Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Top impact on 2017 housing market? Rising mortgage rates

Top impact on 2017 housing market? Rising mortgage rates

 
NEW YORK – Feb. 27, 2017 – Increasing mortgage rates and their impact on affordability will be the most significant force driving the 2017 housing market, according to the latest Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey.
The quarterly survey, sponsored by Zillow and conducted by Pulsenomics LLC, asked more than 100 housing experts and economists what factors would have the greatest impact on U.S. housing this year. The most frequent answer was rising mortgage rates and their impact on mortgage affordability, with more than half of panelists selecting it.
The survey respondents ranked low inventory and shifting demographics, as millennials age into their prime home-buying years and the housing needs of aging baby boomers change, as the next most important factors for the 2017 housing market.
Buyers and homeowners have been able to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates on purchase or refinance loans for the past several years, but rates jumped following the presidential election in November, and have since hovered around 4 percent. In December, the Federal Reserve voted to raise the federal funds rate – which can influence mortgage rates – by 25 basis points for the second time in the last decade and set expectations for the possibility of a more aggressive rate hike cycle throughout 2017. Similarly, home price appreciation accelerated at the end of the year, and income growth is not keeping pace.
With both mortgage rates and home values rising, paying for a home with a mortgage becomes more expensive and requires a larger percentage of income each month. But since mortgage rates have been at historical lows for several years, and recent increases have been relatively small, they have not yet had significant effects on home value appreciation. For buyers of the median U.S. home, valued at $193,800, an increase from 4 percent to 4.25 percent would only increase their monthly mortgage payments by $23.
As rates rise, though, monthly payments for homes will increase, and buyers’ budgets will be more strained.
Since 77 percent of buyers use a mortgage to finance their purchase, this will affect the majority of buyers, and the market will not be able to sustain the more rapid home value appreciation we have seen in the past few years. Most experts believe there won’t be a significant slowdown in appreciation until rates reach 5.5 percent, which isn’t likely to happen this year. Zillow expects the conventional 30-year fixed mortgage rate to be closer to 4.75 percent by the end of 2017.
“Rising mortgage rates, inventory shortages and demographic shifts will be the main drivers of the U.S. housing economy this year, especially for first-time buyers who will face tougher competition for entry-level homes and often operate with a tighter budget than move-up buyers,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “When you combine higher mortgage rates with increasing home values, mortgage affordability starts to suffer, and buyers will have to spend more and more on their monthly payments. This makes it even more important for buyers to prepare their finances, and shop around to make sure they are getting the best possible rate.”
Another potential effect of rising mortgage rates is their influence on current homeowners, who may decide not to sell their homes to avoid needing a new mortgage at a higher rate, leading to more constrained inventory. More than half of the respondents (56 percent) in this survey said this “mortgage rate lock-in” is already or will have a meaningful impact on the housing market.
Home values rose 6.8 percent in 2016. Overall, the experts surveyed predict home prices will rise 4.6 percent in 2017, then slow to 3 percent annual growth by 2019.
“Compared to their outlook in our previous survey just a few months ago, most of our panelists now expect somewhat stronger home value appreciation this year and next, as tight inventory conditions persist,” said Pulsenomics founder Terry Loebs. “However, longer-term, the consensus still calls for decelerating prices, with the most pessimistic quartile of experts continuing to project negative inflation-adjusted returns for U.S. housing beyond 2017. The specter of rising mortgage rates and other affordability hurdles are clearly impacting these home value projections.”

