Price Your Home in Changing Market

24 04 2006

Spring is typically the busiest time of the year for home sales. But with mortgage rates rising and sales slowing, selling a home in many areas of the nation has become a challenge.

In February, there were 3.03 million previously owned homes for sale, a level not seen since 1991, when 1.91 million homes were up for sale, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The tempered pace of home sales in recent months follows record years of activity – 7.982 million homes sold in 2004, followed by a record 8.35 million in 2005 — that saw bidding wars and a steady escalation of prices.

The first signs of an ebbing in demand appeared last summer and have continued into this year. Applications for home loans, a gauge of future home sales, are down 20 percent from last year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The process of selling a home, meanwhile, is taking longer, a trend reflected in heightened demand for lengthier rate locks, a guarantee offered by lenders to keep the rate on a mortgage at a set level for a certain period. In recent years, rates for mortgages were guaranteed for 30 to 45 days because homes could be sold quickly. Now, borrowers ask for 120-day rate locks.

To move property, some sellers use unusual staging techniques to personalize it and subtly advertise strong points. Builders with unsold inventory homes have also come up with new ways of wooing buyers such as helping to pay mortgage closing costs, offering free upgrades or lowering sales price.

Ultimately, the single factor determining whether a home attracts buyers likely will be its price. So, price your home right and get it sold.





Jacksonville offers bargains to home buyers from out of state

24 04 2006

Americans are leaving the nation’s big cities in search of cheaper homes and open spaces farther out. Nearly every large metropolitan area had more people move out than move in from 2000 to 2004, with a few exceptions in the South and Southwest, according to a report released by the Census Bureau.

The Census Bureau measured domestic migration — people moving within the United States — from 1990 to 2000, and from 2000 to 2004. The report provides the number of people moving into and out of each state and the 25 largest metropolitan areas.

The states that attracted the most new residents: Florida, Arizona and Nevada. The states that lost the most: New York, California and Illinois.

According to the IRS, more than 42,000 non Floridians moved to the First Coast in 2003 and 2004. Buyers from Northeast, West Coast and other areas see bargains in the Jacksonville area as a cheap alternative to the exceedingly pricey fare in the Northeast and on the West Coast.

More than 10,000 new, single-family homes were sold in the Jacksonville area last year, according to the Real Estate Strategy Center. That number is expected to rise between 5 percent and 10 percent this year.

According to tax return data collected by the IRS, more residents moved to the Jacksonville area from San Diego than any other out-of-state county in the United States between the 2003 and 2004 tax seasons. Virginia Beach, Va., and three Georgia counties — Camden, Cobb and Fulton — round out the top five; other notable origins include Cook County, Ill., which is home to Chicago, and Suffolk, N.Y.

Within the metropolitan statistical area, the biggest moves were from Duval to Clay and St. Johns. Nearly 6,500 people moved from Duval to Clay from 2003 to 2004 and more than 5,200 moved to St. Johns. That’s compared to about 4,100 moving to Duval from Clay and 2,300 moving from St. Johns.

Jacksonville’s military presence can account for much of that influx — at least six of the top 10 counties are Navy towns. Rebecca Kruck, a spokeswoman for Jacksonville Naval Air Station, said the Navy does not collect information on which bases its transfers come from, but Mayport Naval Station and Jacksonville NAS have about 22,000 active-duty employees.

Still, some homebuilders say the California connection isn’t limited to the tide of sailors.

KB Home North Florida President Vince DePorre said that he has seen the rise of California’s impact on the market during the past two years.

“They come here and there’s a complete disbelief in the affordability of Jacksonville,” he said. “They can still live a few miles from the ocean and make a lot of money on selling their California home.”

Californians make up nearly 6 percent of KB Home’s buyers in Jacksonville, followed by New Yorkers (1.9 percent), New Jersey residents (1.3 percent), and Virginians and Georgians (1.2 percent each).

Five percent of Pulte Home’s buyers come from Jacksonville, said senior analyst Jeremy Stafford of Pulte’s Jacksonville division. Ten percent of its buyers come from the Northeast, but the strongest new trend that Stafford has seen has been South Floridians moving north. More than 3,000 people moved to the area from Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

“It’s the same situation as out West,” he said. “They have a lot of equity in their homes down there and can get a bargain in Jacksonville.”

In the Jacksonville metropolitan statistical area — which includes Duval, St. Johns, Clay, Nassau and Baker counties — the median price of single-family homes resold in February stood at $196,200, according to the Florida Association of Realtors. In California, the median — at which half of homes were sold for more and half for less — was $535,470. In New York, it was $300,000.

That trend might continue, especially with the notice Jacksonville is getting these days.

“The Super Bowl gave us an intangible boost that made Jacksonville, from a business perspective, more attractive,” he said. “We’re getting a higher class of business moving in than we did before that event, and that’s going to also change our migration patterns.”

