Monday, August 13, 2007

Florida's Existing Home Sales Remain Slower in June 2007

Florida's Existing Home Sales Remain Slower in June 2007: Despite favorable mortgage interest rates, strong job growth and other positive economic conditions, statewide sales of existing single-family homes in Florida totaled 12,954 in June and were closer to activity levels in June 2002 -- prior to the housing boom years -- than June 2006 figures when 18,607 homes sold for a 30 percent decrease in the year-to-year comparison, according to the Florida Association of Realtors(R) (FAR).
Florida's median sales price for existing single-family homes last month was $243,200; a year ago, it was $256,200 for a 5 percent decrease. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. In June 2002, the statewide median sales price for single-family homes was $142,400, for an increase of 70.8 percent over the five-year-period, according to FAR records.
In May 2007, the national median sales price for existing single-family homes was $223,000, down 2.4 percent from the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors(R) (NAR). In California, the statewide median resales price was $591,180 in May; in Massachusetts, it was $355,000; in Maryland, it was $312,683; and in New York, it was $239,000.
Existing home sales are expected to recover in 2008 and pick up by the end of this year, according to NAR's latest market outlook. "It appears some buyers are simply waiting for more signs of stability before they get serious about getting into the market," says NAR Senior Economist Lawrence Yun. "The market is underperforming when you consider positive fundamentals such as the strength in job creation, economic growth, favorable mortgage interest rates and flat home prices."
Sales of existing condominiums in Florida also decreased last month, with a total of 4,004 condos sold statewide compared to 5,532 in June 2006 for a 28 percent decline, according to FAR. The statewide median sales price for condos last month was $206,100, down 3 percent from June 2006's condo median price of $213,200. NAR reported the national median existing condo price was $228,200 in May 2007.
Last month, interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.66 percent, according to Freddie Mac, lower than the average rate of 6.68 percent in June 2006. FAR's sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
Among the state's larger markets, the Sarasota-Bradenton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) reported 797 existing homes sold last month compared to 762 homes sold a year ago for a 5 percent increase. The market's median sales price for homes was $292,700; it was $326,800 in June 2006 for a 10 percent decrease. A total of 276 existing condos changed hands in the MSA last month, down 7 percent from the 297 condos sold the previous year. The existing condo median sales price in June was $256,300; a year ago, it was $287,500 for an 11 percent decrease.
"Several factors are influencing the market in the Sarasota-Bradenton area," says May Aston, president of the Manatee Association of Realtors and real estate consultant with RE/MAX Gulfstream Realty. "Here in Manatee County, our location and beautiful beaches are central to the major airports and attractions. Inventory is plentiful, and sellers have adjusted their price expectations, which helps make homes more affordable again."
Among the state's smaller markets, the Tallahassee MSA reported a total of 422 homes sold in June compared to 512 homes a year ago for an 18 percent decrease. The existing home median sales price was $187,900; a year ago, it was $180,500 for a 4 percent increase. A total of 42 existing condos sold in the MSA last month compared to 41 condos the previous June for a 2 percent increase. The market's existing condo median price was $161,500; a year ago, it was $141,000 for an increase of 15 percent.
Robby Turner, president of the Tallahassee Board of Realtors and broker- owner with Robby Turner Realty, says that the area's economy remains strong and home sales are returning to a more normal pace. "As the state capital, Tallahassee is fortunate to have a stable, government-based economy, as well as a positive employment and job outlook due to our higher education institutions and a vibrant healthcare industry," he says. "We are the center of an eight-county region that offers plenty of room to grow."
Two charts showing statistics for Florida and its 20 MSAs are attached. One chart compares the volume of existing, single-family home sales and median sales prices; the other compares the volume of existing, condominium sales and median sales price in June 2007 to June 2006 based on Realtor transactions.
The Florida Association of Realtors(R), the voice for real estate in Florida, provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 150,000 members in 67 boards/associations.
Florida Sales Report - June 2007 Single-Family, Existing Homes

Realtor Sales Median Sales Price
Statewide &
Metropolitan June June % June June %
Statistical Areas 2007 2006 Chge 2007 2006 Chge

