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CoreLogic: 11% of Fla. mortgages face foreclosure

In real estate on October 31, 2012 at 6:21 pm

IRVINE, Calif. – Oct. 31, 2012 – CoreLogic released its National Foreclosure Report for September with data on completed U.S. foreclosures and the overall foreclosure inventory.

According to the report, Florida had 91,898 completed foreclosures over the 12 months ending in August, or 11.8 percent of the U.S.’s 781,898 foreclosures.

Florida’s foreclosure inventory – the total number of homes in some stage of the foreclosure process compared to all homes with a mortgage – topped the nation at 11 percent. The national average was 3.2 percent. Florida’s foreclosure inventory fell more than the national average, however, down 1.1 percent for the year. Nationally, the rate dropped only 0.2 percent.

The five states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes after Florida were: New Jersey (7.3 percent), New York (5.3 percent), Illinois (5.2 percent) and Nevada (4.9 percent).

CoreLogic also focused on 25 city areas in its September report, two of which are in Florida:

• The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area had 13,094 foreclosures for the year (ending in August) and 11.3 percent of homes with a mortgage in some stage of the foreclosure process. The foreclosure inventory was down 0.8 percent year-to-year.

• The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area had 11.1 percent of its homes in the foreclosure inventory. It had 11,463 completed foreclosures over the past year (ending in August), though the inventory dropped 1.4 percent year-to-year.

“The continuing downward trend in foreclosures along with a gradual clearing of the shadow inventory are signs of stabilization and improvement in the housing market,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic.

“Homes lost to foreclosure in September 2012 are down 50 percent since the peak month in September 2010 and 22 percent less than the beginning of the year,” adds Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “While there is significant progress to be made before returning to pre-crisis levels, the trend is in the right direction as short sales, up 27 percent year-over-year in August, continue to gain popularity.”

Florida’s high foreclosure inventory results, in part, from its status as a judicial state where foreclosures must go through the court system, which clears foreclosures from inventory at a slower pace.

Reprinted by Permission: © 2012 Florida Realtors®

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Construction in 4 Fla. cities up 9.6%

In real estate on October 26, 2012 at 7:16 am

CHICAGO – Oct. 22, 2012 – For major-metro regions in Florida – Jacksonville, MiamiFort LauderdalePompano Beach, OrlandoKissimmee-Sanford, Tallahassee, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater – had an increase in actively bid construction projects, according to the third-quarter BidClerk Construction Index (BCI). This increase covered both private and public construction projects that grew year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter.

Overall, Florida actively bid construction activity increase of 9.6 percent compared to one year earlier. Private construction rose 19 percent, while public construction rose 4.3 percent.

In a quarter-over-quarter analysis for all construction projects, the major-metro regions in Florida saw an increase of 12.3 percent. Third-quarter public projects saw an increase of 20.8 percent compared to the second quarter of 2012, while private projects increased 1.4 percent.

Miami
In a year-over-year analysis for the Miami region, actively bid public and private construction projects rose 10.8 percent compared to one year ago. Private projects increased 22.4 percent and public projects increased 4.4 percent.

Quarter-over-quarter, combined private and public construction projects in Miami increased 12.3 percent. Private projects rose 2.8 percent and public projects rose 19.3 percent.

Orlando
In a year-over-year analysis for the Orlando region, actively bid public and private construction projects dropped 4.4 percent compared to one year ago. Private projects decreased 3.1 percent and public projects decreased 5.6 percent.

Quarter-over-quarter, combined private and public construction projects in Orlando decreased 3.3 percent. Private projects decreased 4.5 percent and public projects dropped 2.2 percent.

Tampa-St. Pete
In a year-over-year analysis for the Tampa-St. Pete region, actively bid public and private construction projects rose 24.5 percent compared to one year ago. Private projects increased 23.7 percent and public projects increased 24.9 percent.

Quarter-over-quarter, combined private and public construction projects in Tampa-St. Pete increased 16.9 percent. Private projects decreased 9.1 percent and public projects rose 37.8 percent.

Nationally, actively bid combined public and private construction projects increased 3 percent in the third quarter of 2012, compared to the same quarter a year ago. Third quarter 2012 public construction increased modestly, rising just 0.2 percent, while third quarter 2012 private construction rose 12.3 percent, year-over-year.

BidClerk, a provider of construction project data and marketing tools for building product manufacturers, contractors and distributors, releases the BidClerk Construction Index quarterly.