Florida counties in the top 25 for number of inbound residents

Rank — County — Average number of new residents per year
7. West Palm Beach: 18,106
8. Pasco: 15,934
9. Lee: 15,654
13. Hillsborough: 12,978
17. Lake: 12,124
22. Brevard: 10,283
24. Volusia: 8,953

Florida counties in the top 25 for growth rate, comparing number of new inbound residents to the number of existing residents

Rank — County — Average annual rate of growth
1. Flagler: 79.1
9. Lake: 51.2
12. St. Johns: 48.4
19. Pasco: 42.2
21. Walton: 40.9
24. Hernando: 39.8

Source: The Florida Times-Union





Watson Relocation Wins Award at National Conference

24 04 2006


Watson Relocation Services, a division of Watson Realty Corp. Realtors, took home the coveted Diamond Award at the 2006 Leading Real Estate Companies of the World™ Conference held April 4 at The Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, Orlando. Watson Realty Corp. was the only company in the entire network to earn its top award for achievement in 2004, and to receive this distinction again in 2005.

Chairman of the Board William A. Watson Jr.; President Ed Forman; Directors of Relocation Services in Jacksonville and Orlando, Carlotta Landschoot and Mary Lou Lee, and several other company representatives were on hand to accept the award.

The Diamond Award is presented to the company who compiles the most overall points for achievement in several categories. The company also won best booth for companies with more than 500 associates.

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World is the largest global network of 700 real estate firms with more than 4,700 offices and 120,000 associates worldwide. Its members produced $380 billion in home sales representing 1.4 million transactions in 2004, outselling any national franchise and also leading the nation in the sales of $1 million plus homes. Leading RE’s member firms are widely recognized as the premier providers of quality relocation and affinity services.





Price Your Home in Changing Market

24 04 2006

Spring is typically the busiest time of the year for home sales. But with mortgage rates rising and sales slowing, selling a home in many areas of the nation has become a challenge.

In February, there were 3.03 million previously owned homes for sale, a level not seen since 1991, when 1.91 million homes were up for sale, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The tempered pace of home sales in recent months follows record years of activity – 7.982 million homes sold in 2004, followed by a record 8.35 million in 2005 — that saw bidding wars and a steady escalation of prices.

The first signs of an ebbing in demand appeared last summer and have continued into this year. Applications for home loans, a gauge of future home sales, are down 20 percent from last year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The process of selling a home, meanwhile, is taking longer, a trend reflected in heightened demand for lengthier rate locks, a guarantee offered by lenders to keep the rate on a mortgage at a set level for a certain period. In recent years, rates for mortgages were guaranteed for 30 to 45 days because homes could be sold quickly. Now, borrowers ask for 120-day rate locks.

To move property, some sellers use unusual staging techniques to personalize it and subtly advertise strong points. Builders with unsold inventory homes have also come up with new ways of wooing buyers such as helping to pay mortgage closing costs, offering free upgrades or lowering sales price.

Ultimately, the single factor determining whether a home attracts buyers likely will be its price. So, price your home right and get it sold.





Jacksonville offers bargains to home buyers from out of state

24 04 2006

Americans are leaving the nation’s big cities in search of cheaper homes and open spaces farther out. Nearly every large metropolitan area had more people move out than move in from 2000 to 2004, with a few exceptions in the South and Southwest, according to a report released by the Census Bureau.

The Census Bureau measured domestic migration — people moving within the United States — from 1990 to 2000, and from 2000 to 2004. The report provides the number of people moving into and out of each state and the 25 largest metropolitan areas.

The states that attracted the most new residents: Florida, Arizona and Nevada. The states that lost the most: New York, California and Illinois.

According to the IRS, more than 42,000 non Floridians moved to the First Coast in 2003 and 2004. Buyers from Northeast, West Coast and other areas see bargains in the Jacksonville area as a cheap alternative to the exceedingly pricey fare in the Northeast and on the West Coast.

More than 10,000 new, single-family homes were sold in the Jacksonville area last year, according to the Real Estate Strategy Center. That number is expected to rise between 5 percent and 10 percent this year.

According to tax return data collected by the IRS, more residents moved to the Jacksonville area from San Diego than any other out-of-state county in the United States between the 2003 and 2004 tax seasons. Virginia Beach, Va., and three Georgia counties — Camden, Cobb and Fulton — round out the top five; other notable origins include Cook County, Ill., which is home to Chicago, and Suffolk, N.Y.

Within the metropolitan statistical area, the biggest moves were from Duval to Clay and St. Johns. Nearly 6,500 people moved from Duval to Clay from 2003 to 2004 and more than 5,200 moved to St. Johns. That’s compared to about 4,100 moving to Duval from Clay and 2,300 moving from St. Johns.

Jacksonville’s military presence can account for much of that influx — at least six of the top 10 counties are Navy towns. Rebecca Kruck, a spokeswoman for Jacksonville Naval Air Station, said the Navy does not collect information on which bases its transfers come from, but Mayport Naval Station and Jacksonville NAS have about 22,000 active-duty employees.

Still, some homebuilders say the California connection isn’t limited to the tide of sailors.

KB Home North Florida President Vince DePorre said that he has seen the rise of California’s impact on the market during the past two years.

