Sarasota Real Estate Market News

(Florida) Housing Forecast 2014: Sun and clouds

ORLANDO – At the tail end of the healthiest year for residential real estate since the Great Recession, housing economists are predicting a continued upswing in 2014.

A panel of market analysts on Tuesday told an Orlando banquet room packed with Realtors from Panama City to South Florida that they expect the industry to maintain its brisk pace well into the coming year.

Their general consensus was that home sales would climb another 10 percent next year, with appraised values rising by 5 percent and median sale prices increasing 12 percent. That would be another significant step forward for an industry now among the key drivers of the Sunshine State’s economic recovery.

Read more here:

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20131211/ARCHIVES/312111020/-1/todayspaper?p=all&tc=pgall

December 11, 2013 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Financing, News related to Investors, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Insurance uncertainty keeps area condo prices flat…for now

Insurance proposals imperil tourism and home-sale gains

Sharp rate increases proposed for the state’s largest property insurer could threaten Florida’s flagship real estate and tourism industries just as they’re turning the corner from the downturn and the Gulf oil spill.

Coming off the strongest season for visitation and home sales since the Great Recession took hold, higher insurance premiums levied by Citizens Property Insurance Corp. could rock the two segments of the economy now leading Southwest Florida’s recovery.

Condominium associations from Englewood to Anna Maria Island are considering new caps on short-term rentals to mitigate the blow from the state-run carrier. But many businesses that depend on tourism spending worry that the loss of available rooms in the short-term rental pool will drive prices higher and push visitors to other beach destinations.

Read More HERE

May 19, 2013 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Investors, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Siesta Key – 2012 Year End Market Analysis

Since all real estate markets are local, I periodically complete a market analysis based specifically on Siesta Key.  This is designed to provide you with timely and valuable information based upon data compiled from local sales statistics and other sources to help you better understand what is happening in the Siesta Key Real Estate market.  As expected, single family home sales prices are continuing to show considerable strength.  However, there are some surprises contained in the Siesta condo market.

The analysis covers 2010-2012 and the full report can be found here:

Year to Date Sales Comparisons on Siesta Key Jan 2013

February 9, 2013 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Sales in 2012 were fourth highest in history of SAR

Property sales for the year 2012 were the fourth highest in the 90-year history of the Sarasota Association of Realtors®, achieving 9,169 total sales. In 2003, sales in our market hit 9,697, followed by 11,267 in 2004 (the current all-time high) and 10,562 in 2005. The annual sales dropped to 6,358 in 2006 and bottomed out at 5,820 in 2008 before beginning the steady climb to the current level.

 

 SAR members sold 828 properties in December 2012, representing an 8.3 percent increase from November’s 764 sales and a huge 28 percent increase over last December’s figure of 644 total sales.

 

The category totals in December were 606 single family homes and 222 condos sold, compared to last December when only 471 single family and 173 condos were sold. The available inventory remains near the lowest level in a decade. Other positive factors helping to propel the real estate market recovery include the low mortgage interest rates and improvement in the national and local economies.

 

“The Sarasota housing market has clearly weathered the storm of the Great Recession,” said SAR President Roger Piro. “We are so fortunate to live in this area – a beautiful coastal community with every attractive amenity imaginable.”

 

Looking forward, Piro noted the normal peak period of the buying season has yet to come.

 

“Our market is enjoying an amazing resurgence, and the traditional busy season still has several months to go. Last year, our strongest sales months were in March, April and May,” said Piro. “We’re all hoping for a repeat performance in 2013, and agents are continuing to report steady, strong foot traffic at open houses and multiple offers on many properties.”

 

The median sale prices for both single family homes and condos also rose for the full year 2012 to $175,000 in both property categories, another indicator of the ongoing real estate market recovery in Sarasota. In 2011, the full year median prices were at $155,925 for single family homes and $156,600 for condos, or roughly 13 percent lower.

 

The median sale price for single family homes in December 2012 was at $189,500 – almost 9 percent higher than November’s figure of $174,450 and 18 percent higher than last December’s total of $160,000. Condo median sale prices were also up, hitting $182,500 in December. Last December condo prices were at $150,000 – 21.6 percent below the current level.