Reprinted by Permission © 2012 Florida Realtors®

Fla. early voting starts Saturday, Oct. 27

In real estate on October 26, 2012 at 7:08 am

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Oct. 22, 2012 – Don’t wait for Election Day to support Amendment 4.

Early voting in Florida starts this Saturday, Oct. 27. While the venues and times vary by county, state officials expect as many as one-third of the state’s voters to select their pick for president and approve or nix state constitutional amendments before the official Election Day, Nov. 6. Early voting ends on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012.

“This is the point where the pedal is to the metal,” says Trey Price, a public policy representative with Florida Realtors who has been traveling around the state to speak to Realtor groups about Amendment 4. Amendment 4 would offer property tax relief to many Floridians if approved by 60 percent of voters.

“Many Realtors have advocated for Amendment 4 passage in local editorials and by talking with friends and clients via their social networks. But this is the move that counts – a “yes” vote for Amendment 4 in the ballot box,” Price says.

Amendment 4 will untie the Legislature’s hands so it could decide to end the state “recapture” law. Under the recapture law, property taxes can increase on homes even as their property values plummet. Supporters of Amendment 4 believe that asking Floridians to pay more taxes on homes that are declining in value is wrong – passage of Amendment 4 will give the Legislature the authority to end this practice.

Amendment 4 also reduces the cap on assessment hikes for non-homestead properties from 10 percent to 5 percent each year. This will be a boon to small businesses, which are the backbone of Florida’s economy. Small businesses create four out of five new jobs in our state and Amendment 4 will help them continue to remain an essential part of our economy. Amendment 4 will give small businesses across Florida tax savings that can be used to reinvest in our communities by creating new jobs, lowering prices for consumers, and increasing salaries for employees.

By lowering the cap on assessment increases, Amendment 4 will help recruit more companies to invest in Florida. In turn, these new investments will provide more economic growth and new jobs. Florida TaxWatch, a nonpartisan watchdog that conducted a study on Amendment 4, found that it will increase Florida’s GDP by almost $929 million and create more than 19,000 new jobs in the Sunshine State over a 10-year period.

Early voting

The supervisor of elections in each Florida county oversees early voting. While a vote can be cast early in any supervisor of elections’ office, many also schedule early voting in local libraries and other locations. Times and locations vary by county.

To vote early, registered voters must show a valid photo I.D. and verify their signature.

The Florida Division of Elections hosts a webpage with information on the location, phone number and individual website hosted by each Florida county. Most county government websites list locations and times for casting an early vote.

Visit the Florida Division of Elections website for more information.

Voting now

Florida residents can, if they wish, vote today. All county supervisor of election offices will give an absentee ballot to a registered voter. It can even be filled out on the spot and submitted immediately. Absentee ballots must be submitted by Saturday, Nov. 3.

Florida Realtors supports passage of Amendment 4. For more information, visit the association’s website.

Reprinted by permission © 2012 Florida Realtors®

Florida’s DBPR unveils 2011-2012 unlicensed activity media campaign

In real estate on December 14, 2011 at 6:55 pm

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Dec. 14, 2011 – The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) unveiled its annual media campaign to educate the public about the dangers of unlicensed activity. The ad campaign encourages Florida consumers to check for professional licensure before hiring someone to do any work that requires a license, including real estate representation.
Last fiscal year, DBPR received 969 legally sufficient complaints about unlicensed real estate or unlicensed appraisal activity. The Department also received more than 1,700 complaints about unlicensed construction, electrical and contractor activity.

“Unlicensed activity can threaten the livelihood of law-abiding, state-licensed professionals and can pose serious personal or financial harm to consumers,” says DBPR Secretary Ken Lawson.

Members of the Florida Outdoor Advertising Association are donating billboard space throughout the state, part of a multi-component campaign that will focus on the licensed activities with the highest number of consumer complaints.

Unlicensed activity occurs when an individual offers to perform or performs services that require a state license, and the individual does not hold the required license. Florida law sets specific rules and guidelines for obtaining professional licensure, and the people who have met these requirements are held to professional standards. Consumers can verify professional licenses online at www.myfloridalicense.com.

Unlicensed activity is illegal and can result in misdemeanor or felony charges if an individual is convicted. Floridians should report any suspected unlicensed activity by emailing ULA@dbpr.state.fl.us, or calling the Unlicensed Activity Hotline at (866) 532-1400.