“They come here and there’s a complete disbelief in the affordability of Jacksonville,” he said. “They can still live a few miles from the ocean and make a lot of money on selling their California home.”

Californians make up nearly 6 percent of KB Home’s buyers in Jacksonville, followed by New Yorkers (1.9 percent), New Jersey residents (1.3 percent), and Virginians and Georgians (1.2 percent each).

Five percent of Pulte Home’s buyers come from Jacksonville, said senior analyst Jeremy Stafford of Pulte’s Jacksonville division. Ten percent of its buyers come from the Northeast, but the strongest new trend that Stafford has seen has been South Floridians moving north. More than 3,000 people moved to the area from Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

“It’s the same situation as out West,” he said. “They have a lot of equity in their homes down there and can get a bargain in Jacksonville.”

In the Jacksonville metropolitan statistical area — which includes Duval, St. Johns, Clay, Nassau and Baker counties — the median price of single-family homes resold in February stood at $196,200, according to the Florida Association of Realtors. In California, the median — at which half of homes were sold for more and half for less — was $535,470. In New York, it was $300,000.

That trend might continue, especially with the notice Jacksonville is getting these days.

“The Super Bowl gave us an intangible boost that made Jacksonville, from a business perspective, more attractive,” he said. “We’re getting a higher class of business moving in than we did before that event, and that’s going to also change our migration patterns.”

Florida counties in the top 25 for number of inbound residents

Rank — County — Average number of new residents per year
7. West Palm Beach: 18,106
8. Pasco: 15,934
9. Lee: 15,654
13. Hillsborough: 12,978
17. Lake: 12,124
22. Brevard: 10,283
24. Volusia: 8,953

Florida counties in the top 25 for growth rate, comparing number of new inbound residents to the number of existing residents

Rank — County — Average annual rate of growth
1. Flagler: 79.1
9. Lake: 51.2
12. St. Johns: 48.4
19. Pasco: 42.2
21. Walton: 40.9
24. Hernando: 39.8

Source: The Florida Times-Union





Watson Relocation Wins Award at National Conference

24 04 2006


Watson Relocation Services, a division of Watson Realty Corp. Realtors, took home the coveted Diamond Award at the 2006 Leading Real Estate Companies of the World™ Conference held April 4 at The Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, Orlando. Watson Realty Corp. was the only company in the entire network to earn its top award for achievement in 2004, and to receive this distinction again in 2005.

Chairman of the Board William A. Watson Jr.; President Ed Forman; Directors of Relocation Services in Jacksonville and Orlando, Carlotta Landschoot and Mary Lou Lee, and several other company representatives were on hand to accept the award.

The Diamond Award is presented to the company who compiles the most overall points for achievement in several categories. The company also won best booth for companies with more than 500 associates.

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World is the largest global network of 700 real estate firms with more than 4,700 offices and 120,000 associates worldwide. Its members produced $380 billion in home sales representing 1.4 million transactions in 2004, outselling any national franchise and also leading the nation in the sales of $1 million plus homes. Leading RE’s member firms are widely recognized as the premier providers of quality relocation and affinity services.





Watson Realty Ranks 15th in the Nation

11 04 2006

RISMEDIA, residential real estate’s largest independent news and information service, has included in the April issue of Real Estate Magazine its 18th Annual Power Broker Report & Survey which identified Watson Realty Corp. as ranking 15th in the nation based on closed transaction sides (21,763)in the year 2005.

Who could have predicted a year like 2005? With home appreciation reaching unheard of heights and interest rates holding their own, the real estate industry made history—again—by setting a fifth consecutive annual record. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median price of a home last year was up 12.7% and existing home sales were up 4.2% from 2004.

With existing home sales expected to decline 5.7% this year, some are worried. But not the Power Brokers. They know that the key drivers——minorities, Boomers, Echoes, technology——will continue to fuel the market. Power Brokers, in fact, look forward to the normalized market ahead——they know that it will help set them apart from less-than-worthy competitors even more. The firms in the report account for over 3 million transactions in 2005, closing nearly $956 billion in total sales volume. Powering these top firms are 318,997 licensed sales agents and more than 6,230 offices nationwide.

Said William A. Watson, Jr., Watson Realty Corp.’s Chairman of the Board, “We are pleased to once again be ranked among the nation’s top real estate companies in the Power Broker Report. It is quite an honor and a powerful statement to be ranked among the top fifteen real estate companies in the United States! We continue to expand to meet the needs of our customers and are totally committed to providing the very best quality service in the industry. Our associates are driven to exceed their customers’ expectations and our company’s full range of ancillary services allow our customers to have truly a one-stop shopping experience.”

Watson Realty Corp. REALTORS® was established in 1965 and has 43 residential sales offices, 20 property management offices, a Commercial Division, a New Homes Division, Watson Relocation Services, Watson Mortgage Corp., Watson Home Improvement, Watson Plumbing, Watson Electric, Watson Heating and Air, Watson School of Real Estate, and Watson Title Services. They are located throughout Northeast and Central Florida as well as in St. Marys, Georgia.

Source: RISMEDIA








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