Florida ranks 12th for economic health, 13th for economic activity.

6 06 2017

Economic growth varies from state to state, according to WalletHub’s analysis of its latest study on economic health. Out of 51 rankings (including Washington, D.C.), however Florida ranks 12th for “economic activity.”

The personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2017’s Best & Worst State Economies. In order to determine America’s top economic performers, WalletHub says its analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 27 key indicators of economic performance and strength.

Overall Florida rankings (1=best, 25=avg.)

  • Economic activity: 13
  • Economic health: 12
  • Innovation potential: 30

Florida’s total score was 54.48. Washington ranked at the top with 76.54 followed by California with 73.78. At the bottom of the list, West Virginia ranked 28.14, with Louisiana one slot higher at 33.22.

Economic performance of Florida (1=best, 25=avg.)

  • No. 5 – GDP (gross domestic product) growth
  • No. 37 – Exports per capita
  • No. 2 – Startup activity
  • No. 35 – Percent of jobs in high-tech industries
  • No. 39 – Annual median household income
  • No. 3 – Change in nonfarm payrolls (2016 vs. 2015)
  • No. 23 – Government surplus/deficit per capita
  • No. 31 – Unemployment rate

Source: Florida Realtors, https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-best-economies/21697/





The Shipyards Project

23 02 2017

The Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) has expanded the scope of a proposal for redevelopment of the Shipyards project to also include Metropolitan Park. Previous discussion and negotiations with Shad Khan, who submitted a proposal in 2015 to redevelop the Shipyards, have been scraped and the process for redevelopment will start over. The DIA has officially begun soliciting proposals on Jan. 4, with a due date of March 20.

shipyards-activity-deck-750xx530-298-0-82The Shipyards has long been seen as a key property along the St. Johns River that would be a catalyst for more development.

There are federal strings attached to Metropolitan Park, which was developed with the help of a $1.8 million federal grant with the understanding the property would be used for public use.

DIA CEO Aundra Wallace said some portion of the about-70 acres that are being proposed for development will be public space, meeting the federal requirements with Metropolitan Park. The National Park Service would have to sign off on the plan.

The amount of time the DIA would take to select the most suitable bid was not discussed, but once that bid has been selected and approved by the City Council, an 18-month time frame was provided for negotiations.

Jaguars President Mark Lamping released the following statement following the DIA meeting.

“We support and welcome the DIA’s decision and look forward to the opportunity to take a new and broader look at a riverfront development that includes Met Park. Shad’s interest in developing the Met Park site and Downtown Jacksonville has been well documented and is consistent with the Jaguars’ overall commitment to the revitalization of our downtown core. The Daily’s Place project is an ongoing example of that commitment, and a potential riverfront development that included the Met Park property would represent a logical next phase.”

Source: Jacksonville Business Journal





U.S. Foreclosure Activity Drops to 10-Year Low in 2016

19 01 2017

U.S. foreclosure activity dropped 14 percent last year from 2015, according to Attom Data Solutions’ Year-End 2016 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.

Foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 933,045 U.S. properties in 2016, reaching the lowest level since 2006, when there were 717,522 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings.

Florida was ranked No. 4 in the nation due to having 1.18 percent of all the housing units in the state with foreclosure filings. The Sunshine State had 106, 901 total properties with foreclosure filings, down 33.09 percent from 2015, and down 77.97 percent from the peak in 2010.

In December, 85,919 U.S. properties had foreclosure filings, down 1 percent from the previous month and down 17 percent from a year ago — the 15th consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity.

“The national foreclosure rate stayed within an historically normal range for the third consecutive year in 2016, even as banks continued to clear out legacy foreclosures from the last housing bubble, particularly in the final quarter of the year,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at Attom Data Solutions, the new parent company of RealtyTrac, in a prepared statement. “Foreclosures completed in the fourth quarter had been in the foreclosure process 803 days on average, a substantial jump from the third quarter and indicating that banks pushed through significant numbers of legacy foreclosures during the quarter. Despite that push, we still show that more than half of all active foreclosures nationwide are on loans originated between 2004 and 2008, with a much higher share of legacy foreclosures in some markets.”

When it comes to the number of legacy foreclosures, New Jersey led the way with 32,279, followed by New York (31,838), Florida (29,411), California (17,208), and Illinois (12,244).

