Mortgage Rates Hit Record Low – Third Time this Year

At 3.15%, the median 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage set another record. It’s down from last week’s 3.24% and the lowest since Freddie Mac started tracking in 1971.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week as the key 30-year home loan marked an all-time low for the third time in the last few months since the coronavirus outbreak took hold.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan tumbled to 3.15% from 3.24% last week. It was the lowest level since Freddie started tracking rates in 1971. A year ago, the rate stood at 3.99%.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 2.62% from 2.70% last week.

Spurred by the fall in borrowing rates, demand for home purchases by prospective buyers has rebounded from a decline of 35% in mid-April to an 8% increase as of last week, Freddie economists noted.
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Populous Cities Losing Appeal During COVID-19 Shutdown

 Nearly 1 in 3 Americans might move to less densely populated areas due to the pandemic, according to a Harris Poll – a possible big change for the real estate market.

NEW YORK – Ben Greenzweig is itching to move his wife and three kids South, a plan that may get accelerated due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The CEO and co-founder of conference company Momentum Event Group, says he’s looking to move to either North Carolina or South Carolina from the New York City suburbs in Westchester County, for cheaper costs and bigger living space amid fears that a deep and prolonged economic slump in the state could eventually force residents to pay higher taxes.

“It would be an unbelievable escape,” Greenzweig, 42, says. He typically works from home which gives him flexibility.

“Our children’s involvement in school is the single largest tether keeping us here. If there’s a hint that school won’t resume in the fall for my kids, then the biggest reasons for us staying here, which are friendships and school activities, evaporates.”

Nearly a third of Americans are considering moving to less densely populated areas in the wake of the pandemic, according to new data from Harris Poll. That may foreshadow a shift that would have a major impact on residential real estate sales and home prices.

Urbanites (43%) were twice as likely than suburban (26%) and rural (21%) dwellers to have recently browsed a real estate website for homes and apartments to rent or buy, the survey showed, which was conducted among 2,050 U.S adults from April 25-27.

“People will be much more cautious about living in high-density areas with so many people nearby,” predicts Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.

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Florida Real Estate Market Keeps Moving – Just a Bit Slower

In recessions, pandemics and booms, the real estate market adjusts, and since a home is often an emotional purchase, some think stay-at-home rules will only boost demand.

MIAMI – Jonathan Tripp sat outside of a title agency in his truck as he gave his signed documents to masked and gloved agents. He rolled his window back up before they went into the office and returned with his copy of the paperwork.

And with that, his two-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Fort Lauderdale was sold for $290,000, a process Tripp says was done about 80% electronically in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. He and his fiancé are now under contract to buy a three-bed, two-bath house in Coconut Creek for $340,000.

While much of the world is on hold due to the stay-at-home orders and quarantine recommendations that accompany the COVID-19 outbreak, the real estate market in South Florida keeps moving. It’s just moving slower.

Carl Marzola, president of Atlantic Properties International, last week showed an $850,000 four-bedroom colonial home in Fort Lauderdale’s Poinsettia Heights to a large family and had a client accept an offer on a three-bedroom corner unit in a building on the ocean. Wesley Ulloa, broker owner of LUXE Properties, lists a $560,000 condo in Coral Gables and a $300,000 townhouse in Miami Lakes among her recent closings. Saddy Abaunza, vice president of Sotheby’s International Realty, has had wealthy clients rent local luxury homes to spend their time for the duration of the pandemic.
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Florida 4th-most Investing State in New Housing

Florida is investing the fourth-most in new housing among all U.S. states, according to a new report by Construction Coverage. The analysis found that 154,711 new homes were built in Florida in 2019. For every 10,000 residents, Florida built 72.6 new housing units in 2019, which is the fourth most among all U.S. states, the report shows. In addition, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area came in at No. 5 for mid-size metros investing the most in new home construction, building 120.6 new housing units per 10,000 residents in 2019. For every 10,000 residents, the Naples-Marco Island built 99.3 new housing units in 2019, which is the 10th most among all midsize metropolitan areas in the U.S. Punta Gorda ranked No. 8 in small metros investing the most in new home construction, building 121.3 new housing units per 10,000 residents in 2019.
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Florida – PROPERTY TAX PAYMENT DUE DATE EXTENDED

PROPERTY TAX PAYMENT DUE DATE EXTENDED

Department of Revenue Executive Director Jim Zingale has issued an emergency order to extend the final due date for property tax payments for the 2019 tax year. Order of Emergency Waiver/Deviation #20-52-DOR-001applies to all 67 Florida counties. Property tax is normally due by March 31 in the year following the year the taxes are assessed. The Department waives the due date so that payments remitted by April 15, 2020, for the 2019 tax year will be considered timely paid. Property taxpayers can visit the official Lee County Tax Collector website to complete their payment online. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on March 16 directed the Department of Revenue to provide flexibility on tax due dates to assist those adversely affected by COVID-19. In addition, Zingale issued Emergency order #20-52-DOR-002 in relation to filing deadlines for Florida businesses. Taxpayers adversely affected by COVID-19 are encouraged to send questions to email questions here. For more information, click here.

Florida Housing Market Shows Positive Trends in September

September statewide single-family home sales rose 11.5% year-to-year, and the median price rose 5.3% to $256K. Condo sales rose 6.1%; median price up 5.8% to $193K.

