Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Five Reasons Home Prices Have Been Rising

Home prices rose by 0.1% in September from the prior month and by 3.6% from one year ago, the largest such gain in six years, according to a report released Monday by Lender Processing Services.

Compared with one year ago, prices are up by 17.7% in Phoenix, the largest gain among the nation’s 40 largest metro areas. Other cities with notable year-over-year increases include Detroit (11.7%), Las Vegas (11.5%), San Jose, Calif. (11.3%), San Francisco (10%), and Sacramento (8.3%).

Among the top 40 metros, only a handful have posted year-over-year declines, led by St. Louis, which was down by 4.1%. Bridgeport, Conn., was down by 2.3%, while Chicago (-0.5%) and Cincinnati (-0.1%) also posted declines.

The LPS figures serve as a good reminder that it’s still hard to generalize about housing. Some markets are up sharply amid big declines in both prices and the share of distressed sales, while others are still soft. Generally, though, there are at least five significant contributors to rising prices:

Housing affordability is attractive based on traditional metrics such as price-to-rentand price-to-income measures, largely because prices have fallen so far. Housing is even more affordable considering today’s low mortgage rates. Many buyers judge their decision based on the monthly payment of a mortgage. The average payment on a median priced home last month, assuming a 10% down payment and not including taxes or insurance, fell to $720 at prevailing rates, down from nearly $1,270 at the end of 2005.

Household formation is revving up. The U.S. is on track to add 1 million new households this year, up from 630,000 last year and an average of 570,000 over the past five years, according to economists at Bank of America BAC +0.48% Merrill Lynch. Based on normal population growth, that rate should be closer to 1.2 million households. The upshot is that some pent-up demand is being unleashed, in part because job growth has picked up.

Rents are rising. Falling mortgage rates and improving job growth didn’t do much for housing last year, in part because buyers didn’t have much confidence or urgency. Rising rents have changed that. Initially, they spurred more investor purchases of properties that could be rented out. More recently, they’ve given buyers a reason to get off the fence.

The share of distressed sales, such as foreclosures, are down, and in many Western markets, they are down sharply over the past year.

Why are distressed sales falling? For one, mortgage delinquencies peaked 2½ years ago. Banks also slowed down foreclosures as a result of the robosigning scandal, and they’ve stepped up foreclosure alternatives, notably, by shifting short sales into a higher gear. The share of distressed sales is still high, historically speaking, but because they have fallen from their peak in many markets, prices have stabilized.

Judicial foreclosure states such as Illinois, New York, and Florida that require banks to process foreclosures in courts still face large backlogs of potential foreclosures. But states such as California and Arizona that haven’t required banks to process foreclosures by going to court have seen large drops in the volume of outstanding bad debt.

Inventories of homes for sale have plunged. Inventories of new homes for sale are at their lowest levels in nearly 50 years as builders sharply cut back construction over the past three years. Inventories of existing homes for sale are near a 10-year low, and down by one third over the past two years. Many homeowners have held back from selling because they owe more than their homes are worth, and even those with equity don’t want to accept big declines in prices.

Low inventories have led to more multiple offer situations, as rising demand leads more buyers to chase after fewer properties. In some markets, foreclosure discounts have disappeared.

This isn’t to say housing is out of the recovery ward. Credit standards are tight. Millions of homeowners are in some stage of foreclosure or default, and millions of others still owe more than their homes are worth. If the economy weakens again, the housing market could relapse.

But if 2012 has taught anything, it’s that those headwinds haven’t been enough to prevent the housing market from healing.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Sarasota Real Estate Market for Luxury Properties Sizzles in October

The luxury home market segment looms as a bright spot which can drive the southwest Florida real estate market entering into the historical increase in activity of buying and selling during the winter months according to Sarasota Bay Real Estate.

