Sarasota Real Estate Market News

Trulia: 1 in 3 home searches cross state lines

SAN FRANCISCO, February 2, 2012 – According to real estate search engine Trulia, “House hunters near and far eye Florida real estate.” Seven of the top 10 metros with high demand from out-of-state residents are in Florida. Even with a backlog of homes unable to complete the foreclosure process, big price declines mean more people want to move to Florida than leave. In fact, one-third of all Miami home searches were done by people living more than 500 miles away.

Trulia’s Metro Movers Report looks at where homeowners are today and, by analyzing where they search for a new home, provides a look at where they want to live tomorrow. The Winter 2012 report examines all property searches on among all U.S. metropolitan areas between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2011.

“Today’s house hunters are deal seekers,” says Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist. “Although locals in Florida, inland California and the Southwest are suffering from high foreclosure rates and lost equity, huge prices declines … have drawn house hunters from across the country. As America’s retirement capital, Florida has received the most attention from prospective homebuyers and renters from the Northeast and Midwest. Baby-boomers who had planned to retire to cheaper places during the boom years can once again buy in Florida.”
There are geographic preferences that differ between Florida house hunters in New York and Chicago. New York is the top source of long distance (100 miles or more) home searches for properties along Florida’s Atlantic coast and Central Florida (e.g., Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach). Meanwhile, more searches for Gulf Coast homes (e.g., North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota and Cape Coral) come from Chicago than anywhere else.

Overall, the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville area had the highest demand from online seekers through Trulia’s website. For every one resident considering a move out of the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville region, almost nine people considered moving in.

Trulia’s top 10 list includes the number of interested out-of-area residents compared to each resident considering leaving. A rating of 2, for example, means that two people are considering a home inside an area for every one person considering a move out:

1. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville: 8.80
2. Lakeland-Winter Haven: 7.60
3. North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota: 6.62
4. Cape Coral-Fort Myers: 2.59

5. Tulsa, Okla.: 2.48
6. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach: 2.46
7. Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach: 2.44

8. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.: 2.43
9. Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, S.C.: 2.40
10. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford: 2.30

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

May 18, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Beat the competition in buying foreclosures

NEW YORK – Feb. 7, 2012 – While bank-owned homes are plentiful in many markets, they aren’t always easy for a buyer to get. Foreclosures sell at bargain prices – sometimes at 35 percent discounts when compared to nonforeclosures. But the ultra-low prices attract investors and all-cash offers, which makes it difficult for other buyers’ bids to win out.

So how can buyers beat the competition to get a foreclosure?

Get the first look: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s First Look program offers first-time homebuyers and others who need financing and are looking for a primary residence the first opportunity to see bank-owned homes before investors. Buyers have a 15-day window to submit offers before investors have the opportunity to start bidding. Homebuyers can search for Fannie Mae’s REO properties at Properties owned by Freddie Mac can be found at

Submit a competitive offer: Homes priced at heavy discounts are usually in high demand and attract multiple bids. Lowball offers won’t likely get far. Some housing experts suggest starting with your best offer. “My advice is to offer the most you feel you would ever pay for the property,” said one recent foreclosure buyer.

Make a large deposit: If a buyer wants to get the banks attention, they could offer a larger than typical good-faith deposit. But if the buyer has to back out of the deal for some reason, he or she may be risk losing the deposit.

Even if buyers really want the property, don’t let them cave in to unreasonable demands, like waiving a home inspection. Otherwise, it may be a decision they quickly regret if the home is later found to be rife with problems.

Source: “How to Beat the Competition and Buy a Foreclosure,” Sun Sentinel (Fla.) (Feb. 5, 2012)

May 18, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Investors, News related to Short Sales and Foreclosures, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Short sale sellers need to close in 2012

WASHINGTON – Feb. 3, 2012 – If a bank writes off debt in a short sale, it’s a “taxable event,” and the lender tells the Internal Revenue Service about the deal by submitting a “Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt” at the end of the year. Home sellers must acknowledge the amount when they fill out their federal taxes. Through Dec. 31, 2012, however, the federal government forgives any tax liability associated with forgiveness of a mortgage loan.

