Sarasota Real Estate Market News

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

New guidelines to help condos get FHA loans

WASHINGTON – Sept. 17, 2012 – Many first-time homebuyers consider condos a good home when starting out, but loans issued by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that come with relatively low downpayments have not been offered in many condo buildings.

FHA approval for a condo is more complicated the FHA approval for a single-family home. To minimize its risk, FHA looks at more than the unit requesting a loan – it also considers traits of the association itself. Associations can help individual condo sellers get an FHA loan by becoming certified, but fairly stringent rules kept many from applying.

That may change and, according to the Community Associations Institute (CAI) Chief Executive Officer Thomas Skiba, it’s “excellent news for sellers, buyers, condominium communities and the housing market across the country.”

In creating its certification system, FHA listed traits considered desirable. Certification was denied, for example, if an association had too many rental condominiums or too much commercial space.

According to real estate writer Kenneth Harney, the previous certification process also presented considerable risk to associations. During the application process, Harney says, they were asked to “accept broad legal liability on matters they couldn’t totally be certain about, such as disputes among tenants in the building, litigation filed with courts” and more.

CAI says the FHA made “temporary adjustments.” While it applauded FHA’s guidelines, it says it will continuing pushing for “long-term certainty of process, flexibility and support for the future of condominium housing, and to resolve critical policy areas not addressed by today’s announcement.”

Major changes

• FHA looks at the percent of current condo owners who are delinquent on mortgage payments. The cutoff is 15 percent, but the individual standard was 30 days late; it’s now 60 days late.

• New rules require at least 50 percent of units to be inhabited by owner-occupants or under contract, while the other 50 percent may be owned by investors. A single investor can own up to 50 percent of the units; previously, single investors could not own more than 10 percent.

• The amount of commercial space is limited now, as it was before, to 25 percent. However, a new rule gives associations a little wiggle room. In certain circumstances, they can request a variance up to 35 percent for commercial space, providing the development remains “primarily residential.”

FHA’s new guidelines are outlined in Mortgagee Letter 2012-18 issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

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

CoreLogic: Fewer homes underwater

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Sept. 12, 2012 – CoreLogic says 10.8 million (22.3 percent) of all residential properties with a mortgage had negative equity (underwater) at the end of the second quarter 2012. That’s down from 11.4 million properties (23.7 percent) at the end of the first quarter.

An additional 2.3 million borrowers had less than 5 percent equity in their home, referred to as near-negative equity, at the end of the second quarter.

So far in 2012, 1.3 million homeowners have moved from underwater status into positive equity.

Negative equity, often referred to as “underwater” or “upside down,” means that borrowers owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Negative equity can occur because of a decline in value, an increase in mortgage debt or a combination of both.

About one in four homeowners with a mortgage in the U.S. (27 percent) had negative or near-negative equity in the second quarter, a drop from 28.5 percent in the first quarter.

Most borrowers in negative equity continue to pay their mortgages; 84.9 percent of underwater homeowner were current on their mortgage payments, up from 84.8 percent at the end of the first quarter.

“Surging home prices this spring and summer, lower levels of inventory, and declining REO sale shares are all contributing to the nascent housing recovery and declining negative equity,” says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.

“Nearly 2 million more borrowers in negative equity would be above water if house prices nationally increased by 5 percent,” adds Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “We currently expect home prices to continue to trend up in August. Were this trend to be sustained, we could see significant reductions in the number of borrowers in negative equity by next year.”

Highlights as of Q2 2012

• Nevada had the highest percentage of mortgaged properties in negative equity at 59 percent, followed by Florida (43 percent), Arizona (40 percent), Georgia (36 percent) and Michigan (33 percent). These top five states combined account for 34.1 percent of the total amount of negative equity in the U.S.

• Of the total $689 billion in aggregate negative equity, first liens without home equity loans accounted for $339 billion aggregate negative equity, while first liens with home equity loans accounted for $353 billion.

• Of the 10.8 million upside-down borrowers, 6.6 million hold first liens without home equity loans. The average mortgage balance for this group of borrowers is $216,000, the average underwater amount is $51,000, and 18 percent of the 6.6 million are in negative equity.

• 4.2 million upside-down borrowers have both first and second liens. The average mortgage balance for this group of borrowers is $300,000, the average underwater amount is $84,000 and 38 percent of the 4.2 million are in negative equity.
 
• Approximately 41 percent of borrowers with first liens without home equity loans had loan-to-value (LTV) ratios of 80 percent or higher and approximately 60 percent of borrowers with first liens and home equity loans had combined LTVs of 80 percent or higher.
 
• At the end of the second quarter 2012, just over 17 million borrowers possessed qualifying LTVs between 80 and 125 percent for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) under the original requirements first introduced in March 2009. The lifting of the 125 percent LTV cap via HARP 2.0 opens the door to another 5 million borrowers.

• The bulk of negative equity is concentrated in the low end of the housing market. For example, for low-to-mid value homes (less than $200,000), the negative equity share is 32 percent, almost twice the 17 percent for borrowers with home values greater than $200,000.

• As of Q2 2012, there were 1.8 million borrowers who were only 5 percent underwater. If home prices continue increasing over the next year, these borrowers could move out of a negative equity position.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

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

FHFA sells 699 Fla. REOs to investor

WASHINGTON – Sept. 11, 2012 – A controversial move to sell 699 Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-owned homes in bulk to an investor was closed last week, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Pacifica Companies LLC purchased the homes as part of a real estate owned (REO) pilot initiative.

Pacifica has not released details on how it will oversee the properties. Based in San Diego, the company’s website claims it has an office in Tampa, as well as Austin, Texas; Riverside, Calif.; and four cities in India.

