Florida Housing: New Listings, Median Prices Rise in March ’16

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,” says 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.

FloridaRealtor March 2016 Market Data1

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.

FloridaRealtor March 2016 Market Data2

“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,” says 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.

Download directly the March 2016 Market Data for analysis.

 

SOURCE:  Florida Realtors

 

Pulse of Real Estate in Broward County: Demand Rising

I recently attended The “Broward Deep Dive” panel event, one of two at the event at the Design Center of the Americas in Dania Beach, focused on analyzing Broward County’s hottest markets and comparing them to their biggest competitors in Miami-Dade County.

One of the highlights is that as Miami’s real estate market loses some of its heat, Broward County is maturing as a hotspot of new development in South Florida, according to the panel of experts. It accounts for 19% of South Florida’s new development activity according to figures cited by panel moderator Peter Zalewski, a TRD columnist and founder of research firm CraneSpotters.com. With a big part of that development upswing due to the Related Group, a firm famous for cranking out luxury buildings in Miami.

Yet amid all, some uncertainty remains, not about the trend as much as about its composition. Related has still yet to determine whether its iconic Las Olas development should be rentals or condos, Campbell said. This is evidenced by the possible launch of phase III before II at the company’s New River Yacht Club project, purely because 190 units will be easier for the market to absorb than 350.

“With the pace of sales in Broward, we want to let the market decide.” he said.

Perhaps the buyer demographics plays a bigger role. Broward sees far more empty nesters in the county’s western suburbs seeking to downsize, while also buying luxury units now that they can afford it. Also, Broward sees more tough sells, as buyers tend to kick the tires more and scrutinize everything from the finishes to the location.

Jean Francois Roy, founder of development firm Ocean Land Investments, is tapping into that same demographic with his nearly half-dozen condo projects in the luxury area around Las Olas.

“After the last recession, we decided to specialize in Broward County,” Roy said.

Not surprisingly, several of the panelists agree transportation is a huge factor in helping Broward’s real estate market grow. Commercial prices in Fort Lauderdale and especially in the hip neighborhood of Flagler Village are poised to rise as new commuting options emerge for residents. Meanwhile, All Aboard Florida will launch its Brightline line next year, with trains running between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando. And finally, Fort Lauderdale is considering the Wave street car, which will bring familiar commuter service with in-ground San Fransisco-style trolleys.

“Every deal that we’re looking at is pushing the envelope as far as parking reduction,” he said. “Not because of costs, because… what are we’re going to do with these garages that nobody is going to use? The next few years, we’ll probably see a lot of more these buildings with no parking.”

Source: TheRealDeal.com — April 14th, 2016

Original Article:  Demand in Broward County still rising: TRD Panel – The Real Deal

A Modern Lifestyle Icon in the Heart of Broward – Metropica

A new icon of modern urban lifestyle goes up in West Broward County. Metropica epitomizes modernity, luxury and technology. The result is a very accessible package for those seeking an upscale “city within a city” to call home, where one can work and play.

Metropica - Modern Urban Lifestyle 3

The vision behind Metropica was to completely reimagine and redefine today’s modern urban lifestyle. Beyond luxury, beyond the latest in technology, beyond top-of-the-line amenities or enviable views… Metropica combines all this and more, creating a dynamic community where life takes place in all its many forms. You get a place where work and play and life all happen seamlessly, together. Metropica offers residents an intriguing array of regional and international cuisine, a curated collection of boutique shops and name-brand retailers, ample outdoor areas, shared community spaces, easy access to the rest of the city, and pedestrian-friendly planning that puts it all merely moments from home.

Metropica, we are proud to say, represents a revolution in human modernism, a movement that handcrafts new cities as destinations that are reflective of the increasing richness and integration of our everyday lives.

It’s not just a residence or a retail or corporate complex. Metropica is a new way of life.

— Joseph Kavana

Located in a serene, congestion-free neighborhood, Metropica is a modern urban community offering access to the very best South Florida has to offer. Minutes from the pristine beaches of Fort Lauderdale, headlining concerts at BB&T Center, and the exciting nightlife of Miami, this well integrated neighborhood is an effortless blend of all aspects of modern life.

