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.

http://floridarealtors.org/NewsArticle.cle.cfm.?p=4&.d=321714#

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.

 

 

 

 

Foreclosures In Florida Drop By Half In January

Foreclosures In Florida Down 50%
Foreclosures in Florida DOWN By 50%!

Florida received some good news yesterday when it was announced by CoreLogic that Foreclosures in Florida had dropped in half compared to January 2014!

CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider, today released its January 2015 National Foreclosure Report which shows that the national foreclosure inventory declined 33.2 percent and completed foreclosures declined 22.5 percent from January 2014.

“Completed foreclosures are an indication of the total number of homes actually lost to foreclosure. Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been approximately 5.5 million completed foreclosures across the country, and since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004, there have been approximately 7 million homes lost to foreclosure.”

The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in January 2015 were: Florida (111,000), Michigan (51,000), Texas (34,000), California (30,000) and Georgia (28,000). These five states accounted for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.  “The foreclosure inventory continues to shrink with declines in all 50 states over the past 12 months,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Florida, one of the hardest hit states during the foreclosure crisis, experienced a decline of almost 50 percent year over year which is outstanding news.” 

Florida Realtors Expect Prices To Rise Over 5%!

This is what we have been discussing!

WASHINGTON – March 24, 2014 – According to the just-released National Association of Realtors®’ (NAR) Realtors Confidence Index, members expect home prices to continue to rise over the next 12 months, but they expect them to do so at a moderate pace given tight credit conditions and lower home affordability.
The Florida Realtors Confidence Index is a monthly survey distributed to more than 50,000 real estate practitioners. It gauges their expectations about home sales, prices and market conditions. Overall, Realtors expect a median price increase of 3.9 percent over the next 12 months.
Florida is one of four states where practitioners predict the biggest increases – 5 to 7 percent – along with California, Alaska and Hawaii. Tight inventories have helped to lift home values in these areas, according to the survey.
“In states with booming economies like Washington, North Dakota, Texas, Michigan, and the D.C.-metro area, the expected price increase is about 3 to 5 percent,” according to the report.
Real estate professionals also expressed several concerns over the housing market holding back some buyers, particularly due to “unreasonably” tight credit conditions.
“Access to credit was often cited as a deterrent to home buying,” the report says. “About 13 percent of Realtors who did not close a sale in February reported having clients who could not obtain financing.” In those cases, about 6 percent of the professionals said their buyer gave up, while 7 percent said their buyer continued to seek new or other financing.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

Florida’s housing market continues positive trends in Jan. 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. – Feb. 21, 2014 – Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, higher median prices, more new listings, fewer days on the market and the continued stabilization of inventory in January, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 15,000 last month, up 10.2 percent over the January 2013 figure.

“Price increases are continuing to improve home equity in areas across the state, and combined with still-low interest rates, it’s creating a great opportunity for sellers,” says 2014 Florida Realtors President Sherri Meadows, CEO and team leader, Keller Williams, with market centers in Gainesville, Ocala and the Villages. “We’re seeing homeowners ready to take that next step and list their properties for sale: Statewide, new listings for single-family homes in January rose 13.8 percent year-over-year, while new townhouse-condo listings rose 7.4 percent.

“And here at the start of a new year, January marked 26 consecutive months that we’ve seen increases in statewide median sales prices for both single family homes and town home-condo properties, year-over-year.”

Looking at Florida’s townhome-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 7,377 last month, up 9.3 percent compared to January 2013. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales in January: Traditional sales in Florida rose 20.4 percent for single-family homes and 16.9 percent for condo-townhome properties. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

© 2014 Florida Realtors

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.
 

House Flipping Making a Comeback!

Remodel For House FlippingThe housing crash of 2006-2011 nearly brought a halt to a once highly successful venture of buyers purchasing homes, fixing them up and reselling them for a quick profit within six months, also known as house flipping.  However, for a second year in a row there has been an increase in the number of properties that are being flipped.  These flipping deals bring in an average $37,375 per transaction.

Buyers looking to flip homes are being more selective than before the crash adhering to the following guidelines:

1.  Location matters-the best places to flip properties in 2012 were Orlando, Florida; Richmond, Virginia; Tucson, Arizona and Charlotte, North Carolina.  Flipped homes in Orlando were purchased for an average of $100,397 and were sold for an average of $174,895 for gross profits of almost $75,000.  Tampa Bay is also coming on strong to fix up property for resell.

2.  Cash matters-with banks having tighter restrictions on loaning money, investors that have cash on hand tend to have the upper hand.

3.  Renovations matter- but so does a budget-spending around 25 percent of the expected resale price is the ideal target for renovations as anything over that amount becomes risky.  The upgrades that offer the most money back on resale are window replacements, minor kitchen remodels and fixing garage doors.

