Sarasota Real Estate Market News

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.


• 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.


• 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

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

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

Market indicators are positive on Siesta Key

As seen in the Sarasota Herald Tribune:

When comparing a year over year 12 month trailing average since 2006, single-family home unit sales on Siesta Key have consistently risen (almost doubling since 2006) year over year in spite of overall market conditions.  Obviously, during 2007-10 average sales prices dropped dramatically, however they have rebounded by almost 30% off their low in 2009.  Even so, today’s average sales prices represent a 40%+ discount off the market high in 2006-7.

Siesta Key Single Family Homes            
Year to Date Sales Comparisons on Siesta Key 2007 – 2012 04/01/06 to 03/30/07 04/01/07 to 03/30/08 04/01/08 to 03/30/09 04/01/09 to 03/30/10 04/01/10 to 03/30/11 04/01/11 to 03/30/12
Average Sales Price $1,613,504 $1,301,837 $1,101,523 $754,927 $884,335 $968,513
Median Sales Price $967,500 $909,500 $750,000 $555,000 $550,000 $632,500
Units Sold 75 91 113 139 148 147
Siesta Key Condominiums 04/01/06 to 03/30/07 04/01/07 to 03/30/08 04/01/08 to 03/30/09 04/01/09 to 03/30/10 04/01/10 to 03/30/11 04/01/11 to 03/30/12
Average Sales Price $769,014 $859,486 $524,859 $520,730 $450,611 $449,450
Median Sales Price $615,000 $655,000 $437,950 $380,000 $394,300 $350,000
Units Sold 115 190 194 227 234 292


Read more HERE

May 19, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Luxury sales boost Southwest Florida real estate market

Home and condominium sales hit a seven-year high in Sarasota County during March, harkening back to the frenzy of the real estate boom. 

That was particularly evident in Southwest Florida’s luxury stratum, where well-heeled snowbirds stopped circling last month and began descending en masse.

“…On Siesta Key, the biggest problem is that there are very few affordable listings, said Coldwell Banker agent George Miller.

“There are two listings under $400,000,” Miller said. “Everything has been picked over. If one comes on the market it goes under contract very quickly.”

Miller said 147 homes changed hands on the island during the 12 months ending March 31 — just one less than during the preceding 12-month period. But the median price is now $632,500, up 15 percent from March 2011…”

Read more HERE

They bought 34 homes homes and condominiums selling for more than $1 million in Sarasota County, a 48 percent increase from a year earlier

May 19, 2012 Posted by | News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Sarasota rated top place in nation to retire

Sarasota came out on top of a list of best places to retire that was produced by a national website, with Venice not too far behind at No. 9. 

The list by — a website managed by John Brady, a retired executive vice president of a business information publisher — was cited in a recent national report by MarketWatch, part of Dow Jones & Co.

In Sarasota’s favor at the No. 1 position, Brady cited the city’s cultural distinctions, reasonable home prices (especially at this snapshot in time), its general living costs and its warm winters.

Read more HERE


May 19, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

What buyers often overlook in home purchases

WASHINGTON – May 7, 2012 – While a home’s appearance, financing and location sway many buyers, housing experts say they often overlook other important factors that may keep them happy for years to come with their home purchase.

A recent article at U.S. News & World Report lists tips for those often-forgotten aspects of homeownership. Here are some of those overlooked aspects:

Zoning of nearby areas: What you see today may not be what you see a few years from now. Communities’ and neighborhoods’ landscapes can drastically change in a few years. And while some of these changes may be good – such as the addition of a nearby recreation park or school – some may be viewed as a negative, like a new highway overpass behind the property. By reviewing upcoming plans and existing zoning at the city’s urban development department, home buyers can get a better idea of what the future may hold for the surrounding area of the neighborhood they choose.

Remodeling rules: Some community associations may set limitations on what can be done to a property, particularly if the buyer ever wants to make exterior changes like adding a garage or guest house. Purchasers who plan to have a house grow with their family’s needs through the years may want to investigate such rules beforehand to make sure that they’ll be able to add onto their home as needed.

Impact of crime rate: Home purchasers may not realize how buying a home in a low-crime area can help their budget. Car insurance, for example, might cost less in a neighborhood where property has historically been safe.

Source: “4 Not-So-Obvious Things to Research Before Buying a Home,” U.S. News & World Report (May 2, 2012)

May 19, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers | Leave a comment

Is housing as cheap as it’ll ever get?

WASHINGTON – May 4, 2012 – Homebuyers who want a bargain may want to act now because the housing market is in the midst of a turnaround, economists say.

Home prices have fallen and mortgage rates are hovering near record lows, pushing home affordability for the average family to record highs. Meanwhile, rents have been on the rise, making owning a home cheaper than renting in most areas of the country, according to recent surveys.

But the housing deals aren’t expected to stick around much longer.

An improving job market, a decrease in the number of homeowners falling behind on their mortgage, and an anticipated improvement in access to mortgages is expected to help home prices start bouncing back by next year, economists say.

Investors eyeing profits in rentals also have been snapping up bank-owned properties, which Clear Capital’s Alex Villacorte attributes as helping to lead to an increase in prices on foreclosed properties. This “could have a significant impact on the market overall in terms of providing a rising floor to home values,” Villacorte told CNNMoney.

Some areas are already seeing prices rise. In Phoenix, housing prices have already increased 8.4 percent during the three months ending April 30, and Miami saw prices bump up 4.6 percent quarter over quarter, according to Clear Capital data.

“Stuff I was selling six months ago for $60,000 to $80,000 is now $90,000 to $110,000,” Tanya Marchiol, founder of Team Investments in Phoenix, told CNNMoney.

Loan rates, demand predictions

Buyers may want to act more quickly because mortgage rates are expected to tick up slightly by the end of the year. The increase is being sparked by greater demand, says Doug Lebda, CEO of LendingTree. He predicts 30-year fixed-rate mortgages will inch up to 4.5 percent by the end of the year, which is still low, however, by historical standards.

The Mortgage Bankers Association is also predicting a big leap in mortgage loans next year. For this year, MBA estimates that buyers will take out loans totaling about $415 billion, but by 2013 that number is expected to nearly double to $706 billion.

Source: “Buying a Home Won’t get Much Cheaper,” CNNMoney (May 3, 2012) and “Time To Trade The Lease For A Mortgage?” NPR (May 1, 2012)

May 19, 2012 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment