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Friday, October 28, 2011

Bargains abound: What are buyers waiting for?

NEW YORK – Oct. 28, 2011 – With low home prices and ultra-low interest rates, the housing market now offers “perhaps the best deals of a generation,” notes a recent article by Bloomberg Businessweek.

Since the housing boom of 2006, home prices have fallen about 31 percent. Also, mortgage rates have been hovering at record lows for the past few weeks – in the 4 percent range or even lower on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, according to Freddie Mac’s mortgage market survey.

“It’s hard to see the possibility of losing on a home purchase right now, with these mortgage rates,” says economist Dean Baker. “Prices may go lower, but not by much.”

The article notes the following scenario: Buying a $300,000 home with a 4 percent mortgage rate and a 20 percent down payment would mean a $1,145 monthly payment. The Mortgage Bankers Association recently predicted that home prices may fall another 3.5 percent by mid-2012, but mortgage rates will increase by a half-point. Under that same loan scenario, a home would sell for $289,000 while the monthly mortgage bill would be $1,171 – only a $26 difference.

For those who can qualify for a mortgage, “playing the waiting game” won’t result in much gain, Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS in Englewood, Colo., told Bloomberg Businessweek.

Source: “Crazy Home Deals Await the Creditworthy,” Bloomberg Businessweek (Oct. 24, 2011)

© Copyright 2011 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD

Rate on 30-year fixed mortgage falls to 4.10%

Mortgage Rate Trend Index

WASHINGTON – Oct. 28, 2011 – The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage was nearly unchanged for a second straight week after rising from a record low.

Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan fell to 4.10 percent from 4.11 percent last week. Three weeks ago, it dropped to 3.94 percent. The National Bureau of Economic Research says that’s the lowest rate ever.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage was unchanged at 3.38 percent. Three weeks ago, it hit a record low of 3.26 percent.

Low rates have done little to jolt the struggling housing market. Sales remain depressed, and home prices are still dropping in many markets.

High unemployment and declining wages have made it harder for many people to qualify for loans. Most of those who can afford to refinance already have. The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes fell in September and is on pace to match last year’s dismal figures – the worst in 13 years.

Sales of new homes rose last month after four straight monthly declines. But the increase was largely because builders cut their prices, and it followed a peak buying season that was the worst on records going back nearly 50 years.

Many borrowers are unable to take advantage of the low rates because they can’t meet banks’ restrictive lending standards, or are unable to scrape together a down payment.

The low rates have caused a modest boom in refinancing, but that benefit might be wearing off. Most people who can afford to refinance have already locked in rates below 5 percent.

The Federal Reserve has been helped push rates lower by buying longer-dated Treasurys, such as 10-year Treasury notes. Mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year note. Buying by the Fed pulls the yield lower.

Rates have been below 5 percent for all but two weeks in the past year. Just five years ago they were closer to 6.5 percent.

The average rates don’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount. The average fee for the 30-year fixed mortgage was unchanged at 0.8 point. The average fee for the 15-year loan fell to 0.7 point from 0.8 point.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week.

The average rate on the five-year adjustable loan rose to 3.08 percent from 3.01 percent. It hit a record low of 2.96 percent three weeks ago.

The average rate on the one-year adjustable loan fell to 2.90 percent from 2.94 percent. It fell last month to 2.81 percent, the lowest on records dating to 1984.

The average fee on the five-year adjustable loan fell to 0.5 point from 0.6 point. The average fee on the one-year adjustable loan was unchanged at 0.6 percent.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press, Daniel Wagner (AP Business Writer). All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Renters spend 5% more than homeowners

NEW YORK – Oct. 27, 2011 – Rising rents are forcing renters to outspend homeowners on housing costs, according to a new study.

Since 2005, homeowners’ housing expenses have climbed from 31.9 percent of their household budget to 33.2 percent. In that same time period, renters’ expenses have jumped from 35.6 percent to 38.4 percent, according to the October CoreLogic U.S. Housing and Mortgage Trends.

In the last 26 years, homeowners have increased the amount they spend on household expenses by 12 percent while renters have increased it by 22 percent, according to the study.

Earlier this month, Capital Economics economists noted that for the first time in 30 years the median monthly mortgage payment is about the same – or less – than the median rental payment.

Yet, with the bleak job market, homeownership rates continue to fall in many parts of the country, particularly among younger generations. CoreLogic found in its report that the homeownership rate for the 25-to-34 age group dropped from 51.6 percent in 1980 to 42 percent in 2010. For the 35-to-44 age group, homeownership rates fell from 71.2 percent to 62.3 percent over that period.

Source: “Renters Outspend Owners on Housing,” RISMedia (Oct. 25, 2011) and Capital Economics

© Copyright 2011 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Latest HARP program could help more Floridians

MIAMI – Oct. 27, 2011 – Despite renewed efforts to shore up the housing industry with mass refinances and federal aid, South Florida’s real estate market has a long road to recovery ahead of it, industry leaders said Wednesday during a conference hosted by the University of Miami Law School.

About 200 real estate professionals gathered at the Institute on Real Property Law, a forum to discuss the direction of a housing market bogged down by shadow inventory and a growing backlog of foreclosures.

Fort Lauderdale attorney Shari Olefson, who spoke at the event, talked extensively about the long list of government initiatives aimed at fixing the housing market, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.

The Home Affordable Modification Program, for example, has had a limited impact in South Florida, with only about 33,000 permanent loan modifications for struggling homeowners. By comparison, there have been more than 200,000 foreclosure filings since 2007.

“Instead of getting a modification, what most people got under HAMP was a really bad experience with their banks,” said Olefson, author of Foreclosure Nation: Mortgaging the American Dream.

