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Real Estate Trends: Fla. ‘outperformed’ the U.S.

 

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jan. 27, 2017 — In 2016, Florida’s economy outperformed the nation in part because of better job creation, according to several economists who spoke to a standing-room-only crowd of about 500 Realtors® at the 2017 Florida Real Estate Trends event Thursday during Florida Realtors Mid-Winter Business Meetings.

National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun noted that the pace of U.S. home sales in 2016 at 5.5 million was “the best in a decade.” Since it’s nowhere near the 7.2 million sales peak in 2006, however, it leaves room for continued growth in 2017. And while interest rates are trending higher, it hasn’t had a dampening effect on home sales.

“A 4.2 percent mortgage rate is still a great rate,” Yun said. “As long as we’re around the 4 to even 5 percent mortgage rate, home sales are likely to stay on pace. As mortgage rates rise, job creation – which Florida excels at – could be a great neutralizer and good for home sales. In fact, Florida is outperforming the country because of better job creation.”

Other speakers who shared their views on 2017 included Dr. Elliot Eisenberg, a nationally known economist and former senior economist with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB); Michael Johnston, Florida regional sales manager, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; Dr. Julie Harrington, director of Florida State University’s Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis; and Dr. Brad O’Connor, chief economist for Florida Realtors.

“The good news, here in Florida, you’re in the right place,” Eisenberg said. “The South is the right division to be in – the economic recovery here has been much more robust. Florida is doing fine economically, unemployment is OK, and foreclosures are diminishing.”

He agreed with Yun that while mortgage rates will continue to rise this year – albeit slowly – the markets will be fine as long as jobs are being created.

“Housing is improving, but in fits and starts,” Eisenberg said. “There’s not enough inventory of homes for sale, and builders aren’t building, especially at the entry-level. Bigger houses are being built, but it’s not profitable for builders to construct more affordable homes.”

Eisenberg cited worker shortages, burdensome land-use regulations and costs – land, labor and regulation – as some of the constraints homebuilders face when it comes to building entry-level homes.

“We have to try a myriad of solutions, but getting the land costs down and easing land-use regulations will be the single most important factor in solving this issue,” he said.

According to Eisenberg, forces at work in Florida and across the U.S. that are dampening real estate sales include:

  • Low inventory – December 2016 data, which is just a few days old, shows that the existing single-family home inventory nationwide is 3.6 months; in Florida, it’s 3.9-month months. A 6-month supply is generally considered a balanced market between buyers and sellers.
  • New model of renting – Six million single-family units have been taken off the market because institutional investors snapped up many homes during the Great Recession and created a new method of renting.
  • Mortgage rate lock – many people don’t want to sell because they’ll lose the really low mortgage rate they’re currently paying.

When it comes to financing, lenders are in a technology race to provide a digital, user-friendly experience. Their goal is to make the mortgage process easier for the customer, said Michael Johnston, Florida regional sales manager for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

“Today, 42 percent of homebuyers are millennials,” he said, “and with 92 million more millennials coming up, it will be an even bigger part of the housing market over the next five years. A recent survey found that 93 percent of those age 18-34 intend to buy a house sometime in their future. Millennials are always online, so creating a digital mortgage experience for them is critical.”

Johnston shared research showing that millennials value the expertise of Realtor professionals during the home buying process. “While they will go online to do home shopping, they do want to consult a trusted advisor along the way,” he said.

The condominium market is an important part of the overall real estate market, and often offers an affordable option for buyers, according to Johnston. “In Florida, the condo market is healthy and robust,” he said. “Condos make up 28 percent of all home sales in Florida; nationally, it’s 12 percent.”

Dr. Julie Harrington, director of Florida State University’s Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis (CEFA), previewed elements of an economic impact study on Florida’s SHIP and SAIL funds by county that Florida Realtors commissioned CEFA to conduct. SHIP stands for State Housing Initiatives Partnership program, while SAIL stands for the State Apartment Incentive Loan program.

As data is collected and analyzed, researchers will construct an economic forecasting model for Florida’s future affordable housing needs, and the data will also be used to compile statewide economic impact numbers for the SHIP and SAIL programs, Harrington said.

Looking ahead to the coming months, Florida Realtors Chief Economist Brad O’Connor announced to Realtors that the state association plans to soon release housing data metrics for Florida specific to cities and zip codes. Applause greeted his announcement. O’Connor anticipates having the new statistics starting on Feb. 9, which coincides with the release of the fourth quarter 2016 and 2016 year’s end data from Florida Realtors. The statistics will be available to members at www.floridarealtors.org/research (password-protected).