Pacifica paid $12.3 million upfront in a joint venture agreement. It will pay an additional $49.3 million by sending Fannie Mae 90 percent of future proceeds. After that, Pacifica will collect a 20 percent management fee and pay Fannie Mae 50 percent of future proceeds. FHFA projects the total value of all payments to be $78.1 million. The total price paid by Pacifica doesn’t represent a significant discount; however, the relatively low downpayment and profit-split deal would make it attractive to most investors.

“When FHFA proposed this program, the nation was worried about an onslaught of distressed home sales and too few buyers,” says Florida Realtors’ Senior Vice President of Public Policy John Sebree. “However, NAR and Florida Realtors have always taken the position that Realtors know their neighborhoods and are in the best position to move REOs into the hands of buyers.”

The Florida REO sales impacted homes throughout the state, including Central and Northwest Florida, Southeast Florida and the West Coast. It’s still unclear if Pacifica agreed to rules regarding a future sale. NAR says it’s setting up a meeting with FHFA to find out more details.

“Going forward, FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may decide that we no longer need bulk sales to investors,” Sebree adds. “Florida buyers are coming out in force and many say they now face multiple bids and a limited inventory of homes to consider. If we do discover any problems with the current deal, it will hopefully be an isolated incident.”

Alan Zibel, a writer for The Wall Street Journal, thinks Fannie Mae may focus now on sales to single buyers because it’s more profitable. “In the second quarter of this year, (Fannie Mae) recovered 59 percent of outstanding mortgage balances” when it sold a REO, Zibel says, “compared to 54 percent a year earlier.”

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

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

Home asking prices up 2.3% in Aug. over year ago, claims Trulia

SAN FRANCISCO – Sept. 6, 2012 – Nationally, asking prices on for-sale homes increased 2.3 percent in August compared to the previous year, according to data compiled for the Trulia Price Monitor.

According to Trulia, asking prices on for-sale homes in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area rose 16.5 percent year-over-year; in the West Palm Beach metro area, 10.4 percent; in the Miami metro area, 9.6 percent; and in the Orlando metro area, 8.6 percent.

In 68 of the 100 largest metros, asking prices on for-sale homes rose year-over-year in August. Excluding foreclosures, asking prices rose 3.8 percent year-over-year. These are the largest year-over-year gains since the recession, according to Trulia.

Meanwhile, asking prices rose nationally 1.8 percent quarter-over-quarter, seasonally adjusted. Looking month-over-month, asking prices rose by 0.8 percent – the seventh consecutive month of increases, according to Trulia.

Nationally, rents rose 4.7 percent year-over-year in August, compared to 5.8 percent year-over-year in May – making it the slowest rise since March, according to Trulia.

The Trulia Price Monitor and Trulia Rent Monitor are based on the for-sale homes and rentals listed on Trulia. The monitors take into account changes in the mix of listed homes and reflect trends in prices and rents for similar homes in similar neighborhoods through Aug. 31, 2012.

© Florida Realtors®

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

Homes selling quickly, time on market down

WASHINGTON – Sept. 5, 2012 – A new measure shows the typical amount of time it takes to sell a home is shrinking.

The time it takes to sell a home currently – 69 days in July, down 29.6 percent from 98 days in July 2011 – is in the range of historic norms for a balanced market, according to NAR. It’s also well below the cyclical peak reached in 2009.

The median reflects a wide spectrum; one-third of homes purchased in July were on the market for less than a month, while one in five was on the market for at least six months.

“As inventory has tightened, homes have been selling more quickly,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “A notable shortening of time on market began this spring, and this has created a general balance between home buyers and sellers in much of the country. This equilibrium is supporting sustained price growth, and homes that are correctly priced tend to sell quickly, while those that aren’t often languish on the market.”

At the end July, there was a 6.4-month supply of homes on the market at the current sales pace, which is 31.2 percent below a year ago when there was a 9.3-month supply.

NAR says that its research has determined that a balanced market generally has a median selling time of slightly more than six weeks, making the current market appear balanced.

In balanced market conditions, home prices generally rise 1 to 2 percentage points above the overall rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

“Our current forecast is for the median existing home price to rise 4.5 to 5 percent this year, and about 5 percent in 2013, which is somewhat stronger than historic norms because of the inventory shortfall most pronounced in the low price ranges,” Yun says.

Inflation (CPI growth) is projected at 2.1 percent for 2012 and 2.3 percent next year.

From 1987 through 2011, analysis of the NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers series showed the typical time on market was 6.9 weeks, while the existing-home sales series showed an average supply of 7.0 months – just above the high end for a balanced market.

NAR’s new measure of days on market shows a longer selling time than earlier findings that measured traditional sellers of non-distressed homes. The new series includes short sales that typically took three months or longer to sell.

“Factoring out short sales, the median time on market for traditional sellers appears to be in the balanced range of six to seven weeks,” Yun says.

During the peak of the housing boom in 2004 and 2005, when inventory supplies were historically low at an average 4.3 months, the median selling time was 4 weeks. Prices in that time rose at an annual rate of 10.3 percent.

In the economic downturn, time on market for non-distressed sellers peaked at 10 weeks in 2009 with a 10-month annualized supply. The median price fell 12.9 percent that year, the biggest annual decline on record.

“Ironically, if housing construction doesn’t pick up to normal levels within two years, supply shortages could be sustained for an extended period and lead to above average appreciation,” Yun says. “Therefore, any unnecessary hindrance to housing starts, such as excessive local zoning regulations or stringent bank capital rules for construction loans, should be carefully re-examined.”

NAR’s new days-on-market figures will be included in future existing-home sales releases. It’s derived from a monthly survey for the Realtors Confidence Index.

The median time on market can be misleading at times, however. If an abundance of fresh listings enters the market, it could skew the average downward.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

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