ORLANDO, Fla., March 23, 2006- Rising inventory levels and still-low mortgage rates continued to affect Florida’s housing market, which is adjusting to a better balance between buyers and sellers following a five-year run of record-pace sales. Statewide, sales of single-family existing homes totaled 13,539 in February compared to 16,916 homes a year ago, for a 20 percent decrease, according to the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR).

Realtors from across the state report that the supply of homes available for sale in their markets is improving, offering buyers more housing opportunities. The statewide median price for single-family existing homes last month was $244,200, up 24 percent from the February 2005 statewide median of $197,700.

In February 2001, the statewide median sales price was $118,200, which shows an increase of about 106 percent over the five-year period, according to FAR records. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half for less.

In California, the statewide median resales price in January 2006 was $551,300; in New York, it was $319,000; in Maryland, it was $290,776; and in North Carolina, the average resales price was $206,788. Nationally, the median sales price for existing single-family homes in January was $210,500, up 13.1 percent from January 2005.

Sales of existing condominiums in Florida also decreased last month, with a total of 4,342 condos sold statewide compared to 5,643 in February 2005 for a 23 percent decline, according to FAR. The statewide median sales price for condos rose 11 percent to $218,700 last month; a year ago, it was $197,000. The national median existing condo price was $216,900 in January 2006.

Along with the University of Florida Real Estate Research Center, the Florida Association of Realtors began compiling data on closed condo sales for comparison purposes in 2005; the condo data series began in January 2006.

Favorable mortgage rates continued to spark buyers’ interest in markets across the state. Last month, interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.25 percent, up from the 5.63 percent average rate in February 2005. FAR’s sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Among the state’s larger markets, the Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) reported a total of 1,200 single-family existing homes sold in the area in February compared to 1,218 homes a year ago for a 1 percent decrease. The median sales price rose 14 percent to $196,200; a year ago, it was $171,800.

Kay Seitzinger, president of the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors and assistant manager with Watson Realty Corp. in Ponte Vedra, says a convenient location, employment opportunities and appealing lifestyle attract people to the Jacksonville area.

"The continued strong market we are having here in northeast Florida is considerably influenced by our area’s stable economy," she says. "With our diverse business base and positive job outlook, people continue to relocate to the greater Jacksonville area. Add to that our great quality of life — with so many arts and leisure activities, who wouldn’t want to live here?"

As for smaller markets in Florida, the Tallahassee MSA, reported strong resales activity last month with a total of 330 single-family homes changing hands compared to 298 homes a year ago for an increase of 11 percent. The area’s median sales price rose 15 percent to $185,800; a year ago, it was $161,300.

Kenny Ayers, president of the Tallahassee Board of Realtors and new-home specialist with Heritage Homes Realty of Tallahassee representing Turner Heritage Homes, notes that the area’s changing seasons and friendly community appeal to many homebuyers.

"As the state capital, we have a lot of job opportunities with the government and state offices, plus three big universities and colleges," he says. "The Tallahassee area is convenient to the coast and offers a nice mix of art and cultural activities along with a laid-back, friendly lifestyle.

A chart showing statistics for Florida and its 20 MSAs is available by clicking here. The chart compares the volume of existing, single-family home sales and median sales prices in Febraury 2006 compared to February 2005, based on Realtor transactions.

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 25, 2006-The median price for existing single-family homes in Florida continued to rise in December, reaching $247,000 — an increase of 27 percent compared to the statewide median price of $194,000 in December 2004, according to the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR).

In December 2000, the statewide median sales price was $116,200, which is an increase of 112.5 percent over the five-year period, according to FAR records. The median is the midpoint, which is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half for less.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes was $213,500 in November, which was 13.5 percent higher than November 2004, according to the National Association of Realtors®. In California, the statewide median price in November was $548,400; in Maryland, it was $302,822; in New York, it was $280,000; and in North Carolina, the average resale price was $215,160.

Statewide, a total of 17,505 homes sold last month compared to 20,592 homes sold in December 2004, for a drop in the sales pace of 15 percent during the holiday period. Realtors across the state reported that inventory levels appear to be on the rise following months of tight supply in many markets.

The rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.27 percent last month, up from the average rate of 5.75 percent in December 2004. FAR’s sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Among Florida’s larger cities, the Jacksonville metropolitan statistical area (MSA) reported gains in both sales and median price in December compared to the same month a year ago. A total of 1,356 homes changed hands last month compared to 1,261 homes sold last year for an 8 percent increase. The market’s median sales price rose 20 percent to $190,400; a year ago, it was $158,900.

Kay Seitzinger, president of the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors and assistant manager with Watson Realty Corp. in Ponte Vedra, said a strong local economy fuels housing activity in the area. "Businesses are continuing to relocate to the Jacksonville area," she says. "The growth is phenomenal. The military and service sector are our strongest two industries, but we’re gaining a lot of diverse small businesses. Job opportunities are here and land availability allows for continued growth and development."

The Fort Myers-Cape Coral MSA was another larger market reporting strong sales in December, with a total of 1,084 homes sold for a 24 percent increase. The area’s median price rose 46 percent to $322,300; a year ago it was $221,200. According to Brett Ellis of the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group, 2005 capped a great year. "Historically, the best on record. We did see some slowdown heading into the 4th quarter of 2005 which will carry over to 2006. Inventory levels have risen dramatically, and sales are down compared to similar periods over the last several years. We think the market is taking a bit of a breather as many have been priced out of the market. Investor activity has slowed dramatically and many are canceling contracts when they find out they can’t resell for a profit. It all depends when and what price you got in. We’ve been saying for well over two years ultimately the end user will drive this market, and we’re at that point now. Going forward, absorption of existing inventory will be determined mostly by the end user, and not the investors. We’re back to normal supply and demand."