Metropica offers complete access to state-of-the-art, five-star health and fitness facilities, recreational amenities such as tennis courts and mini-soccer field, and community spaces for gatherings of family and friends.

Experience our resort-style, South Beach-inspired “Beach Club,” a stunning oasis with lounge chairs, VIP pool access, and ocean-side food and beverage service. Metropica also features an expertly landscaped park environment that blends South Florida’s natural beauty with the excitement of an urban setting. Biking, hiking, walking and running paths; outdoor play areas, and Wi-Fi stations all set amidst a lush native landscape.

Metropica is accepting contracts now.

Source: Metropica | One Sotheby’s International Realty

 

 

 

NAR: February pending home sales up 3.5%

Pending home sales rose solidly in February to its highest level in seven months, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Led by a sizeable increase in the Midwest, all major regions except for the Northeast saw an increase in February contract activity.

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 3.5 percent to 109.1 in February from a downwardly revised 105.4 in January and it’s 0.7 percent higher year-to-year. The index has now increased year-over-year for 18 consecutive months, though last month’s annual gain was the smallest.

“After some volatility this winter, the latest data is encouraging in that a decent number of buyers signed contracts last month, lured by mortgage rates dipping to their lowest levels in nearly a year and a modest, seasonal uptick in inventory,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

“Looking ahead, the key for sustained momentum and more sales than last spring is a continuous stream of new listings quickly replacing what’s being scooped up by a growing pool of buyers,” Yun adds. “Without adequate supply, sales will likely plateau.”

According to Yun, last month’s noticeable slump in existing-home sales had one silver lining: Price appreciation lessened to 4.4 percent, which is still above wage growth but more favorable than the 8.1 percent annual increase in January.

“Any further moderation in prices would be a welcome development this spring, particularly in the West, where it appears a segment of would-be buyers are becoming wary of high asking prices and stiff competition,” adds Yun.

Existing-homes sales this year are forecast to be around 5.38 million, an increase of 2.4 percent from 2015. The national median existing-home price for all 2016 is expected to increase between 4 and 5 percent. In 2015, existing-home sales increased 6.3 percent and prices rose 6.8 percent.

The PHSI in the Northeast declined 0.2 percent to 94.0 in February, but it’s still 12.6 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest, the index shot up 11.4 percent to 112.6 in February, and it’s now 2.5 percent above February 2015.

Pending home sales in the South increased 2.1 percent to an index of 122.4 in February but it’s 0.4 percent lower than last February. The index in the West climbed 0.7 percent in February to 96.4, but it’s now 6.2 percent below a year ago.

Source:  FloridaRealtors/March 28, 2016.

NAHREP Report: Major Surge in Latino Homeownership

Despite tight supply conditions, home ownership among Hispanic households spiked in 2015, according to the State of Hispanic Home Ownership Report published by the Hispanic Wealth Project and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. This was the first increase observed since 2009.

latino_real_estateHispanic home ownership rate averaged 45.6 percent in 2015, just 0.2 percent higher than the year prior. But in just the 12 months ending December 2015, it soared from 44.5 percent to 46.7 percent — the largest one-year increase in more than a decade.

“The Hispanic home ownership numbers were very encouraging, and all leading indicators strongly suggest that the trend will continue,” says Joseph Nery, president of NAHREP. “Policy makers and the housing industry need to recognize that the face of home ownership in America has changed, and it is in everyone’s interest to ensure that these new consumers have access to relevant lending products, affordable housing stock, and culturally competent service providers in the coming years.”

It should also be mentioned, that Latinos led in workforce participation and household formation growth nationwide. This seems to indicate Hispanics to be a primary driver of overall home ownership rate the next decade and beyond.

The significance of Hispanics to housing and the economy will continue to grow, creating opportunity for all who focus on this vibrant, dynamic, and important part of the U.S. economy.

