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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U.S. Housing: 10 Years After the Financial Crisis

10 09 2018





Hurricanes and Real Estate Contracts

3 10 2017

Florida residents enjoy weather that many northern neighbors envy: warm temperatures all year, combined with easy access to breezy oceans, lakes, rivers and springs.

However, the weather here occasionally turns sinister, most notably when hurricanes meander across the Atlantic to wreak havoc on our state.

When these hurricanes impact real estate transactions, many Realtors scramble to locate casualty and bad weather provisions. This short inventory provides an overview of key provisions in the Florida Realtors/Florida Bar “AS IS” Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase revised in April of 2017, along with one reference to the casualty provision contained in the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.

  1. Section 18(G) Force Majeure
    This is an automatic extension that comes into play when a dramatic event prevents a party’s performance or closing from happening. It takes an unusual and unplanned event to trigger this “Force Majeure” clause, as you can see from a few of the examples given, such as, hurricanes, acts of God and acts of terrorism. Once the clause is triggered, though, certain time periods (including the closing date, if applicable) will be extended for a reasonable time up to 7 days after the force majeure no longer prevents performance. Parties should pay attention to the time in relation to the closing date, though, since either party may terminate the contract by delivering a written notice if force majeure continues to prevent performance more than 30 days beyond the closing date.
  2. Section 18(L) Access to Property to Conduct Appraisals, Inspections, and Walk-Through
    After a hurricane passes over a property, a buyer often wants to take another look at the property, regardless of whether the buyer is still in the inspection period. This clause generally favors the buyer’s request, as it provides that “Seller shall, upon reasonable notice, provide utilities service and access to Property for appraisals and inspections, including a walk-through (or follow-up walk-through if necessary) prior to Closing.”
  3. Section 18(M) Risk of Loss
    If the buyer or seller discover casualty damage from the hurricane, this clause describes the rights and obligations of each party. If the cost to restore the property does not exceed 1.5% of the purchase price (this cost includes the cost of pruning or removing damaged trees), then the cost is a seller obligation. If the restoration isn’t complete prior to closing, the seller will escrow a sum equal to 125% of the estimated cost to complete the restoration. If the cost of restoration exceeds 1.5% of the purchase price, then buyer has the option to either take the property along with 1.5% of the purchase price, or receive a refund of the deposit, releasing buyer and seller from all further obligations under the contract.
  4. Section 83.63, Florida Statutes (Casualty Damage)
    This brief section simply provides that if rented residential premises are damaged or destroyed “so that the enjoyment of the premises is substantially impaired, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement and immediately vacate the premises.” This section continues to present a second scenario whereby a tenant may “vacate the part of the premises rendered unusable by the casualty, in which case the tenant’s liability for rent shall be reduced by the fair rental value of that part of the premises damaged or destroyed.”

Source: Florida Realtors, Florida Realtors Legal Hotline





$250K Home Giveaway Sweepstakes for U.S. Military or Veterans

28 09 2017

Realtor.com® and Veterans United Home Loans, a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) purchase lender, have teamed up to launch a $250,000 Veterans Day Home Giveaway Sweepstakes.

The contest will award up to $250,000 toward a home purchase to a U.S. military service member or veteran.

Veterans and current members of the military can enter the sweepstakes until Oct. 29 at realtor.com/homegiveaway.

The winner will be announced on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

The winner will receive $250,000 (less tax withholding) at the closing of a home purchase transaction.

For more details, go to https://www.realtor.com/homegiveaway/rules.

Source: Realtor.com®





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/





How to Prepare to Be a Homeowner

31 05 2017

Ready to Become a Homeowner?

What to Keep in Mind as You Leave Renting Behind

Each year, millions of Americans purchase a home. In 2015, that was about 5.2 million, according to the National Association of Realtors, and about 35% of them were first-time buyers. If you’re anything like those millions, you’ve been waiting for the moment you finally feel ready to become an owner yourself. You’ve probably carefully considered your budget, your rising rent, and your future prospects — do you plan to move or have kids in the next few years? Can you get by with a two-bedroom, or should you spring for three?

While you’re weighing your needs with your means, there are a few other components of the transition to keep in mind.

  1. Down Payment

Surely you haven’t overlooked this massive expense, which remains one of the biggest obstacles for hopeful homebuyers. Although you can negotiate the terms of your loan, depending on your credit score, you should plan to have 10% to 20% of your future home’s value saved up for a down payment — plus a few thousand more so you can be prepared for unanticipated repairs or other financial hiccups. If that seems impossible, the Federal Housing Administration has a program for first-time homebuyers, offering loans with down payments as low as 3.5%. However, with that small deposit comes larger monthly payments, and a larger amount paid by the end of the loan. Smaller down payments also result in another monthly cost: private mortgage insurance, which lenders sometimes require to protect themselves from loss.

  1. Closing Costs

Yes — there’s even more cash that comes into play when you finalize your home purchase. The down payment goes toward the home’s value, but then there is also a cluster of smaller fees that get thrown into the “closing costs” bucket: loan origination fee, credit report, loan underwriter, home inspection and appraisal, title search, survey fee, and taxes (on the sale, not property taxes), and other assorted fees delineated by your real estate agent. Fortunately, you’re not looking at another $30,000 — unless you’re planning to buy a $1.5 million home. Your closing costs will typically add up to between 2% and 5% of the home’s value.

  1. Insurance

As a renter, you probably paid a monthly insurance premium to make sure your personal belongings were protected in the event of a fire or other accident (at least you should have). And those premiums were probably pretty cheap. Your homeowners insurance premiums, however, will be quite a bit higher, and that’s because it has more to cover aside from the extra square footage. Homeowners insurance will financially protect you from damages incurred to your home, and all of your belongings inside of it, from damage caused by wind, hail, ice, fire, and more.

  1. Taxes

This is another one of the costs that discourages a lot of renters when they begin to consider owning. But property taxes don’t have to be scary, or even that expensive. Familiarize yourself with the local tax rate before the purchase, and then set aside money in an escrow account each month so that you have enough to make the payment when it comes due, instead of scrambling into your savings. Many lenders require this escrow account. When they’re due — and how often — depends on your location, but the average U.S. household pays just over $2,000 in annually.

  1. Maintenance

Time to start filling up that garage: Get a lawnmower, shovel, weedwacker, rake, or any other implement you’ll need to keep your property attractive and safe in every season. Additionally, plan to spend about 1% of your home’s value on annual maintenance projects, which can range from new batteries for your smoke detector to replacing your hot water heater or significant replumbing. Even brand-new houses aren’t immune to maintenance costs, so keep a devoted savings account at the ready — and don’t overlook your duties. Create (or find) a maintenance checklist and schedule to stay on top of important upkeep.

This article was provided by Sam Radbil, a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO. ABODO Gainesville apartments was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin.





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








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