“In general, homeowners believe the government will extend this tax provision,” says San Diego Realtor Joy Bender. “However, as evidenced by the First Time Homebuyer Credit expiration in 2010, you can’t always count on the government to bail you out.”

The government generally considers forgiven debt to be income. If a seller has signed legal loan papers to take out a $200,000 mortgage and the lender accepts $100,000 in a short sale, for example, the seller received the equivalent of $100,000 in free money by government estimates. As a result, the IRS taxes it. For tax year 2012, however, the government still forgives the debt; in 2013, it might not.

The tax amount can be significant. On a debt of $100,000, a short-sale seller in the 25 percent tax bracket could end up owing $25,000 in income taxes.

Since short sales can take months and even fall through, homeowners considering a short sale may want to start the process sooner rather than later.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

May 18, 2012 Posted by | News related to Sellers, News related to Short Sales and Foreclosures | Leave a comment

(Sarasota) Agents say buyers are pouring in

Real estate agents, normally an upbeat group, are simply gushing at the market conditions right now.

Read More HERE


May 18, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Best way to sell a house? Get out of the way

WASHINGTON – Jan. 27, 2012 – Realtors say sellers may believe they’re being helpful by following buyers and their agents around a home during a showing, commenting on every room and answering questions – but often they inadvertently kill the deal.

Experts say buyers find it uncomfortable to comment about changes they would make to a property with the seller standing there, and they also become suspicious about the reasons for the “hard sell.”

When circumstances arise that make it impossible for the seller to leave during a showing or inspection, they should stay out of the buyer’s way, going upstairs when the buyer is downstairs and vice versa. They also should not communicate with the buyer or his/her agent to avoid misunderstandings, allowing their agents to answer questions instead.

“Real estate agents, Realtors, brokers – that’s our job to answer questions and be the buffer between the two sides,” stresses Eddie Berenbaum, broker-owner of Century 21 Redwood Realty in Arlington, Va. “If the owners appear to be overly excited, they may come off as being desperate to the purchaser. If the purchaser seems overly excited about the house, that’s a bad way to start negotiations.”

When sellers are asked a question, they should provide unemotional, brief and to-the-point responses; and they should talk to their agents beforehand about how to present their reasons for the sale.

Source: Washington Times (01/27/12) P. D20; Brown, Rachel

May 18, 2012 Posted by | News related to Sellers | Leave a comment

Selling a rented home can pose challenges

NORTH BETHESDA, Md. – Jan. 25, 2012 – Some homeowners turned into reluctant landlords and rented out their homes to earn extra income while the housing market was sluggish. But now some of these homeowners are ready to sell.

However, real estate agents often caution clients that trying to sell a home when a tenant still lives there can be tricky since many renters – who have no financial stake in the matter – aren’t always so eager to help market a home and keep it tidy and neat on their landlord’s behalf.

Nevertheless, “it’s pretty common in this market to be selling a home with a tenant in it,” Chris Hager, a real estate professional with Long & Foster Real Estate in North Bethesda, Md., told the Washington Times. “There are lots of reluctant landlords out there who opted to rent their property rather than sell it, and now they want to put it on the market. There’s the potential for conflict between the tenant and the landlord, especially if it was not made clear to the tenant from the beginning that the owners wanted to sell.”

Landlords should make a point to clearly communicate their intentions to sell, and not “sneak” the house on the market without telling the tenants first, real estate professionals say.

Landlords might want to offer a concession on the rent to tenants in exchange for them keeping the home in clean, good condition while it’s on the market – such as 10 percent off each month’s rent while it’s on the market. But be sure to communicate expectations for cleanliness, such as keeping the dishes out of the sink and making the bed. Experts also suggest setting established hours for showing the property to make it easier on the tenant.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so it is particularly important to have the place in strong showing shape on the first and second weekends on the market,” says Nick Pasquini, broker-owner of Century 21 Redwood Realty in Washington, D.C., and Arlington and Ashburn, Va.

Source: “Challenges of Selling a Rented Home,” Washington Times (Jan. 13, 2012)

May 18, 2012 Posted by | News related to Sellers | Leave a comment

Are cash buyers driving down home prices?

WASHINGTON – Jan. 25, 2012 – Cash buyers are sending home values down much lower than they otherwise would be, suggests a new survey by Campbell Inside Mortgage Finance, which polled more than 2,500 real estate agents nationwide.

