Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Today’s market once-in-lifetime opportunity

WASHINGTON – Nov. 30, 2011 – The monthly cost of owning a home is more affordable now than in the past 15 years, and is less expensive than renting in numerous cities, according to The Wall Street Journal’s third-quarter survey. www.ScottSorensonRealEstate.Com

Low home prices mixed with low mortgage rates – hovering at 4 percent or lower – create an appealing buyer’s market, analysts say. For example, buyers today have a 77 percent increase in their borrowing power compared to 1991, according to Dan Green, a loan officer with Waterstone Mortgage in Cincinnati. He says that in 1991 a $1,700 mortgage payment allowed a borrower to take out a $200,000 mortgage; today, at current interest rates, the homebuyer can get a $350,000 loan for that same monthly mortgage payment.

In 12 our of 28 cities tracked by The Wall Street Journal, monthly mortgage payments on a median-priced home – including taxes and insurance – were lower than the average rent levels.

In Atlanta, owning was the most favorable compared to renting. The monthly rent on a median-priced home there was $539 during the third quarter (with a 20 percent downpayment) compared to the average asking rent, which averaged $840, according to data provided by Marcus & Millichap.

Nationwide, apartment rents are expected to rise by about 4 percent this year, which may make the owning vs. renting picture tilt even higher, according to some analysts.

Despite the appealing housing picture for homebuyers, some continue to stay on the sidelines, unable to sell their current home, qualify for a mortgage due to the tighter credit requirements or keep a steady job, housing experts say.

Source: “Stronger Lure for Prospective Home Buyers,” The Wall Street Journal (Nov. 26, 2011)

Pending home sales jump in October

WASHINGTON – Nov. 30, 2011 – Pending home sales rose strongly in October and remain above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, surged 10.4 percent to 93.3 in October from 84.5 in September and is 9.2 percent above October 2010 when it stood at 85.5. The data reflects contracts but not closings.

“Home sales have been plodding along at a sub-par level while interest rates are hovering at record lows, and there is a pent-up demand from buyers who normally would have entered the market in recent years,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “We hope this is indicates more buyers are taking advantage of the excellent affordability conditions. Many consumers recognize that homebuyers in the past two years have had one of the lowest default rates in history. Moreover, continued inventory declines are another healthy sign for the housing market.”

The PHSI in the Northeast surged 17.7 percent to 71.3 in October and is 3.4 percent above October 2010. In the Midwest the index jumped 24.1 percent to 88.7 in October and remains 13.2 percent above a year ago. Pending home sales in the South rose 8.6 percent in October to an index of 99.5 and are 9.7 percent higher than October 2010. In the West, the index slipped 0.3 percent to 105.5 in October but is 8.1 percent above a year ago.

“Although contract signings are up, not all contracts lead to closings,” Yun says. “Many potential homebuyers inadvertently hurt their credit scores and chances of getting a mortgage through easily averted actions, such as cancelling an old credit line while taking on a new one. Such actions could unwittingly prevent buyers from obtaining a mortgage if their credit score is close the margins of qualifying – or they might get a loan but with less favorable terms.”

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fla.’s home, condo sales higher in Oct

ORLANDO, Fla. – Nov. 21, 2011 – Florida’s existing home and existing condo sales continued to show gains in October, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Existing home sales increased 13 percent last month with a total of 13,755 homes sold statewide compared to 12,145 homes sold in October 2010, according to Florida Realtors.


“Statewide, both sales and prices are above where they were this time last year,” noted Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “The monthly median prices have ticked down slightly for the past few months, but the overall trend continues to show gains year-over-year.

“These numbers, combined with reports from Realtors throughout the state, indicate that we’re seeing strong interest in purchasing Florida real estate from smart investors who are taking advantage of the current favorable market conditions,” Tuccillo said. “These folks tend to have a long-term outlook and plan to hold onto their property purchases for a while.”

Seventeen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported higher existing home sales in October; 12 MSAs had higher existing condo sales.