In addition, the states with the highest foreclosure rates in 2016 were New Jersey (1.86 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing); Delaware (1.51 percent); Maryland (1.37 percent); Florida (1.18 percent); and Illinois (1.10 percent).

Among 216 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, those with the highest foreclosure rate in 2016 were Atlantic City, N.J., (3.39 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing); Trenton, N.J., (2.16 percent); Rockford, Ill., (1.54 percent); Philadelphia (1.53 percent); and Lakeland-Winter Haven, (1.46 percent).

Other metro areas with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 highest nationwide in 2016 were Baltimore (1.45 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing); Tampa-St. Petersburg (1.38 percent); Chicago (1.35 percent); Columbia, S.C., (1.32 percent); and Miami (1.30 percent).

There were eight states where the average time to foreclose in the fourth quarter was more than 1,000 days: Utah (1,403); New Jersey (1,383); New York (1,283); Hawaii (1,220); Florida (1,186); Indiana (1,033); Illinois (1,024); and Pennsylvania (1,010).

Attom’s year-end foreclosure report is a count of unique properties with a foreclosure filing during the year based on publicly recorded and published foreclosure filings collected in more than 2,500 counties nationwide, with address-level data on more than 23 million foreclosure filings historically also available for license or customized reporting.

Source: Florida Realtors®, Orlando Business Journal, RealtyTrac





Pending Home Sales Hit a 10-Year High in April

28 05 2016

Pending home sales rose for the third consecutive month in April and reached their highest level in over a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

All major regions saw gains in contract activity last month except for the Midwest, which saw a meager decline.

The Pending Home Sales Index – a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings for homes that have not yet sold – hiked 5.1 percent higher to 116.3 in April from an upwardly revised 110.7 in March. Year-to-year, it’s 4.6 percent above April 2015 (111.2).

After last month’s gain, the index has now increased year-over-year for 20 consecutive months. Vast gains in the South and West propelled April’s pending sales in April to its highest level since February 2006 (117.4), says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

“The ability to sign a contract on a home is slightly exceeding expectations this spring, even with the affordability stresses and inventory squeezes affecting buyers in a number of markets,” Yun says. “The building momentum from the over 14 million jobs created since 2010 and the prospect of facing higher rents and mortgage rates down the road appear to be bringing more interested buyers into the market.”

Mortgage rates have remained below 4 percent in 16 of the past 17 months, but Yun says it remains to be seen how long they will stay this low. Along with rent growth, rising gas prices – and the fading effects of last year’s cheap oil on consumer prices – could edge up inflation and push rates higher. For now, Yun foresees mortgage rates continuing to hover around 4 percent in coming months, but inflation could potentially surprise the market and cause rates to increase suddenly.

“Even if rates rise soon, sales have legs for further expansion this summer if housing supply increases enough to give buyers an adequate number of affordable choices during their search,” adds. Yun.

Following the housing market’s best first quarter of existing-sales since 2007 (5.66 million) and a decent increase (1.7 percent) in April, Yun expects sales this year to climb above earlier estimates and be around 5.41 million – a 3.0 percent boost from 2015. After accelerating to 6.8 percent a year ago, national median existing-home price growth is forecast to slightly moderate to between 4 and 5 percent.

Pending sales in the Northeast climbed 1.2 percent to 98.2 in April, and are now 10.1 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest, the index declined slightly (0.6 percent) to 112.9 in April, but it’s still 2.0 percent above April 2015.

Pending home sales in the South jumped 6.8 percent to an index of 133.9 in April – 5.1 percent higher than last April. The index in the West soared 11.4 percent in April to 106.2, and it’s now 2.8 percent above a year ago.

Source: National Association of Realtors





June Home Starts Surge – Highest Pace in 28 Years

18 07 2015

The U.S. Commerce Department announced that housing starts in June climbed 9.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million homes. All of that growth came from a 28.6 percent surge in multi-family housing that put apartment construction at its highest rate since November 1987. Starts for single-family houses slipped 0.9 percent last month.

U.S. builders broke ground on apartment complexes in June at the fastest pace in nearly 28 years, as developers anticipate that recent job gains will launch a wave of renters.