 

The available inventory of homes on the market remained near the decade low, rising slightly to 3,657 from last month’s 3,543. The level is still 25 percent below December 2011, when the inventory was at 4,567 properties for sale.

 

Pending sales (which represent properties that went under contract during the month) dropped in December 2012 to 782 from the November 2012 figure of 905. The total was almost identical to last December, when there were 783 pending sales reported.

 

The months of inventory remained near 10-year lows. The December figures were 3.9 months of inventory for single family homes and 5.9 months for condos. Months of inventory represents the time it would take to deplete the current inventory at the current sales rate. Last December, there were 6.3 months of inventory for single family homes and 9.2 months of inventory for condos. At the worst point of our market in November 2008, there were 24 months of inventory for single family homes and 41.7 months for condos.

 

Currently, only 475 properties for sale in the MLS are listed as short sales or foreclosures, almost identical to last month’s figure. This represents about 12.9 percent of available properties, down from last month’s figure of 13.2 percent and down from the start of the year when the figure represented 17 percent of the market.

Distressed sales represented 32 percent of the overall market in December 2012, down significantly from the 51 percent figure experienced in the fourth quarter of 2010. While still at historically high levels, the downward trend has been encouraging.

In 2007, foreclosures and short sales had been virtually unheard of for many years in the Sarasota market. That’s when distressed sales began to skyrocket in the Sarasota market and across the nation, reaching epidemic rates in 2010, before improving markedly in the last 24 months.

From 2007 to 2008, short sales and sales of foreclosed properties jumped markedly, from less than 1 percent in 2007 (only 47 total) to 18 percent (979) in 2008, while traditional market sales dropped by an equivalent 18 percent. This rise in distressed sales and decrease in market sales continued through 2009 and 2010.

In 2011, the Sarasota real estate market began to see a reversal of this trend. Distressed sales dropped by 4.5 percent from 2010 to 2011, while market sales rose by 19 percent. From 2011 to 2012, this positive trend accelerated, with distressed sales dropping by 7 percent while normal market sales rose by 25 percent. If these trends continue, we should see improved health of the local real estate market in 2013 and beyond.

 

Click HERE for the complete press release in PDF format, plus several pages of statistical charts.

February 9, 2013 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Money’s not easy, but it’s less tight

WASHINGTON – Feb. 5, 2013 – Banks are slightly loosening standards for many kinds of loans, and cutting into their own profit margins to try to make more loans, especially to businesses and real estate developers, the Federal Reserve says.

The central bank’s quarterly survey of bank lending officers said most banks haven’t made it materially easier to get business loans and commercial real estate loans in the last three months. But more than half of banks said they are accepting interest rates closer to what they pay for deposits, or other sources of money they lend out, according to the survey released Monday.

The report is one of the Fed’s primary ways to assess how credit is making its way into the economy, powering both business investment and consumer spending.

Demand for car loans rose since the October report, and demand for mortgages was little changed, the Fed said. About 16 percent of banks are easing car-borrowing standards slightly, including lengthening the maximum term of loans and downpayment requirements.

“This is another sign that the economy is gaining traction,” said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at brokerage firm Miller Tabak. “While interest rates will likely remain low for a long time, the Fed is unlikely to need to keep the pedal to the metal in terms of bond purchases as 2013 develops.”

Banks are also trimming their markups, also known as spreads, on car loans, but have not been willing to make the same concessions to credit card customers, the Fed found. Standards for new credit cards remain tight, the Fed said: Just over 90 percent of banks said their standards for approving credit cards haven’t changed since the fall.

The report shows few signs that banks are returning to the business of offering high-risk credit, as they did in the middle of the last decade.

More than 20 percent of banks said they have actually tightened standards for “subprime” residential mortgages in the last three months. For mortgage loans to consumers with good credit, credit standards are still about the same, more than 90 percent of the banks said. And just fewer than 90 percent of banks reported no change in standards for home-equity lines of credit.

Demand for many loans is picking up, the Fed said.

About a quarter of banks said they were seeing more applications for commercial loans, slightly less than the number that said they were seeing more applications for mortgages and cars.

Banks expect credit quality to improve this year in nearly all categories of loans, meaning fewer write-offs to cut into bank profits, the Fed said.