Looking at all of 2016, the statewide existing homes market remained stable but was also relatively “flat,” according to O’Connor, though part of the reason for that year-to-year analysis was that “2015 was a pretty darn good year, sales-wise.”

He also pointed out that a shortage of housing inventory in markets across the state, particularly for properties values at $200,000 or less, is impacting closed sales and putting pressure on median prices. Another factor: Sales of distressed properties continue to fall.

“In 2015, 10 percent of Florida’s housing inventory was distressed at the end of each month,” O’Connor said. “This past year, it’s been 5 percent, and it’s going to keep going down in 2017.”

© 2017 Florida Realtors®

 

 

Contact: Marla Martin, Media Relations and Communications Manager, or
Jeff Zipper, Vice President of Communications; 407/438-1400, ext. 2326 or 2314

Fla.’s Housing Market: New Listings, Median Prices Up in 2Q 2016

ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 10, 2016 – Florida’s housing market reported more new listings, higher median prices and fewer days to a sales contract during the second quarter of 2016, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 76,748 in 2Q 2016, up 1.4 percent over the 2Q 2015 figure.

“In the second quarter of 2016, Florida continued to add new jobs, which attracts new residents, encourages economic growth and strengthens the housing market,” said 2016 Florida Realtors® President Matey H. Veissi, broker and co-owner of Veissi & Associates in Miami. “Traditional housing sales increased statewide over the three-month period, while sales of distressed properties continued to decline. In another positive sign, new listings for single-family homes over the three-month-period rose 2.9 percent year-over-year, while new condo-townhouse listings rose 3.3 percent.”

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 2Q 2016 was $220,000, up 10 percent from the same time a year ago, according to data from Florida Realtors research department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for condo-townhouse properties during the quarter was $163,000, up 5.2 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

Looking at Florida’s condo-townhouse market, statewide closed sales totaled 31,699 during 2Q 2016, down 2.7 percent compared to 2Q 2015. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales – and rising traditional sales – over the three-month period: Short sales for condo-townhouse properties declined 42.2 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 36.7 percent. Meanwhile, traditional sales for condo-townhouse units rose 6.9 percent and traditional sales for single-family homes increased 14.4 percent year-over-year. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

“Existing home sale prices throughout most of Florida’s metro areas are continuing to exhibit robust year-over-year growth,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. “This growth is attributable to simple economics, which is to say that demand is strong and supply is currently limited. The inventory of homes for sale at the more affordable end of the price spectrum – which includes the vast majority of distressed properties – continues to decline significantly, and new construction has not come close to making up the difference.”

In 2Q 2016, the median time to a contract (the midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to receive a sales contract during that time) was 42 days for single-family homes and 50 days for condo-townhouse properties.

Inventory was at a 4.3-months’ supply in the second quarter for single-family homes and at a 6-months’ supply for condo-townhouse properties, according to Florida Realtors.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.59 percent for 2Q 2016, significantly lower than the 3.96 percent average recorded during the same quarter a year earlier.

To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center at http://media.floridarealtors.org/ and look under Latest Releases, or download the 2Q 2016 data report PDFs under Market Data at: http://media.floridarealtors.org/market-data

Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 155,000 members in 55 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.

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Contact: Carrie O’Rourke, vice president of public policy, 850/224-1400, ext. 2509, or
Marla Martin, media relations and communications manager, 407/438-1400, ext. 2326

Florida Realtors® Supports Amendment 4

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., July 14, 2016 — Florida Realtors® has joined Floridians, business owners and others in support of Amendment 4, which will be on the Aug. 30 primary election ballot. If passed, Amendment 4 would exempt solar panels on commercial properties from real property taxes – meaning that local tax assessors could not consider the added value from installing solar panels when assessing the value of commercial real property.

Additionally, Amendment 4 would exempt solar panels and equipment installed on all properties from the tangible personal property tax. Lawmakers unanimously voted to create the constitutional amendment during the 2016 Florida Legislature.

According to Carrie O’Rourke, vice president of public policy for Florida Realtors, under current law, solar or renewable energy devices are exempt from real property taxes for residential properties.

“Florida Realtors supports Amendment 4 and encourages voters to say yes on Aug. 30,” said 2016 Florida Realtors President Matey H. Veissi, broker and co-owner of Veissi & Associates in Miami. “It will encourage Florida’s business community to invest in solar, which will expand the use of clean energy and help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. In turn, increased solar energy will help preserve our natural environment for future generations. As the Sunshine State, Florida should be in the forefront of solar choice for businesses and consumers.”

Currently, there are about 6,000 solar jobs in Florida, according to recent legislative research.