Sarasota, Florida (PRWEB) November 24, 2012
The luxury home market segment looms as a bright spot which can drive the southwest Florida real estate market entering into the historical increase in activity of buying and selling during the winter months according to Sarasota Bay Real Estate. The full service real estate broker noted that sales of luxury residential properties, defined as those that are priced $1 million and above, picked up anew this October after two consecutive months of relatively slow turnover.
During the month, Sarasota Bay Real Estate noted that broker agents in Sarasota County sold 34 luxury homes worth a total of nearly $70 million, with each property fetching an average price of about $2 million. This total value was more than double that of September when 19 sales of luxury residences were posted and valued at a total of $34.2 million. This August, nineteen luxury residential properties were likewise sold and had a total value of $30.9 million.
The barrier islands of Siesta Key and Longboat Keyare two hotspots for those in search of high-end Sarasota homes for sale, Sarasota Bay Real Estate reports. Some luxurious residences on the market can be found at Roberts Point of Siesta Key where available estate homes can have tag prices from $1.2 million to $2.5 million. Many condominiums in the island likewise offer multi-million dollar units as well as those that are in the mid-priced range, according to Sarasota Bay Real Estate which just this October listed a rarely offered Siesta Key condo villa at Gulf Haven and sold a unit at Peppertree this August. The spectacular Gulf views, pristine beaches, and proximity to Sarasota’s downtown combine to mold the appeal of these communities to upscale home buyers.
Equally luxurious choices can be had at the twelve-mile-long island Longboat Key where Sarasota Bay Real Estate this August also sold a unit at the Islander Club condominium. Other select, high end properties in the island include the Longboat Key Club and Resort in a 410-acre site which hosts superb golf and tennis facilities. It is the only property development among Sarasota’s barrier islands with a golf course. Top-listed residences in this upscale community range in price from $1.15 million to nearly $2.2 million. The Sanctuary condominium with sales-listed units priced at approximately $1.3 million–$2 million, and Beach Place which can have offerings in the $1.4 million range, are also among the many luxury options at Longboat Key.
Luxurious residential choices are as plentiful at the Sarasota downtown district where a short list of alternatives can be led by properties at the Ritz Carlton. Notably, SBRE owner and broker Christina Miller this spring sold a unit that she herself listed in this upscale condominium for $1.275 million. Choice units in the Ritz Carlton can have quoted prices of up to $4.5 million. Master planned developments like Lakewood Ranch and Palmer Ranch too have an array of luxury homes to choose from. Many of these can be found in the duo’s gated golf communities where the residents are pampered with country club amenities that truly are definitions of luxury.
About Sarasota Bay Real Estate
Sarasota Bay Real Estate is a full service real estate brokerage in Sarasota Florida owned by Sarasota real estate broker, Christina Miller, and marketing professional, Roy Hunter. Together they, and their team of well-experienced agents, provide some of the highest quality real estate marketing services for the properties in the company’s inventory. Sellers of Sarasota Florida real estate choose Sarasota Bay Real Estate due to their reputation of going above and beyond expectations when marketing properties located in the Sarasota-Manatee County areas as well as the company’s vast Internet marketing reach. Sarasota Bay Real Estate Internet assets receive more than 1,000 visitors a day and this exposure contributes greatly to a property selling quickly and for the highest price. When property marketing strategies are paramount in sellers listing requirements, Sarasota Bay Real Estate is the clear choice in the Sarasota real estate market.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012




Fla.'s Housing Market Continues Positive Trends in Oct. 2012



ORLANDO, Fla.Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Pending sales, closed sales and median prices rose, while the inventory of homes and condos for sale dropped in Florida's housing market in October, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

"With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we have a lot to be thankful for here in Florida," said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. "The state's latest unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest in nearly four years – and combined with the momentum of the housing market, it clearly shows that Florida is on a positive path and has been for months. 

Pending sales, closed sales and prices are trending up."
Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 17,779 in October, up 25.3 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Meanwhile, pending sales – contracts that are signed by not yet completed or closed – of existing single-family homes last month rose 56.7 percent over the previous October. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in October was $145,000, up 9 percent from a year ago.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in September 2012 was $184,300, up 11.4 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in September was $345,000; in Massachusetts, it was $294,900; in Maryland, it was $244,357; and in New York, it was $225,000.

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 continue to 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 townhomes-condos, a total of 8,252 units sold statewide last month, up 16.4 percent compared to October 2011. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhome-condos in October increased 47.1 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $107,000, up 20.2 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in September 2012 was $181,000.

The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.2-months' supply in October; inventory for townhome-condo properties was also at a 5.2-months' supply, according to Florida Realtors. Industry analysts note that a 5.5-months' supply symbolically represents a market balanced between buyers and sellers.

"Once again, everything that should be going up in the market is going up, and everything that should be going down is going down," said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. "As impressive as the year-over-year gains for October are, far more impressive are year-to-date gains of 2012 over 2011. They indicate the depth and resilience of this recovery."

