Sarasota Real Estate Market News

Fancy home photos can help make the sale

NEW YORK – Sept. 4, 2012 – Professional photography of a home can nab buyers’ attention online, and some home sellers even credit the fancy photos for getting their homes sold.

According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, 99 percent of home buyers who search for homes online said property photos were among the most useful features, according to research from the National Association of Realtors®.

Listings that include photos get 61 percent more views than listings without photos, according to research conducted by Redfin.

“When people are searching for homes, they search by price range, location (and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms). But then once they have the list, the visual piece becomes a larger and more important part of the decision,” Jani Strand, spokeswoman for Redfin, told The Wall Street Journal. “Photos are the first impression and can generate interest and excitement, which leads to good offers.”

As a result, more real estate professionals are ramping up their photo skills, investing in wide-angle lens cameras and tripods so they can learn the craft of professional photography. Other real estate professionals are forming relationships with professional photographers to capture their listings.

Whichever the case, photo experts say it’s important to carefully judge which photos to include in a listing.

“Do the photos make you want to visit the home? Do they look like they are pulled from a home and garden magazine? Those are the kind of pictures that will appeal to prospective buyers,” The Wall Street Journal article notes.

Also, the first few photos you include on a listing are the most important and should include a photo of the exterior, main living area, kitchen, master bedroom and bathroom, and another attractive feature in the home.

Source: “Get a Picture-Perfect Home Sale,” The Wall Street Journal (Aug. 26, 2012)

October 23, 2012 Posted by | News related to Sellers | Leave a comment

CoreLogic: July home price index up 3.8% year-over-year

NEW YORK – Sept. 4, 2012 – Home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased on a year-over-year basis by 3.8 percent in July 2012 compared to July 2011, according to CoreLogic’s monthly Home Price Index (HPI) for July. It was the biggest year-over-year increase since August 2006.

On a month-over-month basis, including distressed sales, home prices increased by 1.3 percent in July 2012 compared to June 2012. The July 2012 figures mark the fifth consecutive increase in home prices nationally on both a year-over-year and month-over-month basis.

When distressed home sales are backed out of the statistics, home prices nationwide increased on a year-over-year basis by 4.3 percent. On a month-over-month basis excluding distressed sales, home prices increased 1.7 percent. Distressed sales include short sales and real estate owned (REO) transactions.

The CoreLogic Pending HPI measures homes under contract but not yet sold. CoreLogic says that it predicts August home prices, including distressed sales, will rise by 4.6 percent on a year-over-year basis and at least 0.6 percent on a month-over-month basis. Excluding distressed sales, August house prices are also poised to rise 6.0 percent year-over-year and 1.3 percent month-over-month.

“The housing market continues its positive trajectory with significant price gains in July, and our expectation of a further increase in August,” says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “While the pace of growth is moderating as we transition to the off-season for home buying, we expect a positive gain in price levels for the full year.”

“Although we expect some slowing in price gains over the balance of 2012, we are clearly seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel,” adds Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic.

July HMI report highlights

• Including distressed sales, the five states with the highest appreciation were: Arizona (+16.6 percent), Idaho (10.0 percent), Utah (+9.3 percent), South Dakota (+8.3 percent) and Colorado (+7.3 percent).

• Including distressed sales, the five states with the greatest depreciation were: Delaware (-4.8 percent), Alabama (-4.6 percent), Rhode Island (-2.2 percent), Connecticut (-1.7 percent) and Illinois (-1.7 percent).

• Excluding distressed sales, the five states with the highest appreciation were: Arizona (+11.3 percent), Utah (+10.5 percent), Montana (+9.1 percent), South Dakota (+8.6 percent) and North Dakota (+6.9 percent).

• Excluding distressed sales, the five states with the greatest depreciation were: Delaware (-3.5 percent), Alabama (-2.4 percent), New Jersey (-1.2 percent), West Virginia (-0.5 percent) and Connecticut (-0.2 percent).

• Including distressed transactions, the peak-to-current change in the national HPI (from April 2006 to July 2012) was -27.2 percent. Excluding distressed transactions, the peak-to-current change in the HPI for the same period was -20.2 percent.

• The five states with the largest peak-to-current declines including distressed transactions are Nevada (-56.0 percent), Arizona (-42.8 percent), California (-38.0 percent) and Michigan (-37.4 percent).

• Of the top 100 Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) measured by population, 23 are showing year-over-year declines in July, four fewer than in June.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

October 23, 2012 Posted by | News related to the Market | Leave a comment

NAR: July pending home sales rebound

WASHINGTON – Aug. 29, 2012 – Pending home sales rose in July to the highest level in over two years and remain well above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 2.4 percent to 101.7 in July from 99.3 in June – and it’s 12.4 percent above July 2011’s 90.5. The data reflect contracts but not closings.

The last time pending home sales were this high, a homebuyer tax credit was about to expire.

“While the month-to-month movement has been uneven, more importantly we now have 15 consecutive months of year-over-year gains in contract activity,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “All regions saw monthly increases in homebuying activity except for the West, which is now experiencing an acute inventory shortage.”

The PHSI in the Northeast increased 0.5 percent to 77.0 in July and is 13.4 percent higher than a year ago. In the Midwest, the index grew 3.4 percent to 97.4 in July and is 20.2 percent above July 2011.

Pending home sales in the South rose 5.2 percent to an index of 111.7 in July and are 15.6 percent above a year ago. In the West, the index slipped 1.7 percent in July to 109.9 but it’s 1.3 percent higher than July 2011.

Existing-home sales are projected to rise 8 to 9 percent in 2012, followed by another 7 to 8 percent gain in 2013. Home prices are expected to increase 10 percent cumulatively over the next two years.

“Falling visible and shadow inventories point toward continuing price gains,” says Yun. “Expected gains in housing starts of 25 to 30 percent this year, and nearly 50 percent in 2013, are insufficient to meet the growing housing demand.”

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

October 23, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Fla. has 26% of all U.S. international sales

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Aug. 27, 2012 – Florida Realtors® released its “Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida 2012” today. The survey, conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), found that almost one in five Florida sales in the 12-month period ending in June involved an out-of-country buyer.

Researchers say that the 2012 results closely resemble those in 2011. It’s based on a survey taken by over 1,500 members of Florida Realtors.

The international real estate market – defined as non-resident foreigners who buy residential real estate in the U.S. – is important to Florida. Nationwide, 51 percent of all foreign sales take place in only four states – Florida, California, Texas and Arizona. Of those four states, Florida has the largest share: 26 percent of national sales to foreign buyers closed in the Sunshine State.

Overall, 19 percent of Florida home sales (by dollar volume) went to foreign buyers.

Report highlights

• Nearly all international sales were cash – 82 percent of transactions.

• The median price paid by international buyers was $194,700 compared to an overall Florida median price of $125,100 and a U.S. median price of $167,758.

• Canadian buyers tended to buy in the lower price range; European and Latin American buyers bought at a higher price range.

• Foreign buyers see the U.S. residential housing market as a good value, thanks, in part, to favorable international exchange rates.

• In the 2012 survey, Canadians led the way as United Kingdom buyers faded a bit. Brazil and Venezuela have increased as sources.

• Condos account for 45 percent of properties, townhouses 10 percent and detached single-family homes 36 percent.

• 61 percent of surveyed Realtors said that they worked with an international client in the past 12 months, down from 77 percent.

The complete Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida 2012 is available online.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

October 23, 2012 Posted by | News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Government: Home prices up 1.8% in three months

WASHINGTON – Aug. 24, 2012 – U.S. house prices rose 1.8 percent from the first quarter of 2012 to the second quarter, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index (HPI).

It’s the biggest quarter-to-quarter increase since 2005. The HPI is considered reliable because it looks at same-home sales over time, using price information from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Seasonally adjusted house prices rose 3 percent year-over-year, from the second quarter of 2011 to the second quarter of 2012. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for June was up 0.7 percent from May.

“Although some housing markets are still facing significant challenges, house prices were quite strong in most areas in the second quarter,” says FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “The strong appreciation may partially reflect fewer homes sold in distress, but declining mortgage rates and a modest supply of homes available for sale likely account for most of the price increase.”

FHFA’s expanded-data house price index – a measure that adds transaction information from county recorder offices and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to HPI data – rose 2 percent over the latest quarter. Over the latest four quarters, the index is up 2.4 percent.

Findings

• The seasonally adjusted purchase-only HPI rose in the second quarter in 43 states.

• Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest prices in the latest quarter, posting a 4.2 percent price increase. Prices were weakest in the New England division, where prices were flat over the quarter.

• As measured with purchase-only indexes for the 25 most populated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the U.S., second-quarter price increases were greatest in the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall Metropolitan Statistical Area Division (MSAD.) That area saw prices increase by 8.3 percent between the first and second quarters.

• Prices were weakest in New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ MSAD, where prices fell 1.5 percent over that period.

FHFA’s purchase-only and all-transactions HPI track average house price changes in repeat sales or refinancings on the same single-family properties. The purchase-only index is based on more than 6 million repeat sales transactions, while the all-transactions index includes more than 46 million repeat transactions. Both indexes are based on data obtained from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for mortgages originated over the past 37 years.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

October 23, 2012 Posted by | News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Homeowners don’t shop for best mortgage deal

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Aug. 22, 2012 – According to an online LendingTree survey, 89 percent of American adults compare prices when shopping for a big-ticket item but only 51 percent of homeowners with a mortgage comparison shopped for their mortgage. The remaining 49 percent of homeowners with a mortgage accepted the first loan offer.

“It’s important for borrowers to understand that they have the power to choose which loan and which lender to use,” says Doug Lebda, founder and CEO of LendingTree. “It is acceptable to negotiate with lenders and to walk away if you are not fully satisfied. Consumers need to be engaged in the mortgage process to secure the best deal.”

Mortgage rates can vary significantly from lender to lender. LendingTree says the week of Aug. 6, rates varied by as much as 1.5 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage loan. A consumer with a credit score of 759 and a loan amount of $260,000 could have received loan quotes ranging from 3.25 percent to 4.625 percent. By choosing the lowest rate, the borrower would save $214 per month, $2,568 per year and nearly $74,000 over the life of the loan.

In most cases, couples work together to obtain a mortgage, but the study found that twice as many women (23 percent) allowed their spouse to take care of the financial details compared to the number of men (23 percent) who took a backseat. In the 18- to 34-year-old age group, 45 percent of women weren’t involved in the mortgage process compared to 21 percent of women ages 35 to 44 and 16 percent of women ages 45 to 54 years.

“Many people approach the process of getting a mortgage with apprehension, thinking they have very little control of the end result,” says Lebda. “But rushing through the process without comparing loan offers could be a costly mistake.”

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Lending Tree from May 31 – June 4, 2012 among 2,209 adults ages 18 and older, 1,380 of whom are homeowners. The online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

October 23, 2012 Posted by | News related to Financing | Leave a comment

FHFA issues new short sale guidelines

WASHINGTON – Aug. 22, 2012 – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that short sales on homes under Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would get easier after Nov. 1, 2012. It issued new guidelines that help homeowners hit by a financial hardship, moved by the military or held back by a home’s second mortgage.

“The new standard short sale program will also provide relief to those underwater borrowers who need to relocate more than 50 miles for a job,” says FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco.

“We hope these new guidelines will allow many more hardworking American homeowners that would have previously been denied a short sale to now be approved and avoid defaulting on their mortgage loan,” says NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc. in Miami.

Details

• Mortgage servicers get greater authority to approve short sales for borrowers who are not delinquent but facing a financial hardship: divorce, family death, long-term or permanent disability or employment transfers to different parts of the country.

• Borrowers facing one of the approved hardships don’t have to be delinquent.

• Service members with Permanent Change of Station orders have greater flexibility, including the elimination of back-end debt-to-income ratios or a cash contribution promissory note.

• Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac won’t pursue deficiency judgments in exchange for a financial contribution if a borrower has enough income or assets to make a cash contribution or sign a promissory note. Servicers will evaluate borrowers’ as part of the short sale approval process.

• FHFA will give servicers more consistent guidelines to process and execute short sales and consolidate existing short sales programs into a single uniform program

• FHFA also says it will try to avoid problems when a short sale takes place during a foreclosure by issuing new guidelines.

• Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will offer up to $6,000 to second lien holders to expedite a short sale. Previously, second lien holders could slow down a short sale by negotiating for higher amounts.

For more information, visit http://www.realtor.org/topics/short-sales.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

October 23, 2012 Posted by | News related to Short Sales and Foreclosures | Leave a comment