Today we have some good news to report on how the domino effect will help real estate market here in SW Florida and nationwide.

Domino Effect Will Help Real Estate Market

For years Realtors have complained that financing was not as easy to obtain for condominiums as it is for single family homes.  For various reasons FHA would not lend in most condo projects unless the association jumped through exhaustive and costly hoops.  I’m sure FHA had good intentions and wants to protect consumers and the government, but the hoops were so burdensome and arduous that condos could only be financed by FNMA or Freddie Mac secured loans.

While FNMA has 3-5% down loans, many buyers prefer using FHA financing and were forced to buy single family homes under this program.  This all changed now that H.R. 3700 was signed into law this past week.  More than 140,000 Realtors lobbied Congress in support of this bill and it passed the House and Senate with Unanimous votes.  Imagine getting anything done in Congress with unanimous votes!

Many argue that first time home buyers do well in condominiums because the budgeting for repairs, lawn, maintenance, roofs, etc are often times built-into the condo association fee.  Homeowners are sometimes surprised by unexpected expenses that come with owning your own home.  So this new law will really help spur first time home buyers to buy condos that are often times more affordable than single family homes.

Domino Effect Will Help Real Estate Market

What this legislation does is create a domino effect which could really help the real estate market.  By opening up the condo market to more buyers you free up those current condo owners to sell and buy other things.  And prices could go up as there will be more demand for condos going forward.

Getting more people into home ownership has its advantages, and financing is always key to providing a healthy real estate market and economy.  What really hurt the real estate market and overall economy back in 2006-2011 was banks over-tightening lending practices.

Changes needed to be made because loans like the “Liar Loans” and no documentation loans that President Clinton initiated to open up financing to minorities created a monster and the real estate crisis.  What started with good intentions led to everyone getting free money with no documentation and we all know what followed years later.

Now we have Dodd-Frank which is equally disastrous and overly regulatory and caused many homeowners to not be able to live the American dream.  So wins like H.R. 3700 becoming law loom large and are good for the real estate market and economy.

If it were me I’d repeal Dodd-Frank but you can’t just undo that without having a plan in place.  I’d also undo Obama Care, but again you can’t just undo something without having a better plan to go into place.  Since I’m a nobody my ideas don’t matter. And some would argue they like Obama Care.

Where there seems to be unanimous agreement is in this bill, and to that end we’re all grateful.  FHA’s owner-occupancy requirement has been cut from 50% to 35% and transfer fees will be more tolerated under this new law.  These two new rules alone will open up more condos for financing, and the hoops they must jump through will be lessened.

If you’d like to search for condos in SW Florida, you can do so at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  Or you can call us at 239-489-4042 and our team can help you decide whether a home or condo may be the best choice for you.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

We have 2 units for sale in Bella Casa in Fort Myers.  Passing of this legislation could help home values in Bella Casa and other condominium projects across SW Florida.

Find out what your SW Florida home is worth online.  If you’d like a more detailed analysis, please call us and we can help.

Problem With Real Estate Agents Find out what your home is worth

Great Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, also known as Brexit, shook financial markets to the core leaving investors scrambling.  There was a definite flight to quality into US Treasuries as the 10 Yr note yield fell instantly as the vote was announced.  We answer the question, “Could Brexit benefit Southwest Florida home buyers?”

Brexit Benefit Southwest Florida Home Buyers

Could Brexit Benefit Southwest Florida Home Buyers?

The answer is yes, it is already benefiting many borrowers.  Since Brexit rates are down about 1/4% to ½%. This works out to about 6% more purchasing power for the same payment in one week’s time.  In other words, a buyer has two choices.  They can either step up about 6% in purchase price and not have the payment cost them any more, or they can purchase the same amount and spend less per month doing it.

This helps more buyers qualify, so it can help sellers too.  We have a listing in Bella Casa that has Open House Friday 5:30-7:30 and Saturday 5:30-7:30 July 8th and 9th.  It is 3 bedrooms and 2 baths and is listed at $185,000.  Before Brexit we needed a buyer that qualified for the full $185,000.  Today we could find a buyer that qualified for a maximum $174,000 just last week and make that deal happen and it wouldn’t cost the buyer any more.

