Monday, April 30, 2012

In Recovery? Local, national experts say Collier real estate market on the rebound

—New normal. Reset button. Return of common sense.
Talk to real estate insiders and experts about the market in Southwest Florida and these terms are bound to come up.

"The downturn we saw ... it was unprecedented," said Bill Poteet, president of the Naples Area Board of Realtors. "Up until then, Naples had been pretty much bulletproof through most recessions."
Everyone knows what happened instead. The rapid descent of Southwest Florida's housing industry into chaos has been well-documented, as has the flood of short sales and distressed properties that defined the market in 2009 and 2010.

After a promising 2011-12 tourist season turned out even better than expected, local market-watchers are saying the real estate market in Collier County is officially back on the mend — save a couple of caveats. With a presidential election approaching, and uncertainty in gas prices and income tax rates — particularly among upper-income brackets — there remain factors that could slow the recovery of the real estate market.

"It's a mini-recovery," John Tucillo, chief economist for Florida Realtors, said during an April 13 economic summit at NABOR. "And we have a long way to go."

On a whole, however, Realtors in Southwest Florida sound decidedly more upbeat — and less reserved in their enthusiasm — this spring than in recent memory.

"Yes, we feel very optimistic," said Phil Wood, president and CEO of John R. Wood Realtors. "The fact that unemployment is improving gradually all over the country, the fact that Naples and Southwest Florida usually lead the country out of the recession because it is such a desirable area — that all gives us reason for optimism."

The complete article about Naples Recovery.   ScottSorensonRealEstate.Com

Thursday, April 26, 2012

March pending home sales rise, market recovering

WASHINGTON (April 26, 2012) – Pending home sales increased in March and are well above a year ago, another signal the housing market is recovering, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 4.1 percent to 101.4 in March from an upwardly revised 97.4 in February, and it’s 12.8 percent above March 2011 when it was 89.9. The data reflects contracts but not closings.

The index is now at the highest level since April 2010 when it reached 111.3.

“First quarter sales closings were the highest first quarter sales in five years,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “The latest contract signing activity suggests the second quarter will be equally good. The housing market has clearly turned the corner. Rising sales are bringing down inventory and creating much more balanced conditions around the county, which means home prices will be rising in more areas as the year progresses.”

The PHSI in the Northeast slipped 0.8 percent to 78.2 in March but is 21.1 percent above March 2011. In the Midwest, the index declined 0.9 percent to 93.3 but is 16.9 percent higher than a year ago.

Pending home sales in the South rose 5.9 percent to an index of 114.1 in March and are 10.6 percent above March 2011. In the West, the index increased 8.7 percent in March to 108.0 and is 9.0 percent above a year ago.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fla.’s housing market shows positive trends in March

ORLANDO, Fla. – April 19, 2012 – Florida’s housing market had increased pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale in March, according to Florida Realtors® latest housing data.

“With the continued steep decline of inventory, historically low interest rates and buyers no longer willing to wait on the sidelines, Florida’s real estate market continues on its road to recovery,” says 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. “The latest numbers show that pending sales are up almost 30 percent for single-family homes and almost 20 percent for townhomes and condos.”

Pending sales refer to contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed; closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in March was $139,000, up 10.3 percent from the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department, and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $105,000, up 20.8 percent over March 2011.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in February 2012 was $157,100, which is slightly higher than the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in February was $266,660; in Massachusetts, it was $255,000; in New York, it was $220,000; and in Maryland, it was $212,301.

The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. Housing industry analysts note that 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.

Statewide sales of existing single-family homes totaled 18,370 in March, down 5.7 percent compared to the year-ago figure. Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhomes/condos, a total of 10,012 units sold statewide last month, down 12.4 percent from those sold in March 2011. NAR reported the national median existing condo price in February 2012 was $153,000.

In March, there was a 5.9-month supply of single-family homes in inventory and a 6.0-month supply for townhomes/condos, according to Florida Realtors.

“The encouraging trends we’ve seen in the Florida housing market are continuing, with very strong pending sales and decreasing inventory,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “The large jump in median sales prices for both single-family homes and condos is a sign that buyers are now looking at higher priced properties, while it’s becoming tougher to find properties at the lower end of the market.”

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.95 percent in March 2012, down from the 4.84 percent average during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.

To download the full statewide housing activity report, go to the Research page of at and look under the header “New statewide housing reports.”

Sunday, April 15, 2012


From First Quarter 2011 to First Quarter 2012

Naples, FL (April 13, 2012) -- The overall housing inventory available declined 13 percent from the first quarter of 2011 which had 8,762 properties compared to the first quarter of 2012 with 7,596 available properties, 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).

Ernesto Velasquez of United Real Estate remarked, "Our current inventory of 7,596 is the lowest it has been since we began tracking it at the end of January 2007. In March 2007 inventory was at a high of 12,440 this reflects an incredible 39 percent decrease since then."

"I believe the first quarter activity of pending sales was one of the best ever," said Mike Hughes, Vice President and General Manager of Downing-Frye Realty, Inc. It's rare that you have a quarter like this in that category. The fact that the Naples area had 3,664 pending sales in 91 days is tremendous.  The first quarter 2012 was one of the top five ever, for pending sales activity."

The first quarter report provides quarterly comparisons of single-family home and condo sales (via the SunshineMLS), price ranges, geographic segmentation and includes an overall market summary. An overall summary combines the statistics for both single family and condominium properties.

