Jacksonville Ranks 4th in Best Places to Live in Florida on U.S. News & World Report

25 06 2022

Jacksonville made a big leap in the rankings of US News & World Report’s Best Places to Live in Florida, moving from 11th place in 2021 to 4th this year. Only Sarasota, Naples and Melbourne finished higher on the Florida list. Jacksonville also ranks 24th Best Places to Live and 26th in Best Places to Retire in the nation.

The annual list ranks 150 of the largest U.S. municipalities, weighing factors such as unemployment rate, housing costs, household income, crime rate, education, health care and air quality to determine the rankings.

San Jose, Calif.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Washington, D.C.; Albany, N.Y.; and Boston moved ahead of Jacksonville in the overall ratings. Jacksonville, at number 24 on the list, jumped over Denver, Seattle, Charlotte and Fort Collins, Colo.

Huntsville, Ala., finished first on the list, up from third in 2021. Sarasota, at number 9, was the highest-rated city in Florida on the national list. Naples and Melbourne also finished in the top 20.

Source: US News & World Report

Jacksonville, Florida

Why the U.S. Housing Boom Is Not a Bubble

19 06 2022

U.S. home prices have surged since the pandemic. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index showed a 19% jump in housing prices in 2021. The Florida Realtors’ year-end report showed a 20% jump in home prices in 2021.

The pandemic didn’t jumpstart a slow real estate market. It simply added fuel to the fire. While 2021 home gains were strong, they’re part of a five-year trend where housing prices increased by 69%. 

Rising home prices continue to surge until they don’t. Some investors may remember the dot-com stocks losing 90% of their value after the bubble burst. More investors remember the Great Recession, an economic disaster that saw millions of homes went into foreclosure.

Home prices leading up to the Great Recession kept rising with no signs of slowing down. The price movement leading up to the Great Recession looks similar to the current market, but there are some key differences between today’s real estate market and the early to mid 2000’s. 

What Happened During the Great Recession?

During the Great Recession, millions of people lost their homes and the stock market crashed. It took several years for the economy to recover, but some retail investors never made up their gains. These consequences have made many people fearful of the current market. Some investors are waiting on the sidelines for a crash before buying properties. 

The Great Recession was several years in the making. Policy mistakes and questionable decisions from financial institutions enabled that event to occur. Lenders were incentivized to hand out as many loans as possible. Each loan represented another income stream, and the housing market felt unstoppable.

Along the way, lenders relaxed their lending guidelines and gave loans to practically anyone. Borrowers with poor credit could qualify for a subprime loan. Lenders didn’t care if borrowers didn’t have any income, job, or assets. 

Many borrowers had no chance of repaying the loan after the introductory rates expired. After a decade of extended prosperity, lenders didn’t mind the risks. Borrowers who lived beyond their means ignored the risks or didn’t think of them. Subprime borrowers suddenly had an opportunity to capitalize on the booming real estate market. 

Reality eventually set in, and borrowers with no income, job, or assets couldn’t keep up with the loan payments. These borrowers desperately tried to sell their properties before getting forced into foreclosure. As more sellers list their properties, the remaining buyers gain leverage. Buyers could get bargain prices because sellers desperately needed to get out of their loan obligations. 

Wall Street managed to make the situation work by creating collateralized debt obligations around these risky loans. Big banks bought up shares with leverage, giving them dangerous exposure to these dynamics. When the house of cards fell, greedy executives and big banks lost billions of dollars. The major credit bureau stamped these assets with an AAA rating, indicating these assets were the safest in the market. 

Why People Think We Are in a Real Estate Bubble

The current real estate market doesn’t have the same dynamics as the Great Recession, but some signs suggest a possible correction. Inflation and interest rate hikes are real concerns. Investors wonder if homeowners can keep up with mortgage payments if costs continue rising.

The Consumer Price Index jumped 8.5% in March, making it the highest increase since 1981. The Fed also projected several interest rate hikes this year. Higher interest rates reduce the number of buyers looking for a home. Sellers may have to lower their prices to match decreased buyer demand.

The Fed also raised rates leading up to the Great Recession. Between June 2004 and June 2006, the interest rate jumped from 1.3% to 5.3%. Borrowers with variable loans felt the higher interest rates and couldn’t keep up with their loans.

Some homeowners may struggle with their loan payments and inflation. The real estate market may see an uptick in foreclosures as costs continue rising, but this economic environment isn’t like 2008.

The Great Recession’s Aftermath Created Vital Safeguards

The Great Recession taught investors many lessons, and regulation became stricter. Lenders could no longer get away with subprime mortgages to applicants with no income, job, or assets. Lenders are less than two decades removed from the Great Recession, making them more conscious of the risks.

To qualify for a mortgage, borrowers need sufficient credit scores, debt-to-income ratios, and other financials. These parameters result in more qualified buyers who can keep up with mortgage payments. During the Great Recession, lenders happily handed out loans, regardless of whether an applicant could pay the loan off or not. Regulators fell asleep at the helm and didn’t stop the lenders from handing out these risky loans. 

If we see an uptick in foreclosures, it shouldn’t look as bad as the Great Recession. Rising interest rates won’t hurt homeowners with fixed-rate mortgages, while homeowners with variable-rate mortgages will feel the impact. The Fed raises interest rates to fight off inflation, which can help homeowners with fixed payments.