In the higher price ranges it’s even more dramatic.  Essentially borrowers just got either a financing discount or a purchasing boost for the same money.  The buyer definitely wins, and one could argue sellers do too because now there are more available buyers for their home.

When times are uncertain investors flock to tangible assets or quality.  Good examples of tangible assets are gold and real estate.  Both can fluctuate in value but real estate can be rented out.  It’s hard to do that with gold.  The EU may not be done losing participants either, and if anyone else bows out like Great Britain did it could spell more uncertainty for the markets.

Gold rose and oil fell after Brexit.  Gold was considered a flight to quality while oil fell because people feared a business slowdown.  Sometimes the markets are fueled by consumer confidence while other times they’re fueled by opportunities.

We could have fewer British and European buyers in the US market which could hurt some local markets while at the same time helping many buyers.  Many times there are competing forces at work and so it is difficult for anyone to accurately predict which force wins out and who the winners and losers will actually be.  Just keep in mind there are opportunities in situations like these and the news isn’t always grim.

If you’re thinking about buying in this very low interest rate market we’ve got the website for you.  www.LeeCountyOnline.com  We think you’ll like it because it is updated with all the listings every 5 minutes.  Most of the other sites take days and still don’t always get it right.

Sometimes days is too long.  The best properties go fast.  Timing is critical.  If you’d like to take advantage of this financial situation, give us a call at 239-489-4042 or register on our site.  We can get you in touch with a lender who has rates below 3% as of the time we’re writing this article.

If you’re a seller, we have lots of buyers and may have a buyer that’s looking for a home like yours.  You can call us too.  If we don’t currently have a buyer, we have marketing that attracts buyers.  Give us a call and let’s see if we can get you to your next goal.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Next weekend we’ll feature an Open House Extravaganza, so stay tuned.

 

Welcome to the Ellis Team Seller’s Club.  Each month we inform sellers in Southwest Florida trends and data to make the best decisions.  E-Mail us if you’d like to be included in our Seller’s Club.

Back in April we reported sales seemed to be picking up just a bit after a lackluster season. We’re happy to report some encouraging news with SW Florida real estate sales picking up slightly.

SW Florida Real Estate Sales Picking Up Months supply inventory
Months Supply of Inventory June 2016

The trend we saw in April bears out in the statistics. Month’s supply of inventory in all but one price range declined which means there are more sales relative to the amount of inventory on the market. We’ve supplied a chart comparing month’s supply of inventory for single family homes in Lee County Florida in June compared to April 2016. While there is still a large amount of inventory priced $400,000 and up, numbers are looking better.

SW Florida Real Estate Sales Picking Up

Closed sales May 2016 SW Florida Real Estate Sales Picking Up
Closed Sales May 2016

We reported that sales were down about 20% earlier this year; however closed sales in May were just about even with last year’s numbers. While February and March sales were down from last year, May is showing some progress this year.

Brexit is in the news and the jury is still out on its effects on our national and local markets. One boon could be lower rates as we see a global flight to quality to US treasuries. When this happens it drives down mortgage rates which are largely based off the 10 yr note. Lower rates would add buying power to local buyers and create newly qualified buyers into the market. The downside could be a lack of consumer confidence and exports which could cost jobs, so we’ll have to wait and see how this all plays out.

Every circumstance presents a new opportunity, so we’ll be looking for creative ways to market to the opportunities as they present.

New listings are up 10.6% in May, so hopefully the pending sales keep coming and keep that supply of inventory down. Pending inventory fell 12% in May over last year while inventory increased 14.1% in May over last year, so we’ll have to keep our eye on that.

There are so many statistics we research each month that give us a guide to where the market may be headed. It’s worked well in the past and sellers appreciate reviewing all the data when they’re making selling decisions on their home.

This is one of the reasons we’ve decided to start up a Seller’s Club. The Ellis Team Seller’s Club is a group of people who have their home on the market or are considering selling their property and are thirsty for market data. We produce a video going over many charts and analyzing the data. We only have so much room in each of these articles so with the videos we’re able to present much more. All of the data is geared to sellers and what they need to know. If you’re listed with another broker this is not a solicitation to obtain your listing.

