New home buyers want energy efficiency

New home buyers want energy efficiency  and according to a new survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), builders are listening.   It appears that energy efficient features and closet space were more important to new home buyers than two-story foyers, outdoor kitchens and whirlpools.

 The NAHB  asked builders which features they were most likely to include or not include in newly built 2015 homes. Here are the results.

Least likely features included

  • Outdoor kitchens
  • Laminate countertops in kitchens
  • Outdoor fireplaces
  • Sunrooms
  • Two-story foyers
  • Walking/Jogging trails
  • Whirlpools
  • Carpeting as flooring on main levels

Most likely features included

  • Walk-in closets in master bedrooms
  • Laundry rooms
  • Low-e windows
  • Guest rooms
  • Energy-star rated windows
  • Programmable thermostats
  • Two-car garages
  • Granite countertops in kitchens

I must admit to being a little sad to see that whirlpools didn’t make the cut, but the energy efficient features are a perfect fit for Florida’s year round sunshiny weather. Besides, with the most beautiful gulf beaches just minutes away, who needs a whirlpool?

New home buyers want energy efficiency, but we would love to know what features our readers would consider important and which would you just assume leave out?

Visit us on Facebook and share your comments.





New Meaning For Cash Sales In Florida Real Estate

In May 2014, the percentage of Florida Real Estate closed sales that were, in fact, all cash sales for Pinellas County was 67.4%.  Up until recently, cash sales as a percentage of sales has been used to indicate the number of investors in the market.  Why?  Investors are far more likely to have the funds available to purchase a home up front, whereas the typical homebuyer requires a mortgage or some other form of financing.

Well… there is a new cash buyer!  Although mortgage rates are still at near an all-time low, people are paying cash to avoid the mortgage process altogether.  About 29 percent of non-investment buyers used cash to fund their housing transactions in the first quarter of this year – the highest level on record, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Who are they? Baby boomers make up a large bulk of these all-cash deals, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®.

“Cash purchases are on the rise because older homeowners who have decades of home-equity accumulation don’t want the hassle of a mortgage,” Yun says. “With the economy improving and the stock market at record highs, boomers are the ones who are driving the market.”  Meanwhile, the share of investors – who usually use cash – is dwindling, dropping in the first quarter to the lowest level since 2010.

“The whole investor class, the ones doing most of the cash purchasing until now, is stepping back,” Yun says. “Baby boomers are taking their place.”  Baby boomers have more equity than previous generations because they may have owned a home during a 30-year “housing bull market.” In April, the median price of an existing-home was $201,700 compared to $67,800 in 1982, when many boomers had purchased their first properties, Bloomberg reports.

What’s more, about 16.3 million Americans older than 60 owned their homes outright in 2012, up from 12.1 million in 2009, according to Census data.  Baby boomers are expected to remain a strong presence in the housing market much longer than previous generations, too.

They “will be buying and selling well into their 80’s because they are going to be active and healthier for a lot longer than their parents,” says John McIlwain, a senior fellow at the Urban Land Institute in Washington. “They are a rebellious generation, and they’re not going to go along with the idea of traditional retirement.”

Source: “Cash Property Deals Reach Record with U.S. Boomers Retiring,” Bloomberg Businessweek (June 2, 2014)

© Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Florida Insurance Rates – Shouldn’t They Go Down?

Last week Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater, asked a pertinent question about why Florida Insurance Rates aren’t coming down. In a letter sent to Florida’s insurance commissioner, Kevin McCarty, Atwater referred to one of the main costs for insurers, reinsurance, that has been coming down this year.  It has been reported that those costs have come down 15-20% yet those savings aren’t being passed on to consumers. He wants to know why and he wants to see Floridian’s insurance bills coming down.

“If insurance companies can justifiably raise rates on Florida families because the reinsurance market drives their costs up, they can certainly lower the costs for Florida families when reinsurance prices fall,” Atwater wrote.  Obviously McCarty’s office is preparing a response.  According to an article by the Associated Press, “Annual reports prepared by Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation show that the department has been approving more than 100 rate hike requests a year since 2009, including requests to raise rates by double-digits.”

There is no question that the impact of Hurricane Andrew to SE Florida in 2002, as well as the storms in 2004 and 2005, took its toll on insurance companies. However, it is good to know someone is watching and ready to challenge when the costs should be reversing.

More Positive News About Florida’s Housing Market 2012

Florida Realtors® released their August 2012 housing data this week.  Overall, Florida’s housing market 2012  had more closed sales, more pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale in August.

“Florida’s housing market continues its momentum,” said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. “Buyers who have been waiting on the sidelines should see this as a sign to jump in before the market escapes them again. Sellers who have been hesitant to sell should put their homes on the market now. Chances are they will entertain multiple offers and be able to take advantage of historically low interest rates to buy their next home. Now our biggest challenge will be appraisals keeping up with the pace of this market.”

Last month, the inventory for single-family homes in August stood at a 5.3-months’ supply; inventory for townhome-condo properties was also at a 5.3-months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors. Industry analysts note that a 5.5-months’ supply represents a market balanced between buyers and sellers.

“Florida’s housing market 2012 is still reviving,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Everything that should be going up is going up, and everything that should be going down is going down. After the six years of turmoil that we had, it’s good to see the trends strongly moving in the right direction. We’re hurting for inventory, but it’s possible that the improving conditions will lure more sellers into the market and mitigate the housing inventory crunch.”

You can download the August 2012 data report PDF under Market Data.  For more information, contact The PURTEE Team, Realty Executives.

Florida Home Sales Experiencing An Upturn

On September 1st,China’s largest news agency – Xinhua (with over 800 million website followers) – featured a story on why Florida real estate is a smart investment for the international market.

“Tampa, FL (Xinhua) – September 1, 2011 – One of the first U.S. states to have its economy crushed by the U.S. housing market recession is now experiencing a rather happy surprise – its housing market is experiencing an upturn.

Despite and unemployment rate of 10.7%, which is higher than the national rate of slightly over 9%, enough people are buying houses in Florida so that the state’s housing market is no longer considered an imminent problem by housing and regulatory agencies.

What makes this even more unique is the fact that the status of Florida’s housing markets seems to be in the opposite condition of the national housing market.”

The combination of highly affordable prices and record low interest rates are fueling this resurgence. So, taking a look back at the significance of foreign homebuyers in Florida… the National Association of Realtors conducted a survey this summer to determine the impact of international home buyers. Here are some of the results:

  • Approximately 25% of all sales in Florida are to foreigners.
  • Nearly all sales are for cash.
  • Foreign purchasers buy upper end homes with a median price of approximately $174,700.
  • International investors cite value as a major reason for their purchase – the discounted prices of U.S. real estate coupled with the weaker U.S. dollar.
  • Canadians were the top investors in U.S. property, with the United Kingdom now less important that in 2010. Brazil and Venezuela have become more important.

The PURTEE Team is also experiencing this increase in foreign national activity. This year we have closed transactions with international buyers from various provences in Canada, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Scotland. With our RSPS (Resort & Second Home Property Specialist) certification, we are trained to work with foreign nationals throughout the sales process. You can contact us to learn more HERE.