Decelerating inflation can return some control to skyrocketing prices, helping homeowners keep up with fixed-rate mortgage payments and other expenses. The current homeowner is far different from a pre-Recession homeowner who may have earned no income but owned three properties. Safeguards created in response to the Great Recession offer many protections that mitigate the risks of a repeat.

Real Estate Prices Rely on Supply and Demand

Supply and demand dictate the economy. These dynamics can cause prices to skyrocket or collapse depending on the economy’s direction. Millions of foreclosures created many opportunities, but a higher supply reduced demand.

Qualified buyers could get picky and obtain favorable terms from sellers and lenders. The Great Recession was an incredible opportunity for investors who stayed on the sidelines and capitalized on the sudden increase in supply.

Real estate demand is still strong, especially in Florida. The state saw 167% more move-ins than move-outs in 2020. The following year was also strong, with 43% more move-ins than move-outs. People from expensive states like New York, New Jersey, and California moved to Florida during the pandemic to escape higher living costs. Americans in the northeast wanted to escape the winter season and stay in sunny Florida instead.

It became less important to live in the city, and people could suddenly work remotely. Florida’s low cost of living and terrific year-round weather made people question why they were paying so much money to live in or near cities like New York City and San Francisco.

Florida’s population has been surging since the 1960s, going from five million residents to over 22 million people. New York has only added two million residents since 1970, and California’s population growth rate has slowed down substantially in recent years.

A population boom doesn’t change the supply of real estate. More buyers and the same supply lead to higher prices and bidding wars. As homeowners hold onto their properties instead of listing them on the market, available listings become more valuable. Due to inflation and the Fed’s interest rate hikes, few buyers may enter the market.

However, a low supply of real estate can offset a decrease in buyers. A population boom such as what Florida has experienced in recent years increases the pool of buyers, leaving sellers with more control over housing prices.

Miami Tops World In Annual Jump In Luxury Home Prices

13 11 2021

Miami tops world in annual jump In luxury home prices in 2021

The biggest worldwide jump over the past year in luxury housing prices is in South Florida.

Prices for luxury housing in Miami jumped more than a quarter from 2020 to 2021, according to an analysis by the British-based firm, Knight Frank.

The firm analyzed price changes for the “most desirable and expensive property in a given location,” which is generally defined as the top 5% in the market by value for 46 cities across the world.

It is the first time Miami has topped the high-end residential price index since it was created in 2007, according to the Miami Herald.

“The hunt for larger accommodation, coastal living, and Florida’s low taxes acted as a key draw for a new breed of remote workers in the U.S.,” the report said.

Other cities with double-digit jumps in luxury home prices over the year were Seoul at 23%, Shanghai at 21%, Moscow at 21%, Toronto at 20%, and San Francisco at 20%.

Source: The Associated Press

Jacksonville is the Top U.S. City with the Biggest Increase in Net Arrivals

25 09 2020

According to LinkedIn data, Jacksonville is the number one city in the U.S. with the largest increase in their inflow-to-outflow ratios from April through August, compared to last year.

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According to LinkedIn data, Jacksonville is the number one city in the U.S. with the largest increase in their inflow-to-outflow ratios from April through August, compared to last year.

In the most striking switch, two giant metro areas — New York and the San Francisco Bay Area — aren’t coveted destinations anymore. Instead, as the chart above shows, from April through August of this year, the inflow-to-outflow ratios in those two cities have declined more than 20%, versus a year earlier. In both cases, departures now significantly exceeded new arrivals.

Affluent New Yorkers have forsaken city life in favor of second homes in rural areas, CNBC reports. Many of those moves may turn out to be temporary, but some may be permanent. Meanwhile, The New York Times reports a surge of home-buying in New York’s suburbs. 

It’s a similar story in the San Francisco Bay Area. Many tech companies have switched to an extended work-from-home routine — and employees are becoming increasingly bold in deciding where that “home” should be. Schools near Lake Tahoe, nearly 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, are awash with applications from families that have relocated from the Bay Area, The Financial Times recently reported. 

The inflow-to-outflow ratios are down about 10% in Seattle, Boston and Portland, Ore., as well, for the April-through-August period, relative to a year earlier, according to LinkedIn data.

Seattle and Portland are still seeing an overall influx of people, but just at a lower rate than before. By contrast, Boston is seeing net departures, making it one of nearly a dozen sizable U.S. cities confronting the prospect of de-urbanization.

Everyone leaving a metro area must go somewhere — and that’s creating opportunities elsewhere. Some of this motion is circular, with people leaving Boston most likely to opt for San Francisco, Los Angeles or Seattle, according to LinkedIn data. 

Overall, though, a sizable share of departees is opting for somewhere smaller and more affordable. New Yorkers’ top 10 destinations include Miami, Charlotte and Denver. People leaving Seattle gravitate toward Phoenix, Boise and Bend, Ore. 

One way to see the growing appeal of smaller cities is to look at the five U.S. cities with the largest increase in their inflow-to-outflow ratios from April through August, versus a year earlier. These cities are Jacksonville, Fla. (+10.7%), Salt Lake City (+9.6%), Sacramento, Calif. (+7.6%), Milwaukee (+4.5%), and Kansas City, Mo. (+3.9%), according to LinkedIn data. 