Reprinted by Permission: © 2011 Florida Realtors®

UF survey: Fla. real estate experts still not excited

In real estate on December 11, 2011 at 11:56 pm

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Dec. 2, 2011 – Florida real estate experts and investors were pessimistic for a second consecutive quarter, despite encouraging signs in the rise of occupancy rates and prices in the rental apartment market, a new University of Florida (UF) survey finds.

“The Survey of Emerging Market Conditions,” conducted quarterly by the Kelley A. Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies at UF’s Warrington College of Business Administration, indicates the main reason for the third-quarter malaise was the falling market for single-family houses, condominiums and most types of land.

Uncertainty over unsettling economic news at the international, national and state levels provides the backdrop for the declining perspective, said Timothy S. Becker, director of the Bergstrom Center. The Commercial Real Estate Sentiment Index declined in the third quarter, marking the second consecutive decline of the year.

The survey takers anticipate a sluggish recovery for the real estate market in the coming years. A large inventory of home foreclosures partly explains their gloomy expectation. Respondents also worry about employment. Since January, 70,000 new jobs have been created in Florida, but they were offset by 63,000 lost positions, keeping the unemployment rate at 10.6 percent since April.

Respondents also believe that a weak economy continues to discourage the private sector from adding new hires. Companies instead are likely to squeeze more productivity from workers and store profits to sustain them through future tough economic times. Concern over stock market turmoil, ongoing gridlock in Washington and the upcoming presidential election added to the overall pessimistic outlook.

Survey respondents also said that they’re worried because a securities-backed mortgage for commercial property was harder to get in the third quarter. There was also wariness over the newly enacted Dobbs-Frank Act, which expands federal regulation of banks.

“The problem is that individuals involved in banking don’t yet know what the rules are under the new law, and whenever there’s uncertainty, people tend to drop from the investment horizon,” Becker said. “What we’re hearing from the respondents is that because of this uncertainty, there’s a freezing up of capital that should otherwise be going to construction projects.”

That lack of capital, however, is good news for the rental apartment market, which, according to the survey, is real estate’s “best performing asset.” Becker said widespread home foreclosures have forced displaced homeowners to rent apartments. In addition, many young job seekers who want flexibility are seeking rental units. That trend helps to drive up occupancy, allowing owners to charge more rent.

The survey also identified bright spots in Florida’s economy. Condo projects are under way in Miami, which is also enjoying an influx of investment from South America. Respondents are also somewhat cheered by prospects for Florida ports as the Panama Canal expansion project continues.

Still, the overall perception of Florida’s real estate market is glum.

“Where we go from here depends on macro-economic forces, ranging from the debt crisis in Europe to the many we have here at home,” Becker said.

A total of 231 Florida professional real estate analysts and investors, representing 13 urban regions of the state and up to 15 property types, participated in the survey.

Reprinted by permission: © 2011 Florida Realtors®

Florida foreclosure facts

In real estate on February 25, 2011 at 12:12 am

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Feb 24, 2011 – One media story says foreclosures are up – the next story says foreclosures are down. A report released by Florida Realtors clears up the confusion by explaining the three different levels of foreclosure activity that analysts consider, and listing the state numbers for each during 2010.

“The Florida Foreclosure Report” found general confusion about the definition of foreclosure. One group might focus on the number of homeowners who received at least one notice of foreclosure and consider that “the number of homes in foreclosure.” A second group might focus only on the number of homes actually taken over by a bank. But while the number of foreclosure notices could be rising, the number of homes actually taken over by a bank could be declining.

The report outlines three levels of foreclosure, which added together are the “foreclosure rate”:

Lis Pendens: Homes under Lis Pendens have received at least one foreclosure notice.

• Notice of foreclosure sale: Homes that received a notice have been scheduled for a foreclosure sale, but the homeowner may still find a way to keep the house.

Real estate owned (REO): Bank-owned homes post-foreclosure.

In 2010, only 2,800 Florida properties made it through the foreclosure process to become REOs. Of the rest, 180,402 were Lis Pendens and 140,105 received a notice of foreclosure sale. However, the total number of homes in some phase of foreclosure – all three categories – comes out to 323,307 Florida households.

Other report highlights:

• In 2010, 1 in every 29 Florida housing units were in some phase of foreclosure. In 2008, it was only 1 in every 54.

• The top Florida counties for high foreclosure rates are, in order: Lee, Miami-Dade, Osceola, Charlotte and Orange.