Friday, February 24, 2017

NAR predicts stable commercial market in 2017

NAR predicts stable commercial market in 2017

 
WASHINGTON – Feb. 23, 2017 – Steered ahead by strengthening demand in smaller markets, the commercial real estate sector should remain on stable ground in 2017 and offer decent returns for investors, according to the latest National Association of Realtors® (NAR) quarterly commercial real estate forecast.
National office vacancy rates are forecast to retreat 1.1 percent to 12.1 percent over the coming year as job growth in business and professional services brings increased need for office space. The vacancy rate for industrial space is expected to decline 1.3 percent to 7.1 percent, and retail availability to decrease 0.7 percent to 11.2 percent.
Only the multifamily sector is predicted to have little change to its vacancy rate over the next year as new apartment completions keep openings mostly flat at 6.5 percent.
"Last year was the 11th year in a row of subpar GDP growth, but renewed corporate optimism leading to a focus on investment and a desperately needed boost in residential construction should pave the way for modest expansion this year of around 2.4 percent," says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "Steady hiring and low local unemployment levels are finally supporting higher wages and increased spending, which in turn bodes well for sustained demand for all commercial property types."
The apartment sector is expected to preserve its status as a top performer this year, simply because ongoing supply and affordability challenges are keeping the nation's low homeownership rate from seeing meaningful improvement. Even with a small uptick in the vacancy rate as new building completions catch up with demand, rents will likely maintain their solid growth in most of the country.
"Especially in the costliest metro areas, higher home prices and mortgage rates are squeezing the budget for many renters looking to buy and inevitably forcing them to sign a lease for at least another year," says Yun.
According to Yun, commercial property prices – especially in Class A assets in larger markets – surpassed pre-crisis levels last year because of aggressive bidding and lower inventory levels. However, with the Federal Reserve expected to raise short-term rates three times in 2017, a minor price correction may be in store this year as cap rates move higher.
"Similar to the biggest ongoing challenges in the residential market, supply and demand imbalances continue to put upward pressure on commercial property prices as investors search for yield in smaller markets," says Yun. "Realtors are increasingly citing inventory shortages as their top concern as the pace of new projects slows in large cities, and middle-tier and smaller markets see a growing appetite for space."
The latest NAR Commercial Real Estate Market Survey found strong underlying demand for commercial properties up to $2.5 million, where most transactions from NAR's commercial members reside. Compared to a year ago, sales volume rose 12.9 percent, prices increased 5.5 percent and the average transaction value equaled $1.1 million.
NAR's December Business Creation Index (BCI) also found a positive trend for smaller commercial businesses. Created to monitor local economic conditions from the perspective of NAR's commercial members, Realtors reported more business openings and fewer closings over the past year in their market.
The possibility of a more tax-friendly business environment combined with the positive benefits of 1031 exchanges could quicken the pace of economic growth and support stronger commercial market fundamentals, Yun says.
The industrial sector – already enjoying increased demand from the soaring popularity of e-commerce – could see a further decline in vacancy rates if increased manufacturing comes to fruition and accelerates the need for more warehouse space.
"The positive direction for commercial real estate this year will be guided by the steadily expanding U.S. economy, which has legs to grow and continues to be one of the top economic performers and safest bets in the world," concludes Yun.
© 2017 Florida Realtors  

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fla.’s Housing Market: More​ Sales,​ Rising Prices in January

Good morning, I read this article this morning and wanted to pass it along to you. Good Florida real estate news for both Sellers and Buyers. For Sellers, their real estate investment(s) continue to grow in value. For Buyers, interest rates still are very affordable, but projected to rises a couple of times this year.

If you are looking for a beautiful southwest Florida home please give me a ring. I am highly skilled, an expert at locating, negotiating and facilitating Florida real estate property sales. I can and will find the perfect southwest Florida home for you and your family. If you are ready to see some magnificent SWFL homes, lets set a time and date to go preview some of your favorites. 

Enjoy the information below and of course, call or send me any question you may have.

Kind regards,


Terence Trombetti Realtor® 
​​Call or Text (239) 560-1574
​Florida Complete Realty​
​3624 Del Prado Blvd., Suite A,
Cape Coral, Florida 33904
​​
Florida Real Estate Professional Since 2004