Both Salt Lake and Sacramento portray themselves as benefitting from northern California’s exodus. 

“We don’t need to be in Silicon Valley,” says Robert Wood, chief executive officer of digital license-plate maker Reviver. He relocated the company to Sacramento earlier this year, uprooting it from the San Francisco suburb of Foster City, Calif. Lower costs and growing acceptance of a work-anywhere attitude in response to pandemic dislocations helped spur that decision.

Similarly, “Salt Lake City has set its sights on bringing in more high-tech industry, particularly in life sciences,” journalist Emma Penrod wrote in Utah Business last month. “And COVID-19 could end up being a blessing in disguise.

As for Jacksonville, Milwaukee and Kansas City, all three are benefiting from relatively strong economies this year. Jacksonville is gaining as a logistics hub, including a new Amazon fulfillment center. Milwaukee is catching an updraft from Wisconsin’s relatively low unemployment rate: 6.2% in August compared with the national average of 8.4%.

Another way to track people’s destinations is to focus on the metro areas with the highest inflows per outflow — even if that ratio isn’t markedly different from a year earlier. By this method, cities such as Austin, Phoenix, Jacksonville, Tampa and Charlotte, N.C., rise to the top.

Source: LinkedIn News 

U.S. New-Home Sales in August Rose to 14-Year High

24 09 2020

Sales of new homes in the U.S. advanced for a fourth month in August to the highest level in almost 14 years as record-low mortgage rates continued to entice buyers into a market with ever-shrinking supply.

U.S. new-home sales surprise in August, rise to fresh 14-year high

Purchases of new single-family houses increased 4.8% to a 1 million annualized pace, led by a flurry of demand in the South, after an upwardly revised 14.7% surge in July. The median selling price decreased from a year earlier to $312,800 and the number of homes for sale dropped to an almost three-year low. Economists expected an 890,000 pace, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

U.S. new-home sales surprise in August, rise to fresh 14-year high
The data are the latest to highlight momentum in the housing market, driven by low borrowing costs and a desire for new property during a pandemic that’s led to many more Americans to work from home. At the same time, it’s difficult to gauge how long such robust demand will last, given the scale of layoffs and the potential for future job cuts without a federal fiscal aid package.

The annual rate of sales in the last four months has increased more than 77%, the most for a comparable period since 1980.

Sales rose in two of four regions led by the South — the largest region — where purchases surged 13.4% to the highest level since 2005. Demand also increased in the Northeast.

The supply of new homes continued to fall. At the current sales pace, it would take 3.3 months to exhaust the supply, the shortest time frame in records to 1963.

The 4.3% decline in the median selling price from a year ago reflected the composition of homes sold. Some 34,000 properties priced from $200,000 to almost $300,000 were sold, the most in records back to 2002. Meanwhile, fewer properties in the higher end changed hands.

Builder Backlogs
It’s the same picture for backlogs: the number of properties sold for which construction hadn’t yet started jumped to 342,000 in August, also the highest since 2006 and a sign builders will be busy for months to come.

Buyers are opting for new homes as fewer homeowners seek to sell their own properties. Mortgage rates are set to remain at historically low levels amid stimulative Federal Reserve monetary policy aimed at shoring up economic activity.

Other figures corroborate the high demand for real estate. Existing home sales strengthened in August to the highest pace since the end of 2006, following a record jump in July. Homebuilder optimism is also at an all-time high, reflecting strong current sales, the demand outlook and increased prospective buyer foot traffic.

The new-home sales report, released jointly by the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development, tends to be volatile: it showed 90% confidence that the change in sales last month ranged from a 5.7% decline to a 15.3% increase.

Source: Commerce Department and Bloomberg

U.S. New Home Sales Beat Expectations in July

25 08 2020

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes increased to their highest level in more than 13-1/2 years in July as the housing market continues to show strong immunity to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has plunged the economy into recession and thrown tens of millions of Americans out of work.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Commerce Department said new home sales rose 13.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 901,000 units last month, the highest level since December 2006. New home sales are counted at the signing of a contract, making them a leading housing market indicator. June’s sales pace was revised upward to 791,000 units from the previously reported 776,000 units.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales, which account for about 14% of housing market sales, gaining 1.3% to a rate of 785,000-units.

Source: Reuters

2020 July Market Stats for Jacksonville, Florida

14 08 2020

Median List Prices for July inventory in Jacksonville are up 5% from last year. New Listings Median List Prices are up 13%. Both Median List Prices for Active and New inventory continue to trend upwards Year Over Year and compared to the previous month.






Foreign Buyer Purchases Down From Last Year

8 08 2020

Foreign buyers continued to pull back for the second year, purchasing $74 billion of U.S. existing home sales from April 2019–March 2020, a 5% decrease from the prior 12-month period, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Foreign buyer purchases made up 4% of the $1.7 trillion existing-home sales.

International clients (non-U.S. citizens) who already resided in the United States as recent immigrants or who held visas that allowed them to live in the U.S. for work, business, education purposes (Type B) purchased $41 billion of U.S. existing-home sales, or 61% of the dollar volume of purchases.  Foreign buyers who lived abroad (Type A) purchased $33 billion of existing home sales, accounting for 39% of the dollar volume.