© Copyright 2013 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc., Tim Mullaney, USA TODAY

February 9, 2013 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Financing | Leave a comment

What’s the best season for home buying?

WASHINGTON – Feb. 1, 2013 – After the holidays, buyers tend to get more aggressive with their house hunting. Search activity usually peaks around March or April in most states, according to a new study of home searches from 2007 to 2012 conducted by Trulia.

In September, searches slow down. By December, buyer searches ebb to their lowest point of the year.

“Home-search activity swings with the seasons in every state,” says Jed Kolko, chief economist of Trulia. “Buyers and sellers can use these ups and downs to their advantage. Sellers looking for the most buyers should list when real estate search traffic peaks. Buyers, however, should think about searching off-season, when there is less competition from other searchers.”

Here are the months when online real estate searches peak in every U.S. state:

January: Hawaii
February: Florida
March: Arizona, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington
April: Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin
May: Real estate activity does not peak in any state
June: Mississippi
July: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wyoming
August: Montana and Oregon
September-December: Real estate activity does not peak in any state

Source: “Trulia Reveals Best Home-Searching Season,” HousingWire (Jan. 29, 2013)

February 9, 2013 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

What’s behind falling housing inventories?

NEW YORK – Jan. 29, 2013 – Home prices are increasing across the country as the number of homes for-sale continues to fall. But at a time when buyer demand is picking up, why is inventory still so low?

Inventories fell to 1.82 million at the end of last year, a 21.6 percent drop from one year earlier, the National Association of Realtors® reports.

The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted several reasons behind the dropping inventories, including:

Sellers hesitant to sell: About 22 percent of homeowners with a mortgage remain underwater, owing more than their home is currently worth. These homeowners don’t tend to sell unless a life-changing event occurs because they don’t want to take a loss on the sale. CoreLogic data finds constrained inventories in areas with the highest number of underwater borrowers.

Not enough equity to trade up: Homeowners often rely on equity from their current home to make a downpayment on the next home. With fewer homeowners seeing equity, they may not have enough money to move into a pricier home – a constraint on the would-be “trade up” buyer.

Investors continue to snatch up properties: Investors still snap up properties, but they’ve changed their strategy, which also constrains inventories. Now they’re holding onto properties and turning them into rentals instead of rehabbing and flipping them for profit. The result: fewer homes on the market.

Banks slowing down foreclosures: Banks have new rules to meet with the foreclosure process, and it’s causing them to move at a slower pace. Banks also are showing a preference for short sales and loan modifications, which curbs the number of foreclosed homes on the market.

Builders doing less building: Housing starts were at record lows from 2009 through 2011, so there’s less inventory added to the market. A rebound in the new-home market has only recently started to occur.

Source: “Six Reasons Housing Inventory Keeps Declining,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 22, 2013)

February 9, 2013 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Investors, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Rental investors pant for next hot home market

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Jan. 22, 2013 – Major real estate investors are buying fewer homes in some hot markets while expanding in others as they race against rising prices to turn more distressed homes into rentals.

Phoenix, which has led the nation with rapid home-price gains, is among the first markets to see investors’ interest cool.

The percentage of Phoenix homes bought by investors fell to 28 percent in November after cresting at almost 36 percent in August and is now on a “clear downward” trend, says Mike Orr, real estate expert at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Investor interest also may be close to “peaking” in some California markets where prices have risen rapidly, because higher acquisition prices cut financial returns, says John Burns, CEO of Burns Real Estate Consulting.

Meanwhile, major investors are stepping up purchases elsewhere, especially in Southeastern cities such as Atlanta and Tampa. Home shoppers there are now seeing the multiple offers, bidding wars and shrinking supplies of homes for sale that occurred in Phoenix as investors swooped in.

“The Phoenix-like phenomenon has migrated to other markets,” says Sam Khater, economist for CoreLogic. It says Phoenix home prices were up 24 percent in November year-over-year, vs. 7.4 percent for the nation.

Major institutional investors are amassing a $10 billion war chest to pursue the single-family rental market, JPMorgan Chase estimated in a recent research report.

They’re betting that they can get distressed homes on the cheap, fix them up and rent them out, often to families who lost homes to foreclosure, and make money on home price appreciation in a few years.

The companies generally seek three-bedroom, two-bath homes in the $100,000 to $125,000 range that can rent for more than $1,000 a month, analysts say.

