Florida’s Existing Home, Condo Sales up in September 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. – Oct. 23, 2009 – Florida’s existing home sales rose in September, which marks more than a year (13 months) that sales activity has increased in the year-to-year comparison, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. September’s statewide sales also increased over sales activity in August in both the existing home and existing condominium markets.

Existing home sales rose 34 percent last month with a total of 14,419 homes sold statewide compared to 10,778 homes sold in September 2008, according to Florida Realtors. Statewide existing home sales last month increased 4.1 percent over statewide sales activity in August.

Florida Realtors also reported a 77 percent increase in statewide sales of existing condos in September compared to the previous year’s sales figure; statewide existing condo sales last month rose 8.9 percent over the total units sold in August.

All of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased existing home sales in September; all but one MSA also showed a gain in condo sales. A majority of the state’s MSAs have reported increased sales for 15 consecutive months.

Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month was $142,000; a year ago, it was $174,900 for a 19 percent decrease. Housing industry analysts with the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) 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. 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 August 2009 was $177,500, down 12.1 percent from a year earlier, according to NAR. In Massachusetts, the statewide median resales price was $315,000 in August; in California, it was $292,960; in Maryland, it was $265,862; and in New York, it was $205,000.

NAR’s latest industry outlook notes positive signs in the housing sector, but adds that extension of the federal first-time homebuyer tax credit would help sustain a fragile recovery. “Now that the market is showing some momentum, we have an opportunity to achieve a more rapid and broader stabilization in home prices,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. The outlook for home sales and prices depends on whether the tax credit is extended, he said, describing it as “the best tool in our arsenal to encourage financially qualified buyers to stimulate the economy and help reduce the budget deficit.”

In Florida’s year-to-year comparison for condos, 5,088 units sold statewide last month compared to 2,870 units in September 2008 for a 77 percent increase. The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $102,500; in September 2008 it was $153,500 for a 33 percent decrease. The national median existing condo price was $179,300 in August 2009, according to NAR.

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.06 percent last month, a significant drop from the average rate of 6.04 percent in September 2008, according to Freddie Mac. FAR’s sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Among the state’s smaller markets, the Pensacola MSA reported a total of 275 homes sold in September compared to 267 homes a year earlier for a 3 percent increase. The market’s existing home median sales price last month was $135,000; a year ago it was $146,900 for an 8 percent decrease. A total of 48 condos sold in the MSA in September, up 41 percent over the 34 units sold in September 2008. The existing condo median price last month was $190,000; a year earlier, it was $180,000 for a 6 percent gain.

© 2009 Florida Realtors®

Tampa Bay home builders see best quarter in a year

St. Petersburg Times today writes that new homes market in Tampa Bay is slowly improving. Contact us today for info on home builders in Tampa Bay and new construction homes available for sale.

“Tampa Bay home builders are pouring more concrete than they have for about a year, suggesting the worst of the housing slump is behind them.

Local builders started 1,040 homes in the third quarter that ran from July 1 to September 30. It’s the first time in a year that new home starts have cracked 1,000.

Mind you, Tampa Bay new home sales aren’t good. But they’re certainly less bad.

New home construction peaked at 4,659 in the spring of 2006. By the start of this year, on the heels of last fall’s financial meltdown, housing starts had plunged to 697.

Barring a cataclysm, it looks as though that winter low represents the housing market bottom, said Tampa real estate consultant Tony Polito, whose firm Metrostudy compiled the latest housing figures.

What the market needs now is job creation, on the theory that a certain percentage of freshly hired employees will demand a new home in which to live. In August, Tampa Bay’s unemployment rate was 11.3 percent.

“The recovery will stretch out a little longer,” Polito said. “Hopefully the same time next year the job market will improve.”

New home closings — when buyers actually move into homes — edged down in the third quarter. That dip reflects the record low number of starts that entered the building pipeline last winter.

Buyers closed on 1,033 new homes in the three months ending September 30, compared with 1,105 homes in the second quarter ending June 30.

The glut that’s plagued the new home market is slowly reversing. Vacant new homes in the region stood at 2,079 on September 30. The same time a year ago the surplus was 2,838.

James Thorner can be reached at jthorner@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3313.