STATEWIDE* (1) 12,954 18,607 -30 $243,200 $256,200 -5
YEAR-TO-DATE 71,247 99,806 -29 $238,300 $247,400 -4
Daytona Beach 632 894 -29 $197,100 $219,900 -10
Fort Lauderdale 674 861 -22 $382,000 $377,400 1
Fort Myers-Cape Coral 558 891 -37 $253,900 $268,000 -5
Fort Pierce-Port
St. Lucie 316 513 -38 $237,100 $257,500 -8
Fort Walton Beach 274 309 -11 $238,500 $240,500 -1
Gainesville 327 402 -19 $217,100 $226,400 -4
Jacksonville 1,270 1,700 -25 $212,200 $220,700 -4
Lakeland-Winter Haven 313 507 -38 $175,300 $183,900 -5
Palm Bay 497 629 -21 $198,000 $232,800 -15
Miami 469 884 -47 $371,600 $378,000 -2
Island* (2) 43 35 23 $530,600 $535,200 -1
Ocala 284 525 -46 $176,700 $170,800 3
Orlando 1,595 2,800 -43 $258,100 $266,300 -3
Panama City 146 142 3 $200,000 $210,000 -5
Pensacola 461 524 -12 $168,000 $172,100 -2
Punta Gorda 218 323 -33 $199,000 $222,300 -10
Sarasota-Bradenton 797 762 5 $292,700 $326,800 -10
Tallahassee 422 512 -18 $187,900 $180,500 4
Tampa-St. Petersburg-
Clearwater (2) 2,428 3,751 -35 $220,900 $234,900 -6

West Palm Beach-
Boca Raton 764 947 -19 $377,900 $405,500 -7

(1) Statewide figure includes data from the Naples Area Board of Realtors
and Association of Real Estate Professionals.
(2) Data is only from the Marco Island Association of Realtors.
(3) Data from the Hernando County Association of Realtors now included in
the totals from 2006 and 2007.

Editor's note: Sales numbers represent totals of Realtors' closed transactions from local Realtor boards/associations within the MSAs.
This information is based on a survey of MLS sales levels from Florida's Realtor boards/associations. MSAs are defined by the 2000 Census. Source: Florida Association of Realtors and the University of Florida Real Estate Research Center.
Florida Sales Report - June 2007 Existing Condominiums

Realtor Sales Median Sales Price
Statewide &
Metropolitan June June % June June %
Statistical Areas 2007 2006 Chge 2007 2006 Chge

STATEWIDE* (1) 4,004 5,532 -28 $206,100 $213,200 -3
YEAR-TO-DATE 22,944 31,578 -27 $209,400 $210,600 -1
Daytona Beach 102 125 -18 $276,900 $248,100 12
Fort Lauderdale 595 910 -35 $194,100 $212,300 -9
Fort Myers-Cape Coral 194 183 6 $254,800 $269,100 -5
Fort Pierce-Port
St. Lucie 65 63 3 $229,500 $230,400 --
Fort Walton Beach 62 74 -16 $416,700 $430,800 -3
Gainesville 144 169 -15 $153,800 $152,100 1
Jacksonville 149 245 -39 $173,200 $170,400 2
Lakeland-Winter Haven 12 26 -54 $120,000 $96,700 24
Palm Bay 120 154 -22 $202,200 $211,400 -4
Miami 509 1,058 -52 $275,500 $257,600 7
Island* (2) 9 57 -84 $350,000 $508,100 -31
Ocala (3) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Orlando 188 502 -63 $156,900 $161,600 -3
Panama City 58 41 41 $300,000 $287,500 4
Pensacola 46 71 -35 $180,000 $133,800 35
Punta Gorda 31 37 -16 $150,000 $161,300 -7
Sarasota-Bradenton 276 297 -7 $256,300 $287,500 -11
Tallahassee 42 41 2 $161,500 $141,000 15
Tampa-St. Petersburg-
Clearwater (4) 654 697 -6 $165,900 $171,900 -3
West Palm Beach-
Boca Raton 529 512 3 $201,500 $208,100 -3

(1) Statewide figure includes data from the Naples Area Board of Realtors
and Association of Real Estate Professionals.
(2) Data is only from the Marco Island Association of Realtors.
(3) Data from the Ocala-Marion County Association of Realtors was not
(4) Data from the Hernando County Association of Realtors now included in
the totals from 2006 and 2007.

