Low Inventory Leads to Quick Home Sales in SW Florida

If you price it right, they will come.  We’ve been saying this for years, and it’s true.  Perhaps you’ve read recent headlines that shows home sales are down.  This would also be true but not for the negative reason the headline implies.

Simply put, home sales are down only because we don’t have much to sell.  We have greater demand than supply.

Low Inventory Leads to Quick Home Sales in SW Florida

If you look at the inventory chart for single family homes in SW Florida you’ll find that inventory levels are at their lowest level in years.  Inventory levels usually begin to rise in October through season, so we’ll have to keep our eye on that.

Buyers aren’t really prepared for the competition for new listings.  Their agent tells them it’s a good market and multiple offers are more often the rule rather than the exception, but it doesn’t sink in until they experience it for themselves.  There’s nothing quite like losing out on your first and second choice home.  It begins a powerful soul search and buyers have to ask themselves a hard question.  How bad do I want a home?

Most want one.  Some think about it and fear takes over so they do nothing.  They try again next year after feeding the rent monster and can’t believe how much waiting has cost them.  And the process begins all over, until the fear of remaining the same is greater than the fear of change and they take action.

New SW Florida Pending Sales October 2014

Look at the new pending sales chart.  This chart measures only new pending sales during the month.  It is not cumulative pending sales.  You’ll see new pending sales are rising over previous years at a time when inventory is falling.

This is why average sale prices are up 14.8% while median prices are up 3.9% from last year.  Combine that with a temporary drop in interest rates and you can see why we have a buying frenzy in SW Florida.  Other parts of the country aren’t experiencing what we’re seeing here, but then again they didn’t go through the tough times we did for 6-7 years either.

Builders didn’t build here for years.  Now that companies are hiring and moving here, we have a shortage, but thank goodness inventory is coming online.  It’s hard for a buyer to know where the inventory is, however an experienced agent who is active in the market knows and can help you.

The Ellis Team will be conducting home buyer seminars in November to help buyers.  We’ll educate you on how to get the best financing and what the lenders are looking for when you apply.  We’ll teach you how we get our offers accepted by sellers.  You have a limit to what you can afford, so we structure your offer to stand out.  We’ll show you where the new and existing inventory is that other buyers might not know about.

We teach you about flood insurance, homeowners insurance, the inspection process, and more.  You’re not in competition with the seller.  You’re in competition with other buyers who want the same homes you do.  We’ll educate you so you’re more informed.  Knowledge is power, and you can use that power to get in your home now before rates and prices price you out of the market.

Call our office to signup for one of our November seminars. 239-489-4042  Or you can email me at Brett@topagent.com  Feel free to search the MLS on our website www.Topagent.com If you can’t wait for our seminars this month, call us and one of our buyer specialists can meet with you one on one and get you a head start.

The market is Hot.  Sellers are doing well.  We’d like to help buyers take advantage and get in now before it goes higher.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

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By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

239-489-4042

 

Mortgage rates hit new lows for the year this past week as 30 year fixed rates averaged 3.97% The 15 year rate fell to 3.18%, and the 5-1 ARM sits at 2.92%

Mortgage Rates Hit New Lows

 

Mortgage Rates Hit New Lows

Forecasters have been prognosticating mortgage rates would begin to rise going into 2015 as the Fed tapers its bond buying program and most believe this is true.  However, we’ve heard fears of deflation and 10 year bond yields have fallen below 2%.  This is due to several factors including an economic slowdown in China, Europe, as well as fears of Ebola.  Ebola is one of those wildcards we’re thrown every once in awhile that makes it difficult to predict what will happen to the world economy.

Buyers are taking advantage of the dip in rates too as we listed and sold several homes this past week that sold in a day.  Buyers who have been shopping for any length of time are tired of getting beat out by other buyers for hot new properties that enter the market.

They’re also watching the interest rate market as a dip in rates means they can afford a larger mortgage with the same monthly payment with the new lower rates.  This is important in a rising price market like we have here in SW Florida.

When prices rise, it raises the monthly payment for a buyer if nothing else changes, or it drops them into a lower tier home if they cannot afford the higher payments.  Lower rates are a nice surprise, especially in a rising market.  Because home prices are expected to be higher next year than this year, and because rates are expected to be higher next year as well, it really pays to jump on that house when it hits the market and go after it hard.  Even if you overpay a little bit now, it can save you thousands in a few months when rates rise and prices rise.

