Real Estate, Community News & More from My Desk to Yours

Friday, June 27, 2014

RealtyTrac: Home prices up 13% due to high-end sales

 In RealtyTrac's May 2014 Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report, U.S. residential properties (single family homes, condominiums, and townhomes) sold at roughly the same rate as they did one month earlier, and less than 1% higher year-to-year.

However, total sales include a lot more "normal" sales than in recent months, causing, in part, a median sales price ($180,000) rise of 6%  month-to-month and 13% year-to-year.

May's year-over-year increase was the second consecutive month with a double-digit annual increase in U.S. home prices, and the biggest annual increase since U.S. home prices bottomed out in March 2012.

In May U.S. distressed sales and short sales combined accounted for 14.3% of all residential sales—a drop from 15.6% of sales in April and down 15.9% in May 2013.

"Distressed sales continue to represent a smaller share of the overall sales pie nationwide, helping to boost median home prices higher given that distressed sales tend to be in lower price ranges," says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

"When broken down by average price range, U.S. sales are clearly shifting away from the lower end," he says. "Properties selling below $200,000 represented 50 percent of all sales in May, but that was down from a 55 percent share a year ago. Meanwhile, the share of homes selling above $200,000 increased from a 45 percent a year ago to a 50 percent in May 2014."

Florida ranked fifth nationwide for a sales decline year-to-year (3%), though top-ranked California saw a 15% drop. Only one Florida city, Orlando, ranked in the top five for metro areas with declining sales, coming in at No. 3 with an 18% drop. No. 1 ranked Boston sale a 23% sales decline.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

50% of all Agents Failed to Close a Single Deal in 2013! Why . . . ?


Applying @SimonSinek's "Start With Why", Inman News looks at tapping into your clients’ reptilian brain to learn what they really want in a house. 

Read more at Inman News . . .

Apartment occupancy hits 95% as rents keep rising

National apartment occupancy hit 95% during May -- a level not seen since at least 2006, when the real estate market was still booming, according to an apartment data and research company.

[Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

International Buyers Bolster Florida’s Housing Market

The report "Buying In: An Analysis of International Homebuyers in Floridaprojects that Florida will sell an estimated 60,000-plus homes to international buyers through 2016.

Most international investment in the Florida housing market comes from Latin America and the Caribbean, Canada, and Europe—nearly 90 percent of Florida home purchases by international buyers.

"International homebuyers not only bolster Florida's housing market, they also impact Florida's economy as a whole," says Jerry D. Parrish, Ph.D., Florida TaxWatch Chief Economist. "The sale of Florida homes to international investors increases tax revenue, provides the opportunity to expand tourism, and diversifies the state economy with global exposure."

Read more at Florida Realtors.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Brazilians make their mark on Florida and beyond . . .

MIAMI (AP) – June 12, 2014 – As all eyes turn to Brazil for the World Cup, Brazilians in the U.S. are also gaining notice. According to the U.S. Census, more than 325,000 people of Brazilian ancestry now call the United States home, but experts put the numbers higher.

Most have come since the late 1980s, first landing in the nation's traditional Portuguese-speaking enclaves around Boston and more recently congregating in central and South Florida.

Read the full story at

Retirement moves make a comeback!

Retirement moves, which dropped sharply during the worst of the recession, are making a comeback.

Florida, the top draw for movers 55 and older, is gaining about 55,000 older movers each year, more than twice the growth it saw after the housing bubble burst in the middle of the last decade, according to a Stateline analysis of Census Bureau numbers. Florida's annual growth for this age group is 138 percent.

Read more at Florida Realtors . . .

Monday, June 9, 2014

Looking for a Luxury Home? So is Everyone Else in Miami

Miami had a pretty good 2013. From one end of the price spectrum to the next, home sales were on the rise. Sales of the priciest homes, designated by their $2.9 million and above price tag, were up 26 percent and the other 99 percent were up seven percent.

Source:  Miami Agent Magazine (read more:

The Real Reason Construction Activity is Up

Overall construction spending in the U.S. economy rose 0.2% from March to April and 8.6% from April 2013, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $953.5 billion.

That was the big finding in the Census Bureau’s latest construction report, which also found that for the first four months of 2014, construction spending has amounted to $274.5 billion, or 8.9% above where it was during the same period in 2013.

On the surface, those are all great stats, especially given how shaky construction has been so far this year; however, as with all things construction in the post-bubble marketplace, things are not quite what they seem with the Census Bureau’s report, and we have multifamily housing to thank for that.

The Overwhelming Effect of Multifamily
We may seem a bit obsessed with multifamily housing, considering how often it pops up in our construction-related stories, but it really is at the center of the new construction marketplace right now, and April’s numbers only offered further proof of that.

Consider this: though single-family home construction rose by 14% year-over-year in April, and though remodeling rose 19% year-over-year, new construction for the multifamily marketplace rose an incredible 31%.

So once again, we have to reconcile with the fact that though construction continues to recover, it’s doing so at the pace of the industry’s soaring multifamily sector–and the fact that the majority of those multifamily units are being planned and constructed as rentals, rather than condos.

The Steady Improvement of Residential Construction
Still, we can’t completely disregard the progress that has been made in residential construction. At $378.5 billion in April, residential construction was pretty much flat from March, though it was up by 17% from last year, according to Bill McBride’s computations at Calculated Risk.

Also, though residential is down 44% from its early 2006 peak, it’s up 66% from the post-bubble low of 2009/2010, and is only expected to grow further as the market continues


Monday, June 2, 2014

Has Florida found the secret to saving the economy?

Ask your kids: Harry Potter’s magic can save the world. Or you can ask Rick Scott: Harry Potter has recently done more than a little to create the mini-boom that has turned Florida into one of the nation’s three fastest-growing states, giving Scott a fighting chance to hold on the to governorship this fall.

Smart investors, and citizens, should think about the minus-sized magician today when they look at the government’s new estimates of first-quarter gross domestic product . Because what went right in Florida, which has built an investment boom around the reported $260 million that Universal spent on the now four-year-old Wizarding World of Harry Potter , is the flip side of what’s wrong with the national economy.

Florida is surging because . . .Read more at Market Watch