Fast facts

Tampa Bay housing starts declined 17 percent year over year, but builders put in their best performance since the summer of 2008:

3rd quarter 2009: 1,040

2nd quarter 2009: 916

1st quarter 2009: 697

4th quarter 2008: 927

3rd quarter 2008: 1,255

Source: Metrostudy

[Last modified: Oct 13, 2009 03:26 PM] “

Take Advantage of Great Deals with Tampa Foreclosures

Tampa foreclosureshave gone up in recent years the same as they have for other parts of the world.  And because foreclosures have caused an increase in inventory within the real estate market, it makes sense that the Tampa area has become a breeding ground for great deals.  Bank owned properties in Tampa have created an environment where many homes can be purchased at a steep discount – and who doesn’t love a sale!

If you are looking for foreclosures in Tampa Bay you’ll be better off starting by finding one of the many qualified Tampa Realtors.  Sure you can find tons of websites with foreclosure lists, but not all of them are associated with a professional realty expert.  Even when searching for foreclosures, as opposed to regular homes for sale in Tampa, it is a good idea to have an educated advocate on your side.  As a real estate agent who has worked with tons of clients, I know all too well the value of this role.

Foreclosures can be a great way for first time homebuyers to enter the market.  Because repossessed properties are almost always sold at a reduced price, you have a better chance of getting more for less.  While it may not seem fair to the person losing their home, but taking advantage of these low prices is probably the only advantage of the entire foreclosure process.   I mean just because the previous owner couldn’t pay, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of a bargain.

Although these days many of the foreclosures in Tampa will be bank foreclosures, keep in mind that there are also government foreclosures.  And while reports show that, overall, Florida foreclosure filings have decreased, this doesn’t mean there are no good deals left.  In many communities, buyers will still find an increased inventory of homes for sale in Tampa that are foreclosures.  In the end it doesn’t really matter who forecloses on a property, if it can be sold at a deep discount, eventually it will sell.

Be prepared, buying foreclosed properties in Tampa or anywhere else does not come without its risks.  A home, for instance, could be left filled with furniture, clothing, and other junk that previous owners decided to leave behind.  When a homeowner is forced to leave a home due to repossession by any entity they often don’t care about what condition the home is in when they leave.  In addition to this, a potential buyer could even find that many important items have been taken from the home.  Everything from flooring, kitchen appliances, and fixtures could possible need replacing.

If you are planning on buying a home any time soon and are somewhere in the state of Florida, check out Tampa foreclosures.  There may be no better way to become a landowner without breaking the bank.  With a bit of tenacity and patience, you can find the perfect foreclosure in the Tampa area that has the potential to one day be called home.

Enjoy Life by the Lakes in Land O Lakes

If you are looking for the ultimate suburban lifestyle in the Tampa area, consider purchasing Land O Lakes real estate.  A community like Lake Padgett is great for those who would love to live in a place that has all the amenities of a resort with all the comforts of home.  Land O Lakes is home to some of the hottest properties in the Tampa area.

Those looking to buy real estate in Land O Lakes can expect to find a peaceful and serene setting just far enough from the city’s hustle and bustle.  Because the community is close to I-75, it’s easy to hop on the freeway and head to one of the many attractions in the Tampa area.  Of course Walt Disney World is nearby.  In fact, the Kennedy Space Center isn’t much farther away from some of the beautiful homes in Land O Lakes that you’ll find.

Land O Lakes offers a living experience which can’t be compared with anything ordinary.  Nature can be seen in its most magnificent way as the homes seem to fit in comfortably with its environment.  In addition to the fabulous Land O Lakes homes for sale you’ll see, there will also be wonderful wildlife areas that have been preserved and will be there for you to enjoy.  And not only this, but you can also expect to enjoy luxury homes set amongst the most beautiful scenery you’ll be able to find in the Tampa area.

If you like living the outdoor life, then looking to Land O Lakes homes for sale in Lake Padgett would be a premier choice.   You, and your entire family, will be able to enjoy amazing outdoor activities like tennis, swimming, and basketball to name a few.  And let’s not forget that real estate in Land O Lakes also comes with access to four lakes.  Go fishing and enjoy water sports as much as you want when you purchase a lovely home in the exclusive Land O Lakes area.

