Real Estate Update Feb 2013

According to Florida Realtors latest report (Feb. 21) the real estate market is improving.

According to Bloomberg, Jan 31, 2013, statewide foreclosures are up.

Robert Shiller can’t offer a clear picture.

I’m paying attention, because I’ve listed my house, and if this sounds confusing to you, join the club. Before jumping down to the end of this article to read more on what the FL Reators, Bloomberg and Shiller have to say, take a look at how some of our local realtors see it:

Mark Lunden: K2 Realty, North Palm Beach, (561) 691-1223

“Here’s my take: As always – all real estate is local. In the north county (Jupiter, Tequesta, Juno Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, and North Palm Beach – an inventory that includes roughly 100k homes) there are currently 65 properties listed for sale as REO (bank-owned).  I don’t know what is considered ‘normal’ for REOs, but I can say with confidence that 6/10 of 1% is likely below average.  In this area, there is no inventory – roughly 2700 properties listed for sale out of 100,000 or so.  The rule-of-thumb has always been that, in a ‘healthy’ market 10% of the available inventory is for sale – we’re at 1/4 of that – less than 5 month’s supply.

“We are seeing multiple offers/competing bids on any property that is priced reasonably. What sets this apart from the boom is that prices are climbing at a reasonable, non-bubble pace. Good news for buyers. One of the toughest jobs we have now is convincing sellers that they have priced the property correctly – many are surprised how quickly they are selling and think they should hold off.  One of the problems there is that there is a danger of the property not appraising.  Appraisers are overly cautious and therefore artificially holding down prices. Their fear has precluded them from recalling that ‘market price’ is just that – what the market will bear.

“To sum up – the market in NPB County is white hot, and has been since the turnaround over two years ago.”

Joseph M. Quirk, Cobblestone Realty, Jupiter,  (561) 427-9326, www.cobblestonefl.com

“The North County area has seen  certain home price points prices jump 20-30% in the past year in a number of neighborhoods. Condos and single family homes in the 75-250k price points have all but disappeared off the radar.

“Investors, paying cash for income producing property, have become the day to day buyers and can’t find enough available inventory.

“In our area, the higher priced properties are next in line to be picked at as we’ll as the areas moving north, Tequesta, Hobe Sound and up through Stuart and Port St. Lucie as the inventory in the Palm Beach Gardens, Juno and Jupiter area continues to shrink.”

This Palm Beach Gardens townhome in Cielo was sold on 12/17/2010 for $236,900 and today is listed for sale through Cobblestone Realty for $310,000.

"This Palm Beach Gardens townhome in Cielo was sold on 12/17/2010 for $236,900 and today is listed for sale through Cobblestone Realty for $310,000." - Joseph Quirk

And how about other parts of Palm Beach County? Here’s what my realtor, Diane Duffy (with Illustrated Properties in the Manalapan office), told me the other day. “There are no metrics to work with right now. List Prices/Sale Prices are all over the place and even appraisers are having trouble pinning them down. Closed sales continue to be cash driven. Cash buyers are buying what they like– if they get a good vibe, they move on it. Because of this, the person requiring financing can’t sit on the sidelines — don’t wait, follow your gut and make an offer.  At the end of the day, you won’t be disappointed that you did.” (Diane Duffy’s number is (561) 767-0860)

122 North L Street, Lake Worth

News from Florida Realtors: According to housing data released by Florida Realtors, Florida’s housing market had increased sales, higher median prices, more pending sales and the continued shrinking of inventory levels in January. However, overly restrictive credit requirements remain an obstacle for many potential buyers, who find it difficult to access affordable financing options.

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 13,679 in January, up 11.7 percent compared to the year-ago figure.

Meanwhile, pending sales – contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed – for existing single-family homes last month rose 31 percent over the previous January. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $145,000, up 12.4 percent from the previous year.

The inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.6-months’ supply in January; inventory for townhouse-condos was at a 6.2-months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors.

“I’m particularly impressed with the rise in percentage of list price received by sellers,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo, referring to the January data. Sellers of single-family existing homes in January received an average of 92.2 percent of their original list price; sellers of townhome-condo units received an average of 93 percent.”

News from Bloomberg: One in every 32 Florida households received at least one notice last year, more than double the average U.S. rate of one in 72, RealtyTrac said on Jan. 17. Statewide, home repossessions increased by 16,276 over the 12-month period to 84,456, the biggest gain in the U.S. The state’s foreclosure crisis is exacerbated by a required court review of each case.

Robert Shiller: “We’re beginning to hear noises that we’ve reached a major turning point in the housing market — and that, with interest rates so low, this is a rare opportunity to buy. But are such observations on target?

It would be comforting if they were. Yet the unfortunate truth is that the tea leaves don’t clearly suggest any particular path for prices, either up or down.

“I can’t offer any clearer picture, and I don’t see a solid basis for anyone else to do so, either.”

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Christine Davis

About Christine Davis

Christine Davis is a freelance writer who covers real estate, homes, health and science.