In its December Housing Pulse Tracking Survey, the company found that investors accounted for one out of three real estate transactions last month, and about 74 percent of those purchases by investors were made using all cash.

“Investors have an over-sized command on the market since their ability to pay cash in the majority of transactions puts undue downward pressure on home prices,” an article at Housing Predictor notes about the study.

Cash buyers can be attractive to home sellers, banks and mortgage companies, since they do not usually come with contingencies, require extra time to secure financing, and tend to move more quickly to closing. As such, cash buyers tend to make purchases at lower prices than those who may need financing or come with contingencies.

Source: “Cash Buyers Pushing Home Prices Lower,” Housing Predictor (Jan. 24, 2012)

May 18, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Housing inventory down 22% nationwide

WASHINGTON – Jan. 24, 2012 – Housing inventory slid to 1.89 million homes in December – down 6 percent from the previous month and 22.3 percent from the prior year, according to

In the 145 markets tracked by, only Springfield, Ill., registered a year-over-year increase. Inventories plunged 49.7 percent in Miami, 49.1 percent in Phoenix, and 46.6 percent in Bakersfield, Calif.

Meanwhile, the national median price edged up 5 percent year-over-year.

Asking prices – the amount sellers include on a listing – climbed 32.5 percent in Miami, 21.7 percent in Naples, 21.5 percent in Fort Myers-Cape Coral, and 19.4 percent in Punta Gorda, according to

However, asking prices were down 11 percent in Detroit, 10 percent in Chicago, 7.6 percent in Las Vegas, and 7 percent in Sacramento.

Source: “Housing Inventory Ends Year Down 22 Percent,” Wall Street Journal (01/19/12)

May 18, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Florida’s housing sales activity higher as 2011 ends

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jan. 20, 2012 – At the close of 2011, Florida’s existing home and condominium markets reported higher sales compared to the previous year, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. It was the third consecutive year for statewide home and condo sales activity to end the year on a positive upswing – higher year-over-year sales also were reported at the close of 2010 and 2009, records show.

Looking back on 2011, Florida’s existing home sales rose 8 percent for the year, with a total of 185,921 homes sold compared to 172,462 homes sold in 2010. The statewide existing home median price for 2011 was $131,700; it was $135,900 in 2010 for a 3 percent decrease. In Florida’s condo market, a total of 87,581 units sold statewide in 2011, a gain of 15 percent compared to 76,209 units sold in 2010. The statewide existing condo median price in 2011 was $88,300; it was $90,000 in 2010 for a 2 percent decrease.

Sixteen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported higher existing home sales at the close of 2011 compared to 2010; the same number of MSAs also reported higher existing condos sales.

“Florida’s economy is continuing to strengthen, which is good news,” said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. “Many people are hoping to take advantage of the current record low mortgage rates and affordable conditions to find their Florida dream home – but overly restrictive lending requirements continue to create barriers to homeownership for qualified homebuyers. To re-energize the housing market and the economic recovery, we need improved access to affordable financing options for qualified buyers and investors.”

In December, a total of 15,290 existing single-family homes sold statewide, a decrease of 2 percent from the 15,546 homes sold in December 2010. The statewide existing home median sales price last month was $134,300, up 1 percent from the $133,000 reported in December 2010, according to Florida Realtors’ data. The national median existing single-family home price was $165,100 in December, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

In the year-to-year comparison for statewide existing condo sales, a total of 6,836 units changed hands last month, compared to 6,985 condos sold in December 2010 for a decrease of 2 percent. The statewide existing condo median sales price in December was $91,900, up 4 percent from the $88,400 reported a year earlier. The national median existing condo price was $160,000 in December, according to NAR.

“Although sales were down slightly in December, they’re up strongly for the year, which reinforces the reality that Florida is in a slow real estate recovery,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Our expectation is that recovery will continue through 2012. The major obstacle in the market is the inadequate accessibility to financing. Prices are moderating, but we don’t expect too much movement owing to the continuing significance of distressed properties.”

In December, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.96 percent, down from the 4.71 percent average during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac. The annual average rate for a 30-year mortgage in 2011 was 4.45 percent. Florida Realtors’ sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

May 18, 2012 Posted by | News related to the Market | Leave a comment