Thankfully, Lake Padgett is not the only place to look for homes to buy in Land O Lakes.  Lake Thomas Preserve is another great place to search for homes for sale in Land O Lakes.  Just as in Lake Padgett, you can expect to find surroundings which are among the best nature offers.  In Lake Thomas Preserve you’ll also find premium housing set in a premium setting.  You can feel good about the safety of yourself and your family being that Lake Thomas Preserve is a gated community.

Land O Lakes offers the type of living that anyone would find easy to enjoy.   There are communities to fit a more affluent price point as well as those that are a little more affordable.   As a Tampa, FL  realtor who works extensively with buyers in the area, I know how many happy residents and owners of Land O Lakes real estate.

Get a Great Deal with Riverview Foreclosures

If you’re planning on buying a home in the Tampa area, taking a looking at Riverview foreclosures may be the perfect place to start.  It is unfortunate to know that so many have lost their homes and fallen victim to the economic crisis this country now faces.   But for those who happen to be in the market to buy, foreclosures can be a great way to access the dream of owning your own home.

All you need to do is get with a real estate expert who’s familiar with communities and begin your search for the perfect foreclosed home.  Find out if there are any foreclosed homes for sale in Riverview and begin working with your agent to narrow your search down a bit.  You’ll be able to find out if areas like Lake St. Charles or South Pointe, both close to I-75 and Highway 301, have any bank owned homes for sale.

Because the inventory of homes for sale is still at an all time high, right now is a great time to find real estate in some of the greatest suburban areas in or around Tampa.  Sitting just outside of Tampa, the Riverview area is the perfect place to own a home.  Why not at least check out whether or not there are homes for sale in Riverview that fit your criteria.  If there are two items and one of them is on sale, which one are you going to buy?

Keep in mind when looking for foreclosures in Lakeside, PavilionPanther Trace or any other community in Riverview that you may have to do a little bit of extra work.  Often, previous owners who’ve fallen victim to foreclosure end up leaving their once beloved home on a sour note.  For this reason, it is wise for a potential purchaser of repossessed real estate in Riverview to be prepared for the homes to have a few bumps and bruises.

So, you can find a nice home in great suburban communities in the Riverview area which offer excellent freeway access to cool places like Walt Disney World.  But if it is a foreclosure, be prepared for many things to be stripped from the home.  Many foreclosures in Riverview will have missing appliances that must be replaced.  This, however, is no cause for serious bargain shoppers to be afraid; in many cases, the cost to repair these distressed homes is negligible when compared to the potential savings.

As a Riverview real estate expert who has amassed years of experience in the industry, I am well capable of assisting prospective buyers with their search for foreclosure homes in the area of their choice.  Should you choose to purchase Riverview homes, I can help you find the one which suits you best.  As long as you stay positive and remain committed to locating the best possible home at the best possible price, you’ll be certain to find real estate in Riverview to fit your needs.

Interest Rates at the Bottom?

Opinions on effect of rising interest rates differ, but one thing is certain - right now they are at the lowest historically, making it a great time to borrow. Not only interest rates have dropped, but the home prices in Florida have dropped as well.  We see great deals on homes in New Tampa and other areas in Tampa Bay. Call us if you are thinking about buying a home. Got this from my broker today:

“It’s hard to imagine them going any lower,” says Greg McBride, chief economist at Bankrate.  “I think people need to be worried about them going up,” adds Mark Goldman, professor of real estate at San Diego State University.  These opinions are becoming fairly widespread, and there are even those who see a hike in interest rates as a stimulant:  “Higher rates will force people to buy,” says David Dessner, director of sales at Guardhill Financial, a mortgage broker firm in Manhattan .  “People will see current rates as historically low and see rising rates as a time to buy, thinking that rates will keep rising once they start up.”  Other analysts disagree:  “Higher rates put a damper on things,” says Chuck Whitehead, a real estate broker in California .  “That works even for the seller.  If rates go up then someone who qualifies for a loan now might not be able to with higher rates.”  With rates so low in a battered economy, the only way for them to go may be up.  A look at rates show how historically low they are.  The average for a 30-year fixed is 5.18 percent, while the 15-year fixed is 4.63 percent.  The 5/1 ARM is 4.21 percent.