Sarasota Area Real Estate Blog

NEW YORK – Feb. 19, 2014 – Many housing experts predicted a slowdown in investor activity this year, but investors don’t appear to be fading from the market – they appear to simply be shifting their focus to different types of properties as distressed inventories dry up.

“There has been a clear rebound in investor participation in the housing market,” says Thomas Popik, research director for the Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey, which showed strong activity among investors in December 2013. “The statistics for the housing market, particularly the non-distressed segment, remain generally strong, but investors still are increasing their activity.”

Investors are increasingly targeting non-distressed properties.

In November,

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NEW YORK – Feb. 17, 2014 – Jumbo mortgages are providing the housing market recovery with a boost, according to industry experts. Buyers looking at luxury properties currently can obtain jumbo mortgages with interest rates that are on par with – and sometimes even lower than – conventional loans.

Moreover, the new qualified mortgage regulations (QM) don’t apply to jumbos, which makes them a more flexible option for buyers who want things like interest-only loans or who have a high net worth but complicated finances.

Jumbo mortgages can make sense for financing a home purchase even when buyers have enough cash, says Denise Andres, a real estate agent with ERA Landmark in Bozeman, Mt., who recently helped a client who downsized with a jumbo loan rather

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WASHINGTON – Feb. 14, 2014 – The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) estimates that sales of new single-family homes were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 543,000 units in January 2014, based on data from MBA’s Builder Applications Survey (BAS).

The estimated 543,000 unit annual sales pace in January was a 35 percent increase from December’s pace. On an unadjusted basis, the MBA estimated 38,000 new home sales in January – a 36 percent increase from the level of 28,000 units in December. The new home sales estimate is derived using mortgage application information from the BAS, as well as assumptions regarding market coverage and other factors.

“While the big jump may appear to conflict with other data, such as MBA’s purchase application

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CAPE CORAL, Fla. – Feb. 3, 2014 – Question: One of the unit owners in our condo association is upside down on her mortgage and has not paid association fees in a year. This is her only home, and we feel sorry for her but we would like to know what our chances are of collecting the unpaid fees.

She told a board member that she may declare bankruptcy. She says that the association is guaranteed to be paid all the back fees if she does. Is she right?

Answer: Bankruptcies can be complicated, but it is clear that a lien for condominium assessments can be removed in a bankruptcy when the owner is upside down. In other words, the assessments do not need to be paid if the amount of the first mortgage exceeds the value of the property, according to a recent

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NEW YORK – Jan. 28, 2014 – The Consumer Confidence Index rebounded in December and increased again in January, suggesting Americans are feeling more confident about the economy and the direction it’s heading.

The Conference Board’s Index now stands at 80.7 (1985=100), up from 77.5 in December. The Present Situation Index increased to 79.1 from 75.3. The Expectations Index that increased to 81.8 from 79.0 last month.

“Consumers’ assessment of the present situation continues to improve, with both business conditions and the job market rated more favorably,” says Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Looking ahead six months, consumers expect the economy and their earnings to improve.”

However, Franco says consumers were

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SARASOTA - Tourism in Sarasota County got a record-breaking kick to end 2013, a potent signal that the much-vaunted Southwest Florida visitor industry rebound will likely continue this winter.

Total hotel and vacation rental occupancy set an all-time record at 61.2 percent for December, surpassing a mark from 2005, while the average daily rate of $155.83 came close to eclipsing a December 2006 record.

At the same time, the number of tourists and the amount they spent in December rose by double digits over the final month in 2012, according to figures from Visit Sarasota County, the tourism promotion agency.

The December numbers make tourism promoters optimistic about the upcoming high season.

“From the volume we've been seeing, I think

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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…
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Sarasota County median sale prices for single family homes and condos in December 2013 were up double figures over last December as the real estate market ended the year on another high note. Single family home prices were at $189,950 in December, compared to $165,000 last year at this time for a 15.1 percent increase. Condos also saw a big rise, hitting $182,000 in December 2013 compared to $165,100 last year for a 10.2 percent increase.

The 12-month rolling median, which moderates monthly swings, for single family homes was $184,900 in December 2013, up nearly 20 percent from last year at this time ($155,000). For condos the rolling median was $164,900, up 10.1 percent over last year's figure at this time ($150,000).

Total property sales in

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Flood insurance update: Rays of hope, no solutions  

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jan. 10, 2014 – A solution to some Florida homeowners’ flood insurance woes remains elusive, though proposed changes in both the Florida Legislature and U.S. Congress offer a ray of hope. Each moved forward this week, though passage isn’t certain.

Under the Biggert-Waters Act, flood insurance policies underwritten by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) must become actuarially sound, meaning a premium that reflects the true cost of a property’s coverage. However, the premium increase on some subsidized properties is higher than most people anticipated when the bill was signed. In some cases, homeowners face NFIP price increases as high as 900 percent.

Florida Legislature


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