Fla. home sale prices up 11.4% year-to-year in Dec.

January 24, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jan. 23, 2014 – Florida’s housing market reported higher median prices, more new listings, fewer days on the market and the continued stabilization of inventory in December, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 19,497 last month, up 8.6 percent over the December 2012 figure.

“Florida’s housing market continues to demonstrate its recovery,” says 2014 Florida Realtors President Sherri Meadows, CEO and team leader, Keller Williams, with market centers in Gainesville, Ocala and the Villages. “December marked over two years – 25 months – of consecutive gains in statewide median sales prices, year-over-year, for both single-family homes and for townhouse-condo properties. The rising prices, along with the renewed strength of the state’s housing market, are encouraging more homeowners to list their properties for sale. Statewide, new listings for single-family homes increased 23.8 percent in December, while new townhome-condo listings rose 8.1 percent. The rising prices mean increased equity, which is another reason people are listing properties.

“Properties also are taking less time to sell, another trend that is sparking sellers’ interest,” Meadows added. “In December, the median days on market (the midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to sell that month) was 50 days for single-family homes and 51 days for townhouses and condos. That means 50 percent of homes on the market in Florida sell in less than two months.”

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $172,630, up 11.4 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 December was $137,500, up 17 percent over the year-ago figure. 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 November 2013 was $196,200, up 9.4 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $197,400. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in November was $422,210; in Massachusetts, it was $316,500; in Maryland, it was $257,677; and in New York, it was $229,000.

Looking at Florida’s townhome-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 8,364 last month, down slightly (2.5 percent) compared to December 2012. However, the closed sales data reflected fewer short sales and cash-only sales in December: Traditional sales in Florida rose 23.3 percent for single-family homes and 6 percent for condo-townhome properties. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

“Florida’s market exhibited all the signs of the annual holiday lull,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Because of things like the reduced number of workdays and the presence of other important things to do, the statistics at this time of year don’t necessarily give a good read on where the market really is. Three continuing trends to note, however, are rising inventories, declining cash sales and the lessening presence of distressed property sales.

“The first two are indicative of reduced investor activity and thus a return to a more normal market. The last is a product of rising values that have increased market sales relative to short sales and foreclosures.”

Inventory was at a 5.5-months’ supply in December for single-family homes and at a 5.8-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 4.46 percent in December 2013, up from the 3.35 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier.

To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center under Latest Releases, or download the December 2013 data report PDFs under Market Data.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

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Economists keep rosy view for 3% growth in 2014

September 9, 2013

NEW YORK – Sept. 9, 2013 – Business forecasters maintained their rosy view of the U.S. economy in 2014, predicting 3 percent growth by the second quarter of next year, low inflation and improving employment.

The top economists surveyed by the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) between Aug. 8 and Aug. 20 also said there’s an 80 percent likelihood that the pickup in growth will prompt the Federal Reserve to trim its monthly $85 billion purchases of mortgage bonds and Treasury bills next year.

The NABE’s 43 respondents said in a report released Monday that there’s a 45 percent chance the Fed will begin its so-called “tapering” as early as this year.

But economists trimmed their expectations for the second half of 2013 since the last survey, in May.

The economists predicted that real gross domestic product would grow at a 2.3 percent annualized rate in the third quarter through September, down from 2.5 percent seen earlier; and 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 2.8 percent seen earlier. They were less optimistic about consumer spending, industrial production and private investment in nonresidential structures, equipment and software.

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U.S. ‘Underwater’ Homeowners Increase to 28.6%, Zillow Reports

November 8, 2011

Underwater HomesNov. 8 (Bloomberg) — The number of U.S. homeowners who owe more than their properties are worth climbed in the third quarter as lenders repossessed fewer houses, Zillow Inc. said.

The share of borrowers with negative equity rose to 28.6 percent, up from 26.8 percent in the second quarter and 23.2 percent a year earlier, the real estate data provider said today. Last quarter’s portion was the biggest since Seattle- based Zillow began tracking the measure in the first quarter of 2009, when 22.3 percent of households were underwater.

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How long can you breathe underwater?

August 27, 2010

Inman News

Top 10 states with highest share of negative equity mortgages

1. Nevada (68 percent of 592,000 mortgages)
2. Arizona (50 percent of 1.3 million mortgages)
3. Florida (46 percent of 4.5 million mortgages)
4. Michigan (38 percent of 1.4 million mortgages)
5. California (33 percent of 6.9 million mortgages)
6. Georgia (28 percent of 1.6 million mortgages)
7. Idaho (24 percent of 243,000 mortgages)
8. Virginia (23 percent of 1.2 million mortgages)
9. Maryland (22 percent of 1.4 million mortgages)
10. Utah (20 percent of 470,000 mortgages)

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Palm Harbor, FL Short Sale and Bank-Owned Statistics

May 20, 2010

My clients regularly ask for my professional opinion on the Tampa Bay area real estate market. Are things turning around or will prices continue to decline? Should I sell my house or attempt to find a tenant?

