Thursday, November 17, 2011

Two Real Estate Reports Suggest Florida Rebound

CHICAGO – Nov. 17, 2011 – Two national studies – one from and one from Trulia – suggest that some Florida markets are poised for a real estate rebound.

“This is a positive trend for Florida,” says John Tuccillo, Florida Realtors chief economist. “While Trulia and aren’t completely accurate in home prices and sales – mainly because they base their numbers on only homes listed on their website – it’s useful to look at visitor behavior and note the trends. If Trulia says more visitors are doing a home search in the Miami market, for example, it probably follows that Miami is experiencing an upswing in demand.”’s Top Ten Turnaround Report

In’s “Top Ten Turnaround Report,” six Florida cities were considered good bets for an upswing in sales., which is owned by The National Association of Realtors®, says it created a formula to rank a city’s turnaround potential based on recent price appreciation, changes in inventory, median age of inventory, number of searches by visitors and area unemployment. attributes the Florida cities’ success to year-over-year home price increases, reductions in inventory, lower unemployment rates and, in some cases, an upswing in international buyers.’s turnaround list includes:

1. Miami: Ranked No. 1 in the report, Miami hit the top based on “a healthy inventory that is only half the size from a year ago,” a lower foreclosure rate than the national average, and an increase in condo sales.
2. Orlando: While No. 2, says Orlando had more home searches than any other city when compared to the total number of listings. It also had a significant drop in the number of foreclosures.
3. Fort Myers-Cape Coral: Median prices in Fort Myers-Cape Coral have increased year-over-year, foreclosures are down, inventory is lower and foreign buyers are attracted to the area’s real estate prices.
4. Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.
5. Fort Lauderdale: Inventory has decreased and prices have increased, says
6. Sarasota-Bradenton: About one in 10 foreign buyers look in Sarasota-Bradenton for a home, says. Listing prices have increased and inventory has decreased.
7. Lakeland-Winter Haven: According to, the number of distressed sales has decreased significantly and prices have gone up.
8. Boise City, Idaho
9. Fort Wayne, Ind.
10. Ann Arbor, Mich.

Trulia’s Metro Movers Report

Trulia has debuted a new report that analyzed its home searches.

In one study, Trulia looked at the number of people who searched for housing in a city – including renters – and compared it to the number of city residents looking elsewhere for a home. An area with a high number of inbound searches and a low number of outbound searches, Trulia reasons, suggests an increased demand for housing.

According to the study, the North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota area had six times more searches by inbound people than outbound people, landing it in the list’s No. 1 position, but four other Florida cities also made the top 10 list:
1. North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota
2. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
3. Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, SC
4. Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach
5. Cape Coral-Fort Myers
6. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach
7. Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
8. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA
9. Las Vegas-Paradise, NV
10. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford

Trulia also looked at the Chicago and New York City markets to see where residents wanted to move. Three Florida cities ranked in the top 10 for Chicago residents: Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (No. 4), Cape Coral-Fort Myers (No. 6) and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (No. 10).

In New York City, five Florida cities made the list: Miami-Miami-Beach-Kendall (No. 2), Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (No. 3), West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach (No. 5), Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach (No. 6) and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (No. 7).

© 2011 Florida Realtors®

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NAR: Gradual recovery for housing and economy in 2012

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Nov. 15, 2011 – Although the housing market struggled to maintain an even footing in 2011, gradual improvement is expected in 2012 and beyond, according to projections at the 2011 Realtors® Conference & Expo.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), said home sales should be stronger. “Tight mortgage credit conditions have been holding back homebuyers all year, and consumer confidence has been shaky recently,” he said. “Nonetheless, there is a sizeable pent-up demand based on population growth, employment levels and a doubling-up phenomenon that can’t continue indefinitely. This demand could quickly stimulate the market when conditions improve.”

Yun projects growth in Gross Domestic Product to be 1.8 percent this year, then rising moderately at a rate of 2.2 percent in 2012. With job growth of 1.7 to 2.2 million next year, the unemployment rate is expected to decline to 8.7 percent by the second half of 2012. Mortgage interest rates should gradually rise from recent record lows and reach 4.5 percent by the middle of 2012.

“Housing affordability conditions, based on the relationship between median home prices, mortgage interest rates, and median family income, have been at a record high this year,” Yun said. “Very favorable affordability conditions will dominate next year as well, which will probably be the second best year on record dating back to 1970. Our hope is that credit restrictions will ease and allow more homebuyers to take advantage of current opportunities.”

Existing-home sales are forecast to edge up about 1 percent this year, and then rise another 4 to 5 percent in 2012. Based on NAR’s current projection model, existing-home sales would total 4.96 million in 2011.

Housing data
NAR says it is benchmarking its existing-home sales statistics, and it expects total sales to be lowered for recent years. However, it doesn’t expect many changes to previously reported percentage comparisons, median prices or the month’s supply of inventory. NAR expects to publish its improved measurement methodology soon.

“NAR began its normal process for benchmarking sales at the beginning of this year in consultation with government agencies, outside housing economists and academic experts,” NAR said in a release. “There will be no notable change to previous characterizations of the market in terms of sales trends, monthly percentage changes, etc.”

In the 2010 U.S. Census, the government stopped reporting home sales data, which NAR used as a benchmark. As a result, the association had to develop a new independent score to use as a baseline for its calculations. Preliminary data using the new benchmark will “undergo broad review shortly by professional economists and government agencies. After any issues that may surface in the review process are addressed, we will update monthly seasonal adjustment factors and publish revisions.”

Housing forecast
New-home sales are expected to be a record low 302,000 this year, rising to 372,000 in 2012. Housing starts are forecast to rise to 630,000 next year from 583,000 in 2011.

