New Developments in St. Johns County

23 10 2006

Here is summary of new developments coming to St. Johns County:

1. Rivertown, located off CR 210, will be 4,200 acres, have 4,500 homes and 500,000 square feet of non-residential space.

2. Twin Creeks, located along US 1 and I-95, will be 3,500 acres, have 5,000 homes and nearly 3 million square feet of non-residential space.

3. Nocatee, single-family residences in St. Johns County, is bringing 12,579 homes, 4 million square feet of non-residential space and 30,000 people to the area.

4. Aberdeen and Durbin Crossing, located south of Race Track Road, are both underway and infrastructure is being put in right now. Combined they will have 4,516 homes and 310,000 square feet of non-residential space.

5. Silverleaf, located near World Golf Village, will be an enormous project with 7,300 acres, 10,700 homes and 1.7 million square feet of non-residential space.

6. Ashford Mills on SR 210 and SR 16 will offer 2,600 homes and 280,000 square feet of non-residential space.

The following projects are on the drawing board:

7. Durbin, located on Race Track Road and I-95, will be 1,637 acres and have 4,500 homes.

8. Elkton, located on SR 207 and CR 305 will be 2,800 acres, have 2,600 homes and 1,000 multi-family units and 300,000 square feet non-residential space.

9. Lemburg, also known as Cordova Palms, located south of International Golf Boulevard, will be 1,500 acres, have 1,700 multi-family units and 900,000 square feet of non-residential space.

From 1990 to 2003 St. Johns County experienced a growth rate of 47 percent, making it one of the fastest growing county in the nation.





Real Estate Sales to Rebound in Six Months

23 10 2006

Existing home sales across South Florida could rebound in the next three to six months, but demand for new homes probably won’t pick up until 2008, a real estate analyst said Wednesday, adding that “the Realtors will get happy before the builders.” Meanwhile, NAR’s real estate outlook calls for national sales activity to pick up early next year.

“The Realtors will get happy before the builders,” Brad Hunter told more than 400 people attending an Urban Land Institute conference at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach.

If hurricane season ends Nov. 30 without another storm hitting the region, hesitant buyers will start making offers on the glut of unsold homes, said Hunter, who runs the South Florida division of MetroStudy, a West Palm Beach consulting firm. It will take about 18 months after that for new home sales to increase, he said.

Other real estate observers are more skeptical of short-term improvement in a local housing market that slowed dramatically in 2006 after the five-year boom when the price of a typical home more than doubled to well above $300,000.

Aside from the threat of hurricanes, buyers are afraid to commit for fear that falling prices will tumble more, Hunter said. But Moody’s Economy.com issued a report last week that suggested the worst of the housing squeeze has occurred in South Florida.

The West Chester, Pa., research firm said Palm Beach County’s median price for existing homes fell from late 2005 through the third quarter of 2006 but won’t go any lower. Broward County’s median will continue to decline through the third quarter of 2007, according to the report.

Palm Beach County’s median price declined $25,400 to $386,000 in August, marking the first year-over-year drop in seven years, according to the Florida Association of Realtors. The August median for Broward County fell $24,200 to $362,800. It was the second month in a row that Broward’s median declined on an annual basis.

Mortgage rates are holding steady, and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said this week that he expects the slumping market to stabilize.

“The key thing that has to happen,” Hunter said, “is that the (buyers’) psychology has to change, and it’s going to.”

Still, rising insurance premiums and property-tax bills are major deterrents to buying homes. Consumers are looking to lawmakers to offer relief on those fronts.

“A lot of people are sitting and waiting,” said Debbie Anderson, an agent for Prudential Florida WCI Realty in northwest Broward County. “I don’t blame them.”

Ashley Ostroff is asking $498,900 for her three-bedroom Palm Beach Gardens home even though her agent said she could get more. Ostroff, a marketing director, has yet to field an offer.

“Even people who are ready to buy now are waiting because of what they’re hearing in the media,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what the market is doing. Buy at the price that’s right for you.”

Minto Communities, a Coconut Creek-based home builder, said it’s starting to find more interest in new homes.