Bar chart: Dollar Volume of Existing-Home Purchases by Foreign Buyers

Foreign buyer purchases declined as trade tensions escalated between the U.S. and China in 2019, resulting in weaker global economic growth and weaker currencies relative to the dollar — conditions that lower the purchasing power of foreign buyers. The decline in foreign buyer purchases in the 2019 and 2020 NAR reports comes amid a marked drop in foreign direct investment in newly acquired businesses, trade, and persons granted permanent legal residence and non-immigrant visas for businesses, travel, and education since about 2017 and in the wake of regulatory measures of China’s government to closely monitor dollar outflows from China since 2016.  The low inventory of homes for sale also constrained the home buying of international and domestic buyers alike. The sustained appreciation in home prices and the weaker currencies relative to the dollar also made a home purchase less affordable for foreign buyers living abroad (Type A).

The U.S. travel bans to control the spread of coronavirus to the United States that took effect from February may also have impacted some transactions that were due to close, but that impact does not appear to be significant based on the monthly REALTORS® Confidence Index survey.

China remains the #1 buyer of U.S. residential real estate despite a steep decline since 2018

Purchases of existing homes of Chinese foreign buyers have declined from $30.4 billion during the 12 months ended March 2018 to just $11.5 billion during the 12 months ended March 2020, but they remain as the largest buyer of residential property, slightly ahead of Canadian buyers who purchased $9.5 billion of existing homes. Mexican buyers purchased $5.8 billion, followed by Asian Indian buyers, at $5.4 Bn. Colombia rounded out the top 5, purchasing $1.3 billion. Colombia replaced the United Kingdom as the 5th largest country of origin of foreign buyers.

Table: Dollar Volume of Sales to Foreign Buyers from Top Five Countries

For the reference period of April 2019-March 2020, the majority of Canadian (74%) and Colombian buyers (61%) lived abroad (Type A) while only a minority of Asian Indian (11%) and Mexican (31%) buyers lived abroad. Thirty percent of Chinese buyers lived abroad, a decline from 41% during the prior 12-month period.

Bar chart: Share of Non-Resident Foreign Buyers Who Purchases U.S. Residential Property

Florida remains the #1 destination of foreign buyers

Florida remained the major destination, attracting 22% of foreign buyers. Florida’s foreign buyers mostly come from Latin America (35%) and Canada (29%). Florida was the top destination among Canadian and Colombian buyers.

California was the destination of 15% of foreign buyers. Fifty-four percent of California’s foreign buyers came from Asia/Oceania. It was the top destination among Chinese and Asian Indian buyers.

Texas attracted 9% of foreign buyers. Forty-two percent of Texas’ buyers came from Latin America/Caribbean. Texas was the top destination among Mexican buyers.

New York accounted for 5% of foreign buyers, with 51% coming from Asia/Oceania. It was a major destination among Chinese, Asian Indian, and Colombian buyers.

New Jersey accounted for 4% of all buyers. Fifty percent of New Jersey’s buyers came from Asian/Oceania. New Jersey was a major destination among Chinese buyers.

Other major destinations were North Carolina, Arizona, Minnesota, Georgia, Illinois, and Virginia. Arizona had been one of the top five destinations in past years but was not in the top 5 list this year. It was a major destination among Canadian buyers.

Table: Where Top Foreign Buyers Purchased US Residential Property April 2019 to March 2020

Higher median purchase price among foreign buyers reflects location choices

The median existing-home sales price among foreign buyers was $314,600, 15% more than the median price of $274,600 of all existing-homes sold in the U.S. during the April 2019–March 2020. The price difference reflects the choice of location and type of properties desired by foreign buyers.  Chinese buyers had the highest median purchase price, at $449,500, with nearly half of Chinese buyers purchasing property in California and New York.

Thirty-nine percent of foreign buyer transactions were all-cash sales, with a higher percentage among non-resident foreign buyers (59%) compared to resident foreign buyers (27%).  Canadian buyers were the most likely to pay all-cash, at 66%, while Asian Indian buyers were the least likely, at 8%. Forty percent of Chinese buyers made an all-cash purchase.

Table: Median Purchase Price of Top Five Foreign Buyer Countries


This survey was sent to 150,000 randomly selected REALTORS®. The online survey was conducted from May 21–June 24, 2020. A total of 11,615 REALTORS® responded to the 2020 survey, of which 1,190 reported an international residential foreign buyer. NAR also conducted separate studies for the Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS®, Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®, Austin Board of Realtors®, the Long Island Board of Realtors® and the Ohio Realtors®, and their responses were added to the national random sample. To correct for over/under-sampling across states, NAR weighted the distribution of responses to the distribution of NAR membership by state as of June 2020. Respondents provided information about the characteristics of international clients based on the most recent closed transactions from April 2019–March 2020. To minimize the response bias that can skew upwards the share of foreign buyers to existing home sales, NAR estimates the share of non-resident (Type A) foreign buyers to existing home sales from the monthly REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey that that gathers information on the characteristics of transactions of the respondent’s most recent sale for the reference month, which are viewed as a random sample of all transactions for the month.

Source: NAR

American Dream Down Payment Act Gains Momentum on Capitol Hill

8 08 2020

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is optimistic that the American Dream Down Payment Act will continue to gain momentum on Capitol Hill.