The gains show that what had been a sluggish construction sector is now running on economic adrenaline. Strong job growth and a rebounding economy have increased the numbers of buyers and renters searching for homes, while gradually rising mortgage rates have spurred homeowners to finalize deals.

Housing starts jumped 35.3 percent in the Northeast because of apartments, while climbing 13.5 percent in the South. Home construction slumped in the Midwest and West in June.

Nationwide, housing starts have risen 10.9 percent year-to-date.

Over the past 12 months, employers have added 2.9 million jobs, meaning there are more people with paychecks to spend across the broader economy. The impact of those job gains and the unemployment rate drop to 5.3 percent has surfaced in housing, where demand is outpacing the supply of homes and creating more pressure to build houses and apartments.

The market for new homes for sale had just 4.5 months of supply in May, compared to 6 months in a healthy market.

Approved building permits increased 7.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.34 million in June, the highest level since July 2007. The bulk of that increase came for apartment complexes, while permits for houses last month rose just 0.9 percent.

There are other signs that builders are increasingly optimistic.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Thursday climbed to 60 this month, a level last reached in November 2005 – shortly before the housing boom gave way to the mortgage crisis that triggered the Great Recession. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor.

Mortgage rates have started to rise, although they remain low by historic standards.

Source: The Associated Press





U.S. New-Home Sales in May Climb to Best Levels Since 2008

24 06 2015

Purchases of new U.S. homes surged in the Northeast and West in May, as steady job growth over the past year has lifted the real estate sector.

The Commerce Department said that new-home sales rose 2.2 percent in May 2015 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000, the strongest pace in more than seven years.

Sales of new homes have soared 24 percent year-to-date, helped by the additional incomes from the employers hiring 3.1 million workers in the past 12 months and relatively low mortgage rates. The sharp increase in purchases could help drive more employment in the construction sector and broader economic growth, potentially offsetting the setbacks to growth in the manufacturing sector caused by cheaper oil prices and a stronger dollar that has hurt exports.

Last month’s sales gains were concentrated in the Northeast, where sales jumped 87.5 percent. New-home sales increased 13.1 percent in the West, but slipped in the Midwest and South.

The median sales price has fallen slightly, dipping 1 percent over the past 12 months to $282,800.

The increases have caused the supply of new homes to dwindle to 4.5 months, compared to the six months’ supply generally associated with a healthy market.

Still, homebuilders are preparing to meet this demand, having broken ground on more houses this year and plan to continue construction. Approved building permits rose increased 11.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.28 million, the highest level since August 2007, the Commerce Department reported last week.

Existing homes are also seeing strong sales as the economy continues to muscle up.

Sales of existing homes climbed 5.1 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. Tight supplies have lifted prices, which have climbed 7.9 percent over the past 12 months to an average of $228,700, about $1,700 below the July 2006 peak.

Much of the increased buying activity flows from a stronger job market and relatively affordable mortgage rates.

Borrowing costs are low by historical standards, but they have been rising in recent weeks at a speed that might prompt more people to buy homes.

Average 30-year fixed rates were 4 percent last week, according to the mortgage giant Freddie Mac. That average has increased from a 52-week low of 3.59 percent.

Soure: Associated Press





Watson Realty Corp. Announces Nocatee Office Groundbreaking

4 04 2015

St. Johns County, Fla. – Watson Realty Corp. is excited to announce the groundbreaking of its newest office in Nocatee, Florida. The ceremony will be held on April 7th at 2:30 p.m. at the site of the future building located at the corner of Nocatee Village Dr. and Marketside Ave. Light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served.

The Nocatee office will provide real estate services including sales, leasing, property management, mortgage, and title services.

“I am really excited to open a new Watson office in Nocatee,” said Ed Forman, Watson Realty Corp. President. “This is a tremendous opportunity to have a location in one of the top selling communities in the country.”

Nocatee was the third best-selling master-planned community in the nation in 2013, according to real estate advisory firm RCLCO.

“It is a perfect time to add an office in Nocatee as Watson Realty Corp. celebrates its 50th anniversary,” noted William A. Watson, Jr. founder and Chairman of the Board, Watson Realty Corp.

Plans for the site include the construction of a state-of-the-art 6,000 square foot building with 4,200 square feet for the real estate office and 1,800 square feet for rental space. The anticipated completion date of the project is November 2015.








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