign visitors fleeing their bleak winters. It is also clear that other factors such as the foreign currency exchange rate, the economy and the unemployment rate affect our sales.
When home sales decline up north or local residents can't sell their primary homes here, we see fewer buyers and the buying pattern is adversely affected. Thus, some years we saw a seasonal bump in sales. Some years we did not.
In a typical winter season here in Cape Coral, we see a big seasonal bump in the sales of Gulf-access homes. The 2006 and 2007 winter seasons were an exception to the norm. The 2010 season also did not have the typical spike in saltwater sales, but the average number of monthly sales did climb upward.
Seasonal spike or not, we seem to have enough demand to stabilize home prices. In the future we expect to see the seasonal sales increases we have seen in the past. As the real estate market in the United States improves in general, we believe that home buyers who own homes elsewhere will again be planning their moves to our sunny city.
Plans being made for downtown Cape Coral
From news-press.com • July 16, 2010