Cory Gardner and Doug Jones

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, left, is sponsoring legislation with Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama to make it easier for people to save money to buy a home.

Legislation introduced by Senators Doug Jones (D-AL) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) is being recognized as a critical component of the national effort to address the barriers to first-time homeownership in America. The National Association of Realtors®, which previously submitted a letter in support of the legislation, expressed optimism that the American Dream Down Payment Act and other similar proposals to address housing affordability would continue gaining momentum on Capitol Hill.

“The resiliency of our residential real estate market has been one of the few bright spots of America’s economy during this pandemic, but numerous would-be homebuyers are finding it difficult or impossible to save the money needed for a down payment on a home,” said NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco, CA. “This is especially discouraging given record-low interest rates are making it easier for aspiring homeowners to afford monthly mortgage payments.

“Modeled on the very popular 529 education savings account concept, the American Dream Down Payment Act would allow savings for the down payment of a principal residence to grow tax-free, offering a responsible and commonsense approach to the multi-faceted problem of housing affordability in America.”

In its letter sent Monday to Senators Jones and Gardner, NAR relayed hope that these accounts could serve as a tangible resource to aspiring homeowners who have been unable to save sufficient funds for a down payment. According to the Urban Institute, two-thirds of renters have identified the inability to save for a down payment as an obstacle to homeownership.

“We appreciate your initiative in putting forth a reasonable proposal that should attract support from your colleagues as well as the growing population of those for whom down payment assistance would help open the door to their all-important first home purchase,” Malta wrote to the lawmakers.

As described by Senators Jones and Gardner, the American Dream Down Payment Act would:

  • Let states establish American Dream Down Payment Accounts, which they would manage in the same way they manage 529 Plan accounts;
  • Allow prospective homeowners to save as much as 20% of today’s home cost, indexed for inflation, to use for an eligible down payment and other housing costs;
  • Facilitate long-term savings for a down payment and allow contributions from family and friends; and
  • Allow homebuyers to use those savings and earnings tax-free at withdrawal for eligible expenses.

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Source: NAR

Peak Home Buying Season Shifts from May to August This Year

6 08 2020

recoveryindexThe U.S. real estate market is now doing better than it did before the pandemic, with the Recovery Index hitting 103.8 compared to a back-to-normal score of 100. Two Central Florida metros have fully recovered as South Florida and Jacksonville move closer.

Home buying season’s usual May peak has shifted to August as buyers and sellers rebound from spring’s COVID disruption, according to Realtor.com’s Weekly Recovery Report. This week’s data shows growth in pace of sales, demand and prices have surpassed last year levels, while inventory continues to lag seasonal normals.

Realtor.com’s Housing Market Recovery Index reached 103.8 nationwide for the week ending Aug. 1, posting a 0.1 point increase over last week and bringing the index 3.8 points above the pre-COVID baseline.

According to the weekly survey, the New York-Newark-Jersey City metro area has seen the strongest rebound. It ranked first with a recovery index of 129.6, a weekly increase of 9.6 points. The Wisconsin metro area of Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis ranked last as No. 50 with an index score of 89.2 – a weekly drop of 1.5 points.

In Florida, two cities rose about the old-normal score of 100 this week, while two other cities remained slightly below:

  • The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metro area ranked No. 22 with a score of 102.5 – a weekly increase of 9.6
  • The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area ranked No. 25 with a score of 102.2 – a weekly increase of 1.2
  • The Jacksonville area was No. 34 with a score of 99.3 – a 3.4 weekly increase
  • The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metro area ranked No. 41 with a score of 96.8, a 0.2 weekly increase

“Real estate activity in the U.S. has regained its strength and continues on an upward trajectory as we enter the middle of the summer,” says Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com.

Vivas says the unusually robust summer selling season is making up for weakness in the spring, but current patterns will have to last 10 more weeks to “make up for the lost activity in the second quarter of the year. As we head into fall, an anticipated resurgence in COVID cases and economic aftershocks are likely to create an uphill battle for home buyers and sellers.”

  • Time on market is now 4 days faster than last year – a result of too few homes for sale and mortgage rates at or near-record lows.
  • Median listing prices grew 9.4% year-to-year, and the rate of home price increases continues to pick up speed. The report calls the price rise “perhaps the most surprising aspect of how the housing market has fared – a dramatic departure from the last time unemployment was in double-digit territory.”
  • New listings dropped 11%, and a gradual improvement in the number of new sellers listing homes took a pause despite continued price gains.
  • Total inventory advertised on realtor.com declined 35%.
  • Regionally, the West (110.5) continues to lead the pack in the recovery, with the overall index now visibly above the pre-COVID benchmark. The Northeast (108.2) remains above recovery pace and continues to improve, while the South (99.5) and Midwest (98.8) continue to lag. A total of 29 markets have crossed the recovery benchmark.

The Weekly Housing Index leverages a weighted average of realtor.com search traffic, median list prices, new listings, and median time on market and compares it to the January 2020 market trend, as a baseline for pre-COVID market growth. The overall index is set to 100. The higher a market’s index value, the higher its recovery.