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.38 percent in October 2012, down from the 4.07 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 Media Center at http://media.floridarealtors.org/ and look under Latest Releases, or download the October 2012 data report PDF under Market Data at: http://media.floridarealtors.org/market-data

Editor's NoteFlorida Realtors 2012 housing market data releases mark a new statewide data reporting partnership between Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and new vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. Housing sales data from the state's local Realtor organizations is collected and organized with the goal of providing unique, localized market reports to the local Realtor boards and associations within Florida Realtors, enabling the groups and their Realtor members to serve as the definitive voice of real estate in their respective local markets. At the same time, Florida Realtors is providing comprehensive statewide housing market statistics – but this new data series only refers to statewide data and does not include metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).

Florida Realtors®, formerly known as the Florida Association of Realtors®, serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 115,000 members in 63 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.
SOURCE Florida Realtors

PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1u49l)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Foreclosures remain a nagging problem here and elsewhere

Jimmy Walker, employee of Easy Joe's Landscaping, works on the lawns of some of the homes that are either for sale, under contract or sale pending on 37th Street East in the Riomar Sarasota Subdivison in south Manatee County.
HERALD-TRIBUNE ARCHIVE / 2009
Published: Monday, November 19, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 19, 2012 at 12:08 a.m.
Recent economic data provides new signs that the housing market is recovering in Southwest Florida and throughout the state, but there are still some rough spots.
Analysts say the Florida economy is clearly improving, though slowly, and the housing market has not only stabilized, but is fast recovering in many areas.
Some data remains troubling, though, such as the latest spike in foreclosure filings in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. Still, economists say the much-battered housing industry is recovering — though not yet recovered.
BMO Capital Markets Economics last week said lower inventories and upward price momentum in Florida suggests "the worst days of the housing crash are behind us."
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Index shows Florida housing prices plunged 40 percent from peak-to-trough, but fell just 1.8 percent year-to-year in the second quarter of 2012 — the slowest pace of decline since early 2007.
Prices in some Florida cities have increased about 9 percent from last year's lows.
"We are seeing a significant uptick in the number of people inquiring about either refinancing their current mortgage or looking to finance a new home purchase," said Dave Maraman, BMO Harris Bank's Sarasota-based Florida president.
"We continue to increase the number of mortgage specialists in recognition of the improved market."
Analyst CoreLogic reported home prices in Sarasota and Manatee counties, including distressed sales, increased 4.1 percent in September over the same month last year.
But excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices climbed 4.7 percent in September and gained 0.4 percent for the month.
Mark Vitner, a senior economist with Wells Fargo Securities who tracks Florida, says the housing market stands out amid other economic gloom.
Even as overall economic growth "putters along" at a 2 percent pace, Vitner notes, homes sales and residential construction are expected to increase.
"There has been considerable progress made at clearing out foreclosures, particularly in hard-hit states like Florida and Arizona," Vitner said. "With many of the best properties already sold, distressed transactions are now accounting for a smaller share of overall sales. The drop in competition from foreclosures has bolstered builder confidence."
However, foreclosures remain a nagging problem here and statewide.
Sarasota County posted the nation's eighth-highest spike in foreclosure filings in October, increasing 53 percent over September, according to analyst RealtyTrac. But filings were down 3 percent over last year.
Florida, meanwhile, registered the nation's highest state foreclosure rate for the second month in a row. One in every 312 Florida housing units had a foreclosure filing in October, more than twice the national average, RealtyTrac said.
A total of 28,783 Florida properties were the subject of a foreclosure filing in October, up 2 percent from the previous month and a 12-month high, but the October 2012 total was still 13 percent below October 2011.
BMO Capital Markets noted that 40 percent of mortgages in Florida remain underwater, as homeowners owe more than their homes are worth.
"Overall, Florida's housing market is one of the most stressed, second of 50, in the country, behind Nevada, but a drawdown in inventories and upward price momentum are positive indications that the worst is over," the BMO economists said.
At the same time though, and somewhat paradoxically, some of the region's homebuilders are well into recovery mode.
Taylor Morrison last week announced it will add 800 homes and an 18-hole golf course on 400 acres to its Esplanade development in Manatee County. Neal Communities, another Lakewood Ranch builder, is under way with its 1,999-home Grand Palm community, in Venice.
The September Trendgraphix report counted a 5.5-month inventory of homes for sale in Sarasota County and just 3.6 months' worth in Manatee County. Both counties were well over a seven-month supply one year ago. Markets are considered in "equilibrium" when the supply stands at six months.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Declining foreclosures increase home prices

Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 7:21 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 7:21 p.m.
Foreclosure activity last month declined more than 30 percent compared with a year ago in both Flagler and Volusia counties.