Editor's note: Sales numbers represent totals of Realtors' closed transactions from local Realtor boards/associations within the MSAs.
This information is based on a survey of MLS sales levels from Florida's Realtor boards/associations. MSAs are defined by the 2000 Census. Source: Florida Association of Realtors and the University of Florida Real Estate Research Center.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Residential market returns to normal - Notes from Jim Haughey - Blog on BuildingTeam Construction Forecast - 1410000141

Residential market returns to normal - Notes from Jim Haughey - Blog on BuildingTeam Construction Forecast - 1410000141: "Residential market returns to normal"

“The seller is very motivated”. That’s how the agent greeted my wife and me at an open house last weekend at a beach house in Maine. What a contrast those words are with how we were greeted by open house agents last February when we toured canal houses in Cape Coral. Then, agents told us that we should sign a contract that day before the price was increased, although several agents said this with little conviction.

It is not just the real estate agents who have a new attitude about the housing market. Last winter a Florida builder told us he would need 15-18 months to build a partially customized version of one of his standard plans. Last week he called to tell us he could now finish a new house by October.

Mortgage brokers have a new attitude as well. In the past month the message in my daily dinner time quota of mortgage telemarketing calls changed completely. I am no longer being promised 1.5% mortgage rates but am now being told that I should convert my adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed rate before the rate adjusts higher.

Housing market suppliers have been through their period of denial and have now thrown in the towel. They have accepted that the current market environment, likely to last through next year, has few households left that can be badgered into buying a home for fear of rising prices or to lock in an unusually low monthly payment. They are now expecting a normal market.

Remember what a normal market is like? Contractors and brokers have to hustle to keep prospects away from competitors. Margins are much lower. And many of your colleagues in the housing market who came on board recently for the free ride in 2004-05 will soon be making another career change.

Normal is not that bad but it will take some getting used to.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Cape Coral Condos: Local Traffic

Cape Coral Condos: Local Traffic

Local Traffic

Found a good post that deals with local traffic
If anyone wants to read check it here

Thursday, June 21, 2007 - Real Estate Article - Toll Free: 888-352-4687

As with buying other types of property, buying condominiums require that buyers arm themselves with information with regard to the type of condominium that they are interested in buying. This is important because given the unique features and the different environment that condominium living provides, buyer need to know whether they can live with the type of living that condos provide and the rules that are usually involved in communal living. The good news is that there are a number of sources from which people can get the information that they need, which can help guide them through the whole process of picking from the condos that are up for sale in the market.

Before even contacting a realtor to ask about the types of condominiums that are available, buyers should first research on what they can expect if they choose to live in a condominium. This is because condominium living offers a different environment to homeowners, which is different from what most people who live in stand alone homes are used to seeing. An example of this includes the fact that condo owners can also expect that they would have to share some areas with other condo owners like pools, gardens, and garages. More importantly, condo owners need to pay a monthly fee for the maintenance costs that the homeowner’s association would charge them for the maintenance of the condo units and the communal areas. Moreover, homeowners can also expect to be a little restrained with regard to personalizing their condo units because the rules of the homeowner’s association may limit what they can do with the exterior of their homes.

Once a person has decided that he can live with the arrangements that come with buying a condominium, there are a number of things that he should also research on with regard to buying a condo unit. One of these include researching the reputation of the sellers or the developers of condo units, which can ensure buyers that they are only dealing with reputable developers. In addition to this, buyers should also research on what they should look for in contracts and in the living arrangements of condo units.

When buying condos, it is very important for buyers to get the information that they need, which can help them decide whether condominium living is for them. Doing so involves researching on the living environment that condominiums provide and researching on the sellers that offer condo units, which can help ensure that buyers get the right condo unit that would fit their needs and their preferences.

Renters hold cards in today’s market

Lee County’s burgeoning skyscraper condominium market is a renter’s paradise — but a landlord’s hell.

Experts say as increasing numbers of condo units pour into an already overflowing supply of residential real estate, renters can almost name their price for even the costliest luxury units.

Jim Simon, for example, recently moved into a condo in the 32-story High Point Place in downtown Fort Myers, where the owners of its 105 units typically paid as much as $600,000 for the convenient riverfront location.

But Simon, a commercial real-estate broker, is paying only $1,350 a month — barely enough to cover the taxes and condo association fees.

“It’s like living in the Ritz-Carlton,” Simon said. “It’s got great amenities, it’s clean, it’s safe, it’s got a beautiful view.”

With only about 20 people living there, he practically has the place to himself, and with a number of similar projects under construction around downtown, he expects the good times for renters to last for awhile.

“It wouldn’t surprise me to see people get in for a little less than I’m paying,” Simon said.

The median condo resale price maxed out in February 2006 at $353,900, and by April 2007 the price had fallen to $244,100, down 31 percent, according to Florida Association of Realtors statistics.