Top 50 Metros Recovery Index

Rank Metro Recovery Index

(Week Ending 7/25)

Recovery Index
(Weekly Change)
1 New York-Newark-Jersey City, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa. 129.6 9.6
2 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev. 117.1 1.3
3 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash. 115.5 -1.3
4 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H. 115.2 -4.2
5 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md. 115.2 0.6
6 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. 115.0 0.6
7 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif. 114.1 0.5
8 San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif. 111.9 2.8
9 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. 110.6 -0.2
10 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. 110.1 -3.3
11 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-Va.-Md.-W. Va. 109.0 0.6
12 Austin-Round Rock, Texas 108.5 -0.8
13 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. 108.3 -1.2
14 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. 107.3 0.7
15 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. 107.0 2.9
16 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C. 106.6 2.0
17 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. 106.1 0.8
18 Pittsburgh, Pa. 105.6 1.9
19 Cincinnati, Ohio-Ky.-Ind. 105.2 4.8
20 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Conn. 104.1 -0.8
21 Providence-Warwick, R.I.-Mass. 103.3 -0.6
22 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. 102.5 1.2
23 Rochester, N.Y. 102.4 -2.8
24 Raleigh, N.C. 102.3 3.4
25 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. 102.2 0.4
26 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C.-S.C. 101.4 0.0
27 Kansas City, Mo.-Kan. 101.0 -0.5
28 San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas 100.9 0.5
29 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas 100.2 0.2
30 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis. 99.7 -1.7
31 Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, Calif. 99.6 0.2
32 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, Tenn. 99.6 0.7
33 St. Louis, Mo.-Ill. 99.5 1.3
34 Jacksonville, Fla. 99.3 3.4
35 Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark. 99.2 0.6
36 Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio 99.1 -3.9
37 Louisville/Jefferson County, Ky.-Ind. 99.0 -0.1
38 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga. 98.8 1.0
39 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas 98.3 -1.4
40 Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Mich 97.9 2.0
41 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Fla. 96.8 0.2
42 Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, N.Y. 96.4 -1.7
43 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis. 95.4 -1.9
44 New Orleans-Metairie, La. 94.4 -3.1
45 Birmingham-Hoover, Ala. 94.3 -0.4
46 Columbus, Ohio 92.8 -1.2
47 Richmond, Va. 92.2 -2.5
48 Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind. 92.0 0.5
49 Oklahoma City, Okla. 91.4 -3.3
50 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis. 89.2


Source: Florida Realtors

Chief Executive Magazine Ranks Florida Second-Best State for Business

17 06 2020

Chief Executive Best & Worst States for BusinessFlorida ranked second in a national publication’s list of the country’s best places for business.

In fact, Chief Executive magazine’s “Best and Worst States for Business” report has placed the same five states — Texas, Florida, Nevada, Tennessee, and Indiana — in the top five spots of its annual poll of CEOs.

The rankings reflect CEO perceptions of best and worst states based on a range of measures, including workforce, taxes and regulation, and living environment.

Texas topped the list for the 16th straight year, while Florida was runner-up for the eighth consecutive year.

Florida’s economy recently topped $1 trillion. More than $870,000 worth of adjusted gross income moves into Florida every hour. 

See the full report at https://chiefexecutive.net/2020-best-worst-for-states-business/

Jacksonville Listed in the Top 10 Best U.S. Cities for Veterans

24 05 2020


  • According to the Veterans Association, there are currently more than 19.2 million veterans living in America.
  • However, when it comes to adjusting to civilian life, some areas of the country are better for veterans than others.
  • WalletHub ranked the 100 largest US cities in four major categories — employment, economy, quality of life, and health — to determine the best cities for veterans to live in after leaving the service. 

WalletHub conducted a report of the best US cities for veterans, analyzing 20 key indicators of livability, affordability, and veteran-friendliness. The study then provided rankings — out of 100 — for each category.

Employment rankings took into account the number of veteran-owned businesses per veteran population and opportunities for job growth, as well as the availability of jobs that utilize military-learned skills. Economy rankings considered factors such as the median veteran income and veteran homelessness rates, while quality of life was determined by analyzing veteran population, restaurants with military discounts, and more.

The study found that Jacksonville, Florida, ranked 10th on the best US cities for veterans, earning a total score of 65.50 out of a possible 100.

Source: Business Insider

Jacksonville Listed in the Top 10 Best Places to Live on the Coast in 2020

4 04 2020

Coastal Insider named Jacksonville in the Top 10 Best Places to Live on the Coast in 2020.

has everything: 22 miles of beaches, more than 400 city parks, seven state parks, two national parks, three beach communities (fun-loving Jacksonville Beach, low-key Neptune Beach, and the luxurious village setting of Atlantic Beach), and a steady, gentle Atlantic swell that means you can surf every morning year-round, whether you’re 5 or 65. What else? With Florida’s youngest population age—36—–and one of its hippest, plus a growing economy, affordable real estate, historic neighborhoods, vibrant street arts scene, creative coastal cuisine, vibrant nightlife, and redeveloped urban districts like Riverside and Springfield luring tech startups, makers, and brewers (20 craft breweries at latest count). And while Jacksonville sprawls like a beach blanket over nearly 875 square miles, it is built out of more than 500 discrete neighborhoods that feel like small towns—each with its own commercial district and sense of identity—to its 940,577 residents.