​​
Fla.’s Housing Market: More​ Sales,​ Rising Prices in January

 
ORLANDO, Fla. – Feb. 22, 2017 – Florida's housing market reported more closed sales, higher median prices, increased pending sales and more new listings in January, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 16,779 last month, up 5.2 percent from January 2016.
"Florida's housing market continues to show positive momentum," says 2017 Florida Realtors President Maria Wells, broker-owner with Lifestyle Realty Group in Stuart. "While existing inventory remains tight, Realtors across the state are reporting interest from both buyers and sellers – and with interest rates expected to rise over the next few months, now is certainly a good time to take action. On the buyer front, new pending sales for existing single family homes in January increased 3.8 percent year-over-year; pending sales for townhouse-condo units increased 6.5 percent. On the sellers' side, new listings for single-family homes rose 7.6 percent year-over-year, while new townhouse-condo listings ticked up 0.9 percent.
"When market conditions are tight, consumers can get ahead by working with a Realtor who's an expert in the local area," Wells says. "A Realtor will have the knowledge needed to help both buyers and sellers through the complex home buying process."
Home sellers continued to get more of their original asking price at the closing table in January: Sellers of existing single-family homes received 95.6 percent (median percentage) of their original listing price, while those selling townhouse-condo properties received 94.6 percent.
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $220,000, up 10.1 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors research department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties in January was $161,000, up 6.6 percent over the year-ago figure. January marked the 62nd month in a row that statewide median prices for both sectors rose year-over-year. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the
​ ​
national median sales price for existing single-family homes in December 2016 was $233,500, up 3.8 percent from the previous year
​ ​
the national median existing condo price was $221,600.In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in December was $509,060; in Massachusetts, it was $355,000; in Maryland, it was $269,319; and in New York, it was $240,000.

Looking at Florida's townhouse-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 7,209 last month, up 6.2 percent compared to January 2016. Closed sales data reflected fewer short sales and cash-only sales last month: Short sales for townhouse-condo properties declined 47.7 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 36.3 percent. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.
"Florida's markets for existing homes are off to a good start in 2017," says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O'Connor. "Throughout much of this housing cycle, growth in single-family home sales has outpaced that of condos and townhouses, but in January – for the first time since November 2015 – this was not the case, though one month's worth of data alone doesn't indicate a long-term trend.
Also, new listings of single-family homes were up in January compared to last year, including in the $150,000 to $250,000 range where inventory is sorely needed throughout the state. That said, inventory was still down overall in this range, as this segment of the market remains in high demand throughout the state."
Inventory dipped to a 4.2-months' supply in January for single-family homes and was at a 6.4-months' supply for townhouse-condo properties, according to Florida Realtors.
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.15 percent in January 2016, up significantly from the 3.87 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier.
For the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Research and Statistics on floridarealtors.org.
© 2017 Florida Realtors®

Real Estate Data for Cape Coral

Cape Coral market trends indicate an increase of $10,150 (5%) in median home sales over the past year. The average price per square foot for this same period rose to $133, up from $127.
Median Sales Price - $200,000​​
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Real Estate Data for Fort Myers

Fort Myers market trends indicate an increase of $13,490 (7%) in median home sales over the past year. The average price per square foot for this same period rose to $134, up from $125.
Median Sales Price - $200,000
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Real Estate Data for Naples

Naples market trends indicate a decrease of $7,000 (-2%) in median home sales over the past year. The average price per square foot for this same period fell to $213, down from $214.
Median Sales Price - $300,000
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

NAHB: Home affordability favorable but at eight-year low

NAHB: Home affordability favorable but at eight-year low

 
WASHINGTON – Feb. 21, 2017 – The U.S. has a shortage of buildable lots and skilled labor, excessive regulations, rising mortgage interest rates and high home price appreciation – and those negative factors pushed housing affordability to its lowest point in eight years (3Q 2008) in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).
"Though builders remain confident that housing markets across the nation will continue to show gradual improvement in the year ahead, they remain concerned that regulatory constraints, and lot and labor supply issues are preventing a more robust recovery," says NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald. "The rising costs of construction as it relates to land and labor are putting upward pressure on home prices."
However, NAHB says a new home is still affordable for many buyers.
"Affordability remains positive nationwide even as demand is outstripping supply in many markets," says NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "Though mortgage rates are rising, incomes should rise faster as well, helping to keep home prices affordable."
In all, 59.9 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of October and end of December were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,700. This is down from the 61.4 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the third quarter.
The national median home price increased from $247,000 in the third quarter to $250,000 in the fourth quarter. Over the same period, average mortgage rates edged higher from 3.76 percent to 3.84 percent.
NAHB identified Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa., as the nation's most affordable major housing market, where 90.4 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area's median income of $53,900. Fairbanks, Alaska, was again rated the nation's most affordable smaller market, with 95.1 percent of homes affordable to families earning the median income of $93,800.
For the 17th consecutive quarter, San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, Calif., was the nation's least affordable major housing market – only 7.8 percent of homes sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area's median income of $104,700. Other major metros at the bottom of the affordability chart were also in California.
Florida cities ranked between the 46th most affordable city in the U.S. (Homosassa Springs) to the 201st most affordable city (Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall). Fourteen other U.S. cities are still less affordable than Miami.
Florida affordability by rank out of 215 U.S. cities
46. Homosassa Springs: 82.5% of median income families can afford a median priced home
55. Ocala: 81.4%
64. Tallahassee: 80%
72. Gainesville: 79.2%
77. Lakeland-Winter Haven: 78.7%
85. Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent: 78%
110. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin: 71.4%
112. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville: 70.8%
121. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater: 69.1%
122. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach: 79.8%
124. Port St. Lucie: 68%
125. Punt Gorda: 67.6%
138. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford: 63.1%
139. Sebastian-Vero Beach: 62.6%
144. The Villages: 61.6%
149. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton: 60.4%
150. Cape Coral-Fort Myers: 60.2%
159. Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach: 58.2%
160. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach: 58%
181. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island: 47.3%
182. Jacksonville: 47%
201. Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall: 33.2%
© 2017 Florida Realtors  