If you’re considering putting your home on the market then you definitely want to tune in. Just email me at Brett@topagent.com and ask to be placed in our Seller’s Club and we’ll add you. It’s that simple, and you’ll look at the same data we look at and receive expert analysis of what it all means and how it affects you.

If you’d like to search the MLS like a pro, head on over to www.LeeCountyOnline.com Our database is updated every 5 minutes, so you’ll find hot new properties before other buyers do. If you’d like to list your home now, give us a call. 239-489-4042 We’re easy to talk to and we’re here to help.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

July 4th Independence Day Specials

 

SW Florida Real Estate Featured Properties
Olde Hickory Golf Course Home

14381 Hickory Fairway Ct

4 Bedrooms, 3 Baths

 

 

 

 

SW Florida Real Estate Reflection Lakes
Reflection Lakes Pool Home on Lake

13925 Bald Cypress Cir

4 Bedroom, 3 Bath Pool Home on Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whiskey Creek pool home SW Florida Real Estate Fort Myers
Whiskey Creek Pool Home

5668 Jerez Ct

3 Bedrooms, 3 Baths, Oversized Lot

 

 

 

SW Florida Real Estate Viridian Fort Myers
Viridian Pool Home on Lake

12407 Arbor View Dr

4 Bedrooms, 4 Baths, Pool Home Lakefront

 

 

 

SW Florida Real Estate Cape Coral Pool Home
Cape Coral Pool Home

2110 SW 13th St

3 Bedrooms, 3 Baths, 4 lot site

 

 

 

SW Florida Real Estate Bella Casa
Bella Casa Home With Garage

Bella Casa Home Fort Myers

3 Bedrooms, 3 Baths with Garage

 

 

 

SW Florida Real Estate Bella Casa Riviera
Bella Casa Riviera Floor Plan

Bella Casa Riviera Floor Plan

3 Bedrooms, 2 Baths, Community Pool

 

 

 

The Ellis Team Seller’s Club is brought to you by the Ellis Team – Keller Williams Fort Myers & The Islands

SW Florida closed sales for single family homes fell in November 6.7% in SW Florida.  Many are blaming new Federal guidelines known as TRID for delayed or cancelled closings, and there may be some truth to that.  However, a deeper look inside the numbers presents another theory as well.

SW Florida Closed Sales Sale Prices

Cash sales also fell 12% in November.  Cash sales were not affected by the new rules, so this would dispel the idea that the entire slowdown was caused by delayed closings caused by TRID.  It could very well be there are fewer closings because there is less active inventory to sell.

Active single family home inventory fell 5.1% in November, down to 5,010 listings as compared to 5,277 available last year.  It’s hard to keep losing inventory each month and expect closed sales to rise.  Statistically it can’t happen forever, and this is why it’s putting pressure on prices to rise.  And rise they have!

SW Florida Closed Sales

Before we look at prices, there is some good news on the inventory front.  New listings rose 10.7% in November. 1,661 new listings came in this year compared to only 1,500 last year.  We are seeing more listings hitting the market, so why aren’t inventory levels rising?

New pending sales fell in November 4.4%  There were 1,104 new pending sales this year compared to 1,155 last year.  If 1,661 new listings came on the market, and only 1,104 went pending, how did inventory levels fall in November?

The answer is convoluted.  Not all pending sales close.  Not all pending sales close in the month they go pending as there is a lag.  And not all closings are happening on their scheduled contract closing date.  Closings are being delayed by TRID and banking delays.  Additionally, some listings expire and don’t go pending which also drops inventory levels.

Sellers with expired listings need to make difficult choices.  Did they hire the wrong Realtor?  Does their home need repairs?  Or did they simply overprice the market?  Sometimes it’s good to step back and objectively look at what other sellers are offering and at what price.  That is your current competition.  It’s also important to look at sellers who won the home selling game.  What condition was the property in?  Did that property receive updates?  How was it priced?

Many times the answer is staring sellers right n the face, and it’s right there if they want to look at it.

