Top 10 turnaround towns- Miami and Ft. Lauderdale top the list

Top 10 turnaround towns- Miami and Ft. Lauderdale top the list, and 8 of the Top Ten cities are in Florida. GO FLORIDA!!!

CNNMoney finally caught up on the news we have been confirming for the last 8 months.  As they wrote in the latest market report : “Florida’s cities were some of the hardest hit by the housing bust, but now they are leading the charge back. Of Realtor.com’s top 10 turnaround towns, eight are in the Sunshine State.”

 http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2012/real_estate/1201/gallery.turnaround-housing-markets/index.html

Not only that Florida has been making a remarkable and quick come-back, but certain segments of the market even show shortage of inventory.

Sunny Isles for example, shows a shortage in newer oceanfront condos that are priced below $800,000, which creates a strong seller’s market. The sellers are firm on their prices, yet, the appraised values for this specific area and product are at $550,000 median. As financing continues to be very restrictive for condominiums, with tight loan limits, these properties are only available to cash buyers. 

Cash buyers are not required to have the property appraised, and as there is shortage in this category, they are purchasing at prices well above current market value determined by Dade County Appraiser. 

This naturally raises a few concerns, and the most important question- where are we headed? And, when are the banks finally going to catch on and increase the limits on luxury condominiums, thus keeping the values in some control.

Now, that CNNMoney has caught up with the REAL reality, hopefully the banks will follow suit.

Top 20 Most Romantic Cities in the U.S: Florida nabbed five spots – more than any other state

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Amazon listed the U.S.’s top 20 romantic cities, and Florida has more than any other state. 

Florida: Balmy breezes, sunsets and romance

ORLANDO, Fla. – Feb. 14, 2012 – Love is in the air. Amazon.com announced its list of the “Top 20 Most Romantic Cities in the U.S.,” and Florida nabbed five spots – more than any other state.

To compile the list, Amazon looked at sales numbers for romance novels and relationship books (Kindle Books and print books), romantic comedy movies (digital movies and DVDs), Barry White albums (CDs and MP3s), and other romantic wellness products since Jan. 1, 2012. It considered sales on a per capita basis in cities with over 100,000 residents.

The top city on the list was Knoxville, Tenn., for some reason. In Florida, Orlando took the No. 4 spot, followed by Miami (No. 7), Clearwater (12), Gainesville (17) and Tallahassee (20).

According to Amazon customers’ purchase habits, New York City is the least romantic city in the U.S., with Winston-Salem, N.C.; Patterson, N.J.; and El Monte, Calif., also securing bottom spots.

Amazon’s complete list of romantic cities

1. Knoxville, Tenn.
2. Alexandria, Va.
3. Springfield, Mo.
4. Orlando, Fla.
5. Cincinnati, Ohio
6. Vancouver, Wash.
7. Miami, Fla.
8. Murfreesboro, Tenn.
9. Dayton, Ohio19. Rochester, N.Y.
10. Columbia, S.C.
11. Pittsburgh, Penn.
12. Clearwater, Fla.
13. St. Louis, Mo.
14. Erie, Pa.
15. Clarksville, Tenn.
16. Everett, Wash.
17. Gainesville, Fla.
18. Las Vegas, Nev.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

Consumers file class acti…

Consumers file class action suit against Citizens “An 82-year-old woman from the Tampa Bay area trying to survive on a meager social security check is among customers of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. suing the insurer for the way it calculates replacement values.”

Finally, Florida residents strike back!

Nearly 100 house markets improving; the list includes seven Florida cities

NAHB: Nearly 100 house markets improving

 

WASHINGTON – Feb. 6, 2012 – The list of housing markets showing measurable improvement expanded by 29 metros in February for a total of 98 entries on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI).

With the latest addition of Miami, the list now includes seven Florida cities: Cape Coral, Deltona, Jacksonville, Miami, North Port, Punta Gorda and Tampa. Thirty-six states have at least one metro area that’s improving.

The index lists metropolitan areas that have shown improvement in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. The February index adds some metropolitan areas that have been particularly weak. The IMI measures improvement from an economic trough, and NAHB says new notable entrants with six months of an upswing include Miami along with Boston; Detroit; Kansas City, Mo.; Portland, Ore.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Salt Lake City.

“The number of improving housing markets has risen for six consecutive months,” says NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen. “Despite the many challenges that continue to drag on a housing recovery – including the tight lending environment for builders and buyers – improving conditions are slowly but surely spreading from one housing market to the next.”

“While many of the markets on the February IMI are far from fully recovered, the index points out where employment, home prices and housing production are no longer retreating and have held above their lowest recession troughs for six months or more,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “This is a sign that a large cross section of the country is starting to turn the corner as local economic conditions stabilize.”

The IMI measures three sets of independent monthly data to get a mark on the top improving Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). The three indicators are employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac, and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. An MSA must have improvement in all three areas for at least six months following their respective troughs to be included on the improving markets list.