This week I was asked about the overall real estate market in Palm Harbor, Florida, and specifically, what percentage of homes for sale are short sales or bank-owned. So I set about to get some data for this client that I’ll now share right here for anyone interested in Palm Harbor real estate. Keep in mind that these numbers represent a snapshot in time and may not apply if you’re reading this post at a much later date.

As a general rule there is an inverse relationship between list price and percentage of short sales and bank-owned properties. As list price increase the percentage of listings that are short sales or bank-owned decreases. I’ve known this inverse relationship exists, just by virtue of being a full-time Tampa Bay Florida Realtor, but today was my first day running the numbers.

Palm Harbor, Florida Short Sale and Bank-Owned Statistics

I ran a series of MLS searches in Palm Harbor in $100,000 increments. Afterall, I’m trying to demonstrate that as price increases there are fewer and fewer financially distressed properties on the market.

$0 – $100k $101 – $200k $201 – $300k $301 – $400k
Total 12  (100%) 154  (100%) 125  (100%) 78  (100%)
Short Sales 6  (50%) 41  (27%) 19  (15.2%) 7  (8.9%)
Bank-Owned 3 (25%) 7 (4.5%) 2  (1.6%) 0  (0%)
Regular 3  (25%) 99  (64.3%) 104  (83.2%) 71  (91%)

I’ve called listings that are not short sales and not owned by banks “regular.” In real estate we often term these as “traditional sales.” The point being as price increases the percentage of homes that are financially distressed decreases. In the table above only about 25% of the Palm Harbor Florida listings priced below $100,000 are NOT in financial distress.

I actually ran the numbers for the next 4 $100,000 price increments and the trend continues to the point where there are virtually no financially distressed Palm Harbor listings at the higher end.

$401 – $500k $501 – $600k $601 – $700k $701 – $800k
Total 46 (100%) 19 (100%) 18 (100%) 4 (100%)
Short Sales 3 (6.5%) 1 (5.3%) 2 (11%) 0 (0%)
Bank-Owned 1 (2.2%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Regular 42 (91.3%) 18 (94.7%) 16 (88.9%) 4 (100%)


I hope brief study helps my Palm Harbor buyers and sellers understand the current ratio of traditional listings to distressed property listings. As is obvious I have refrained from commenting on why these numbers might be important to buyers and sellers of real estate. That will be a different post.

* These numbers only pertain to single-family houses and not condos, townhomes, villas, or land for sale.
* I rounded my numbers off and might not have always done so perfectly.
* The numbers don’t always add up to 100% because there are a few other seldom used categories in MLS, such as “pre-foreclosure” and “in foreclosure.”

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Expect prices in Tampa Bay to drop even more

April 29, 2010

We hear so many different opinions on the subject of home values and the overall real estate industry that it is very difficult to know who or what to trust. I’m here to tell you that nobody really knows and anyone who claims to be an expert on the subject is trying to sell you something.

As someone who lives and breaths real estate I can say with complete confidence that I don’t know what the future holds. All I know for certain is that there are too many homes on the market for the quantity of buyers, and as a result prices are down and will remain down. If you’re looking to sell now or in the immediate future you need to face the music. You’re not going to get what you probably feel you deserve for your home should you decide to sell in 2010.

According to Inman News

National home prices were up slightly in February from a year ago — the first annual increase in more than three years — but are expected to give up those gains and more later this year, according to a report from First American CoreLogic.

First American CoreLogic’s LoanPerformance Home Price Index showed prices up 0.3 percent in February from a year ago, compared to a 0.5 percent year-over-year price decline in January.

The index currently shows a 30.6 percent decline in national home prices from an April, 2006 peak, or 21.7 percent if distressed properties are excluded.

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Charles Rutenberg is rated #1

October 16, 2009

first-place-blue-ribbonIf you’ve been paying attention as you drive around Tampa Bay neighborhoods you’ve undoubtedly noticed an abundance of Charles Rutenberg Realty signs dotting the yards. There are good reasons for why we’re dominating the real estate market, but this blog post isn’t about the why of our success. It’s simply to note that we are successful and significantly more so than every other real estate brokerage in town.

