Brett Ellis on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams SW FLorida real estate affordability

 

Busy Week in the News For The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers Florida

NBC News featured SW Florida’s real estate market and the Ellis Team at RE/MAX in a story which concentrated on housing affordability.  Lower prices are attracting buyers back into the market, and home sales statistics bear this out.  Home sales have been up dramatically over last year each month this year.  NBC News decided to come to the epicenter of where the housing crisis turned bad, and noticed there may be a turn around in the works, which could be a positive sign for other parts of the country in the coming years. Click here to watch The Flip Side of Foreclosures: Affordable Homes  MSNBC also has a Blog article up about this story Mortgages Are Out There . And So Are Bargains which also features the Ellis Team in the Blog.

NBC Today Show from Fort Myers Florida featuring Brett Ellis of RE/MAX Realty Group

The NBC Today Show visited Fort Myers on September 23 and reported on foreclosures in the SW Florida real estate market, particularly on Lehigh Acres and Cape Coral Florida.  NBC came to The Ellis Team for answers.  Click here to watch Florida’s Foreclosure Hot Zone.

 

Last night Brett Ellis was also on the ABC News about home sales increasing while prices have been declining.  Click here to watch this story.

 

This past week Brett Ellis was featured on WINK News regarding Governor Sarah Palin’s speech in Fort Myers, and Mike Ellis was seen live on WINK News as a local business leader and his reaction to the presidential debate.  We’ll try to get video uploaded on these two stories later on.

The O’Reilly Factor called and asked Brett Ellis to be on The O’Reilly Factor this past Tuesday.  Unfortunately the taping time with Bill O’Reilly conflicted with Brett’s son’s baseball game that night, so we had to pass on that interview.

Buyers who wish to buy with no money down had better hurry, because the new Housing Bill signed recently essentially eliminates down payment assistance from the seller on all FHA loans, and Congress added in the bill a provision that the new minimum down payment  will now be 3.5%, up from the previous 3%.  Financing is getting increasingly harder to get, and underwriting guidelines are changing daily.

We’ve heard of several loans in the Fort Myers and Cape Coral area that were approved by a lender and then pulled a day or two before closing due to changing underwriting conditions.  The new changes is making it tougher on buyers and sellers, as well as anybody in the industry.  Brett Ellis recently did a news story on the changing financing conditions.

Buyers who buy now will also receive a $7,500 tax credit on their tax bill as long as they fall within income guidelines, which are $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a married couple.  Buyers will receive slightly less if they make more than these amounts up to $90,000 for a single person and $180,000 for a married couple.  This is an interest free loan and does not have be repaid unless the borrower sells the home within 15 years, in which case $500/yr comes off the tax bill for every year they owned the home.

So there is much incentive for buyers to purchase now, and even more if the buyer needs a zero down loan.  These buyers need to buy and close before October 1, 2008 or they will need a down payment.  There may be some specific bond programs available after October 1, but that money goes fast and eligibility requirements are more stringent.

We’ll report on more of the provisions of the latest housing bill in upcoming days, so stay tuned.

Official sales numbers for May won’t be released until about June 25th by the Florida Association of Realtors.  I’ve spent some time this month analyzing May home sales, and it pretty much confirms what our latest Current Market Index suggested, that sales would be up in May.  The Current Market Index accurately predicts the SW Florida real estate market into the future, so May’s number’s won’t be surprising.

We’ll release these numbers today with one caveat.  The official numbers are derived from various MLS sources, and are adjusted after the fact sometimes a year later.  The results we release today may not be 100% in line with what is officially released, but we will go on record with our predictions and we’ll see just how close they were once the officials are released.

From the data we’ve looked at, it appears May Sales were up 51.67% over last May’s numbers, which would beat the 41% increase of the official April numbers.  It would also hint that April’s sales numbers were not an aberration and may indicate buyers are truly off the fence as homes have become affordable.  In fact, homes sales in May were up 7% over April’s blistering pace.

Home prices in May were down 25.07% from last May’s numbers, less than April’s 29% official number.  For this example we used average mean price and not the average median price.  We are showing a 1.82% price increase ion the average mean price of a home in SW Florida this May over this April, another encouraging sign.

So what does all this number business mean?  It means buyers are back in the game, sales are very, very strong, and prices may have leveled this past month.  We’ll wait for official numbers to be posted later this month, but don’t be surprised to see more encouraging news once official numbers are released.  We think buyers have their greatest leverage right now, and time is slowly slipping away on buyers as market inventory has actually been going down and sales are up drastically.  We predicted 2008 to be a year of bouncing along the bottom in our 2008 State of the Market Report released last January, and it certainly is shaping up that way.

Bank foreclosures and short sales have helped affordability in the SW Florida market.  Inventory has been coming down, and without the bank foreclosures and short sales we would eventually run out of inventory and be back in the same sellers market we were in a few years ago, minus the wild speculation that occurred.  To listen to Brett Ellis tell how to buy bank foreclosures in Fort Myers and Cape Coral in a radio interview, click here.

Check out  an Inside the numbers look at Entry Level Home Sales and Inventory in SW Florida for april.  This will give you an idea of what is driving the Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres home sales market.