4.  Flexibility matters-be prepared to possibly hold on the resale of the property.  Some banks require a 90-day hold on a property to justify a higher resale price.  Ultimately a buyer needs to be prepared to not sell a property within days that will lead to lightning fast profits.  It may be best to hold on to the property for a while as the housing market continues to recover, which could eventually secure a higher resale price.  Home values are on the rise, with a year-over-year price increase of 11.6 percent which signifies that getting into the market now could yield some great rewards with flipping homes.

For more information, go to: http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=2&id=290732

Ready To Live The Florida Lifestyle? You’re Not Alone!

Enjoying The Florida LifestyleAs a trend, when the real estate market suffers vacation homes are often the first to suffer.  People tend to put off purchasing a vacation or second home when the housing market struggles.  However, when vacation homes sales begin to perk up this is a positive sign the housing market is really on a comeback and people can once again look forward to their dream of “living the Florida Lifestyle”.

According to a survey by the National Realtor Organization, vacation home sales have risen by 10.1% compared to a 2.1% decline in investment property sales and a 17.4% increase in the sale of primary homes.  The median price for vacation homes is trending upward as well, at $150,000 up from $121,300.  Interesting that the motivation behind this increase is 1) lower prices (today’s market is still a bargain compared to several years ago) @ 38%; and 2)  the desire to have a family retreat @ 28%.  A vacation homeowner plans to use the property for their own enjoyment, whereas an investment purchaser is most likely looking at potential rental income.

Many of the baby boomers set to retire soon saw plans put on hold as the economy took its toll on employment, cost of living and decline of their real estate investment value.  That doesn’t mean the dream has ended.  The last several winters have been brutally cold with seemingly a blizzard around every corner. To an aging population there is a huge interest in retiring to a warmer climate… that is where Florida has such an edge.  Here in Tampa Bay, with its easy access to international travel, a temperate climate with a myriad of outdoor activities ready for an active or quiet lifestyle, and waterfront property in abundance throughout the bay area… we are seeing the same demand. However, the inventory is at its lowest in years.

It is imperative in this newly evolving market to use a professional realtor and The PURTEE Team has three of the finest.  Let us help you locate and secure the home that will set you on your own road to living the Florida Lifestyle!

Property Appraisals Coming Up Short As Tampa Market Heats Up

Real estate sales in key Florida markets have risen as much as 10 percent in the last six months, which is more than they usually increase during an entire year when the market has been stable.  Appraisals are based on previous sales, which is causing a problem in this fast changing market.  With appraisals sometimes coming up significantly lower than a seller’s asking price, this has caused many deals to fall through and home sales to stop at times.

The problems are arising from appraisers using foreclosures and “short sales” as comparable homes in their valuations and when they are failing to take into account market conditions such as low inventory and bidding wars in many areas.  Savvy appraisers no longer include distressed sales in their comps but occasionally we get an appraiser who allows them.  In addition, many banks have increased their requirements to six comparable sales versus a previous requirement of only three, making the appraiser scramble for those extra comps.

Some appraisers are asserting that if the market is riddled with foreclosures then that is what is going to set the market.  They feel that they are simply following the rule of thumb of evaluating what the majority of the sales are in a particular market.  Therefore, if the majority of sales are foreclosures, that is what is going to be used for comparables in that market.  As realtors, we find it very important during an appraisal to be certain the appraiser is taking the market condition into account. For example, The Purtee Team  just sold a listing in a complex higher than any recent sales there.  The buyer put an appraisal contingency as part of the contract.  We went to the appraisal and showed that there were now limited listings available in this highly desirable community and that there were no active distressed sales left.  He was able to go outside the community to justify the contract price.

With some appraisals coming in at 10 to 20 percent lower than an accepted offer sellers are hesitant to put their homes on the market or they are particularly open to cash offers that require no appraisal.  Even buyers are skeptical wanting to be sure they got the best deal for the property they are purchasing.  However, there are some actions that can be taken to combat a low appraisal.  A seller can work with their agent to:

  1. Conduct research to back up your case for why the price was set for the property.  Be sure this information is available for an appraiser to consider in his report.
  2. Request a new appraisal.  There is a rebuttal system in order to challenge the information used in the appraiser’s report.
  3. Get an independent appraisal.

 In today’s market, our recommendation is to be sure the appraisal is done early in case you have to fall back on any of the above actions.  Just as when the market was in a downturn… appraisers have a difficult job.  As realtors, it is important to be right there on the front line to support the contract price where necessary.

For more information: http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=2&id=289406

Homeowner Tax Benefits Add Up

As April 15th nears yet again and you are preparing to pay Uncle Sam, don’t miss looking for homeowner tax benefits that may ease the pain of tax season.  While some Americans debate whether buying a home is still part of the American dream, it is fair to say that tax code remains highly favorable to people who own instead of rent.  Whether you were a first-time buyer, a longtime homeowner who refinanced, or a seller in 2012, there are a host of important deductions available.