Buyers have similar decisions to make.  Often we hear from buyers who have lost out on many homes for various reasons.  Quite often they’re being outbid by other buyers.  If you keep offering 10% off asking price expecting to win a home you have about as much chance as a seller overpricing their home by 10%.  The market is the market, and when you price a home correctly, it will sell.  When you bid for a home correctly, you have a chance.  We’re not saying you have a guarantee as sellers evaluate the entire offer and compare it against other offers, or potential future offers.

Sellers look at how much you have in escrow, how confident they are in the lender you chose and the details in your pre-approval letter.  They look at how much you’re putting down, and if it’s not a lot how you would overcome your bank appraising the property low.

Buyers typically say a low appraisal is the seller’s problem, and it may be.  But it also can be the buyer’s problem as many sellers turn down low appraisals and sell their home to cash buyers the next week.  This is of course if their home was priced correctly in the first place, as cash buyers don’t like to over-pay anymore than financed buyers do.

The bottom line is it pays to research the market, and work with an expert.  Experts can help you navigate the process of how much to offer, battling low appraisals, and overall market statistics.  If you’d like to do a little research yourself, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com and search the MLS.  If you’d like to talk to local experts, call us at 239-489-4042 and we’ll see if we can help.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Featured Property of the Week

8740 Banyan Bay Blvd

3 Bed 2 Bath Pool Home- Former Model

Bella Casa Condominiums

Search Bella Casa Condominiums in MLS

We often get asked, when is the best time to put your home on the market?  Homes sell pretty well year round in SW Florida.  Condos tend to do a bit better in season, but even that is changing depending on the area.

We have more visitors to SW Florida once the New Year arrives and it culminates in February and March, but really we’ve seen more visitors to our area the past few years starting in October.

Just take a look around and you’ve probably noticed our streets are a lot busier this past week.  I always look at the RV’s.  When I see RV’s flood in I know they’re back, and you can watch them leave around Easter time or tax time.

When is the Best Time to Put Your Home on the Market

One thing we notice statistically is more sellers place their home on the market in January-February each year.  While we have more visitors here at that time; you also have more competition from other sellers.  As you can see from the graph, listings tend to peak around January or February.  One might point out that the reason they go down in March and April is because they sell, and this is true.  However, it doesn’t explain why they spike in January.

We hear many sellers who are trying to catch the market, or catch that top end buyer in season.  We think seasonal buyers research the market and don’t like over-paying just like the next buyer.  Many times they research from home on the Internet before they even arrive.  The difference is we have more affluent buyers with more money here in season so they buy some of the more expensive second homes which raise our averages.  It isn’t because they over-pay. It’s because they’re buying a different price point.

The savvy seller will look at the graph and decide if putting their home on the market now makes more sense than waiting.  Obviously you have to weigh considerations like where you’re going and when that home will be ready.  If timing on your next home isn’t an issue, it may make sense to sell now versus waiting.

Selling now allows you the opportunity to sell when fewer homes are on the market.  You also avoid potential rate hikes which can lower buyer’s purchasing power.  And if you’re financing your next home, you can lock in lower rates today ahead of future rate hikes.  When you wait, you can’t calculate the true cost of owning because of variables.

Buyers today are in a frenzy.  Rental prices are high and inventory is limited.  Multiple offers are common.  It’s truly a great time to be a seller.  In January, we have lots of lookers, but not all buy.  The locals don’t buy as much in season because they’re busy working.  With higher inventory levels and less locals buying, you’re banking on seasonal buyers loving your home against all the other competition.

If nothing changes, both times will be a great time to sell.  We’re just saying there are some advantages to doing it now.  A lot of the risk is gone if you’re successful now.  And if you’re not, you still have season coming up and time to adjust.

If you’re thinking now might be the time to start looking at this, give us a call 239-489-4042  We can give you a market analysis so you can decide your options.   Feel free to Search the SW Florida MLS for your dream home  You can search for your next home or check on your competition.

Remember, not all agents are the same.  Our sellers average almost $10,000 more per sale than the average seller.  Call us and find out how we can put our proven program to work for you!