As prices have fallen, so have rents. In late 2006 the average rent for a two-bedroom house was $940, down from an all-time high of $1,041 a year earlier, according to rental information service RealFacts.

Rents have continued to fall in recent months, as well, while the inventory of dwellings for sale stays at an all-time high of about 15,000, experts say.

Non-beachfront condos have been coming on line at an accelerating rate as well, in a trend fueled by speculators who bought pre-construction hoping to sell them quickly for a profit.

As a result, 829 new condo units in that category have been completed in the past 2€ years with another 1,769 under construction.

Owners are feeling the pinch on prices as renters have more to choose from.
A lot of people who bought condos as investments want to rent them out now because the market’s slow, said Joe Crimaldi of Rent SWFL in Fort Myers, who handles RENTALS leasing for condo owners throughout the area.

Not all equal

But not all skyscrapers are created equal, Crimaldi said.

For example, he handles leases in Riva Del Lago next to Lakes Park and Mastique on Bunche Beach Road, both in south Fort Myers, which he said are relatively easy to rent out. Riva Del Lago, which had three-bedroom units selling for more than $650,000, now has rentals around $1,500 a month. A three-bedroom condo in Mastique that sold for about $750,000 can be had for $1,750 a month.

But, he said, “I don’t go past Colonial Boulevard,” in part because he believes leasing out downtown units is an iffy proposition.

“In my opinion there aren’t enough jobs and not enough people to justify the downtown high rises,” he said. “Pretty much every lawyer downtown is over 50 and has a family and lives in a Fiddlesticks or someplace like that.”

Riva Del Lago, on the other hand, is close to the restaurants, shopping and offices along U.S. 41 and Summerlin Road in south Fort Myers, Crimaldi said. “It’s just more centrally located.”

Mastique doesn’t have the convenience of Riva Del Lago, but its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico makes it attractive to a retiree who is mainly looking for a place near the beach, he said.

A rental problem

One problem with renting out high-rises is people in this area simply aren’t used to having that option and need to be sold on the convenience of that lifestyle, said Marc Strengholt of Miloff Aubuchon Realty Group in Cape Coral.

He rents out units for owners of the Tarpon Landings high-rises, for example, but mainly to vacationers and part-time residents.

“It takes a little education,” Strengholt said. “People say, ‘Going to Florida and living in a condo, I’m just not ready for that.’ It’s a whole new way of life.”

Besides, he said, issues such as pets can get in the way. Tarpon Landings, like most condos, forbids renters from having pets although owners can have them.

Removing that restriction “would really open up the rental market,” he said, but owners who are renting out their units would have to get together to make it happen.
Another issue, Crimaldi said, is how many roommates can stay in a unit. For example, he’s looking into whether three young women will be able to rent a $1,495-a-month three-bedroom condo at Riva Del Lago under the rules there. If the rules don’t allow it, he’ll have to turn down their offer, he said.

Happy as renters are now, don’t expect it to last forever, said Don Paight, executive director of the Fort Myers Redevelopment Agency.

Slowly but surely, he said, the buildings are filling up. “Some may end up as long-term leases; the renters may like the lifestyle.”

But Simon said it will be a long time before the owners make back their money, while those who borrowed heavily to buy are in trouble.

At High Point, where people paid about $600,000 per unit, he said, “I do believe in five or 10 years they’ll all be million-dollar homes. The people who hang on without mortgages, they’ll do fine.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

San Diego's Real Estate Library: Investment Update

In Florida, our investments have gone backwards. We always go into an investment with a break-even cash flow in order to weather any storm that may arise. But in Florida, we have the "perfect storm". Taxes have shot way up, insurance premiums are outrageous (if you can even get insurance) and to top it off, rents are plummeting. So our numbers really didn't work out as planned. Last year we sold some FL properties with a substantial gain - this year we are just getting our investment back in Brooksville (no profit) and will probably take a small loss in Cape Coral.

The question is, to you face the pain all at once or endure death by a thousand cuts? The negative in Cape Coral is awful and it will be years before the situation turns itself around. In other words, we feel that if we were to sell a few years from now, the price we would have to get to overcome 3 years of negative cash flow would be unlikely. So the risk is probably greater than the reward.

Nevertheless, we have the cheapest house on the market and still no bites. So if I have to lower the price even further, than I will have to recalculate this and may decide to rent the place out instead.