“If Amendment 4 passes, it could increase the number of jobs across the state as more business owners install solar panels at their properties,” said Dean Asher, 2013 president of Florida Realtors and a candidate for Florida Senate, District 13. “Removing tax penalties and making solar and other renewable energy options more affordable in Florida will spark more interest in using solar energy – and that benefits both residents and business owners across Florida.”

During the 2013 legislative session, state lawmakers approved the measure that implemented current law exempting solar or renewable energy devices from real property taxes for residential properties, Asher noted.

A recent poll by the Florida Chamber of Commerce found 64 percent of voter respondents were in favor of Amendment 4, 19 percent opposed and 17 percent undecided. Businesses that support Amendment 4 have formed a coalition, Florida for Solar Inc., which includes the Florida Retail Federation; Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association; Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association; Florida Concrete and Products Association; Florida Independent Pharmacy Network; Advanced Energy Economy; Solar Energy Industry Association; The Nature Conservancy; Sierra Club; Vote Solar; Florida Conservation Voters; Environmental Defense Fund; Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; and Progress Florida.

Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 155,000 members in 55 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org

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Contact: Marla Martin, Media Relations and Communications Manager, or

Jeff Zipper, Vice President of Communications, 407/438-1400, ext. 2326 or 2314

Florida Realtors®  Advises Homeowners to Take
Summer Holiday Safety Precautions

ORLANDO, Fla., June 30, 2016 – Many families across Florida and the nation will spend the Fourth of July holiday away from home, soaking up sun on the state’s beautiful beaches, traveling to see relatives or visiting friends for a backyard barbecue.

To fully enjoy those activities and other summertime pursuits spent away from home, Florida Realtors®  suggests that homeowners take precautions to safeguard their residences when they’re not around. Crime rates across the country often start to peak as temperatures rise during warm weather months – the same time that many families leave their homes unoccupied and unprotected.

“Buying a home is usually the biggest investment that most people will ever make,” says 2016 Florida Realtors President Matey H. Veissi, broker and co-owner of Veissi & Associates in Miami. “While investing in a home is an opportunity to build financial security and increase household wealth, it’s so much more. Our homes are the places where we raise our families, make countless memories and house our dreams for the future. Taking steps to protect something so priceless only makes sense.”

Homeowners can take these simple precautions to make their homes less of a target for criminals:

No “Home Alone”: Before leaving your home during the day, make it look as if someone is still at home by using timers on lights in various rooms. Even though daylight hours are longer during the summer, it may still get dark faster than you expect or you may return home later than anticipated, and taking this step ensures that your home appears occupied at all times.

Mum’s the Word on Social Media: Sharing your vacation plans on social media sites isn’t wise. That’s the same as announcing to the world you’ll be gone and the house will be empty – a perfect target for burglars or vandals. An answering machine message shouldn’t reveal your plans either.

No Open Door Policy: Ensure that all doors leading to the home and garage are locked, even when leaving for short periods of time. The typical burglary takes less than five minutes and unlocked doors, combined with an empty home, put out the “welcome mat” for crime. Make sure windows are locked, too.

Someone to Watch Over Me: Be landscape smart. Shrubbery and other plants can grow very rapidly during the warm, wet summer months. Keep them trimmed so neighbors can easily see your home. Also, a burglar could see an unkempt yard as a sign of an empty home.

A Key Reminder: When leaving home, take your house keys along or leave a spare set with a trusted neighbor. Never leave a key under a welcome mat, in a mailbox or other hiding spots – most burglars know where to look.

Crime Doesn’t Take a Vacation: If you’re planning to be away from home for more than a day or two, ask a neighbor to park a car in your driveway and pick up your mail and newspapers – or make arrangements to cancel the paper and hold the mail. Disable your garage door opener and manually lock it from the inside, and don’t forget to check that the door leading from the garage to the home is locked, too.

Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 155,000 members in 55 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.
 

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Contact: Marla Martin, Media Relations and Communications Manager, or
Jeff Zipper, Vice President of Communications; 407/438-1400, ext. 2326 or 2314

Fla.’s Housing Market: Median Prices, New Listings Up in 1Q 2016

ORLANDO, Fla., May 9, 2016 – Florida’s housing market reported more new listings, higher median prices and fewer days to a sales contract during the first quarter of 2016, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 57,913 in 1Q 2016, slightly up (0.3 percent) over the 1Q 2015 figure.

“In the first three months of 2016, traditional housing sales rose in Florida while distressed property sales continued to decline – which underscores stability in the state’s housing sector,” said 2016 Florida Realtors® President Matey H. Veissi, broker and co-owner of Veissi & Associates in Miami. “Another positive sign: New listings for single-family homes over the three-month-period rose 4.5 percent year-over-year, while new condo-townhouse listings rose 6.6 percent.”