ORLANDO, Fla. – During September, Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, higher median prices and increased pending inventory compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 23,510 last month, up 11.5% from September 2018.

“Mortgage rates that remain historically low and strong economic trends continue to help fuel Florida’s housing market,” says 2019 Florida Realtors President Eric Sain, a Realtor and district sales manager with Illustrated Properties in Palm Beach. “In another positive sign, pending inventory for existing single-family homes was up 1.7% year-over-year, while pending inventory for existing condo-townhouse properties was up 0.9%.

“Staying on top of trends in local housing markets can be challenging for buyers and sellers – turning to a local Realtor for expert guidance can ease stress and help with peace of mind.”

Pending inventory is the number of listed properties under contract at the end of the month or data collection period.

Statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties have risen year-over-year for 93 consecutive months.

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $265,000, up 5.3% from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Last month’s statewide median price for condo-townhouse units was $193,000, up 5.8% 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 August 2019 was $280,700, up 4.7% from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $257,600. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in August was $617,410; in Massachusetts, it was $430,000; in Maryland, it was $310,000; and in New York, it was $296,900.

Looking at Florida’s condo-townhouse market in September, statewide closed sales totaled 9,007, up 6.1% compared to a year ago. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.

“With inventory levels continuing to dwindle, low mortgage interest rates remain the major reason we are continuing to see strong sales and price growth throughout much of the state,” says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. “And with both sales and prices continuing to rise, it should come as no surprise that the dollar volume of sales throughout the state also increased significantly this September compared to September of last year. Statewide, closed sales of single-family homes totaled about $8 billion, a year-over-year increase of 17%. Dollar volume for sales of townhouses and condos, meanwhile, rose by 7.5% to about $2.4 billion.”

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.61% in September 2019, a significant drop from the 4.63% averaged during the same month a year earlier.
© 2019 Florida Realtors®

 

Bloomberg: Florida, The Winner As The Wealthy Move South

According to a Bloomberg analysis of state-to-state moves based on data from the IRS and the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida saw a net influx of nearly 3% of the state’s adjusted gross income in 2016.

South Carolina, Idaho and Oregon also posted large gains, while the biggest declines were recorded by Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that about 10% of the population – about 35 million people – moves annually, usually within the same county, though about 5 million Americans move from one state to another.

“Florida’s powerhouse economy continues to churn out new jobs, retiree migration to Florida is on the rise, and millennials are coming into their prime home-buying years,” says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Brad O’Connor.

Migration also brings more money into Florida than it moves out. The average gross income of people moving to Florida from 10 states and Washington, D.C., exceeded $100,000, outstripping those of Florida natives who migrated to the reciprocal states.

The Sunshine State also benefits from a provision of the federal tax law that imposes a lower cap on state and local tax deductions – one of seven states that collect no income tax.
Source: Bloomberg (05/24/19) Miller, Lee J.; Lu, Wei

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Florida Senate unlikely to revisit beach access law

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Feb. 8, 2019 –
There is little chance the Florida Senate will revisit a controversial state law that has impacted public access to some beach areas, according to top Republicans in the chamber.
Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, and Senate Majority Leader Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, say they do not intend to reconsider a 2018 law (HB 631) that put in place an extensive process for local governments before they can continue so-called customary use of privately owned beach property above the mean high-water line.
The new law fueled heated debates last summer after some coastal property owners in Walton County were quick to keep people off dry sand portions of beaches.
Galvano said in November he did not want to revisit the issue, and Passidomo agreed during an interview Thursday.
“People need to understand that most of the beaches in Florida are public, open to the public and they will never be closed,” says Passidomo. The new law, she adds, is meant to protect private property rights – not limit access to beaches. Passidomo says the law, which she championed last year, is controversial because it is misunderstood.
As a result, she said it does not need tweaks – let alone a repeal, which Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, is proposing with a bill (SB 54) filed for the upcoming legislative session.
“Whether that bill is heard or not, my opinion is that there is a lot of political machinations occurring over a bill that is much simpler than people are making it out to be,” Passidomo said.

Source: News Service of Florida

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Florida: Why You Should Vote “Yes” on Amendment 2

Amendment 2 preserves the 10 percent cap on annual increases of non-homestead property taxes that has been in place for the last 10 years. It is the only amendment on the ballot that does not change Florida law, and it prevents an estimated $700 million tax increase on the 2.2 million non-homestead properties currently protected in the state.

Over the past several months, Florida Realtors® has been hard at work explaining the benefits of the amendment and helping to educate voters on the need to pass it. But Realtors are not the only ones who understand its importance. Here are some excerpts from what a majority of Florida’s largest newspapers have to say:
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Florida Housing Market Continues Positive Track in Sept. 2018

ORLANDO, Fla. – Oct. 19, 2018 – Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, higher median prices and more pending sales in September compared to a year ago – when Hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys on Sept. 10, 2017 – according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 21,087 last month, up 17 percent compared to September 2017.
September was the 81st month-in-a-row (over six and a half years) that statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties increased year-over-year. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $251,610, up 4.9 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Thestatewide median price for condo-townhouse units in September was $182,500, up 5.5 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
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