“Although a double-digit growth in new-home sales and housing starts sounds encouraging, the projections remain historically soft relative to long-term underlying demand,” Yun explained.

With falling inventory, the median home price should rise in 2012. “Home prices have yet to show a definitive stabilization pattern in most areas. Still, given an over-correction in prices, there likely will be moderate appreciation in 2012,” Yun said. “Once home prices turn positive on a sustained basis, consumer confidence will rise and help the broader economy to improve,” Yun added.

Richard Peach, senior vice president at the Federal Reserve Board of New York, said the economy is under-performing. “Nearly two-and-a-half years since the end of ‘the great recession,’ the economy continues to operate well below its potential,” he said. “Among the significant structural impediments are the legacy of the housing boom and bust, and fiscal contrition at the state and local level.”

Peach said the current business cycle remains 7 percent below its peak and is longer than other recession cycles since 1953. He added the employment to population ratio is historically low, and there’s been a shift in the distribution of income, with corporate profits up strongly while employment compensation is down.

Peach believes there is a sizeable level of shadow inventory that will result in rising foreclosures. “My idea is to allocate certificates to 2.5 million service members who served in Afghanistan and Iraq that could be used as a downpayment on a foreclosed home in the Fannie or Freddie portfolio,” he said.

© 2011 Florida Realtors®

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Market Recap November 14, 2011

Keeping you updated on the market! For the week of November 14, 2011
If we were to survey the landscape to see if people rate the decline in housing prices as either a curse or a blessing, we are sure most would say curse. After all, most homeowners have suffered a loss of equity over the past five years.
However, there is an upside to the decline in home prices, particularly for first-time homebuyers and owners looking to trade up, and that's affordability. According to financial data provider Fiserv, the monthly mortgage payment for a median-priced single-family home is 40 percent cheaper than it was five years ago, falling to $700 from $1,140.
Lower prices are really the only way to remedy a supply glut. Watching an asset's price fall is unpleasant, to be sure, but prices fall only so far and the glut clears, and then prices generally rise.
For example, Miami was one of the most overbuilt metropolitan regions and suffered serious price deflation. But the glut in Miami appears to have cleared, thanks to lower prices stimulating more demand. In the third quarter of 2011, Miami home sales jumped 51 percent from a year ago. What's more, prices are again on the rise: the average sales price in Miami for a single-family home has risen 19 percent year-over-year.
It is more informative to focus on local numbers than it is to focus on national numbers. The National Association of Realtors reports that the national median single-family home price slipped 4.7 percent year-over-year to $169,500 in the third quarter. That said, the NAR's national median price really doesn't mean much to any specific local market.
The bottom line for us is that we've seen enough evidence of markets clearing to suggest more markets will resemble Miami in 2012. Fiserv, though expecting some price weakness over the next few months, expects most major markets to post significant price gains in the second half of 2012.
What will financing rates look like in 2012? We thought mortgage rates would be higher this year than in 2010; that hasn't been the case. The Federal Reserve has plainly stated that it is buying long-term securities in order to hold long-term borrowing rates low. It can be silly to fight the Fed.
Then again, markets can be potent forces. Consider this past week: news that another Mediterranean country, Italy , is close to insolvency did little to move interest rates or mortgage rates. In other words, investors weren't rushing into U.S. Treasury securities. In fact, Treasury rates and mortgage rates held steady for the week.
When the Greek crisis occurred, Treasury rates and mortgage rates dropped perceptibly. The fact mortgage rates hardly moved with the latest crisis suggests markets might be less willing to accept ultra-low rates in exchange for a haven from risk.

Economic Indicator
Release Date and Time
Consensus Estimate
Producer Price Index(October)
Tues., Nov. 15,8:30 am, et
All Goods: 0.2% (Decrease)Core: No Change
Important. Underlying producer price inflation is easing but remains at elevated levels.
Retail Sales(October)
Tues., Nov. 15, 8:30 am , et
No Change
Important. The long-term sales trend suggests consumers are more optimistic than confidence measures state.
Mortgage Applications
Wed., Nov. 16,7:00 am, et
Important. Purchase activity continues to post steady (and encouraging) gains.
Consumer Price Index(October)
Wed., Nov. 16,8:30 am, et
All Goods: 0.1% (Decrease)Core: No Change
Important. A decrease in CPI will relieve pressure for interest rates to rise.
Home Builder Index(November)
Wed., Nov. 16,10:00 am, et
18 Index
Important. Gains in homebuilder stocks point to growing builder confidence.
Housing Starts(October)
Thurs., Nov 17,8:30 am, et
605,000 (Annualized)
Important. More regions are experiencing a rising level of starts.

Learn from the Past, But Focus on the Future
This is advice we try to pass onto our clients. It's important to learn from the past, but it's just as important to focus on the future.
What we've learned from the past is to avoid an asset whose short-term growth rate has far exceeded its historical average annual growth rate. That's not what we have today with housing. We have an asset class – residential real estate – that has reverted to historical norms and is priced to appreciate going forward.
This is a difficult concept for many people to accept. We naturally anchor to the recent past, but doing so can mislead. In 2006, many people thought home prices could only go up; in 2011, many people think home prices can only go down. What we can learn from the past is that trends don't last forever. Buying assets people are selling, and selling assets people are buying, can be very profitable.
We've been saying for the past year that residential real estate is priced to be profitable. Our belief hasn't changed, which is why we continue to say real estate financed with a mortgage loan will be one of the better performing assets over the next decade.
Courtesy of Patti Wilson, Mutual of Omaha Bank. (239) 357-0739