With $10 billion to spend, that would roughly equate to 80,000 homes, although the investment funds continue to raise money, says JPMorgan analyst Anthony Paolone. Nationwide, there are currently 12 million single-family rentals, most owned by mom-and-pop investors, Paolone says.

Big buying

The Blackstone Group, for one, has spent $2.5 billion since early last year buying 16,000 homes. It’s now adding 2,500 homes a month, it says. It’s believed to be the biggest player in the group, but most are private, so information is limited.

Colony Capital expects to invest up to $150 million a month this year to acquire single-family rentals. It bought 5,000 homes last year, it says.

Waypoint Homes, one of the market’s pioneers, expects to own 10,000 homes by year’s end. It started four years ago in the San Francisco Bay Area and owns 3,300 homes, says managing director Doug Brien.

Like many of the big investors, Blackstone started investing in Phoenix.

It next moved into California, then Atlanta, Tampa, Orlando, Chicago, Las Vegas and Charlotte.

Blackstone has accelerated its buying because home prices have risen faster than it expected, says Jonathan Gray, Blackstone’s head of real estate. In some markets, the window to buy before prices rise too much “is closing faster” than in others, he says.

Colony, for instance, has slowed purchases in Phoenix. Consultant Burns says Atlanta may be the hottest investor market now. Local real estate experts are seeing the impact.

Investors “are a significant force in the market right now,” says Mike Prewett, president of Southern REO Associates in Atlanta.

Prewett estimates that investors are buying 40 percent of foreclosed homes in the Atlanta area, triple the level of a year ago. Almost all foreclosures for sale draw multiple offers, often 10 or more, Prewett says.

Tampa, too, has seen an uptick, Realtors say.

A year ago, $125,000 homes in foreclosure could have been purchased “all day long,” says Brad Monroe, managing broker for Prudential Tropical Realty in Tampa. “Now, there’s 16 offers on each one of them within two days,” many from cash-paying investors.

Tampa’s inventory of homes for sale in December stood at 3.3 months, based on the pace of sales. That was about half its level of a year earlier, data from the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors show. Generally, a six-month supply is considered a balanced market between buyers and sellers.

Atlanta’s November home prices were up almost 5 percent from a year ago. Tampa posted a similar gain, CoreLogic says.

Lure of deep slumps

Institutional investors have largely circled cities that were hardest hit by the real estate downturn that started in 2006.

In Phoenix, home prices fell almost 60 percent from their pre-bust peak before they started to recover. Las Vegas posted a similar drop. Tampa dropped almost 50 percent.

The markets have more going for them than just cheap home prices. Phoenix, Tampa, Atlanta and Las Vegas – all markets where investor buyers are busy – have seen positive year-over-year job growth since July 2011. That will help drive housing demand, JPMorgan says.

The first task for investors is to buy at the right price. In many hard-hit markets, prices have bounced faster than anyone anticipated even a year ago. That’s made good buys harder to find, says Rick Sharga, executive vice president at Carrington Mortgage Holdings.

In recent months, Carrington has slowed its buying in single-family rentals, Sharga says. “As prices go up, it gets harder for investors to get the returns they’re looking for.”

In his report, analyst Paolone also warned that too many investors shopping in the same areas will drive prices up and eat into rental returns.

Burns says that’s already happening in some places. Single-family rentals that returned 10 percent annually three years ago may now be running closer to 6 percent. That’s too low for some investors, he says.

Nationwide, investors purchased 19 percent of homes in November, the National Association of Realtors says, down from 23 percent of sales in January and February of last year.

NAR economist Lawrence Yun says the percentage of homes being purchased by investors might decline more this year as regular home buyers make up more of the market, assuming a continued economic recovery.

Burns’ data show investors accounting for much higher levels of total home sales in some cities. It also shows a leveling off or decline in recent months in the share of homes bought by investors in a variety of markets, including Tucson; Oakland; Tacoma, Wash.; Minneapolis; Washington, D.C.; and Durham, N.C.

Burns also says a peak may be near for Sacramento and Riverside. Both California cities have seen home prices rise faster than the national average, CoreLogic data show.

In November, Sacramento prices were up almost 13 percent year-over-year. Riverside’s were up 10 percent.