HouseLogic.com, a consumer website created by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) points out seven important tax tips for home owners:

1. Mortgage interest is your best friend. Taxpayers collectively get roughly $100 billion annually in mortgage interest breaks. If you bought a home or refinanced in the last few years, the savings are even more significant, as more than half your monthly payment goes toward interest.

2. Mortgage insurance is still deductible. There were fears that the deduction for personal mortgage insurance would fall victim to fiscal fights in Washington. However, Congress left it in place. That’s a huge boon to lower-income homeowners who often can’t afford a big down payment and must pay private mortgage insurance until they have at least 20% equity in their homes.

3. Taxes are tax deductible. It sounds odd and is frequently overlooked, but homeowners can deduct their local and state property taxes on federal tax returns. There also may be special property tax benefits for lower-income home owners based on your state or municipality of residence, so look into further breaks specific to your community.

4. Qualified renovations count. Fixing a leaky faucet or putting crown moulding in the living room is not tax deductible. But there are a number of items in the tax code that allow for tax breaks and credits. A host of items covered under residential energy efficiency can provide tax relief, including new solar panels or certain water heaters. There are also deductions available for home office improvements, as well as for medically necessary changes, such as an entry ramp or a handicap-accessible bathtub.

5. Unqualified renovations can count later.
While that addition might not be “necessary,” the expense could be an important part of reducing your tax burden when you sell. This is especially noteworthy in hot real estate markets or for homeowners sitting on big property appreciation. The IRS allows you only $250,000 of tax-free profit when you sell a primary residence, but you can deduct any renovations that boosted your home’s value from any total profit to get under that threshold. Find those receipts if you’re sitting on a big profit and planning to sell.

6. Claim selling costs.
If you sold a home in the past year, costs including title insurance, advertising, and real estate broker fees can be claimed. You can claim certain repairs to reduce capital gains on the sale, presuming they were made within 90 days of sale and clearly for the intent of marketing the property. If selling a home less than what you originally paid, look for a loss to offset other income… even if it is a loss carry forward to next year.

7. Don’t forget moving expenses.
If you bought a home in 2012, there’s a chance you did so because of a job-related move. If this is the case, you may be able to deduct some expenses, provided you have the receipts. You must have moved 50 miles or more, and the reasons for your move can’t be personal.

Home ownership can really pay off for many reasons!  Contact The Purtee Team today to discuss your homeownership goals for 2013 whether you are looking to buy or sell, we are the experts in the Tampa Bay, Florida  Area.

 *Homeowners should consult a tax professional for specific advice about their own transactions or circumstances. Information on The Purtee Team Blog should not be relied on as tax or legal advice.

 Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/news/taxes-incentives/home-is-where-the-tax-breaks-are-7-tips/#ixzz2NMlKuZdz

Forget ‘improving’ or ‘rebound’ – ‘Florida market is on fire’

Forget ‘improving’ or ‘rebound’ – ‘Florida market is on fire’ Florida Pool

Daily we receive articles of interest from Florida Realtors® and this one certainly caught our attention.

Lesley Deutch, senior vice president at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, said the “Florida market is on fire” in her latest update on the state’s housing market after having traveled the state of Florida recently and visited more than 20 communities. While recovery reports differ between Florida cities and urban areas, she reports five major trends:

1. Land prices. While the price of land continues to rise quickly statewide, Orlando feels the most pressure. Deutch says she saw some submarkets where “land and finished lot prices have now surpassed peak levels.” In Orlando, she sees developers buying raw land “just to gain a position and market share.”

2. Home prices. Some communities, such as Orlando and Naples, are seeing 1- to 2-percent new-home price increases monthly, Deutch says. The hallmarks of a seller’s market have also returned, such as lotteries. She expects a 2013 price increase of at least 10 percent in many Florida markets.

3. 55-plus market. Deutch reports a 20- to 25-percent jump in potential buyers interested in active adult living, according to builders in Southwest Florida. She also notes a boost in customer traffic in second- and third-tier markets.

4. Foreign buyers. It’s more than Miami, Deutch says. While in Orlando, she visited a sales office that had three active buyers: One from Brazil, one from Germany and one from China.

5. Foreclosures. While the state has a notoriously long foreclosure process, Deutch says banks are slowly releasing foreclosures. But investors continue to buy new foreclosures shortly after they hit the market.

Most of these 5 issues have been covered by The PURTEE Team in recent blogs.  I was just having a conversation yesterday with a builder who was complaining about land prices being too high.  It reminds me of conversations I had in late 2011 with buyers of beach property.  Those buyers listened to media doldrums even as we realtors saw the turn in the market.  Many sat on the sideline and missed golden opportunities to own premium real estate at a fraction of their former value!  She is right about the foreclosures, too. We see them gobbled up quickly as they hit the market.

There is an appetite out there for Florida property and it is even stronger with the relentless snow and cold weather the northern states have suffered this early spring… as we have enjoyed beautiful temperate climates.  Do you agree the Florida market is on fire? You should!  Use a professional to help you understand a good value in today’s market here in Tampa Bay. Contact us today.