We’ve got some hot new listings that hit the market you might want to check out.

Bell Tower Park

Bell Tower Park 3 Bedroom, 2 1/2 Bath with 2 car garage end unit on lake

Bell Tower Park 5511 Cheshire Ct

Bella Casa Luxury Condominiums new listings:

Bella Casa 3 Bedroom 2 Bath New Construction

3 Bedroom 2 Bath Bella Casa New Construction $189,571

Tenant in Place Unit at Bella Casa 3 Bed 2 Bath $176,064

Tenant in Place Unit at Bella Casa 3 Bed 3 Bath $192,493

Tenant Occupied Unit perfect for investor at Bella Casa $151,553

If you read our article on a regular basis you know about the new Federal regulations about to go into affect beginning October 3rd. After studying the new regulations in depth we’ve put together some Best Practices to help people understand what’s about to happen.

Lending Delays About to Get Real Next Week

New regulations affect closings on financed deals only, 1-4 units residential and multi-family. This will not affect cash deals, so financed buyers will need to work with an experienced agent who understands the changes to make your offer look as Best as it can. Otherwise the seller will just go with cash deals.

Listing agents need to really investigate the new rules to protect their sellers. Gone are the 30 day closings. Plan on 45-60 days now, and if there are changes it can be even longer. Here are a few things you can do to avoid re-disclosures and costly delays to your closings. Lending delays about to get real next week.

1. Make sure buyer obtains a 60 day rate lock up-front. In a rising rate environment, if the lender fails to meet the 30 or 45 day rate lock it will trigger a re-disclosure to re-lock the rate. This new time frame could extend your closing up to 10 days or so.

2. Have seller pre-pay their condo and HOA fees. The title company may be forced to acquire a new estoppel letter if the closing is delayed a few days. This happens at the end of a month or quarter. If the new numbers affect the borrower, it could trigger a re-disclosure, which could delay closing up to 10 days.

3. If new extended closings occur before the 5th of a new month, it may not trigger, but after the 6th it can change the borrower’s cash-to-close which can trigger. Dates will become critically important under these new regulations.

4. Have two walk-thrus. A preliminary walk-thru for any repair type items and a final walk-thru solely for the purpose of making sure everything that was supposed to stay with the home is there and for any damages by seller moving out. You really want any repair items fixed well enough in advance and accounted for as new closing and lending disclosures must be accounted for well before closing.

5. Agents will no longer see all the charges to the buyer. The borrower may wish to share this document with your Realtor ASAP so if you’re being over-charged by the HOA, Title Company, or lender it can be spotted quickly.

6. There will not be a unified closing statement on financed deals anymore, so your agent won’t be able to see all the charges to the borrower. The seller charges will be seen, but not the borrower’s.

7. Not all agents will know about the changes. If the agents don’t know, how can the consumer be expected to know? Be sure to work with an agent who does several transactions and is current on lending changes.

8. Communication will be key. Listing agents should call the loan officer before seller accepts a deal with financing. The loan officer may not be able to share with buyer agent everything but a skilled listing agent should be able get the required information. Agents, lenders, title companies, and customers must communicate to avoid costly delays. One delay can create others due to new waiting periods.

9. New sales contracts are coming out soon. We intend to scour the contract for changes as we anticipate several issues that will occur because of new regulations and we want to see how they’re addressed. Otherwise they may need to be addressed by addendum.

For more information, you can review past articles on how the time lines work on our blog at http://blog.topagent.com Just search for TRID

To see all the homes listed in MLS, feel free to search like a realtor on our MLS search site www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

 

Be sure to check out SW Florida’s Featured Properties of the Week.

Most people like a good deal, so it’s quite natural to assume that the company that charges the least for a service will maximize your profit.  This couldn’t be further from the truth. The agent you choose to sell your home could cost you thousands.

This is the time of year when locals who have been swamped all season long begin to breathe and reflect on their housing situation.  They ask questions like, has the market value on our home gone up?  Could we afford to move into a bigger home, downsize to a smaller home, or move on the water?