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

TIMING THE SWFL REAL ESTATE MARKET

TIMING THE SWFL REAL ESTATE MARKET - 2017

The single most important factor to successful real estate investing is timing . . . even more important than "location, location, location," which historically has always been # 1 in importance. If you are not convinced, consider how one of the least desirable cities in Southwest Florida (Lehigh Acres) and the most prestigious cities (Naples, Bonita, etc.) fared during the cycle of the past 10 years.
You made a tidy profit with either end of the location spectrum if you timed the market well. Conversely, you lost a lot of equity in any SWFL location if your timing was wrong. The same can be said for virtually every part of the country in the last cycle and every preceding cycle. TIMING IS KING.
Below are 6 simple and reliable indicators as to whether a local real estate market is headed up, down, or is neutral. Because timing is so important we will email this report at the start of every year, and how it relates to our future SWFL market. We would all be wise to pay very close attention to these indicators when buying or selling real estate. 
6 VITAL REAL ESTATE CYCLE INDICATORS (order of importance)
1. Sales of Existing Homes: Are sales increasing or decreasing? This is the strongest single indicator. Tom: Sales have dropped off from peak numbers a few years ago because there are far fewer foreclosures/short sales, less investor purchases, and slightly higher interest rates. Recent sales are at a fairly balanced level, which should keep our market healthy, and hopefully prevent unrealistic price increases of 25% or more per year, such as we experienced  in 2004 - 2006
2. New Construction Permits: Increasing or decreasing? Permits start to drop before a recession, and increase prior to an expansion. Tom: Permits for new construction in SW Florida (especially Cape Coral) are steadily increasing, and by a significant number in 2015. Cape Coral had 937 new home permits in 2015, a 58% increase from 2014, and a big leap from the bottom of our market when we averaged only 200 permits a year. Based on U.S. Census Bureau reports, Cape Coral alone needs about 3,000 permits a year for the next decade to keep pace with expected demand of new residents. Construction on freshwater canal lots and off-water lots started to increase last year, as existing home prices rose for the fifth straight year. Because the cost difference of new homes versus existing homes has shrunk to 15 – 20% (from 40% - 50% during the Recession), more homeowners are now opting to build. Builders and investors are taking advantage of the low inventory and building spec homes, which oftentimes sell before completion.
3. Supply of Home Inventory: 6 months supply is a level playing field. Under 5 1/2 months is a seller's market and prices will rise. Over 6 1/2 months of inventory is a buyer's market and prices will decline proportionally to the number of months' supply of homes. Tom: In 2015, we averaged 4 1/2 month's supply of  homes in Cape Coral/SWFL, and at one point dropping to as low as 3 month's supply. We will keep a watchful eye on this important indicator over the next year and report accordingly. If we have too many months of 3 - 4 months of inventory I'm concerned that home prices will spike well over 10% per year.
4. Mortgage Default & Foreclosures: Two things to look for - are the default/foreclosure numbers traditionally high or low, and more importantly, is the number increasing or decreasing? Tom: Defaults and foreclosures have decreased dramatically over the past three years, and there are not many homeowners in SWFL who are still “underwater”.  Although we will not see many new  foreclosures, banks still have an decreased inventory of existing foreclosures that they will gradually release over the next year or two. Banks have noticed the dramatic increase in home prices, and are in no rush to sell off their foreclosure inventory in this rapidly rising market. I feel that a slow stream of foreclosures will somewhat help keep a healthy balance of inventory, which will prevent local property prices from rising even faster than they have for the past five years.
5. Days On Market (DOM): This stat provides a big clue as to what the market is doing. 90 days on the market is neutral. Over 120 days means it’s a down or declining market, and you can expect prices to drop. Under 70 DOM means it is a very strong seller's market and prices will rise, and will likely rise significantly. Tom: Over most of 2015, SWFL homes averaged 65 - 70 DOM. This is down significantly from the bottom or our market when homes were on the market for 130 -150 days, with many homes lingering on the market for over a year. Near the next peak we'll drop below 50 DOM, and that is not necessarily a healthy place for our market. I'm quite content with 65 -70 DOM.
6. Interest Rates: Again, there are two aspects of this indicator to monitor. Are interest rates relatively high or low, and are rates rising or dropping? Tom: Interest rates, which are in the 4% range, have risen about 1/2% from historical lows.  Rates are predicted to rise to 4.5 – 5.0% over the next 12 months, but this is still well below historical interest rates. Any negative aspect of  interest rate increases should be offset by the lending industry’s gradual loosening of borrowing requirements, which were quite stringent following the housing bust. Also, many borrowers are now “out of the penalty box”, meaning they now qualify for loans again after going through a foreclosure or short sale several years ago.