Charles Rutenberg has 3x as many listings as the 2nd place real estate company. With 1997 total listings we have more listings than the next 4 brokerages combined. We control an impressive 19.46% of the market for active listings.

But active listings are only one indicator of success. Even more important than what we have for sale is what we actually have under contract. According to the Kenst Report, the industry ratings guide for the Tampa Bay area, Charles Rutenberg Realty is outperforming all other real estate brokerages. Our share of the market is just under 25% at 24.83%. Our nearest competitor comes in at 10.43%.

And even more important than active listings and listings under contract are listings we’ve actually sold. So let’s take a look at those numbers now. From January of 2009 through the end of September 2009 Charles Rutenberg Realty sold more than 2x as many listings as the 2nd place real estate brokerage. And to show this isn’t some sort of fluke we can look at the same statistics for 2008 and see a similar level of dominance.

Why share these statistics with Tampa Bay area home buyers and sellers? The time will come when just about everyone will need to buy or sell real estate. And at this point a decision needs to be made. Will you hire the best or one of the rest? Yes, that rhymed. I couldn’t help it. I feel like a cheerleader right now, but trust me, you don’t want to see me in a cheerleader uniform.

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Accurate pricing is the key to selling in 2009

December 9, 2008

low-priceAccurate pricing is the key to selling a home during this tumultuous market. Sellers are focused on selling for prices realized during the very peak of the housing boom and buyers are searching for bargains. Someone has to give. Both can’t achieve their objectives. A seller cannot sell their home for top dollar to a buyer who is after a bargain.

So who wins in this housing crisis?

Clearly, the winner is going to be the side with the cards stacked in their favor and it should be abundantly clear that the buyer calls the shots in this market. There are literally dozens of sellers for every buyer and educated buyers know this. Sellers that cannot grasp the reality of this are doomed to disappointment and eventual failure, which in many cases means foreclosure and financial ruin.

What does it take to sell in this market?

Sellers need to be priced competitively. If most comparable homes are priced lower than your price you’ve got a recipe for failure on your hands. And even if you’re priced similarly to most other homes you are probably never going to sell. Only those homes that are priced in the lower 25% of comparable listings are getting the showings and getting sold.

There are simply too many options for buyers. Why would they want to look at your home priced at $335,000 when there are similar homes priced at $250,000 – $265,000? If there are 12 – 20 listings for every buyer what do you think these buyers will do? They’re going to take advantage of their buying power and purchase the best deals. Those sellers clinging to 2005 prices will never even get a showing.

Sometimes the easiest way to understand how the market works is to close your eyes and pretend you are the other person. If you’re a seller pretend you’re the buyer. If you’re the buyer pretend you’re selling your home.

So if you want to understand why you’re not getting any showings try to put yourself in the buyers shoes. Now mentally change the industry. Pretend you are a buyer looking to purchase a Toyota Corolla. You head to the dealership and check out what the market has to offer. The lot is filled with Toyota Corolla’s. In fact you don’t recall there ever being so many cars on the market from which buyers may choose.

If you were a buyer walking around that Toyota dealership lot and you saw hundreds of similar Corolla’s priced around $17,000, but a few over to the side priced at $25,000 what would you do? Assume the cars priced at $25,000 are just a little nicer than the $17,000, such as they have sunroofs or CD players. Would you even attempt to negotiate the price of the $25,000 car down or would you instead negotiate the $17,000 car down and then later add your own CD player and sunroof?

Many sellers today wonder why they aren’t getting any showings. I hear, “But why don’t buyers at least make me an offer.” The answer is simple. Buyers think you’re completely irrational. Why would they waste their time with a seller that has such a high starting point when they can negotiate the lowest priced homes down even lower?

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The Dangers of Overpricing Your Home

July 19, 2008

Sellers often feel there is no real harm with starting their list price high to see if they can attract a buyer and bring in top dollar. While this sounds good in theory there are some inherent risks with such a pricing strategy. Keep in mind that broker and buyer interest is at its highest when a property is first put on the market. An asking price that is beyond market range can adversely affect the marketing of a property. The following are some of the dangers involved with overpricing your home.

– Fewer buyers are attracted, and fewer offers received.

– Marketing time is prolonged, and initial marketing momentum is lost.

– The property attracts “lookers” and helps houses competing with yours look better by comparison.

– If a property does sell above true market value, it may not appraise and the buyers may not be able to secure a loan.

– It may become necessary to adjust the price below market value to compete with new, competitively priced listings. Hence, the property may eventually sell below market value.

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