Seven markets dropped from the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index in February as they experienced softening house prices: San Jose, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; Kankakee, Ill.; New Orleans; Worcester, Mass.; Jackson, Miss.; and Sherman, Tex.

A complete list of all 98 metropolitan areas currently on the IMI, and a separate breakout of metros newly added to the list in February, is available at: www.nahb.org/imi.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

Short sale sellers need to close in 2012

Short sale sellers need to close in 2012

 

WASHINGTON – Feb. 3, 2012 – If a bank writes off debt in a short sale, it’s a “taxable event,” and the lender tells the Internal Revenue Service about the deal by submitting a “Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt” at the end of the year. Home sellers must acknowledge the amount when they fill out their federal taxes. Through Dec. 31, 2012, however, the federal government forgives any tax liability associated with forgiveness of a mortgage loan.

“In general, homeowners believe the government will extend this tax provision,” says San Diego Realtor Joy Bender. “However, as evidenced by the First Time Homebuyer Credit expiration in 2010, you can’t always count on the government to bail you out.”

The government generally considers forgiven debt to be income. If a seller has signed legal loan papers to take out a $200,000 mortgage and the lender accepts $100,000 in a short sale, for example, the seller received the equivalent of $100,000 in free money by government estimates. As a result, the IRS taxes it. For tax year 2012, however, the government still forgives the debt; in 2013, it might not.

The tax amount can be significant. On a debt of $100,000, a short-sale seller in the 25 percent tax bracket could end up owing $25,000 in income taxes.

Since short sales can take months and even fall through, homeowners considering a short sale may want to start the process sooner rather than later.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

Miami and The Beaches: Luxury Condo Sales On The Rise

Miami-Dade’s luxury condo resale market surges

As difficult as it may seem to fathom, given the current macroeconomic data plaguing South Florida, indications are growing that the luxury condo resale market in Miami-Dade County is back.

Foreign buyers with strong currencies complemented by a scattering of wealthy domestic purchasers acquired more $1 million condos in 2011 than in the last year of the South Florida real estate boom in 2006, according to an analysis of data from the Southeast Florida Shared Multiple Listing Service Database.

Buyers purchased nearly 590 condos for at least $1 million each in 2011 after acquiring less than 500 high-priced units in 2006.

On a year-over-year basis, the 2011 luxury condo resale activity represents a 29 percent increase from 2010 when fewer than 460 units were purchased for at least $1 million each in Miami-Dade.

Weeks into 2012, an additional 100 luxury units are already under contract waiting to transact.

Topping the list for the most expensive condo resale in the year 2011 is a penthouse in the Setai Resort & Residences in Miami Beach that sold for $21.5 million.

A pair of units in towers on South Pointe Drive in Miami Beach’s South of Fifth neighborhood rounded out the top three rankings for the highest priced resales for 2011.

In separate transactions, buyers paid $11.5 million for a penthouse in the Apogee condominium and $10.6 million for a high-floor unit in the Continuum On South Beach, respectively.

The resurgence in the luxury resale market has inspired an increasing number of owners – who had previously been unwilling to accept lower prices during the last five years of the real estate crash – to put nearly 1,000 condos on the resale market with an asking price of at least $1 million each.

Nearly 20 ultra-luxury condominium units are on the resale market for at least $10 million each with one unit asking as much as $38 million in the wealthy enclave of Bal Harbour.

Developers are also taking notice of the resurgence in the luxury condo market.

At least five new luxury condo towers – ranging from the one-unit-per-floor Regalia to the drive-the-car-to-the-unit Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach – are planned or under construction in Miami-Dade County where the proposed sales prices are expected to surpass $1 million each.

The luxury condo revival in Miami-Dade County is not occurring at the same pace in Broward County where foreign buyers play a somewhat more limited role in transactions.

Buyers purchased less than 70 luxury condo resales in Broward County in 2011 compared to 100 high-priced units at the top of the market in 2006.

Unprecedented Buyer’s Market: Mortgage Rates Sink to Lowest on Record!

Fixed mortgage rates fell to all-time record lows this week following the Federal Reserve’s announcement of  “Operation Twist.”

The central bank’s new stimulus policy entails reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of GSE debt and mortgage-backed securities back into new mortgage bonds issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Fed also intends to purchase $400 billion more of Treasury securities by the end of June 2012.

Data released by Freddie Mac Thursday puts the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.01 percent (0.7 point)
for the week ending September 29. That’s down from 4.09 percent last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year rate averaged 4.32 percent.

Isn’t real estate great? Low mortgage rates, abundant inventory, reasonable and better informed sellers- all of these combined together make it the best market ever. The market conditions are great not only for first time home buyers, but also for investors, retirees who are looking for a second home, or for all these people looking for that investment opportunity that is REAL- after experiencing the shocking disappointments resulting from lost 401-K’s, crashing stock markets, Ponzi schemes- the list goes on and on.