The statistics are presented in chart format, along with the following statistics for first quarter 2012 compared to first quarter 2011:
• Overall pending sales increased 14 percent in the $300,000 to $500,000 category, 29 percent in the $500,000 to $1 million category, and 14 percent in the $1 million to $2 million category.
• Overall closed sales increased 21 percent in the $500,000 to $1 million category.
• Overall median closed price homes increased 14 percent.
• Inventory decreased 13 percent.
• The average DOM (Days on the Market) decreased 3 percent.
• Naples Beach Area overall pending sales increased 14 percent.
 "Single family home sales led in the first quarter of 2012," said John Steinwand, President of Naples Realty Services. He continued, "Pending sales of single family homes were up in the first quarter 2012 versus the first quarter 2011, and closed sales increased in the 12-month period ending March 2012 versus the 12-month period ending March 2011. In addition, single family home median closed prices increased 17 percent from the first quarter 2011 to the first quarter 2012."

The March 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 statistics for March 2012:
• The overall median closed price increased 27 percent in March 2012 compared to March 2011.
• Pending sales increased 19 percent in the $500,000 to $1 million category for the 12-month period ending March 2012.
• Pending sales increased 57 percent in the $1 million to $2 million category in March 2012 compared to March 2011.
• Overall closed sales increased 13 percent in the $2 million plus category for the 12-month period ending March 2012.
• Overall closed sales increased 29 percent in the $500,000 to $1 million category in March 2012 compared to March 2011.
"Distressed properties have dwindled," said Brenda Fioretti, NABOR® Media Relations Chairman and Managing Broker of Prudential Florida Realty.

Gerald Murphy, Manager of Coldwell Banker stated, "With inventory declining, buyers now have less home and condo options available.  But they still want to enjoy a lifestyle that suits their needs, and not just buy a home because it is priced right. Hence, the market can handle more inventory right now for buyers to choose from because demand is still high.  So if someone is thinking of selling, now may be a good time to put their home on the market."

Wes Kunkle, President of Kunkle Realty stated, "In the commercial market, the retail sector is experiencing increased leasing activity."

To view the entire report, visit

The Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®) is an established organization (Chartered in 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 members. NABOR® is a member of the Florida Realtors and the National Association of REALTORS®, which is the largest association in the United States with more than 1.3 million members and over 1,400 local board 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.

The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark which identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and who subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics.

View the 1st Quarter 2012 Statistics
View the March 2012 Statistics

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Single family new construction up 118% past year

Below is data recently complied by Susan Monroe of the city's building department. It confirms what many already knew, that construction activity is on the upswing, especially with regards to the number of permits being issued for single family homes. Although multi-family unit permits remain very soft, they are up from the bottom as well.

Period           Single Family    Multi Family     Total     Demolition    Net Gain (units)

4/07-3/08             97                    68              165        -150             15

4/08-3/09             97                    55              152         -94              58            

4/09-3/10             61                    16                77         -54              23

4/10-3/11             38                     5                 43         -65             -22

4/11-3/12             83*                    8                 91         -66              25

* Up %118 from the low.

Doug Finlay

Thursday, April 5, 2012

CoreLogic: Fla. home prices rising

SANTA ANA, Calif. – April 4, 2012 – CoreLogic today released its February Home Price Index (HPI) report. Excluding distressed sales, month-over-month prices nationally increased 0.7 percent in February from January, but fell year-over-year by 0.8 percent if distressed sales are backed out of the equation and 2.0 percent if they’re included.

In Florida, however, prices rose in February 2012 compared to February 2011 whether distressed sales were included or not. The CoreLogic HCI found that Florida home prices rose 4.7 percent overall, and 1.6 percent without distressed sale numbers. Distressed sales include short sales and real estate owned (REO) transactions.

 Even with the declines, however, the national housing market shows signs of improvement.

 “House prices, based on data through February, continue to decline, but at a decreasing rate. The deceleration in the pace of decline is a first step toward ultimately growing again,” says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Excluding distressed sales, we already see modest price appreciation month over month in January and February.”

 “Non-distressed home sale prices, which represent two-thirds of all sales, have appreciated by just over 1.0 percent since the beginning of the year,” adds Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic.

 HCI highlights February 2012 

 • Including distressed sales, the five states with the highest home price appreciation were: West Virginia (+8.6 percent), Michigan (+5.8 percent), Florida (+4.7 percent), Arizona (+4.5 percent) and South Dakota (+4.1 percent).

 • Including distressed sales, the five states with the greatest depreciation were: Delaware (-11.2 percent), Connecticut (-7.9 percent), Rhode Island (-7.8 percent), Illinois (-7.1 percent) and Georgia (-6.6 percent).

 • Excluding distressed sales, the five states with the highest appreciation were: South Dakota (+5.9 percent), West Virginia (+5.6 percent), Maine (+4.5 percent), Utah (+3.7 percent) and Montana (+3.6 percent).

 • Excluding distressed sales, the five states with the greatest depreciation were: Delaware (-8.7 percent), Connecticut (-4.9 percent), Nevada (-4.6 percent), Vermont (-4.0 percent) and Minnesota (-3.3 percent).

 • Including distressed transactions, the peak-to-current change in the national HPI (from April 2006 to February 2012) was -34.4 percent. Excluding distressed transactions, the peak-to-current change in the HPI for the same period was -24.6 percent.

 • The five states with the largest peak-to-current declines including distressed transactions were Nevada (-60.2 percent), Arizona (-49.8 percent), Florida (-48.6 percent), Michigan (-44.0 percent) and California (-43.7 percent).

 • Of the top 100 Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) measured by population, 67 are showing year-over-year declines in February, nine fewer than in January.