The statewide median sales price for existing homes last month was $131,200; a year ago, it was $136,600 for a decrease of 4 percent. According to analysts with the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in September 2011 was $165,600, down 3.9 percent from a year ago, according to NAR. In Massachusetts, the September statewide median resales price was $294,950; in California, it was $287,440; in Maryland, it was $228,879; and in New York, it was $217,600.

In Florida’s year-to-year comparison for condos, 6,132 units sold statewide in October, a 12 percent increase over the 5,473 units sold in October 2010. The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $87,800; a year earlier, it was $80,500 for a 9 percent gain. The national median existing condo sales price in September was $163,800, according to NAR.

“The latest unemployment figures indicate that Florida’s jobs outlook is improving, mortgage rates remain at historical lows and buyers are able to consider a variety of housing options at affordable prices in communities across the state,” said 2011 Florida Realtors President Patricia Fitzgerald, manager/broker-associate with Illustrated Properties in Hobe Sound and Mariner Sands Country Club in Stuart. “This is a great time to consult a local Realtor® about homeownership opportunities in your local housing market.”

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.07 percent in October, down from the 4.23 percent average during the same month a year earlier. Florida Realtors’ sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Report Shows Pending and Closed Sales Increases

NAPLES, Fla.-November 18, 2011- Seasonal real estate sales are starting early according to a report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island).

"The overall median closed price for properties over $300,000 is up 18 percent from last year and is now over $600,000," said John Steinwand, President of Naples Realty Services. The October 2011 median closed price for properties over $300,000 is $605,000 compared to $513,000 in October 2010.

Closed sales in the $2 million and over category for the 12 months ending October 2011, is driving the median closed price up as sales increased 10 percent with 223 sales compared to 203 sales for the 12 months ending October 2010.

"The condo market shows a robust increase in pending sales in the $1 million to $2 million market and in Naples Beach and North Naples specifically. The available inventory decreased in both of those areas compared to last year, which should drive prices up," said Kathy Zorn, Broker/Owner of Florida Home Realty.

For the 12 months ending October 2011, pending sales in the $1 million to $2 million price category increased 26 percent with 173 contracts compared to 137 contracts for the 12 months ending October 2010. The available inventory in the Naples Beach area decreased 16 percent and the inventory in North Naples decreased 24 percent in October 2011 compared to October 2010.

According to Dr. Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors Chief Economist, "The South Florida region should see a 10% increase in prices over the next 12 months because the market is overcorrected and homes are selling for less than the cost to build new."

The report provides annual comparisons of single-family home and condo sales (via the SunshineMLS), price ranges, geographic segmentation and includes an overall market summary. The statistics are presented in chart format, along with the following analysis:

¨ Overall closed sales increased 7 percent with 509 sales in October 2011 compared to 476 sales in October 2010.

¨ Single-family home closed sales increased 12 percent in October 2011 with 280 sales compared to 249 sales in October 2010.

¨ Condo pending sales for the 12 months ending October 2011 increased 8 percent with 4,862 contracts compared to 4,505 contracts for the 12 months ending October 2010.

According to Wes Kunkle, President of Kunkle Realty, "The available inventory decreased 19 percent to 7,325 available properties in October 2011 compared to 9,044 available properties in October 2010."

"The months of inventory statistic is showing that properties are staying on the market for an average of 3 months less in October 2011 than they were in October 2010," said Jo Carter, President of Jo Carter & Associates.

To view the entire report, visit

The Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR) is an established organization (Chartered 1949) whose members have a positive and progressive impact on the Naples community. NABOR is a local board of REALTORS® and real estate professionals with a legacy of nearly 60 years serving 4,000 plus member-customers. NABOR is a member of Florida REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS®, which is the largest trade association in the United States with more than 1.3 million members and over 1,400 local boards of REALTORS® nationwide. NABOR is structured to provide programs and services to its membership through various committees and the NABOR Board of Directors, all of whose members are non-paid volunteers

View the October 2011 Market Statistics
View the Report