Facts

Foreclosures

Flagler County
October 2012: 161
September 2012: 192
October 2011: 238
Volusia County
October 2012: 650
September 2012: 594
October 2011: 1,035
In Flagler County, the number of foreclosure notices, auctions and repossessions in October fell more than 32 percent, to 161 filings from 238 a year ago, according to a Wednesday report from RealtyTrac, an Irvine, Calif.-based company that monitors foreclosed properties throughout the country.
Flagler County's foreclosure rate of one out of every 302 houses, placed it as the 12th worst among the states's 67 counties, down dramatically from the top position where it's been several times this year.
Benefits of declining foreclosure activity include a declining inventory of distressed homes, a stabling housing market and increasing fair market prices of foreclosed houses, said Jimmy Millhollin, broker/owner of Palm Coast-based RE/MAX Flagstaff.
"(Foreclosures) used to be 30 percent below market value; now it's closer to 80 percent fair market value," he said.
Short sales — where banks accept less for the sale of a house than the outstanding mortgage amount — are more prevalent than foreclosures and are priced closer to their market value.
Millholin said of the real estate inventory in Flagler County, "We're still almost 50 percent distressed. We continue to sell around 145 homes a month in Flagler County. We have a higher price point on distressed properties, that's probably the biggest noticeable thing I see from these numbers."
Flagler County's foreclosure activity in October was down 16 percent from the 192 filings in September.


Volusia County's foreclosure activity dropped more than 37 percent from last year, to 650 notice, auction and repossession filings from 1,035 a year ago. The foreclosure rate of one out of every 391 houses ranked the county 24th worst in the state.
Volusia County's foreclosure news was mixed however, as October's number was up almost 9.5 percent from the 594 filings in September.
And while Volusia and Flagler counties' foreclosure activity decreased overall compared with last year, area experts from both counties are still wary of the numbers.
James Rose, managing partner at Rice & Rose, a Daytona Beach-based law firm, said about the current numbers, "They're still high."
Rose, who practices real estate and probate law, said, despite foreclosure numbers decreasing from last year, "They're still high historically, especially compared to other states."
Rose also noted the rising price of foreclosed homes. When Volusia County was facing large-scale foreclosures, the inventory of houses was high and it drove down the cost of homes, he said. Because of declining foreclosures, there are fewer distressed houses on the market and the price of foreclosed homes is increasing.
Florida, for the second month in a row, had the nation's top foreclosure rate in the nation. In October, one out of every 312 houses was in some kind of distress — more than twice the national average.
There were 28,783 foreclosure filings across the state in October, down almost 13 percent from a year ago, but up almost 2 percent from September, according to RealtyTrac.
Across the nation, there were 186,455 foreclosure filings in October, down 19 percent from a year ago, but up 3 percent from September. The national foreclosure rate in October was one out of every 706 properties.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Sandy effects in Southwest Florida, bad and better


Snow covers debris piles as flood waters return to Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., on Wednesday, as a nor'easter hits the area damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The economic effects of the storm are still being measured.
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: Monday, November 12, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.
Amid concerns that Hurricane Sandy could dampen tourism in Southwest Florida, the local real estate and home building industries also are weighing potential effects -- both positive and negative.
Tourists from the Northeast often become home buyers in the Sarasota-Manatee area. But as storm-weary residents dig out and rebuild after Sandy, experts warn that travel and relocation plans could be set back -- possibly for years.
"A lot of folks who travel down here from that region are probably not coming this year," said Kim Vogel, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker in Venice.
"Those people are looking for a good investment and where to retire. Those plans might be put off when money is being spent on repairing and rebuilding their homes," she said.
The silver lining, for some, is that the long-depressed U.S. construction industry is bound to get a boost from the rebuilding effort after the monster storm, which directly hit New Jersey and parts of New York and affected an area from the North Carolina coast up to Connecticut.
But the bad news is that economic damage inflicted by Sandy could hit $50 billion, forecasting firm Eqecat Inc. said. Several economists warn that the storm could shave a half percentage point off the nation's economic growth in the current quarter.
The storm also could have ripple effects in Southwest Florida that hurt builders.
That is because demand for construction materials and workers will rise as the communities begin to rebuild or repair homes, commercial buildings, roads and bridges.
And, as has happened with past hurricanes, that increased activity could lead to higher prices and limited availability of materials in Florida and elsewhere.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Home Prices Rise in 81% of U.S. Cities as Markets Recover