Tight inventories will also slow investors, Burns says.

In Sacramento, the inventory of homes for sale fell to 1.6 months in December, based on the pace of sales, the California Association of Realtors says.

“These guys (investors) have bought up everything that’s worth buying in many of the hardest-hit markets,” Burns says.

The value of good timing

Even if investors slow purchases in a city, they may circle back around, says Waypoint’s Brien.

Waypoint was late to get to Phoenix, starting purchases there only last year. But as competitors have slowed buying there, Waypoint has seen “a little bit better buying opportunity,” Brien says.

He expects the same thing to happen elsewhere. Investors will pull back when prices rise too fast, then return when price gains slow, as more people list homes for sale.

“There’s a lot to buy and a lot to buy attractively,” says Justin Chang, Colony Capital principal.

While investor buyers have helped prop up prices, they’re making it tougher for regular home shoppers to compete.

Tom and Cyndi Vander Ven have been shopping for a home in Atlanta since September. The retired couple, both teachers, want to downsize.

They’ve lost out on three bids so far, even though they offered more than the asking price. Their Realtor told them investors had outbid them, Tom Vander Ven says.

They would have made more offers by now, but other homes they see listed are sold “before we can even move on them,” he says.

Copyright © 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc., Julie Schmit

February 9, 2013 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Investors, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

4 ways buyers can mess up a loan approval

WASHINGTON – Jan. 22, 2013 – A homebuyer has been approved for a mortgage loan, and both buyer and Realtor expect to be at the closing table soon. However, buyers sometimes do things that jeopardize the loan, and lenders sometimes rescind a loan offer shortly before a scheduled closing.

Common mistakes

• Making a big purchase. Big purchases, such as a new car or furniture, can change the buyer’s debt-to-income ratio that the lender used to initially approve the buyer’s home loan.
• Opening new credit. Buyers should avoid new credit card applications between approval and closing.
• Missing payments. Even bills in dispute should be paid on time between loan approval and closing.
• Cashing out. Avoid transferring large sums of money between bank accounts or making undocumented deposits – both could send up “red flags” to a lender.

Source: “How to Keep Your Mortgage Approval Approved,” Realty Times (Jan. 14, 2013)

February 9, 2013 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Financing | Leave a comment

Fla.’s housing market continues positive track in Dec. 2012

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jan. 22, 2013 – Florida’s housing market had more closed sales, higher pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale in December, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“Florida is an international destination: Owning a home here appeals to people of all ages from all over the world,” said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. “Realtors from across the state are reporting increases in home sales and median prices. As a result of rising demand from investors and other buyers, there’s a shortage of inventory in many markets, and it’s putting pressure on prices.”

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 18,031 in December, up 15.8 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Meanwhile, pending sales – contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed – for existing single-family homes last month rose 39.7 percent over the previous December. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $154,000, up 14.1 percent from the previous year.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in November 2012 was $180,600, up 10.1 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in November was $349,300; in Massachusetts, it was $295,000; in Maryland, it was $246,294; and in New York, it was $215,000.

The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. Housing industry analysts note that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes.

Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhouse-condos, a total of 8,470 units sold statewide last month, up 8.6 percent compared to December 2011. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhouse-condos in December increased 31.8 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhouse-condo properties was $117,500, up 26.3 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in November 2012 was $181,000.

December marks the 12th consecutive month of higher statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and for townhouse-condo units year-to-year, according to Florida Realtors’ data.

The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.5-months’ supply in December; inventory for townhouse-condos was at a 6-months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors.

“The market continues to improve, and it’s doing so in all parts of the state,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Of note is the fact that inventory levels are now clearly consistent with a sellers’ market. When the final year-end statistics are compiled, expect that sales in 2012 will be more than 10 percent higher than they were in 2011. Once again, all the positive indicators are up significantly. The Florida real estate market is rapidly improving.”

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.35 percent in December 2012, down from the 3.96 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.

To see the full statewide housing activity report, go to Florida Realtors website and click on the Research page; then look under Latest Housing Data, Statewide Residential Activity and get the December reports. Or go to Florida Realtors Media Center and download the December 2012 data report PDFs under Market Data.

© 2013 Florida Realtors®

February 9, 2013 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment