Southwest Florida News and Articles
Real Estate News
As Realtors®, one of the most important tasks we have is to stay aware of news events which affect the real estate markets. We do this not only because it is important for us to be able to provide quality service to our clients, but also to keep ourselves informed of the type of things which may impact all of us here in Southwest Florida.
Therefore, we are providing the following information to help keep you aware of the local, state and national real estate news which may affect either buyers or sellers of Southwest Florida real estate. And, since these type of news events are constantly changing, we update this information on a regular basis. So, check back often to keep yourself abreast of the latest news for Southwest Florida real estate.
A Few Reasons Why the Southwest Florida Real Estate Market is Improving
- With the continued decrease in prices, some by 40% or more, buyers are finding many good deals available.
- Prices have stabilized in many areas and inventory has fallen substantially.
- Developers are building new homes again in many existing projects and are breaking ground on four new communities in January 2012.
- Mortgage interest rates remain historically low.
- Anxious sellers are more flexible about terms and are offering many enticements.
- Reasons Why Florida's Housing Market Will Continue to Prosper
- Florida Crosses 19 Million Population Mark
- Florida Real Estate: Listing Prices Rising
- Florida Again Ranked in Top 5 for Best on Taxes
- Top 10 Best U.S. Retirement Destinations
- Top 10 Most Undervalued Cities in Florida
Thus, as we move on from here, buyers can look forward to a good "window of opportunity" for purchasing property in Southwest Florida.
Florida Home Sales and Prices
According to the monthly statewide sales report from the Florida Association of Realtors, “the housing numbers continue to signal a substantial recovery is well underway.” “Sales to date through June, 2012 are above where they were in 2011 and are a harbinger of a third straight year of improvement. More importantly, pending sales are up dramatically, and inventory is still falling. In addition, increases in both median and average prices suggests that investors are having a strong impact on the market, soaking up lower priced inventory and causing buyers to move up the price ladder.”
Statewide, sales of existing single-family homes totaled 18,800, up 5.3% over June, 2011. The statewide existing home median price was $151,000, up 8.2% from a year ago. According to housing industry analysts, sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a 15% - 20% discount relative to traditional homes. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
Existing condominium sales in June totaled 9,202 statewide, up 1.5% from a year ago levels. The statewide median sales price for condos was $110,000. That was up 15.8% from a year ago.
The month's supply of inventory stood at 6.0 for single-family homes and 5.9 for condos. That's down 39.8% for both on a year over year basis.
Pending sales for both single family homes (up 31%) and for condominiums (up 23%), show that buyers continue to be positive about the market. Realtors® around the state are reporting ongoing increased business activity as many buyers continue to scramble to buy their piece of paradise. Most are doing so because they have come to the realization that the current prices are just too good to pass up any longer and they need to take advantage of the discounted sales prices while they still can. With inventories declining this dramatically, really good buying opportunities in the most desirable communities are getting much harder to find.
National Home Sales
The National Association of Realtors said the annualized pace of existing home sales fell by 5.4% in June to 4.37 million but are still 4.5% above the 4.18 million level of a year ago. NAR's chief economist said "limited supplies of housing inventory continued to hold back existing home sales in June, but sales maintained a strong lead over year ago levels and home prices are on a sustained uptrend in all regions." According to June's report, "There are broad based shortages of inventory in the lower price ranges in much of the country except the Northeast, and in the West supply is extremely tight in all price ranges except for the upper end. Widespread inventory shortages were also are found in much of Florida." NAR's practitioner survey showed first-time buyers purchased 32% of the homes in June and distressed home sales accounted for 25% of the transactions (13% were foreclosures and 12% were short sales).
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $189,400, up 7.9% from a year ago. However, there is still a significant downward distortion in the current median price from the large number of distressed sales at discounted prices. Distressed homes are typically selling for 15% to 20% less than the normal market price. Foreclosures sold for an average 18% below market price in June, while short sales were discounted 15%. Inventories of homes on the market fell 3.2% last month to 2.39 million and represented 6.6 months worth of supply. Listed inventory is 24.4% below a year ago levels when there was a 9.1 month supply of properties available and well below the record of 4.04 million in July 2007.
Around the country, sales were down in all four national regions. The Northeast fell by 11.5%, the West by 6.9%, the South by 4.4% and the Midwest by 1.9%. The median price in the South was $165,000, up 6.6% from a year ago.
Single-family home sales fell 5.1% to a rate of 3.9 million but are up 4.8% from a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $190,100, up 8% from June, 2011.
Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 7.8% to a rate of 470,000 units but were up 2.2% from June, 2011. The median existing condo price was $183,200, up 6.9% from a year ago.
The Commerce Department reported the annualized pace of housing starts fell by 1.1% in July to 746,000 units but were 21.5% higher than a year ago. Starts for single-family homes fell 6.5% to an annual rate of 502,000 units. Multi-family units rose 9.6% to a 229,000 unit annual pace. The data release, a monthly report from the Census Bureau, also revealed that building permits rose by 6.8% to a rate of 812,000 and were up by 29.5% from a year ago. Single-family permit authorizations in July were at a rate of 513,000, up 4.5% while multi-family permits rose 10.5% to 274,000.
Privately-owned housing completions in July were up 7.1% at a annual rate of 668,000 and were 5.4% above the July 2011 rate of 634,000. Single-family housing completions were at a rate of 448,000; that was 5.9% below the June rate of 476,000. Multi-family units were up 58.3% to a 209,000 unit annual completion rate.
The inventory of total houses under construction was up 1.2% to 489,000 units, while the total number of permits authorized but not yet started were up at 88,900 units. By region, starts fell in three of the four national areas. The Midwest rose by 17%. The West fell by 5.3%, the South by 3.5% and the Northeast by 1.3%.
July's new home sales report showed sales were up 3.6% to an annual rate of 372,000 and were 25.3% above the July 2011 numbers. Around the country regionally, sales were up in two of the four national regions. Sales rose by 7.7% in the Northeast. Sales fell by 1.6% in the South and by 0.9% in the West. The median new home sales price was $224,200, down 2% from June. The average sales price was $263,200. The level of new homes on the market at the end of the month was 142,000 and represents a supply of 4.6 months at the current sales rate. Inventories continue at their lowest levels since 1967.
July's seasonally adjusted index of pending home sales rose by 2.4% but are 12.45% above last year's number. The index has been above the year ago numbers for 15 consecutive months and is currently at a 2 year high.
On a regional basis, the pending home sales index was up in 3 of the 4 national regions. Sales rose by 0.5% in the Northeast, by 5.2% in the South, and by 3.4% in the Midwest. Sales fell by 1.7% in the West. It is important to keep in mind that the pending sales information is somewhat dated and its significance is diluted by the fact that it is just an indicator of upcoming actual sales.
Florida Real Estate Articles
Florida Legislative Update
Short Sales and Florida Doc Stamp Taxes
In a stunning reversal, The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) issued a new ruling stating that doc stamp taxes owed on a short sale should be based on the sale price paid by the purchaser and "not on the sales price plus any amount forgiven by the home seller's lender." The ruling is effective immediately.
Questions about the Florida Real Estate Tax Amendment Changes?
The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) is the best source for up-to-date information, including documents and forms related to portability, the additional homestead exemption and the tangible personal property tax exemption.
For more information on any of the above changes, visit the DOR Website
U.S. Legislative Update
To view more Florida real estate and mortgage related information, please visit our
Southwest Florida Real Estate Blog and Gulf Coast Associates Blog
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