• The Florida counties for lowest foreclosure rates are, from least up: Taylor, Union, Jefferson, Lafayette and Liberty.

The complete report is posted online on Florida Realtors website under Legislative Research.

Reprinted by Permission: © 2011 Florida Realtors®

 

Looking to Buy? Need an FHA loan? You best hurry…FHA fees are going up.

In real estate on February 22, 2011 at 3:08 pm

FHA releases info about premium increase

WASHINGTON – Feb. 22, 2011 – Effective April 18, the average FHA-backed mortgage will cost new borrowers about $30 more per month. In a letter sent yesterday, Assistant Secretary for Housing/Federal Housing Commission David H. Stevens explained the change, which will increase the mortgage insurance premium (MIP) on all 30-year and 15-year loans by a quarter of a percentage point (.25).

The increase impacts FHA loans with a case number assigned on or after April 18, 2011.

According to Stevens, FHA must increase its Mutual Mortgage Insurance (MMI) fund reserves – a two percent capital reserve ratio – to comply with current law.

“The MMI fund has been below the two percent threshold in our last two annual actuarial reports to Congress,” Sevens says; and that at the current rate, MMI will not meet its mandated level until at least 2015. “Raising the annual premium will enable FHA to increase revenues … Based on current volume projections, the annual MIP increase would generate an additional $2.5 – $3 billion annually.”

Stevens defended the increase’s unveiling during a down real estate market by calling the quarter-point increase “a responsible step towards meeting the two percent threshold, while allowing FHA to remain the most cost-effective mortgage-insurance option for borrowers with lower incomes and lower downpayments.

“I understand the concerns of those in the industry about this increase,” he says. “While I do not expect all to agree, we have made these moves to protect FHA so that it can continue its vital mission.”

While the monthly payments on the average FHA loan will go up about $30, it shouldn’t impact closing costs. The upfront MIP remains unchanged at one percent.

To read the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Mortgagee Letter explaining the change (PDF format), visit HUD’s website.

Reprinted by Permission: © 2011 Florida Realtors®

 

Looking for an FHA loan? You best hurry…FHA-insured loans to cost more

In real estate on February 15, 2011 at 3:43 pm

WASHINGTON – Feb. 15, 2011 – Effective April 18, the monthly mortgage insurance premium paid on FHA mortgages will go up about $30 per month for an average borrower, federal officials said yesterday. The upfront mortgage insurance premium paid at closing, however, will remain at 1 percent of the mortgage amount.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that oversees FHA says it has two reasons for the increase. First, FHA’s capital reserves are currently below a mandated minimum set by the legislature, and the fee increase will help the agency comply with the law. Second, HUD hopes to steer more buyers away from FHA loans and into the private sector by making an FHA loan less desirable.

To create the increase, HUD will boost the monthly mortgage insurance premium by 25 basis points – to 115 basis points – on FHA-backed single-family loans with loan-to-value ratios above 95 percent.

While the change is part of President Obama’s proposed budget, HUD does not need legislative approval to make the change, according to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.

Reprinted by Permission © 2011 Florida Realtors®

 

Fla.’s existing condo sales up in 4Q 2010

In real estate on February 11, 2011 at 8:40 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Feb. 10, 2011 – Sales of existing condominiums in Florida rose 6 percent in fourth quarter 2010 compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the latest housing statistics from Florida Realtors®. A total of 17,231 existing condos sold statewide in 4Q 2010; during the same period the year before, a total of 16,229 units changed hands.

Thirteen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported higher existing condo sales in the fourth quarter, according to Florida Realtors. The statewide existing-condo median sales price was $86,400 for the three-month period; in 4Q 2009, it was $105,600 for a decrease of 18 percent. The statewide existing-condo median price in the fourth quarter was nearly 2.9 percent higher than it was in 3Q 2010.

Looking at Florida’s housing sector in the fourth quarter, Dr. Sean Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness, pointed out that the jobs outlook has a major impact. “Persistently high unemployment constrains demand and feeds into the ongoing foreclosure problem,” Snaith said. “Given the state of the labor market, a continuing decline of home and condo prices in the fourth quarter is not surprising or unexpected. However, it’s important to note the rate of price decline is decelerating.

“As the labor market recovery takes hold in 2011, it will help put a floor beneath price declines and ultimately will provide the basis of housing’s recovery.”

