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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Florida Population Surging Again

People from other countries and other states are pouring into Florida again, a sign of the state's recovery from a long period of economic doldrums and slow growth.

Recently released U.S. Census numbers show that Florida's foreign-born population increased by 140,000 from 2010 through last year. And movement within the United States left Florida with a net gain of 105,000 residents last year and 109,000 in 2012 — 84% more than in the previous two years.

The population surge has accelerated this year, according to state estimates, growing at a rate of about 700 new residents a day. That's a healthy increase, though still less than the big migrations during the Sunbelt boom of past decades.

For many job seekers, South Florida has become a hip beachside destination with a nexus of entrepreneurs, investors, a big consumer market and a gateway to Latin America.

Read more at Sun-Sentinel.com



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Home Sales BOOM on Horizon?

With 8,000 baby boomers expected to retire daily for the next several years in the U.S., Southwest Florida stands to benefit from a massive influx of home buyers, the chief economist of the National Association of Realtors believes.

Lawrence Yun said the baby boom influx will not be just from the U.S. states, because the phenomenon was not limited to America.

"After the war, servicemen came home and started having babies," Yun told an audience of 200 Wednesday at the annual Sarasota International Real Estate Conference.

"The same thing happened all over the world."

Already, half of all foreigners who buy real estate in Florida are retired.

In all, foreign buyers make up about 10% of the state's buyers, Yun noted, though locally that figure may be higher.

While German buyers tend to acquire property in Naples—partly because there's a direct flight from Dusseldorf to Southwest Florida International Airport outside Fort Myers—Sarasota attracts a more diverse international buyer, led by Canadians and residents from Great Britain, Yun said.

Chinese buyers may become a greater presence here, too, because that country's economy continues to "turn out millionaires right and left," Yun said. Economic growth there is roughly 8 to 9%annually, on par with America's growth in the 1950s.

"We have seen a surge of Chinese buyers coming into the U.S., primarily on the West Coast," Yun told the conference, which was sponsored by the Sarasota Association of Realtors' Global Business Council. "But they will begin to see that other parts of the country are attractive."

Yun said he expects interest rates to rise to 5% in 2015, but that the rate hike will likely have little effect on foreign buyers, because 80% pay cash for Florida homes.

Although the national real estate market has cooled after two years of recovery—the result of rising interest rates and low inventory—the Sarasota region remains strong.

Yun expects increases in the number of homes sold and the prices for which they sell, in part because a long period of "pent-up demand" has not yet been satisfied by home construction.

The market's "solid fundamentals," Yun said, will make this a multi-year recovery. Those fundamentals include a large number of cash purchases, larger down payments, better credit scores among buyers and an improving employment picture.

"Four of the next five years will be strong because of solid fundamentals," Yun said.

"The factors that support growth are evident in the Sarasota region, while the international market is always a wild card," he added. "There could be a sudden surge, there could be a steady trickle—it depends on situations globally with visas and what is happening in foreign economies. The economies are strong in Germany and the U.K.; people there have the cash necessary to come over here."

Source:  Herald-Tribune

New Hours for Coral Gables Public Library

Starting October 5th, the Coral Gables branch of Miami-Dade County Public Libraries will be open: Monday-Friday, and Sunday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday 12:00 noon - 8 p.m.
Closed on Thursdays

3443 Segovia Street
Coral Gables, FL
305 442 8706

Housing Market Starts to Soften

Although sales and inventory are up in the state of Florida, nationally home sales are down, 1.8%, and investors have retreated because inventory of distressed properties has gone down. From The Washington Post article:  "Cash buyers retreat from housing market, cooling home sales":

Sales of previously built homes dropped last month in part because investors paying all cash to buy foreclosures retreated once the supply of distressed properties shrank, a real estate industry group reported Monday.

The National Association of Realtors said that existing-home sales fell 1.8% in August from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million. The performance — which captures sales completed last month — is also down 5.3% from a year earlier.

The results signal yet another stumble in the housing market’s stilted housing recovery, though Realtors tried to put a positive spin on the development. The group said that having investors retreat from the market opens up opportunities for the all-important first-time home buyers, who often lost out to all-cash offers from deep-pocketed investors when bidding on foreclosures and other troubled properties.

All-cash sales made up 23% of transactions in August, down from 29% in July and the lowest overall share since December 2009. But it’s unclear if  first-time buyers will step in to fill the void. After all,  home prices are still high and access to credit remains tight for all but the most pristine of borrowers.

The median price for all previously-built homes – including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – was $219,800 in August. That’s 4.8% above the year ago, and marks the 30th month in a row of year-over year price gains, the Realtor group said. Many experts who track home values say price gains have been moderating, but in many areas they remain above year-ago levels.

Meanwhile, the younger adults who tend to make up the lion’s share of first-time buyers have several factors working against them. Many are struggling to cope with a tight job market and juggling student loan debt at a time when lenders are shying away from extending mortgages to people without top-notch credit.  In the aftermath of the housing crisis, lenders got hit with record financial penalties and lawsuits. They responded by demanding higher credit scores and pristine credit profiles from potential borrowers seeking government-backed mortgages – exceeding the standards set by the government itself.

Read more . . .

Florida Sales up 4.2% year-to-year, prices up 3.4% in August

Florida's housing market saw higher median prices and a rising inventory in August, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

Closed Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 21,742 last month, up 4.9% over the August 2013 figure.

"For several months now, stability and consistency are key trends we're seeing in Florida's housing market, as the state's jobs outlook remains steady and the economy continues to grow," says 2014 Florida Realtors President Sherri Meadows, CEO (and team leader, Keller Williams, with market centers in Gainesville, Ocala and The Villages). "The statewide inventory (active listings) for single-family homes last month rose 13% year-over-year, while the townhouse-condo inventory of active listings rose 8.9%."

Read more at FloridaRealtors.org