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Southwest Florida Real Estate Blog

HUD Extends RESPA Comment Period

Friday, May 16th, 2008 at 8:14pm. 1,240 Views, 0 Comments.

HUD has announced a 30-day extension, to June 12, 2008, for the public to comment on the proposed new Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) rule. The announcement came just days before the initial comment period was set to end and on the heels of a letter HUD received signed by 149 members of Congress. The Congressional letter referenced the extensive nature of the RESPA reform proposal and the fact that some aspects of the proposed changes had not previously been the subject of public comment.

In addition, the letter stated that further analysis was needed on the proposed rule's interaction with state and federal laws and…

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Beware Alligator Mating Season

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008 at 10:51pm. 3,359 Views, 2 Comments.

Florida AlligatorFlorida residents and visitors should be aware its alligator mating season once again and you cannot be too careful with these fierce but wonderful creatures. Each year as spring turns into summer and the weather begins to truly warm, an alligators metabolism increases and they become quite frisky in seeking out mates.

Once on the edge of extinction, the alligator population has fully recovered and encounters with humans are inevitable. You can find them on your front lawn, in your swimming pool and even in your house, if you're not careful. Awareness and understanding are the keys for learning how best to live near the areas they…

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Southwest Florida Property Sales on the Rise

Saturday, May 10th, 2008 at 5:08pm. 759 Views, 0 Comments.

For all the doom and gloom you hear about home sales from the national media, the old adage that all real estate is local, could not be more evident than here in Southwest Florida. Homes sales in our local markets, including Bonita Springs, Estero and Naples have picked up quite nicely since the beginning of the year. In fact, for many areas and property types, the local market is moving ahead at a very nice pace. A quick look at the numbers, from actual and pending sales to available inventory, in many instances, is pointing in a positive direction. Does this mean the bottom is here?

A simple answer is both yes and no. The bottom…

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Southwest Florida Population Growth Slows to a Sprint

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008 at 9:36am. 1,056 Views, 2 Comments.

By any standard, population growth in Southwest Florida has slowed from the torrid pace of 2000-2006. However, it still ranks near the top when compared to the rest of the country. The Cape Coral-Bonita Springs-Ft. Myers metropolitan area (Lee County) dropped one spot to the fourth fastest growing metro area while the Naples-Marco Island metropolitan area (Collier County) fell to the 16th fastest growing metro area for the time period 2000-2007.

The rankings are based on the percentage of growth, not the actual number of people. Lee County's population grew by 33.9% (150,000) and Collier County's by 25.6% (65,000) from April 2000…

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Florida 2008 Legislative Session - More Real Estate Issues Addressed

Sunday, May 4th, 2008 at 2:24pm. 5,206 Views, 5 Comments.

When the 2008 Florida Legislature adjourned on Friday night, Realtors counted numerous law changes that will benefit property owners, renters and the Florida real estate market in general. All the bills will still need to be approved by Governor Crist, but here is a synopsis of the real estate related highlights:

More Property Tax Reforms

Commercial property owners will be pleased to learn that legislation passed requiring property appraisers to consider zoning and permits before applying the "highest and best use"  valuation standard. This will give citizens more say in challenges to property assessments and will go a long way…

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Get Flood Insurance Now for the 2008 Hurricane Season

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008 at 2:48pm. 992 Views, 0 Comments.

Now is the time to be sure and recommend flood insurance to your new home buyers in Florida. It takes 30 days for a new policy to become effective, and signing up early is important in order to make sure their coverage is in effect for the start of Florida's hurricane season on June 1st. Another thing to remember is that certain exemptions also exist to the 30 day waiting period. A policy is immediately effective if a lender requires it in connection with a new loan or loan change; if additional insurance is required because of a map change; if a lender suddenly decides that a property does indeed require flood insurance; and if a…

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FOMC Cuts Interest Rates Again

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 at 6:22pm. 1,181 Views, 0 Comments.

Fed Cuts Interst RatesBy an 8-2 vote, the Federal Reserve Board's Open Market Committee cut both the Fed Funds and Discounts rates by 25 basis points this afternoon. The move lowers the Fed Funds rate to 2.00 and the Discount rate to 2.25. In lock step after the announcement, most the major banks immediately lowered the Prime rate to 5.00. In their post meeting remarks, the FOMC said that economic activity in the U.S. remains weak and the move in rates should help promote moderate growth over time. In addition, they made a point to stress that the Fed will monitor inflation and price stability closely (as some indicators of inflation continue to rise)…

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Hello World! Welcome to Our Southwest Florida Blog

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008 at 9:32am. 779 Views, 5 Comments.

Welcome to Gulf Coast Associates, Realtors new Southwest Florida Real Estate Blog. We hope to provide you with some valuable insights into both the real estate and mortgage markets throughout Florida and beyond. Up until now, we did all of our blogging over at Real Estate Webmasters. Our Gulf Coast Associates Blog at REW has been a great success - we've had over 100,000 page views over the past few months.

At this time in our company's growth cycle we'd like to expand our web presence by participating in another arena. This is a place where we can share the latest information for our industries with you and open dialogues for…

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Blog Authored by Benjamin Dona of Gulf Coast Associates, Realtors