Agent You Choose to Sell Your Home Could Cost You Thousands

The first thing people want to know is what is my home worth?  The second is how much will it cost to sell and how much will I walk away from?  The answers to these questions help answer the next question, where could we go and how much will that cost?

A good Realtor can help.  Sometimes when people call our office the first question they ask is how much do you charge?  If I wasn’t in this business it’d probably be the first question I’d ask too.

Since I am, I want to give an insiders point of view that will help prospective sellers.  Given what I know, this should be the last question asked.

Proper pricing is important.  You want to choose a Realtor who understands the market and can properly guide you so you’re working in reality.  If your whole exercise in exploring a move is based on fantasy, you’ve wasted a lot of time and inconvenience.

Secondly, it doesn’t so much matter what the listing agent charges.  It matters how much you net out at the closing.  I tell people if I charged 20% commission but got my sellers 30% more than any other agent could, would that fee seem high?  The answer is no, it’d be a bargain.  The truth is we don’t charge 20% and we don’t get 30% more than the average agent.

Agent You Choose to Sell Your Home Could Cost You Thousands-SW Florida Home Value

However, we do sell our listings for more than the average agent.  Some agents out there may charge less than other agents.  The beauty is there is no set rate by law, and that’s a good thing.  You’re free to choose who can put the most money in your pocket at closing, and that’s typically an experienced agent who does a lot of marketing and has excellent negotiating skills.  The kind of negotiating skills that comes from thousands of transactions.  Some agents only sell a few homes per year, so ask to see their track record.

Also ask to see their marketing.  Owners assume that all newspaper ads are the same.  Look at the frequency, and the size of your home in the ad.  If you need a magnifying glass, chances are the buyer will to and won’t see it.

Is your property aggressively marketed online too?  Would you know the difference?  Sure, all Realtors will tell you your home will be marketed online, but what if there were some key differences the agent didn’t tell you about?  What if the agent doesn’t really know and just repeats what the company tells them?

It pays to call someone who really does know.  Selling your home for less than you could is like a hidden tax.  You’ll never know what could have been.  And how will you know you’re getting the best deal on your next home?

A great agent can help.  If you’re considering making a move, call us at 239-489-4042 and sit down with us and we’ll guide you through all of it.  Calling the wrong agent could cost you thousands.  It could cost you the sale entirely and cause you to miss your dream home.

The Agent You Choose to Sell Your Home Could Cost You Thousands

You can get a ballpark value on our website www.Topagent.com but keep in mind that’s only a ballpark.  We’d prefer to come out and see your home and go over the details for better accuracy.  Not every agent in our company or in town works the way we do.  Always Call the Ellis Team at RE/MAX   239-489-4042

Check out Ellis Team Featured Open Houses Around SW Florida

Don’t forget April is the Bella Casa Luxury Condo Closeout Event. Call to get a great deal and be sure to check out the resort style pool, tennis court, clubhouse.  Best of all Condo fees are only $220/mo and no CDD

SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

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Feel free to view our Virtual Tours

Check out Bella Casa Condominiums.  We’ll be happy to show you this project in South Fort Myers

Other Resources

Fun Things to do in SW Florida

New Construction For Sale

Fishing and Boating in SW Florida

Lee County Florida Sports

SW Florida Entertainment

 

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

Nationally I’ve been reading stories about writers concern there may be another housing bubble forming.  Anytime prices rise people wonder when it will peak, and anytime prices fall people wonder when it will bottom.  It’s just human nature. So the question is, has the SW Florida real estate market run out of stem?

SW Florida Real Estate Market Sales Prices 2015

Latest national statistics released this week show pending sales up 3.1% despite colder weather up North.  With an improving economy and still historic low interest rates it would be hard to argue the market could cool off.

Another report suggests home prices are outpacing wages which could damper prices.  This is true.  Sometimes home prices rise faster on low supply, and when this rise outpaces wages eventually this can slow price growth until wages catch back up.  It’s not totally a supply/demand market as other economic forces will limit prices beyond simply supply.

As you can see from the attached chart, locally our prices have more than doubled in the past 4 years.  SW Florida has been on a good run, so naturally people may wonder if there is a bubble forming locally as well.