These 6 Vital Indicators Have Preceded Every Boom Or Bust - DON’T IGNORE THEM!
The 6 Vital Indicators was gleaned from one of the best books I have ever read on real estate investing: Timing The Real Estate Market. Below are invaluable quotes and advice from this book, with my own notes in blue.
 A Few More Real Estate Market Indicators:
Listing Price Versus Sales Price: An average differential is 5%. If the gap falls below 4% we are in a seller's market and prices will  increase. If the spread goes over 6%, it's indicative of a strong buyer’s market, and prices will keep falling. Tom: There is currently a 3% Sales vs Listing price gap in SWFL, definitely indicating a seller's advantage. Well-priced homes are selling at over asking price, and overpriced homes are selling at 5 - 10% off asking price. Lower priced homes sell the fastest and the closest to asking price.
Unemployment, Consumer Confidence, Population Trends and Changes In Tax Laws are other secondary indicators that you should monitor. However, the Six Vital Indicators will be your road map to real estate timing and investing
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Trust What You See (especially the 6 Vital Indicators ), not what you feel. Be particularly wary of what the media reports. The media is usually far behind the curve on real estate cycles.
Don’t follow the herd mentality. The herd is almost always late and wrong regarding real estate cycles. Tom: we keep our clients informed so they stay ahead of the herd
Location, Location, Location is no defense or consolation against financial loss when you buy or sell in a great location at the wrong time. Tom: Please burn this sentence into the financial part of your brain.
  •    Knowing when to sell is probably even more important than knowing when to buy.
  •     Nobody rings a bell when the market peaks or hits bottom. Buying near the cycle bottom can make you rich, and buying near the market peak can make you poor. It's as simple as that.
  •     By observing the Six Vital Indicators, you have a three to six month window to sell near the peak or buy near the bottom.
  •     Market Trends last three to five years, both on the upside and downside. The longer a down cycle lasts dictates how long the up cycle will last (usually 1 1/2 to 2 times longer). Tom: Because the down-cycle was so long (over 4 years), historical trends suggest we should have an up-cycle of 7 to 8 years, and we are currently at 5 years. I feel we are only a little more than half way in our current real estate cycle.
  •    Over 90% of real estate buyers and sellers do not have an established guideline as to when to buy or sell. They simply conduct their real estate activities based on "gut instinct" or worse, they “follow the herd”. Tom: following proven historical guidelines is far more likely to lead to successful investing than following gut feelings.
  •    Like the weather, real estate markets should be looked at locally, not nationally. Southwest Florida historically precedes the rest of the country in the real estate cycle by about two years.            
  •     At the bottom of every cycle people have always predicted that “we will never again in our lifetime see the price levels of the previous peak”. When the following peaks arrived, prices always surpassed the previous peak prices, often by huge margins. Tom: if we don't reach our previous peak (January 2006 for SWFL), it will be the first time in recorded history.
  •    Savvy Investors sell when the market is hot, and buy when it's not.
  •    The media and the general public feed off each other at market cycle extremes. Tom: It's almost as if the media provides the "Herd" their oats and hay.
  •     There are no bad pieces of real estate, only good pieces that are owned at a bad time
  •    Once a real estate cycle has reversed a trend, it will continue in that direction until it hits the other end of the cycle. It doesn't zigzag like the stock market.
  •     Real estate is like horseshoes...you can score with near misses. You don't need to be perfect in your timing. Just be close to the top or bottom of the cycle.
  •     The greatest profits are achieved in the last year or two of the market up-cycle. The majority of losses occur in the last few years of a down-cycle.
  •    Because real estate is an illiquid asset, you would rather be out of the market wanting in, than in the market wanting out.
The biggest secret in real estate isn't what or when to buy. The greatest secret is knowing when to sell.
Rising real estate markets are what make you richAvoiding bad markets is what keeps you rich.
The 6 Vital Signals are the language of the real estate market. When they talk, LISTEN.
Just as a great baseball hitter only swings at good pitches, a good investor should only be investing in a good cycle trend.
During rising markets even poorly located properties go up in value. During falling markets even  prime location properties go down in value. 
90% of millionaires acquired their wealth through real estate, not through their jobs or other forms of investing. And they certainly didn't "Buy High and Sell Low", or follow the herd. They were very astute at market timing. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