Source: National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals

Buying Beats Renting in Less Than Two Years, But Millennials Still Have Reason to Rent

Home buyers in Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. have to stay in a home for at least three years to break even on a home purchase, and buyers in the Bay Area would have to stay nearly that long to make buying financially advantageous, according to Zillow’s Breakeven Horizon analysis for the fourth quarter of 2015.

Those under 35 stay employed at the same place for an average of three years, so buying may not make sense for them, from a financial standpoint, even if paying a mortgage would be more affordable.

In general, Americans can break even on a home purchase in less than two years in 70 percent of U.S. metros, thanks to low interest rates, healthy home value forecasts, and the relatively fast pace of rents in recent years.

The Breakeven Horizon is featured in the paperback edition of Zillow Talk: Rewriting the Rules of Real Estate (Grand Central Publishing, Jan. 26), as one of the major data points to consider when deciding whether to rent or buy. On average in the U.S., you don’t need to plan on living in a home for even two years to make purchasing the home more financially advantageous than renting it over the same time period. Among large housing markets, the Breakeven Horizon is longest in Washington, D.C. – 4.5 years – and shortest in Dallas – 1.3 years.

Around the country over the last year, the Breakeven Horizon quickened in most of the Midwest and Southeast as well as in the Northeast corridor from New York to Boston. The Horizon stretched longer in Florida, Northern California, and in the Northeast from Virginia Beach to Philadelphia, but it remained clear that financially, it’s still a better deal to buy a home than rent it, assuming you’re planning to stay in the home for at least a couple years.

However the decision to buy may not be so simple for millennials – whose first jobs often take them to job centers with relatively high Breakeven Horizons. Boston, one of the nation’s youngest cities, has a Breakeven Horizon of just over three years. San Francisco’s Breakeven Horizon is 2.9 years, up from 2.6 years in the fourth quarter of 2014. Both markets are attracting young people following jobs, and many of those remain renters despite record­high rental costs.

“Even with record­high rents in job centers like San Jose, Boston and Washington, D.C., putting off a home purchase might be the best financial decision for a young person who has saved enough for a down payment, depending on how long they intend to stay in their jobs and homes,” says Zillow Chief Economist Svenja Gudell. “Young workers face a lot of hurdles on the way to homeownership, including saving for a down payment in the first place and deciding where and when to settle down. The latest Breakeven Horizon gives young people another data point to consider when they’re making this important financial decision.”

In general, rents are flattening across the country and expected to continue to stabilize, a factor that could lengthen the Breakeven Horizon as homes continue to appreciate. Condominiums – a common choice for young home buyers in urban neighborhoods – have a longer Breakeven Horizon because of condo association fees.

Source:

RISMedia.com

Homeowner Equity is on the Rise

With home prices inching up, more Americans are emerging from being underwater (owing more on their mortgage than their home is currently worth).

Several reports have tried to estimate how many homeowners came out from being underwater last year. CoreLogic reported that about 1.4 million borrowers moved above water for the first nine months of 2012. Zillow recently estimated that 2 million homeowners emerged last year. And J.P. Morgan Securities reported that the number of underwater homeowners fell from 11 million to 7 million in 2012.

“Estimates can vary for a number of reasons,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “Underwater borrowers can move back to positive equity by paying down their loan principal or by seeing prices rise. Properties can also ‘exit’ negative equity when they go through foreclosure or when the bank approves a short sale. In those cases, borrowers aren’t being returned to positive equity – instead, they simply cease to be borrowers.”

Many of the largest home gains across the country came in areas that had a high number of underwater borrowers.

“If this correlation persists in the coming years, the underwater problem could fade much faster than implied by the speed of national house prices appreciation,” Goldman Sachs researchers told The Wall Street Journal.

 

 

4 Big Short Sale Hang-ups

As the market rebounds, short sale activity is increasing lately, but these transactions can take up to three times longer than a traditional transaction. A lot of things can go wrong in that timeframe.

These are the most common delays, according to a recent article by George “Gee” Dunsten, a real estate broker and president of Gee Dunsten Seminars.

Title issues

Be sure to do a title examination at the beginning in order to identify all individuals on the deed and mortgages – and determine all lien holders.