The good news is we don’t think so.  Are 25% price gains year after year sustainable?  That answer is no.  February 2015 median sales prices were up 6.5% over 2014.  That is sustainable.  Traditionally average annual price gains have been 3-5%.

It’s quite natural our prices have doubled because really they fell too far and too fast in the bust.  That was an over-reaction due to a banking crisis and banks dumping assets on the market.

Banks are lending again and they no longer have the properties to dump on the market.  Prices fell below replacement cost which means they were artificially too low.  We think prices are back to a healthy balance between replacement value, supply, demand, and economic conditions.

The future looks better for SW Florida than does the rest of the country.  The US economy is growing again and that’s good news for everyone but it isn’t growing at the pace it should be.  By all accounts Florida is, and SW Florida is leading the way.

We have below state and national unemployment averages.  Our weather and lifestyle is an alluring attraction to employers and employees alike.

Home building is back which will add jobs to our area.  All signs point to a good economic climate in Florida for the foreseeable future.  The prognosis may be for measured, sustainable gains which are always preferable.

Season was busy.  Have you noticed traffic has lightened up substantially this past week?  We’ll be watching March sales numbers when they’re released later in April.  We think they’ll be pretty decent.

All eyes locally turn to the next few months.  We’ll be watching pending sales in April and May and this will give us a pretty god sign of what 2015 will bring.  So far it’s been a good season, but we have noticed a few buyers showing indifference this year compared to years past.  This is always the case, but there is a general feeling amongst some buyers that the big gains are over and our market is back to fully priced.

Nobody is afraid prices could go backwards, but they’re not afraid prices will be 50% higher in 2 years either.  It’s causing pause and normalcy, even in a low inventory market.

If you’re a seller and you’ve been waiting, now may be a good time to sell.  Our prices are up and we don’t have inventory, Yet!  That could change one day when our market flattens out, whenever that day is.  We don’t have that crystal ball.  We just feel it’s more likely to flatten than go up or down substantially.  Better yet, let’s just keep the truck rolling at normal sustainable gains and call it a day!

Call us to sell your home. 239-489-4042  Feel free to search the MLS at www.Topagent.com

 

Bella Casa Closeout Event
Bella Casa Luxury Condominiums Fort Myers, FL

Don’t forget April is the Bella Casa Luxury Condo Closeout Event. Call to get a great deal and be sure to check out the resort style pool, tennis court, clubhouse.  Best of all Condo fees are only $220/mo and no CDD

Consumers, lenders, title companies, and real estate agents probably don’t all realize that big changes are coming down the pike and it will affect real estate closings in a big way later this year.

Big Changes Coming to the Closing Table

You’ll be hearing more about this issue this Spring and Summer as these new rules go into effect for closings starting August 1, 2015.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) which is a new entity instituted by the Obama administration dictates that mortgage documents are locked in at least 3 days before closing.

Big Changes Coming to the Closing Table

Lenders will have to use the new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure form and this form must be given to consumers three days before closing.  Any change to the form requires the clock to start over which means many closings will be delayed.

Some would argue this concept would change the common practice of lenders sending mortgage documents to the title company the day of closing which forces buyers to scramble to get a wire or cashiers check just before closing and this is a good thing.  They’d be right, in part.  That would be a good thing, however there will be some unintended consequences and perhaps some lawsuits arising out of the implications of implementation.

This new rule shifts the burden from title companies to lenders to disclose the TILA.  Lenders have not been used to communicating with all sides of the transaction.  Typically that’s been the role of the title agent.  Lenders had a hard enough time getting a file from clear to close to their closing department and then on to title company.   This now adds an extra layer, and if they weren’t great before, they’ll be less than average going forward.

Realtors and sellers will gripe because any change will change the closing statement, which could dictate postponing closing.  How will a seller plan for a closing on a certain day when they must turn around and close on another property the same day?  Any change to the first closing resets the clock and postpones it three days, which will postpone subsequent closings.  I remember one day years ago where we had 5 simultaneous closings on the same day.  We had the buyer and seller on all 5 properties and we ran into an issue on closing number 3 at the closing table.  If #3 didn’t happen, 4 and 5 wouldn’t either and we had buyers and sellers with packed trucks all waiting to close.