10 Hottest Real Estate Markets To Watch In 2017

Popular Real Estate Markets in 2017
Diverse culture, great weather, and beautiful architecture — It's no wonder San Antonio, TX made the list of hot markets to watch in 2017!

Trulia’s annual hot-market ranking has a few surprises in store.

There are lots of reasons to choose a place to put down roots. Maybe you’ve been transferred for work. Maybe you’ve always wanted to own real estate in Charleston, SC, and you’ve found a deal that’s too good to pass up. Whether you’re looking for an investment or a new city with new opportunities, Trulia has compiled a list of the top 10 real estate markets poised for growth in 2017 based on five key metrics including high affordability, strong job growth, low vacancy rates, home searches on Trulia, and, because of the 2016 election’s outcome, a big population of Republicans. Did your favorite city make the cut?

1. Jacksonville, FL: Jobs and a great location

Situated on the banks of the St. Johns River and oft-considered part of southern Georgia given its proximity to its northern neighbor, Jacksonville, FL, has quite a bit going for it. Why is it so appealing? First, there are serious job opportunities. Jacksonville posted a 3.8% job growth rate in 2016, which makes it one of the healthiest markets for employment opportunities in the state. Second, there’s an increasing influx of people — which contributes to the area’s very high ratio of inbound home searches on Trulia by out-of-towners versus outbound searches by locals looking to leave. “There are so many people moving here and very little leaving,” explains Michael Paull, an area real estate agent. “There’s long-term economic stability here plus great schools, fantastic weather, and proximity to the ocean.”

2. Cape Coral–Fort Myers, FL: Baseball’s king in the spring

Sure, the weather is certainly a huge draw for this area of the country. But the reason this metro came in at number two goes beyond sunny skies and 80-degree weather. One word: jobs. It has high job growth (fourth in the nation!) and a sharp drop in vacancy rates over the past year. Many of those jobs stem from the hospitality industry and real estate. “And then Fort Myers, FL is home to baseball’s Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins during spring training every year, which boosts the economy even more every spring,” says Pat Eberle of RASO Realty in Cape Coral, FL.

3. Deltona–Daytona Beach–Ormond Beach, FL: No better weather

Weather is a big draw for this part of the country, which is probably one reason Florida features prominently in this list. “When I look at the major weather systems every day, I always think to myself, ‘I live in the safest part of the country,’” says Lonnie Marandino, owner/broker with Realty Experts by the Beach in Ormond Beach, FL. “Winds here are never strong enough to affect structures because there are never any hurricanes.” But the area ranks third on Trulia’s list because of its strength in two categories: It has a very high ratio of inbound-to-outbound home searches on Trulia and has strong job growth.