Source: Coastal Insider

Single Women Own More Homes Than Single Men Do

28 01 2020

Single women own more than 1.5 million more homes than single men in America’s 50 largest metro areas, according to a new study conducted by LendingTree, an online lending marketplace.

All the single ladies are outpacing men in homeownership

Even though women earned just 79 cents for every dollar men made in 2019 – regardless of job type or seniority – single women in the U.S. currently own about 5.1 million homes, while single men own 3.5 million homes.

It is a continuation of a trend that the National Association of Realtors reported in late 2018, when single female buyers made up 18 percent of overall homebuyer demographics, second to married couples. While single male buyers came in third, they tended to purchase more expensive homes (at a median price of $215,000) than single female buyers (median price of $189,000).

Why single women are outpacing single men when it comes to homeownership is a bit of a mystery, although the desire to nest could be a factor. “We do know single females tend to really value homeownership, not just as a financial investment but also as a place where they can live,” NAR Director of Demographics and Behavioral Insights Jessica Lautz said in a statement about the report. “They really desire a place they can own.”

Caregiving responsibilities could be another reason. According to the Pew Research Center, 21 percent of children live with single mothers, while only 4 percent live with single fathers. “Even if she doesn’t have young children, she is likely a caregiver in another way,” Lautz said of the typical single female buyer. “Maybe she has children over 18 who live with her, or maybe she’s caring for an older parent.”

In all of the 50 largest metropolitan area surveyed by Lending Tree, single women owned more homes than single men do.

Jacksonville had the 12th largest gender gap of single homeowners in the study. Single women in Jacksonville own and occupy 49,328 households, while single men own and occupy 33,035 households, a gap of 4.60 percent.

Source: LendingTree

Florida Home Sales Up 23.8% and Condo Up 17.7% in Dec.

24 01 2020

The holiday season was a time of good cheer for Florida’s housing market, with more closed sales, higher median prices and increased pending sales, plus more pending inventory in December 2019 compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 25,557 last month, up 23.8% from December 2018.

Florida condo-townhouse sales were up 17.7% year-to-year. The statewide median price for single-family homes rose 5.9% to $270K, and condo-townhouse prices were up 8.1% to $200K. Pending inventory and new pending sales also rose statewide in both categories.

“Continued low interest rates are sparking buyer demand across Florida; however, a constrained supply and tight inventory of for-sale homes is putting pressure on home prices to rise,” says 2020 Florida Realtors President Barry Grooms, a Realtor and co-owner of Sarabay Suncoast Realty Inc. in Bradenton. “Existing single-family homes had a 3.4 months’ supply of inventory in December, while condo-townhouse properties showed a 5.2 months’ supply. In a positive sign, new pending sales rose 11.9% for single-family existing homes last month and new pending sales for condo-townhouse units increased 8.3%.

“Buying or selling a home can be a complex process, but a local Realtor stands ready to help.”

Statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties in December rose year-over-year for 96 months in a row. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $270,000, up 5.9% from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Last month’s statewide median price for condo-townhouse units was $200,000, up 8.1% over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in November 2019 was $274,000, up 5.4% from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $248,200. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in November was $589,770; in Massachusetts, it was $405,000; in Maryland, it was $301,000; and in New York, it was $280,000.

Looking at Florida’s condo-townhouse market in December, statewide closed sales totaled 9,605, up 17.7% from the level a year ago. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.

Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor points out that Florida’s housing market this December showed very different data trends than the previous year. In December 2018, the state was experiencing weak existing home sales growth and rising inventory levels driven in part by higher interest rates, a troubled stock market and uneasiness generated by an impending shutdown of the federal government, according to O’Connor.

“Closed sales of existing single-family homes were up by nearly 24% compared to last December, while closings in the condo-townhouse category were up by almost 18%,” he says. “So why such a big jump? Well, part of it is explained by the fact that sales were unusually weak at the end of 2018, driven in part by a sharp increase in the average 30-year mortgage rate.

Of course, that doesn’t explain the entire increase in sales, he adds.

“The average 30-year mortgage rate spent the entire second half of 2019 in the range of 3.5% to 3.8%, flirting with historical lows,” O’Connor says. “And in the months since the mid-year yield curve scare that spooked the financial markets, the Federal Reserve has dropped the federal funds rate three times, restoring calm to the national economy. Here in Florida, we saw new pending sales for both property types begin surging in October, and now, with the December figures, we see a significant share of those deals successfully closed by year’s end.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.72% in December 2019, down from the 4.6% averaged during the same month a year earlier.

Source: Floridarealtors.org.

Florida is the No. 1 Destination for Relocating Homebuyers

11 12 2018

LendingTree’s latest migration analysis revealed that 12.1% of American homebuyers who relocate to different states prefer to call the south their new home.

The migration report utilized data from LendingTree’s website, gathering information from 2 million new purchase mortgage loan requests made in 2018.

The report indicated that across the country, Florida is the No. 1 destination for homebuyers moving from 15 of the 50 states. Notably, of all purchase mortgage requests, 9.1% were made for Florida, and 12.4% of out-of-state movers requested the state as well.

However, when LendingTree analyzed destination states according to population size, South Carolina scored the highest. In this state, mortgage loan requests were 52% greater than suggested based on its share of the national population.