Meanwhile, in the year-to-year quarterly comparison for existing single-family home sales, 39,338 homes sold statewide for the quarter compared to 43,494 homes in 4Q 2009 for a 10 percent decrease. The statewide existing-home median sales price was $134,100 in 4Q 2010; a year earlier, it was $140,500 for a decrease of 5 percent. 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, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half for less.

Optimism has increased slowly but steadily in Florida real estate markets through the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the University of Florida’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies’ latest quarterly survey of real estate trends. The report surveys economists, industry executives, real estate scholars, researchers and other experts.

Center Director Timothy Becker noted improvement in several key categories, including the outlook for sales in new single-family homes and condominiums, office occupancy, retail occupancy, land investment and capital availability. Respondents’ expectations for occupancy and rent increased across every property type, while the investment outlook rose in a majority of the property types. The statewide outlook was the highest since the survey’s inception in 2006, he said.

“Overall, the market appears to be improving and will continue to improve at a slow pace over the next year,” Becker said.

Low mortgage rates continued to be available during the fourth quarter of the year. According to Freddie Mac, the national commitment rate for a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.41 percent in 4Q 2010; one year earlier, it averaged 4.92 percent.

Related: NAR finds price stabilization and increased sales in most U.S. areas.

Reprinted by Permission: © 2011 Florida Realtors®

Pending Sales Spike in January, 2011 in Miami-Dade

In real estate on February 10, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Amazing. While some continue to publish gloom and doom…Pending Sales continue to move in the opposite direction.

January, 2011 has sparked a 23.7% increase in Pending Sales (properties under contract), over December, 2010 in Miami-Dade, signaling that buyers came out of the holidays making offers and committing them to paper.

Also, January 2011’s Pending Sales were up by a healthy 44.2% over January, 2010.

In addition, the total number of properties For Sale dipped 5.3% over December, 2010 (and for the 3rd month in a row), even with 461 properties added to the inventory for a 10.6% increase in New Listings in January, 2011 (first increase in New Listings since July, 2010).

Though not surprising for December, what needs to improve on a consistent basis still, is the number of Closed Sales (down 23.2% over December, 2010), although, we saw a strong increase of 30.6% in Closed Sales over January, 2010.

This is the first dip in Closed sales since it began to steadily increase in October, 2010 and may have been very likely attributed to the holidays, as it is typically. I suspect that, even with fewer days in February, we will see another spike in Closed Sales at the end of this month over January.

So…for all those continuing to whine about how bad things are…just note once again the improvement in Pending Sales and Closed Sales over January, 2010 and you’ll know why deals are flying off the shelf…for cash.

About 60% of all Closed Sales were Distressed Sales and of these, about 70% were REOs while the rest were Short Sales.

Although we need to reverse this trend (and allow more short sales to take their course than REOs), 70% of all Closed REO deals were for Cash, while well over 90% of all Short Sales in January, 2011 Closed for Cash.

About 30% of REOs not selling for Cash likely went to first-time buyers / owner-occupants, most of whom received FHA or Conventional financing. This may be good news for those looking for bargains as they finally buy their “home sweet home”.

Buyers looking for REO deals typically get taken off the market by investors – except for those working with professionals who can point to non-investor buyers the deals, the moment they come to market (or before), since the first 15-days a (HUD, Fannie or Freddie), REO listing is active, is typically reserved for owner-occupant offers only.

Finally, the Average Closed Price in January, 2011, dipped 25% over December, 2010’s $260,000, while the Average Price of Active Listings rose 2.3%, demonstrating the continued disconnect between what sellers think they can get (in spite of the good news in increased activity), and what buyers are still willing to pay.

The Average Price of Closed Sales dove 20.7% to $195,000 in January, 2011 (pre-2002 levels), as compared to January, 2010’s $246,000.

The Average Closed Price in Miami-Dade hit its bottom in September 2010 when it was at $217,000 and rose 3 consecutive months to December 2010’s $260,000 before slipping in January, 2011.

Similarly, the Median Closed Price of homes in Miami-Dade dropped another 10.9% in January, 2011 over December, 2010’s levels. January, 2011’s Median Closed Price is now at $115,000 over December 2010’s $129,000 and down 20.7% over January 2010’s $145,000.

This means that we are STILL in a strong Buyer’s Market and sellers must NOT be distracted from their job to SELL if this is what they must do.

Of course, these price levels are also a reflection of which price points continue to move (below $200,000), and are an indication that Miami continues to be poised for a correction of still lower prices through 2011. Sellers who must sell now, must adapt or sink.

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