It is wise to remind ourselves that real estate was called “real” for a reason and it is time to “jump off” that fence and take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity.

Buying A Home: Avoiding Set Backs and Disappointment

I read an interview with Matt Bomer, the suave Neal Caffrey (White Collar), where he shared that he was looking for a house in LA a while back.

“There was a place I was interested in, but I couldn’t get in touch with its owners”. So he resolved to jumping their fence.

Well, Matt, I am surprised you have not thought of having a Realtor, to get you in through the front door!

Seriously, why ANY Buyer will be looking on their own, instead of having a Realtor working for them at no cost???

Here is what every HOME-Buyer should read.

Buying a Home- 10 Steps To Follow:

Use a Buyer’s Agent
Be Wary About the Listing Agent
Get Pre-Approved for Financing: Getting a Legitimate Lender
Do Not Make Any Major Credit Purchases
Find The Right Neighborhood
Find The Right Home: Finding the Right Seller
Build a Plan of Actions and Get Ready
Do Your Homework: Hot, Normal, and Cold Markets
Importance of Inspection
Avoiding Financial Stress

If you do not have an agent, please call me at 786-412-8510, or drop a note to obtain more details on each one of the steps, or assistance regarding your search at kate@hollywood-beach-real-estate.com. I’m here to assist you every step of the way.

ALL-CASH Buyers Scooping Up SE Florida Real Estate Deals

I have written many posts on foreclosures and guidelines/ tips on how to successfully buy foreclosed properties and being an “ALL-CASH” buyer, has always been on top of the list. 

Cash buyers get the “real deals” in SE Florida Real Estate. Reports show that 63% of all closed transactions in the first quarter for Dade and Broward counties were all cash purchases.

The lowest price ranges for Dade and Broward, are for the most part foreclosed properties. And, not only do they go to “all-cash” buyers, but there are bidding wars.

Now, we finally have statistical data that speaks in a more convincing voice; see some of the published details below, showing clearly that Miami- Fort Lauderdale, SE Florida, is leading with 63% of all sales in the first quarter being cash purchases. What is different for this local market is that significant number of these cash buyers is made of foreign purchasers, not just investors as in the other markets.

Here are some figures from the major areas affected by foreclosures:

“WASHINGTON – June 22, 2011 – Cash buyers are snapping up homes in markets nationwide, betting that deals won’t get much better. Last month, all-cash buyers accounted for 30 percent of existing home sales, up from 25 percent in May 2010, and 12 percent two years ago”, says the National Association of Realtors.

The cash buyers are enticed by low prices and potential rental income, economists say. But while their activity has helped curb price drops, price increases have yet to follow.

In the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, 63 percent of first-quarter buyers paid in cash, vs. 39 percent in 1997’s first quarter, Zillow says.

Phoenix is also seeing more cash buyers, 44 percent in the first quarter up from 25 percent in the same 1997 period, Zillow data show.

The big numbers are “positive news,” says Stan Humphries, Zillow chief economist. “These are people who’re getting back into the market because they see good value.”

Cash buyers are especially prevalent in markets where prices have fallen the most, often areas hard hit by foreclosures.

In Las Vegas, the foreclosure capitol of the U.S. for the past four years, cash buyers accounted for 49 percent of first-quarter sales, says data from real estate site Zillow.com.

Given low prices, they can buy homes, rent them and be immediately cash-flow positive, says Paul Dales, an economist for Capital Economics.

To read full article published by FAR (Florida Association of Realtors):

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=3&id=261436

New Incentive for Buyers Purchasing Fannie Mae REO

New Incentive for Buyers Purchasing Fannie Mae REO

 I have great news to share with you! Today I received this information which will positively affect you if you are considering FHA financing. Read on: New Incentive for Buyers Purchasing Fannie Mae REO Fannie Mae is offering an incentive for buyers purchasing and closing on a Fannie Mae REO between January 28 and April 30, 2010. The incentive’s goals are to encourage buyers to purchase REO properties and increase the sales volumes to help manage the higher levels of inventory anticipated this year. The incentive is a total of 3.5% of the final selling price comprised of: • Closing costs • The purchase of new Whirlpool® appliances by Fannie Mae • A mix of closing costs and appliances, at the buyer’s discretion, up to the maximum 3.5% Since lenders may impose their own limitations on the use of the 3.5% incentive, buyers should consult their lenders for guidance. To be eligible for this incentive: • Offers must be accepted on or after January 28, 2010 • Property sales must close before May 1, 2010 • Buyers must be owner-occupants, investors are excluded Please call or email me for more information and forms. Cordially, Kate === Kate Smith, Realtor®, ABR, CRS, E-Pro, TRC, LHM 786.412.8510 kate@hollywood-beach-real-estate.com; katsmith@ziprealty.com http://www.hollywood-beach-real-estate.com; BLOG: http://4realestate.wordpress.com http://www.linkedin.com/in/miamirealtorkatesmith

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