Prices for single-family homes rose in 81 percent of U.S. cities as the property market extends a recovery from the worst crash since the 1930s.
The median sales price increased in the third quarter from a year earlier in 120 of 149 metropolitan areas measured, the National Association of Realtors said in a report today. In the second quarter, 110 areas had gains.
Prices for single-family homes rose in 81 percent of U.S. cities as the property market extends a recovery from the worst crash since the 1930s.
Home Prices Increase in 81% of U.S. Cities as Markets RecoverThe median sales price increased in the third quarter from a year earlier in 120 of 149 metropolitan areas measured, the National Association of Realtors said in a report today. In the second quarter, 110 areas had gains.
Values are climbing after a six-year slump as buyers compete for a shrinking supply of properties listed for sale. U.S. home prices jumped 5 percent in September from a year earlier, the biggest 12-month increase since July 2006, CoreLogic Inc., an Irvine, California-based real estate data provider, said yesterday.
“The housing recovery still faces a number of potential headwinds,” Paul Diggle, property economist for Capital Economics Ltd. in London, said in a note to clients after CoreLogic’s report was released. “But our central case is that tight supply conditions will mean that house prices will continue to rise steadily next year.”
At the end of the third quarter, 2.32 million existing homes were available for sale, 20 percent fewer than a year earlier, according to the Chicago-based Realtors group.

Short Sales

The national median price for an existing single-family home was $186,100 in the third quarter, up 7.6 percent from the same period last year, the Realtors said. Foreclosures and short sales, in which the price is less than the mortgage balance, accounted for 23 percent of third-quarter deals, down from 30 percent a year earlier.
The share of all-cash home purchases fell to 27 percent in the third quarter from 29 percent a year earlier. Investors, who make up the bulk of cash purchasers and compete with first-time buyers, accounted for 17 percent of all transactions, down from 20 percent a year earlier.
The best-performing metro area was Phoenix, where prices increased 35 percent from a year earlier. Prices rose 28 percent in the Cape Coral, Florida, area, and 27 percent in Akron, Ohio.
The Raleigh, North Carolina, area had the biggest decline, with the median selling price falling 16 percent in the quarter. It was followed by York, Pennsylvania, with an 9.4 percent decrease; and Binghamton, New York, with a 6.6 percent drop.
A survey by Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest mortgage- finance company, showed Americans expect home prices to increase an average of 1.7 percent in the next 12 months. The share of respondents who said they expect home prices to decrease fell to 10 percent last month, down 13 percentage points from a year earlier and the lowest level since the monthly survey began in June 2010, Washington-based Fannie Mae said today.

Values are climbing after a six-year slump as buyers compete for a shrinking supply of properties listed for sale. U.S. home prices jumped 5 percent in September from a year earlier, the biggest 12-month increase since July 2006, CoreLogic Inc., an Irvine, California-based real estate data provider, said yesterday.

“The housing recovery still faces a number of potential headwinds,” Paul Diggle, property economist for Capital Economics Ltd. in London, said in a note to clients after CoreLogic’s report was released. “But our central case is that tight supply conditions will mean that house prices will continue to rise steadily next year.”
At the end of the third quarter, 2.32 million existing homes were available for sale, 20 percent fewer than a year earlier, according to the Chicago-based Realtors group.

Short Sales

The national median price for an existing single-family home was $186,100 in the third quarter, up 7.6 percent from the same period last year, the Realtors said. Foreclosures and short sales, in which the price is less than the mortgage balance, accounted for 23 percent of third-quarter deals, down from 30 percent a year earlier.
The share of all-cash home purchases fell to 27 percent in the third quarter from 29 percent a year earlier. Investors, who make up the bulk of cash purchasers and compete with first-time buyers, accounted for 17 percent of all transactions, down from 20 percent a year earlier.
The best-performing metro area was Phoenix, where prices increased 35 percent from a year earlier. Prices rose 28 percent in the Cape Coral, Florida, area, and 27 percent in Akron, Ohio.
The Raleigh, North Carolina, area had the biggest decline, with the median selling price falling 16 percent in the quarter. It was followed by York, Pennsylvania, with an 9.4 percent decrease; and Binghamton, New York, with a 6.6 percent drop.
A survey by Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest mortgage- finance company, showed Americans expect home prices to increase an average of 1.7 percent in the next 12 months. The share of respondents who said they expect home prices to decrease fell to 10 percent last month, down 13 percentage points from a year earlier and the lowest level since the monthly survey began in June 2010, Washington-based Fannie Mae said today.
To contact the reporter on this story: Prashant Gopal in New York at pgopal2@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

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