At our team meeting this week our buyer specialists were talking about helping buyers in the $100,000-$120,000 range and how difficult it was for them as each home they were interested in had multiple offers.  Basically it’s come down to setting up alerts on the MLS and notifying our buyers instantly when a new home enters the market and writing an offer within hours.  Multiple offers are still a possibility, but it’s the only way these buyers are going to have a chance at landing a home.  They just can’t go higher and there is limited inventory.

This is happening in several price ranges.  We just had a home come on the market in the $450,000-$500,000 range and it went pending in one day and we have several more buyers begging for a call if anything happens on this transaction.  It’s good news for sellers and terribly frustrating for buyers.

Our advice is work with an agent who will study the market for you and guide you.  If what you’re looking for has limited inventory, jump on a new listing that fits your needs and will work for you, and is priced fairly in the market.  If it’s well overpriced you may not have to worry.  Some sellers are delusional even in a seller’s market and you just have to let those go.

However, the seller may not be as delusional as you might think in some cases.  If the property is unique or has something drawing you to it, chances are it may be drawing other buyers as well.  Views, extended lanais, or remodeled kitchens and baths might bring extra value.  You can’t just look at dollar per square foot.  Appraisers don’t work solely off that and neither should you.  Rather it’s best to make specific adjustments for certain items based on market conditions.

It pays to work with a Realtor that knows the market.  This is true buying or selling.  To search the MLS for free check  www.TopAgent.com  If we can help, please call us at 239-489-4042  Good luck and enjoy the interest rate break!

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!
To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

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By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

239-489-4042

 

Lately we’ve had quite a few calls from potential buyers about how to improve their credit scores so they can obtain a mortgage at today’s low rates.  They really want to get in before the rates go up.  this week we’d like to provide some tips on improving credit scores to get mortgage.

Tips on Improving Credit Scores to Get Mortgage

Last month we wrote about a way for buyers who can’t qualify today to pick out a home and work with an investor we know who buys the home and rents it to the buyer until they can qualify.  Certain conditions apply such as income requirements, etc.  But what about people that are renting and just want to buy?

I ran across a blog recently with some good tips, and I’ll share a few of their tips here and a way to read the complete article if you’re interested.

Tips on Improving Credit Scores to Get Mortgage

One way to establish good credit if your credit is horrible is to use a secured credit card. Basically you can put your own money into an account and borrow against that and then pay it off each month.  This establishes a payment pattern on the record, which can help those with horrific credit.  Check out First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard Secured Card.  Another secured card that is highly recommended is Secured Visa from Merrick Bank.

Keep in mind that on-time payments and credit utilization ratios are the biggest factors these days.  Paying late hurts your score.  It’s also better to have a few credit cards and spread out the credit amongst them than having one card all filled up.  Each card has a utilization factor as well as the total of your debts.  So if you’re maxed out on one card, that card is at 100% utilization which isn’t good.  Be careful to watch your overall utilization as well.

Don’t apply for too many cards in a sort period of time.  This will ding your credit.  Be careful not to close a bunch of accounts even if you owe nothing on them.  This changes your utilization ratio, essentially raising it because you just cancelled a debt free credit source.

Check your credit scores too.  Credit Sesame was rated # 1 free credit score service followed by #2 Credit Karma.  Keep in mind these free tools only check one credit bureau.  You might try www.annualcreditreport.com as it will check all three.

26% of participants found credit errors that negatively impacted their credit, so it can pay to check.

We will have some upcoming Home Buyer Seminars you can attend where we’ll explain the nuts and bolts of buying a home in SW Florida.  We’ll have a lender on hand to answer some of your financial and mortgage questions as well.  Check with us for upcoming dates as these seminars are always popular and fill up.

here’s the link if you’d like to read the complete article Best Credit Report Site of 2014

If you’ve got questions now and don’t want to wait for an upcoming seminar, give our office a call.  We can put you in touch with a lender now and get the process started for you.  It’s never too early to start working on your credit.

And don’t forget, if you’d like to search the MLS and get a feel for what’s on the market, go to www.Topagent.com and search for Free.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!
To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

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By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

239-489-4042

 

Are National Real Estate Values in Decline?

Each week I scour articles on the real estate industry just to get a feel for what may be going on locally and up North.  Some articles are factual and some are quite comical.