Lack of communication with the lender

Lost documents and misunderstandings commonly cause delays. Make it a habit to follow up with the mortgage servicer twice a week to prevent entirely avoidable problems.

Delaying the start

Some short sales don’t begin until a contract to purchase has been initiated, but this can add up to two extra months to the process. The lender won’t even look at a buyer contract until a seller candidate for a short sale is approved and the market value has been determined, Dunsten says.

Incomplete packages

Make sure you carefully submit all documents completely and accurately. Submitting incomplete packages is another common cause of delays. All homeowner financial information needs to be kept current and forwarded to the servicer every 30 days if possible, says Dunsten.

Can a mortgage insurer sue after short sale?

Question

I completed a short sale on my home, and the agreement didn’t address whether I still was on the hook for the forgiven debt. I was just served with a lawsuit from a mortgage insurance company that wants me to pay the deficiency”.

What’s going on?

Answer

Here’s an answer from Florida attorney Gary M. Singer, who is a board-certified expert in real estate law in Florida:

I’m seeing more of these lawsuits. A common misconception about private mortgage insurance is that it protects the borrower. In reality, while the borrower pays for this insurance, it actually is designed to protect your lender if you default on the mortgage. Not all loans have PMI. But if yours does, and you complete a short sale or lose the home in foreclosure, your lender can make an insurance claim with the PMI company. The company then can stand in your lender’s shoes to try and collect the money back from you, a legal concept known as “subrogation.”

The theory is that because your actions resulted in the insurer having to pay the claim, the company can seek repayment from you. You can respond to this lawsuit by making the company prove it has the right to collect the deficiency, just as you would make the lender prove it has the right to foreclose.

You may be able to settle with the insurer for less than the full amount you owe. Of course, if the deficiency had been previously waived by your lender in the short sale or foreclosure, you don’t have to worry about any of this.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure the lender forgives the debt.

About the writer: Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He is the chairperson of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is an adjunct professor for the Nova Southeastern University Paralegal Studies program.

The information and materials in this column are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in this column is intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

 

 

Continued Florida market upswing seen in January 2013

Florida’s housing market reported increased sales, higher median prices, more pending sales and the continued shrinking of inventory levels in January 2013, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“This year started out strong for Florida’s housing market,” said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. “Homes sales continue to rise, mortgage rates remain near historic lows and the inventory of for-sale homes is lower than it’s been in years. Plus, the time it takes for a home to sell is dropping; the median days a home is on the market declined about 15 percent for both single-family homes and for townhome-condo properties. However, overly restrictive credit requirements remain an obstacle for many potential buyers, who find it difficult to access affordable financing options.”

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 13,679 in January, up 11.7 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Meanwhile, pending sales – contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed – for existing single-family homes last month rose 31 percent over the previous January. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $145,000, up 12.4 percent from the previous year.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in December 2012 was $180,300, up 10.9 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in December was $366,930; in Massachusetts, it was $303,500; in Maryland, it was $243,741; and in New York, it was $229,000.

The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. Housing industry analysts note that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes.

Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhouse-condos, a total of 6,670 units sold statewide last month, up 2 percent compared to January 2012. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhouse-condos in January increased 17 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhouse-condo properties was $112,000, up 18 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in December 2012 was $184,100.

According to Florida Realtors’ data, this is the 13th month in a row that statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and for townhouse-condo units seen a year-over-year increase.

The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.6-months’ supply in January; inventory for townhouse-condos was at a 6.2-months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors.

“I’m particularly impressed with the rise in percentage of list price received by sellers,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo, referring to the January data. Sellers of single-family existing homes in January received an average of 92.2 percent of their original list price; sellers of townhome-condo units received an average of 93 percent.

“This can encourage other potential sellers to come forward, thus easing the market’s inventory crunch,” Tuccillo noted. “But, despite the progress of Florida’s housing market, it’s still being held back by the difficulty consumers have in accessing credit.”

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.41 percent in January 2013, down from the 3.92 percent average during the same month a year earlier.

For the detailed 2013 report click here.