As for the state’s smaller markets, the Ocala MSA reported a 4 percent increase in the number of homes sold in December, with a total of 559 homes sold compared to 540 homes sold during the same time last year. The market’s median sales price rose 44 percent to $162,700; a year ago, it was $113,300.

Wilbur Van Wyck, president of the Ocala/Marion County Association of Realtors and broker-owner of Coldwell Banker Riverland Realty in Dunnellon, says that the area’s scenic beauty and leisurely lifestyle attract buyers.

"The secret is out about Ocala and that it’s a great place to live," he says. "This is a beautiful area that offers less traffic congestion, a friendly community and still laid-back lifestyle, creating a strong demand for homes here."

A chart showing statistics for Florida and its 20 MSAs is available by clicking here. The chart compares the volume of existing, single-family home sales and median sales prices in 2005 compared to 2004, based on Realtor transactions.

Courtesy of the Florida Association of Realtors, the University of Florida Real Estate Research Center   and The Ellis Team.

Marvelous Marseilles model in gated Reflection Lakes Executive series with 1,582 square feet of living area with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, extra interior storage room, upgraded kitchen with good morning room, beautiful tile throughout, carpet in bedrooms, security system, plus so much more.

Front View 7905 Summer Lake Ct Reflection Lakes

This is a great buy. Measurements from floorplan. Den is den or storage room on plan.

Living Room 7905 Summer Lake CT Reflection Lakes

To view more information on this listing, or any Ellis Team listing go to Featured Listings.

To view all listings in MLS, go to Search All Listings

Just Released to the Ellis Team:
Reflection Isles Lease Back Models….  completely furnished homes.
 
These are selling quickly! If you have anyone considering a lease back, NOW is the time!
 
Engle Homes is offering an 18 month lease back and pays 8%  to the new owner! 
 
Homes are not expected to be completed until the end of the year.     612 total families will be in the community… and about 75 are now sold. 
Call the Ellis Team at 800-860-4042 for more information.  Engle Homes are the builders of the sold out Reflection Lakes Community, which was a big success.

Another top agent in SW Florida sounded an alarm.  "We don’t have a demand problem, we have a supply problem.  We’ve had a market binge and now we’re going to suffer a little bit."

While the market has turned, and we agree with this agent is saying, the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group offers this advice.  "There’s always opportunity in this market, in any market.  It forces Realtors and sellers to go back to the basics.  Some sellers get amnesia and don’t remember what it was like just 4 years ago.  Some agents have only been in the business a few years and don’t know what it’s like to really market properties" said Brett Ellis.

Selling is tougher now, just like the old days.  For a few years agents were like order takers.  Now we separate the cashiers from the seasones experienced agents who know how to sell, and the results are readily apparent.  You have to work at it, spend money on advertising, and season your negotiating skills.  Brokerage fees may rise again soon as the value of a Realtor is more important than ever, and sellrs demand exposure.  Exposure isn’t free, and neither is excellence.

Newer agents are leaving the SW Florida real estate industry in droves, like it should be.  "We had too many agents there for awhile who didn’t know what they’re doing.  We still have too many, but it’s getting better.  There’s always room for good people in this business, but not much.  The startup costs are just so high now to get in and make a name for yourself, and sellers are demanding when properties sit on the market.

Fort Myers real estate will turn around one day.  Until then, sellers should hire experienced agents who have been around the block a few times and know how to price properties, and how to market them.

Bella Terra is being built out by Lennar Homes and Beazer Homes.  Lennar is offering twin townhomes from the mid $300’s, and Manor homes and Exucutive homes from the mid $400’s.  Bella Terra i located in Fort Myers / Estero Florida in beautiful SW Florida.

Call the Ellis Team at 800-860-4042 for more details, or visit our website.  Search all homes in MLS at www.LeeCountyOnline.com

Palmetto Cove is offering pre-construction pricing from the mid $200’s  Amenities include 10 foot ceilings, granite countertops, raised panel cabinetry, 8 foot doors and tray ceilings.  Palmetto  Cove is located in South Ft. Myers.  Contact the Ellis Team 800-860-4042 for details

Stoneybrook at Gateway has notified The Ellis Team it is offering discounts to our customers as part of their closeout.  Lennar Homes is building out Stoneybrook, located 3 miles East of I-75.  Please call the Ellis Team for latest details, or tell them you’re an Ellis Team Client if you stop out on your own.  You never pay more using a Top Agent, and we can tell you about incentives the public may not hear about.

At issue is whether global warming is making our hurricane cycle more intense and more frequent.  There’s little doubt we are in a trend of increased activity for the next several years.  The question is, what is the cause?

Severl top scientists including William Gray of Colorado State believe there is no correlation.  Other scientists disagree, but haven’t been able to prove it.

I tend to believe that Global warming is a farce anyway and is part of a natural cycle.  If you think back to the ice age, obviously the earth warmed itself with no help from humans or SUV’s, or any other motorized vehicle for that matter. 

Read the link and decide for yourself.