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 1Q 2016 was $203,500, up 11.8 percent from the same time a year ago, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for condo-townhouse properties during the quarter was $153,000, up 5.5 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

Looking at Florida’s condo-townhouse market, statewide closed sales totaled 24,534 during 1Q 2016, down 6.1 percent compared to 1Q 2015. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales – and rising traditional sales – over the three-month period: Short sales for condo-townhouse properties declined 36.9 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 33.2 percent. Meanwhile, traditional sales for condo-townhouse units rose 3.6 percent and traditional sales for single-family homes increased 15.9 percent year-over-year. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

“This quarter marked the fourth consecutive quarter that the median sale price for single-family homes in Florida experienced an annual growth percentage in the double-digits,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. “But I’d caution that the growth rate in the overall median sale price does not directly equate to the growth rate in the value of all homes. In truth, much of the increase in the median price statistic has been a result of the increasing scarcity of distressed homes and other properties that sell in the most affordable price ranges.

“For example, over the past couple of years, the median sale price among non-distressed homes has steadily been growing at a much more modest rate – in 1Q 2016, by just under 3 percent. This is much more akin to the traditional growth rates we were used to seeing 10 years ago.”

In 1Q 2016, the median time to a contract (the midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to receive a sales contract during that time) was 53 days for single-family homes and 54 days for condo-townhouse properties.

Inventory was at a 4.5-months’ supply in the first quarter for single-family homes and at a 6.3-months’ supply for condo-townhouse properties, according to Florida Realtors.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.74 percent for 1Q 2016, slightly up from the 3.72 percent average recorded during the same quarter a year earlier.

To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center at http://media.floridarealtors.org/ and look under Latest Releases, or download the 1Q 2016 data report PDFs under Market Data at: http://media.floridarealtors.org/market-data

Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 155,000 members in 55 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.

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Contact: Marla Martin, Media Relations and Communications Manager, or
Jeff Zipper, Vice President of Communications; 407/438-1400, ext. 2326 or 2314

Fla.’s Housing Market: New Listings, Median Prices Rise in March 2016

ORLANDO, Fla., April 20, 2016 – Florida’s housing market reported higher median prices, more new listings and fewer all-cash closed sales in March, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Statewide closed sales eased last month amid tighter inventory: Single-family home sales totaled 23,758, remaining relatively the same (down 0.6 percent) from March 2015.

“Many Florida homeowners have been able to rebuild home equity due to strong price growth, but that can also pose a challenge for first-time buyers and move-up buyers,” said 2016 Florida Realtors® President Matey H. Veissi, broker and co-owner of Veissi & Associates in Miami. “However, new listings rose in March, which is good news for potential buyers. New listings for existing single-family homes rose 5.6 percent compared to a year ago while new listings for townhouse-condo properties are up 2.6 percent.”

Meanwhile, sellers received more of their original asking price at the closing table. Sellers of existing single-family homes in March received 95.8 percent (median percentage) of their original listing price, while those selling townhouse-condo properties received 94.5 percent (median percentage).

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $209,500, up 10.3 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties in March was $155,000, up 3.3 percent over the year-ago figure.

March marked 52 months in a row that statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and for townhouse-condo properties 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 February 2016 was $212,300, up 4.3 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $198,900. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in February was $446,460; in Massachusetts, it was $309,000; in Maryland, it was $235,206; and in New York, it was $235,000.

Looking at Florida’s townhouse-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 10,076 last month, down 7.1 percent compared to March 2015. However, the closed sales data reflected fewer short sales and cash-only sales in March: Short sales for townhouse-condo properties declined 39.3 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 33.2 percent. Closed sales may occur from 30 to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.

“Overall, statewide inventory levels essentially held steady in March; however, beneath the surface, we can see that active listings in the most affordable price tiers are continuing to decline,” said Florida Realtors® Chief Economist Brad O’Connor. “These declines are being offset by the growth in the upper price tiers, particularly in the luxury market. The active inventory of homes listed for over $1 million, for instance, was up 18.3 percent year-over-year among single family homes and 38.6 percent among condos and townhouses.”

Inventory was at a 4.5-months’ supply in March for single-family homes and at a 6.3-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 3.69 percent in March 2016, down from the 3.77 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier.

To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center at http://media.floridarealtors.org/ and look under Latest Releases, or download the March 2016 data report PDFs under Market Data at: http://media.floridarealtors.org/market-data

Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 155,000 members in 55 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.

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