Today I ran across an article on CNBC speculating that home prices could be in for a triple dip.  Of course the headline grabbed my attention and I wanted to read further.

The article’s premise was that nationally home prices appreciated at a 1% rate from the 2nd to 3rd quarter of this year and that the rate last year was 3%, so a meltdown may be in the works.

The article rated the West as a highly over valued market and they feel as the West goes so goes the rest of the country.

I am not an expert in all markets across the country and I cannot tell you if the national market will go up or down this year, but I can tell you I see some flaws in the reporting.  It’s true, I have been hearing rumblings from agents that buyers have chilled in certain markets, but then again this is normal.  Some markets do well when others do not.  Certain states have better economies than others and this is why they say all real estate is local.

I am interested though because Northern markets can influence our markets.  The winter is expected to be brutal again this year and cold fronts are already zipping through the country.  If Northern buyers fear their market is headed down. They may decide to cash out and move south.

Other Northern buyers borrow against their home to purchase 2nd homes, so a decline up north would hurt those buyers.  In any event, I’d prefer the reports focus on interest rates, the economy, consumer confidence, and the job market which definitely affects the market rather than reporting on price gains slowing and how the market may be headed for doom.

SW Florida knows what doom looks like.  We lived it for 6+ years.  Many are still digging out from the price collapse after 2005.  Just because a market appreciates at a normal or below normal rate doesn’t mean anything.  Could the national market go down?  Yes, of course.  Will it go down for the facts mentioned in the article?  Definitely not as the article missed on what is truly driving the market.

Be careful not to believe everything you read on the Internet.  Some reporters have no idea how money works or what affects real estate.  They may have just been assigned to a story outside of what they normally cover.  Or, they just may not know what they’re talking about.  This might be a fine reporter and perhaps she was in a hurry to get a story out.  I understand about deadlines.

Regardless of what ultimately happens up north, our market looks to be in great shape.  Hertz is hiring, and we may have another company moving here as well.  Our market is rebounding and things are on the move.  Harborside renovation was just approved and the downtown area is looking up.

Rates are low but headed higher this next year.  All signs point to another great season coming up.  We will survive a potential downturn up north should it occur because our fundamentals look good.

National Real Estate Values in Decline Home ownership report
Home Ownership report Page 2 of 5

Prices have been moving up locally.  Median prices are up about 10% from last year.  If you’re thinking about selling we have a computer tool that is pretty decent at estimating your home’s value.  Simply go to www.swfloridahomevalues.com and find out.  Of course, we’d love to sit down with you and go over comparables and marketing strategies if you’re selling as the computer cannot always be 100% accurate.

Buying or selling, give us a call. 239-489-4042  We’ll sit down with you and go over your options.

To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

Visit our Google+ Business Page

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By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

239-489-4042

 

National Pending Home Sales Fall Slightly

Nationally pending home sales pulled back slightly in August but are still in positive territory.  The NAR (National Association of Realtors) Pending Home Sales Index stands at 104.7 which is down from 105.8 in July.  Anything over 100 is considered positive territory.

National Pending Home Sales Fall Slightly in August 2014
New Single Family Pending Sales

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR was quoted as saying “With investors pulling back, the market is shifting more towards traditional and first-time buyers who rely on mortgages to purchase a home. Fewer distressed homes at bargain prices and the acknowledgement we’re entering a rising interest rate environment likely caused hesitation among investors last month.”

Locally we’re seeing new pending sales declining slightly as well.  This very well could be because of declining inventory levels.  Our market is still hot for the most part.  Inventory levels are down and median time on the market is also down 12.5% from last year.

The 42 days on market includes high priced homes and short sales which tend to skew the number higher.  If you have a home on the market longer than 42 days it could be that you’re not priced at the market.

We are seeing some resistance in the first time home buyer market.  Buyers are being stingier and writing low-ball offers at the lower end of the market. The ironic thing is this is the hottest part of the market in terms of marketing time.  Lower priced homes fly off the shelves the quickest.  The median time it takes to sell a $100-150k home is 27 days.  For a $150-200k home it’s 34 days.

Median days on market SW Florida Single Family Homes For Sale
Median Days on market

We’re seeing buyers with pre-qualification letters for much higher than their offer but not all are stepping up to the plate.  We don’t know if the buyers are fearful and being cautious or getting bad advice from their Realtor as to what the realistic chances are of getting the home.