4. Grand Rapids, MI: Rising up the ranks

Grand Rapids, MI gets points for its affordability — but it’s also booming. Job growth increased by 2.7% over the last year. “Grand Rapids has had very steady economic growth, plus it’s fairly diverse,” explains Jordan Painter, an associate broker with RE/MAX Sunquest in Grand Rapids. “There are jobs in the medical industry, manufacturing, education. People from all backgrounds can find a job here.”

5. Tampa–St. Petersburg, FL: Job growth in the Big Guava

Another Florida metro region joins the list with Tampa, FL. “With major developments like the Vinick-Cascade project being built in downtown Tampa, major jobs are being created,” explains Terry Knight, a Realtor with Keller Williams in south Tampa. Plus, with the University of South Florida and University of Tampa in the area, education jobs are a prominent part of the employment possibilities for those looking to move to the area.

6. Colorado Springs, CO: Enjoy the best of all four seasons

Colorado Springs, CO can give any of the Florida markets on this list a run for their money when it comes to climate. While Florida has sun and sand the majority of the year, Colorado Springs features “great hiking, skiing, mountain biking, all within an easy drive or sometimes a short walk,” explains Jeff Johnson, a real estate agent with RE/MAX in Colorado Springs. “And to top it all, we’ve got a mild climate all year round. You can go run or mountain bike in February, then get snow the next day. Where else could you do that?” Add to that the city’s affordable housing and high job growth, and it’s no wonder U.S. News & World Report named it the fifth-best place to live in 2016.

7. Charleston, SC: High affordability in the Lowcountry

There’s good reason Charleston, SC is consistently named a top city to live in the U.S. by the readers of Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler — not only is the city charming and clean, but it also boasts a fantastic culinary scene, proximity to the ocean, and a rich history and culture. But beyond the beauty of Charleston are the practical reasons to move here. “Organizations that have a global impact such as Boeing and Volvo have chosen to park their business in our backyard, and in doing so, have helped bolster employment opportunities and spurred our local economy,” explains Dan Garrison, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker. Plus, the area is high on the housing affordability index. “Charleston has already surpassed all of 2015 in total units sold as of the end of November, while overall inventory of homes remain low,” adds Garrison. “Recent data shows our region holds a median price of $240,000. Combined with still incredibly low interest rates, that makes this area still affordable, and most often, cheaper to own than rent.”

8. San Antonio, TX: Lone Star living

San Antonio, TX is easily one of the biggest military cities in the U.S., and because of that, the cost of living in this Lone Star town is one of the best in the South. “There’s also steady supply and demand for homes,” explains Lisa Sinn, a real estate agent with Keller Williams. “That means home prices are more affordable.” Added to the low cost of living are the steady job opportunities from major employers such as USAA, Toyota, and H-E-B (grocery store chain), making it easy to see why San Antonio’s on Trulia’s radar. “The culture here is also extremely diverse,” adds Sinn, who notes the city’s culture and history are added bonuses to San Antonio residents.

9. Phoenix, AZ: Life’s a cinch in the Valley of the Sun

The country’s eighth-largest city has much to offer beyond its stunning geography and easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and more. “It’s easy living [here],” says Monique Walker, an agent with RE/MAX Excalibur. “Even though it’s one of the largest cities in the U.S., you can easily get around from one end of the city to the other without encountering traffic and congestion.” The true draw of Phoenix, AZ, though, is its affordability. “First-time homebuyers can find great inventory for homes in the $150,000 to $200,000 range,” says Walker. “While those looking for higher-end homes can easily find one in the $1 million-plus range. There’s a vast diversity in home prices, which is why Phoenix is appealing to so many people.”

10. North Port–Sarasota–Bradenton, FL: Glorious in the Gulf Coast

The last Florida city to round out the top 10 is located in the Gulf Coast region of the state. While the weather is the most obvious draw to the area, it’s much more than sunny skies and 80-degree days that attracts people. “Unlike other Florida markets, this area is a full-time community, meaning that it’s not a transient- or vacation-driven community,” says Robert Anderson, the top agent for RE/MAX in Sarasota, FL. “Not only does it deliver on the natural beauty of its beaches and weather, but it also has the critical infrastructure — the arts, great schools, small to medium-size companies, small universities — that [is] critical to making a great community.”
- See more at: https://www.trulia.com/blog/10-hottest-real-estate-markets-to-watch-in-2017/#sthash.KgFfkJbl.dpuf

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