When it came to homebuyers relocating within their state, Texas led the way with 93.4% of purchase mortgage requests from individuals looking for properties.

Unfortunately, Alaska wasn’t as lucky, as LendingTree revealed only 75.2% of Alaskan homebuyers wanted to relocate within the state, marking the lowest percentage across the country.

NOTE: LendingTree’s popularity score derives from the calculation of dividing the percentage of all purchase mortgage requests for the state by the percentage of the total population each state represents.

Source: LendingTree and National Mortgage News

Jacksonville is the third-most diverse job market in the U.S.

5 12 2018

Jacksonville has been named the third-most diverse job market in the U.S., according to LinkUp, a job recruiting website. Jacksonville was listed behind Salt Lake City, Utah, and Buffalo, N.Y., respectively.

LinkUp analyzed data from job markets in relation to real estate values and availability in the third fiscal quarter of this year.

The study found that Jacksonville was less reliant on big employers and that job availability provided a wide range of options for workers.

In the top-five job markets, Jacksonville was followed by Raleigh, N.C., and Austin, Texas.

As far as the top-50 job markets in the United States, the least diversified were Cleveland, Atlanta, New York, Chicago and Detroit.

Source: LinkUp.com and Jacksonville.com

Housing sales, inventory trending up in Florida

4 12 2018

Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, rising median prices and more new listings in October compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 22,272 last month, up 8.5 percent compared to October 2017.

October marked 82 consecutive months (more than six and a half years) that statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties increased year-over-year.

Rising interest rates are having a ripple effect across the housing market as the Federal Reserve increases borrowing costs. Analysts expect the Fed to raise rates again a few times in 2019. Areas with strong job or population growth, like Florida, may be able to weather higher mortgage rates, analysts say.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.83 percent in October 2018, up from the 3.90 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier.

Some Floridians can get up to $10K for septic-tank upgrade

8 10 2018

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced a Septic Upgrade Incentive Program to improve water quality and protect Florida’s springs. The program encourages homeowners to enhance their conventional septic systems by adding advanced features to reduce nitrogen pollution.

This Septic Upgrade Incentive Program can offset the cost of an upgrade by providing certified installers and licensed plumbers up to $10,000 after the installation of enhanced nitrogen-reducing features to existing septic systems located in targeted areas within eligible counties – generally those with natural springs. The program can reduce a homeowner’s costs for the septic system upgrades.

Homeowners who qualify for septic-tank money live in DEP “Priority Focus Areas.” According to DEP, those include homes in Citrus, Hernando, Leon, Marion, Orange, Pasco, Seminole, Volusia and Wakulla counties. DEP has a Priority Focus Area map posted on its website.

“We encourage homeowners in these Priority Focus Areas to take advantage of this new Septic Upgrade Incentive Program,” says Trina Vielhauer, director of DEP’s Division of Water Restoration Assistance. “Every homeowner who does their part to upgrade a septic system brings us one step closer to our goal of significantly lowering nutrients in Florida’s springs.”

Eligible enhancements include:

  • Retrofitting septic tanks with advanced pre-treatment
  • Recirculating aerobic treatment units
  • Replacing traditional septic tanks with upgraded nutrient-reducing technology

The incentives will be paid directly to septic system installers and licensed plumbers retained by homeowners to update existing systems, and they must be pre-approved before commencing work.

Florida housing market’s positive trends continues

20 09 2018

Florida’s housing market reported more sales, more new listings, and higher median prices in August compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 26,273 last month, up 4.2 percent compared to August 2017.

“August marked the second month in a row that Florida’s housing market experienced a rise in new listings, which is a good sign for potential homebuyers,” says 2018 Florida Realtors President Christine Hansen, broker-owner with Century 21 Hansen Realty in Fort Lauderdale. “New listings for existing single-family homes rose 6.6 percent compared to a year ago and new listings for condo-townhouse properties increased 4.1 percent from last August.

“At the same time, the median time for a sale to go to contract is getting shorter: For single-family homes, it was 36 days, down 2.7 percent; for condo-townhouse properties, it was 46 days, down 6.1 percent. With such a quick turnaround time to contract, a Realtor with local expertise can help buyers and sellers navigate the market.”

August marked the 80th consecutive month (over six and a half years) that the statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties rose year-over-year. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $254,290, up 6.0 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for condo-townhouse units in August was $185,000, up 8.8 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

Looking at Florida’s condo-townhouse market, statewide closed sales totaled 10,365 last month, up 6.6 percent compared to a year ago. Closed sales data continued to reflect fewer short sales and foreclosures in August: Short sales for condo-townhouse properties dropped 18.8 percent and foreclosures fell 28.9 percent year-to-year; while short sales for single-family homes declined 34.2 percent and foreclosures fell 30.1 percent year-to-year. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.

“The dominant story across Florida’s housing markets over the past couple of years has been the shortage of single-family homes for sale, but in the July numbers, instead of the usual year-over-year decline, we saw that inventory was virtually unchanged from the level we reported for July of 2017,” says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. “So the question is, is this the beginning of a trend? According to the newly released August data from Florida Realtors, it very well could be.

The statewide inventory of single-family homes was up 4.5 percent compared to last year.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.55 percent in August 2018, up from the 3.88 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier.

Source: Florida Realtors

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