Most times they lose out on the home to another buyer.  There is limited inventory in the market, so if you miss out on your 1st choice, you may slip down to getting your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th choice, and those choices don’t look as good as when you have more to choose from.

Our buyer agents have been working very hard at identifying properties for buyers and notifying them as soon as one comes on the market.  Sometimes beating out other buyers to hot new listings is a good way to get a new #1 choice, but it is risky as the next homes to come on the market could be at higher prices.

Buyers aren’t really in competition with the sellers.  They’re in competition with other buyers who are looking for the same thing.  Beating them to the punch can be the difference, and having a Realtor with excellent technology systems in place can make the difference.

If you’re tired of losing out to other buyers and want a team working for you, give us at call at 239-489-4042.  Or you can signup at www.Topagent.com and view properties in the MLS.  Our agents have other systems and can contact you and be on the lookout for you and notify you immediately when something pops up that meets your needs.

We also get our buyers pre-approved for a mortgage, so when that property does pop up, you’re ready to go.  It’s frustrating to find a property then lose out to another buyer who was a day or two ahead of you with the pre-qualification process.

Our team makes the process easy.  Most people have fear about the process as much as anything.  We’ll walk you through step by step so you always know what to expect.  With some hard work on our end and a little luck, we’ll have you in your home before rates and prices go up anymore and price you out of the market.

With the Ellis Team at RE/MAX, it’s a family affair.  Always call the Ellis Team, we’ll handle you with care!

 

To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

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By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

239-489-4042

 

August Home Sales Report Shows SW Florida Real Estate Market is Healthy

Initial August home sales numbers were just released by Florida Realtors and it reveals some encouraging yet predictable figures.

SW Florida Real Estate Market Shows Healthy Signs

Single family home sales in Lee County Florida showed a median price increase of 10.6% over last year to $182,500, while the average sales price was up 6.3% to $261,011 The median price was up from July $179,900.  If you’ll notice last year prices began rising again in August as well. There is seasonality in the SW Florida real estate market and the graphs help illustrate how this works.

Listing inventory is also down this year with only 4,890 single family homes on the market.  Last year there were 4,997 so inventory is going down.  You can see from the total inventory graph that there is always a dip in inventory this time of year.

SW Florida Listing Inventory

Making predictions is easy if you have lots of historical data to look at and graphs.  We always have to look at external factors that could influence the market going forward and combine that with market data.  If no new external forces were influencing the market, where would you predict inventory levels in a few months?

If you predict inventory levels to rise, there’s a good chance you’ll be correct based upon the last 3 years of data.  If we provided a price graph you’d see prices begin escalating after September as well, so going forward we could have rising inventory and rising prices.

Let’s look at external forces that could influence the market.  The Feds could increase interest rates which has a negative effect on buyer’s purchasing power.  This could happen in the next 12 months.

We have elections coming up in November.  Depending on how they turn out could affect consumer sentiment about the economy going forward.

The war on terrorism, along with hot spots in Ukraine, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere could affect the world economy and impact us here someday.

Locally we’re expecting an announcement regarding a company relocating to SW Florida.  It is dubbed Project Orange and the announcement should come in the next 12 months.  Should they choose Lee County we hear Bonita Springs is the likely winner.  This could positively impact Southern Lee County and Northern Collier County, however landing a company with jobs helps the entire area really.

Builders will be bringing more inventory to SW Florida in a few months, and we need it.  Buying new construction is complicated.  It’s hard to know who has the best deal and what incentives are being offered.  Hooking up with a top Realtor in the area can save you big and Realtors can offer guidance on what areas are hot and what amenities future buyers are looking for.  Purchasing in the best area for you can help secure your financial future down the road.

Good Realtors know what to stay away from and what will be hard to resell later on, so having a Realtor with you when you purchase is critical.  You don’t pay extra from a builder to have a Realtor, but not having one can cost you thousands. We know which builders and which communities have product coming and when, so give us a call if you’re in the market for a home and can’t find it on the resale market.

We also have some great resale homes coming to the market. If you’re looking for a certain home or neighborhood, our buyer specialists can guide you and may know of something that fits your needs.  If not, we can be on the lookout for you and notify you if a match hits the market.  The market is picking up and new listings sell very fast, so don’t waste time if you have a need.  Call us at 239-489-4042

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

Search All SW Florida Real Estate Market Listings

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By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

239-489-4042