About 3,000 people turned out last weekend for a townhouse and condominium development in Sunrise, while 1,500 showed up in August for a single-family home project in St. Lucie County, Minto President Harry Posin said.

“The consumer is responding,” he said. “We just have to work through this.”

Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel





Florida’s Real Estate Forecast: Still Sunny

23 10 2006

Florida real estate may be in a slump, but its future is golden. That’s the
good news former Wall Street economist Richard Hokenson delivered
last week to Tampa Bay’s Chartered Financial Analysts. “Ride the
wave,” he told them, but he wasn’t talking about surfing. Hokenson,
who runs a demographics consulting firm in New Jersey, said the wave
of baby boomers rolling into retirement provides an investment
opportunity. “There’s a baby boom tsunami and a fixed supply of coastal
land,” he said at the meeting at the University Club. Whether boomers
can afford a Florida retirement may depend on whether they can shed
their NIKEs, the acronym Hokenson bandied for “No Income Kids with
Education.” Hokenson says population trends explain 70 percent of
what happens in the economy.

Source: St. Petersburg Times





Homebuyers More Cautious with Their Money

23 10 2006

Compared with a year ago, more adults are buying homes at prices they can afford rather than trying to stretch themselves financially.

Among those who have purchased a home in the past three years, 78 percent say they bought within their price range, up from 67 percent last year, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Wall Street Journal Online.

Single adults are more likely than married people to stretch their finances; 30 percent of single adults, compared with 15 percent of married couples, say they purchased a home above their price range.

Thirty-eight percent of borrowers said they used “creative” or “pay option” mortgages, up from 33 percent a year earlier.

Fourteen percent used interest-only mortgages, which let them avoid paying principal in early years of the loan. That’s down from 17 percent a year earlier.

Another 12 percent combined traditional mortgages with home equity loans or other lines of credit. Nine percent used mortgages that let them choose what to pay each month, and 3 percent took out mortgages that let them skip some payments.

Source: Planet Realtor





U.S. Population Hit 300 Million Milestone

23 10 2006

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. population hit 300 million this month and all those people must live somewhere.

The Census Bureau expects a surge in the country’s population to 400 million during the next 35 years, with immigrants accounting for most of those newcomers. With about
86 people per square mile nationwide now, the U.S. would seem to have plenty of room for more, but where will these new Americans live?

As it grows, the population is increasingly concentrated in just a dozen states, and the heartland in states like North Dakota, Ohio, Michigan, Kansas and Nebraska are either losing population or just staying even.

The Center for Environment and Population, a nonpartisan research group, calculates that more than half the population lives within 50 miles of the coasts, and half of these new residents will join them. But other areas with reasonable housing costs will become a draw, and there’s some sign that’s already happening. The foreign-born population of Tennessee is up 140 percent in the past five years, while Idaho and Utah grew by 10 percent — twice the rate of the U.S. generally.

Source: The Wall Street Journal





Housing Starts Rise in September

23 10 2006

Construction of new homes and apartments, which had been falling in the face of a weakening housing market, posted an unexpected increase in September.

The Commerce Department reported that construction rose by 5.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.772 million units. It was the first increase after three consecutive monthly declines.

Analysts, however, still expect housing to move lower as builders continue to work through record levels of unsold homes. Building permits, a good sign of future activity, fell in September for an eighth consecutive month.

Source: The Associated Press





One-Stop Shop is Tops

23 10 2006

Homebuyers pay no more in settlement costs when they deal with affiliated real estate companies than they do if they conduct business with independent, unaffiliated companies, according to new research. The study, conducted by CapAnalysis Group for the Real Estate Services Providers Council, whose members include title companies, negates the theory that affiliated businesses provide inadequate service or overcharge customers, says Brian Levy, council chairman. “In fact, vertically integrated businesses are probably held even more accountable for exceptional service and competitive costs, because if something goes wrong anywhere in the transaction, the finger can only point back in one direction,” Levy says. The council commissioned the survey in response to government scrutiny of settlement services that are directly or indirectly owned by the company or individuals referring the business.

Source: REALTORĀ® Magazine Online








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