Today this closing might not take place.  We scrambled with the loan officer and made it happen, but that absolutely could not happen after August 1.  The buyer has no say in the matter either.  These are new Federal regulations and no matter how much a buyer or seller is impacted by the new rules, it won’t matter.  Buyers and sellers will be sweating out closings hoping lenders have the disclosures in on time and all documents ready for closing.  If you like going to Vegas, you can bet with certainty that many closings will not happen on the day they’re supposed to.  It’s just a fact and Realtors, buyers, and sellers better load up on their chill pills now, because there will be high demand and short supply on those pills around Aug 2nd.

Don’t forget Bella Casa is having a close-out sale this weekend.  Special incentives and financing are available on brand new 1, 2 and 3 bedroom luxury condos in South Fort Myers.  Call our office for details 239-489-4042 or stop by the sales center located on Plantation Rd 1/4 mile North of Daniels.  Open Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 11-6

Feel free to search the MLS at www.Topagent.com or call us to get your home sold. 239-489-4042

Bella Casa Close-Out Event
Bella Casa Luxury Condominiums Fort Myers, FL

Don’t forget this weekend is the Big Bella Casa Luxury Condominium Close-Out Event

 

Official sales numbers are out for December and by all accounts the market looks in pretty good shape.  Now that we have 12 months of data we can calculate year end sales numbers.  I will say upfront my calculations differ from the Board of Realtors numbers.  We’re both using the same numbers so I have a call into them to see how they’re calculating numbers.

2013 SW Florida Real Estate Market Headed in Right Direction

2013 SW Florida Real Estate Market Headed in Right Direction

For the record, I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference.  They are reporting, media sales prices rose 29.9% from $97,000 in 2011 to $126,000 in 2012.  We are reporting sales prices rose 24.31% from $105,469 in 2011 to $131,108 in 2012.  I used a methodology used by the Florida Association of Realtors.  The Board must be using another methodology.  I’m not saying either is right or wrong.  In fact I have a call into the Board to look at their method, and if that method makes sense we may restate our numbers.  Keep in mind both methods are based upon same set of monthly numbers so that’s not in doubt.  The difference is in the calculations, and both tell a similar story.

SW Florida Distressed Sales Versus Traditional Sales

Another newly released chart I like to look at is the breakdown of traditional sales versus distresses sales and prices.  While traditional sales remained at 64% for the 4th qtr of 2012, prices for those traditional sales rose $12,500 to $162,500. Foreclosure sales rose in price $15,000, and short sale prices rose $7,000 in the 4th qtr.

Back in 2009 approximately 70% of all single family sales we distresses, and today that number is down to 36%.  This is one reason we see rising prices, and as prices rise more and more SW Floridian’s can afford to sell.

In quarters past we’d see price movement in one type of property but now we’re seeing it across the board.  Inventory rose just about 400 homes in the 4th qtr however we’re still at a 4.0 month supply of homes on the market which is fairly low.  Buyers coming for season will have a harder time finding properties and there will be more multiple offer situations.

Look for 2013 to be the beginning of builders getting back into the market.  Prices probably aren’t high enough for a full onslaught of building like we saw in the early 2000’s but we should see an uptick just the same.

As we build more and as the economy improves the SW Florida real estate market is poised to takeoff.  All the numbers line up for a market headed for much higher ground.  The only variable holding us back is the overall economy.  Once that improves, watch out.  This market will be all green light Go.

Buyers from up North have been buying the past year.  They knew prices were headed higher and they’ve reacted.  Buyers this year still have much opportunity ahead of them but prices are rising currently so the sooner you find your dream home the sooner you’ll lock in today’s prices.  If you’re in a solid financial position to purchase I’d say buy now and then pray the economy improves versus the other way around. Waiting could really cost you money.

If you’re a seller looking to trade out of your property keep in mind that as your property goes up in value so does the one you’re looking at buying.  Talk to a real estate professional about your particular needs.  You can always call the Ellis Team at 239-489-4042 if you need help.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!