New initiatives, like the recently revamped Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, aim to address some of the shortcomings of past efforts. The new HARP program, announced this week by President Obama, will open up the government’s refinancing initiative to people who owe significantly more on their mortgages than their properties are worth.

That could have a relatively large impact in South Florida, where about 45 percent of homeowners are underwater, and most of those are paying above-market interest rates, Olefson said.

Mortgage lenders are also changing gears. Some are offering “relocation assistance” of up to $20,000 for homeowners who opt to sell their homes at a discounted price instead of going through the lengthy foreclosure process. (See “Bank of America: $20,000 short sale incentive to struggling homeowners”)

But even with renewed efforts to prop up the real estate industry, a normalized housing market remains years away, said Bill Sklar, director of the Institute on Real Property Law at UM’s Law School.

‘Shadow inventory’

Part of the reason is the region’s massive inventory of homes not yet on the market, due to delays in the foreclosure process. Investors are buying up many of the distressed properties, but it will take time for the “shadow inventory” to be fully absorbed, Sklar said.

“There’s some recovery because there’s capital investment – foreign investors are seeking to preserve their capital” with U.S. real estate, he said. “That will help fuel some recovery in certain sectors, but until we get past the current foreclosure crisis, we cannot get back to a healthy, thriving economy.”

Condo associations

Real estate lawyer Mike Chesser, who came from Destin to the conference, echoed that sentiment. His firm works with several condominium associations that are struggling financially due to the foreclosure crisis, and said relief has been scarce.

“More needs to be done to help the associations,” he said. “The associations are finding themselves in line behind the mortgage companies and the mortgage companies are slow to act. The associations are looking to do anything they can to shore up their finances.”

The conference continues Thursday and Friday at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, with sessions dedicated to issues facing condominium communities.

Copyright © 2011 The Miami Herald, Toluse Olorunnipa. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

Investors see bigger profits from rising rents

NEW YORK – Oct. 27, 2011 – Rental demand and prices continue to soar, and investors are cashing in. Rents are rising at a 5.17 percent annual rate – up from last year’s 4.72 percent rate. If rents continue to grow at their current pace, they won’t be too far behind the record-high reached in 2000 of 6.18 percent, according to Axiometrics Inc.

The rental market has added about 1.4 million new renters this year, some of whom were former homeowners who faced foreclosure or a short sale. Renters are increasingly showing an appetite for single-family homes owned by investors.

As such, the number of investors in the market is growing. Investors make up anywhere between 20 and 40 percent of monthly existing home sales, according to home-sale data. With home prices and interest rates low, more aspiring investors are jumping in. Nearly 60 percent of investors in a recent survey by Realtor.com considered themselves newcomers to real estate investing.

“This is a long-term investment,” says Greg Rand, CEO of OwnAmerica. “Rents are a steady return on your investment through the years, leaving you with an attractive asset when prices improve. And they will. The best profits in real estate accrue to long-term investors who take a long-term view.”

Source: “Rising Rents Improve Investors’ Return,” RISMedia (Oct. 20, 2011)

© Copyright 2011 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"New home sales tick up as builders slash prices" by Derek Kravitz, AP real estate writer.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Oct. 26, 2011 – Sales of new U.S. homes rose in September after four straight monthly declines, largely because builders cut their prices.

The Commerce Department says sales rose 5.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 313,000 homes. Still, that’s less than half the 700,000 economists say must be sold to sustain a healthy housing market.

The median sales price of a new home fell 3.1 percent to $204,400 – the lowest since October 2010. The number of new homes on the market was unchanged at 163,000, a record low.

Sales of new homes fell for four straight months before September and hit a six-month low in August. This year could be the worst year for sales since the government began keeping records a half century ago.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press, Derek Kravitz, AP real estate writer.

Florida's consumer confidence steady in October

Fla.’s consumer confidence steady in October

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Oct. 26, 2011 – Following a modest gain in September, consumer confidence among Floridians fell a point in October to 63. The lowest index possible is a 2; the highest is 150, and the latest reading is four points above a record low of 59 set in June 2008, according to the University of Florida.

While it’s not a strong reading, it compares favorably to a nationwide survey released yesterday that found a more significant drop.

“Consumer confidence (in Florida) continues to be in the doldrums,” says Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. That confidence level could remain stuck for some time because “there have been no consistent economic developments over the past couple of months to push confidence lower or raise it from its historically low levels.”

While four of the five indicators used in the survey showed improvement in September, only two rose in October. The overall view that personal finances are better now than they were a year ago rose five points to 54. Expectations that the economy will improve a year from now also increased, rising two points to 55.

Meanwhile, perceptions that personal finances will improve a year from now dropped two points to 72. Respondents also were gloomier about the long-run prospects for the economy; expectations that it will strengthen over the coming five years dropped one point to 67. Finally, the component measuring whether now is good for buying big-ticket items, such as automobiles, laptops, and dishwashers sank four points to 70.

The report found that consumer confidence remains shaky despite reports of slight economic improvement in some sectors. Florida’s unemployment rate, for instance, dropped one-tenth of 1 percent to 10.6 percent, after remaining fixed at 10.7 percent for three months – but it’s still far better than the record high 12.5 percent in March 2010.

“One thing to keep an eye on is the size of the labor force,” McCarty says. “Unemployment is the percent of (people) unemployed (who are) looking for work. When people stop looking, for a variety of reasons, they are not counted. Although Florida’s labor force increased by 14,000 from August to September, it is still down 26,000 from September of 2010.”

Housing prices in Florida also appear to be bottoming out but may be in for more tough times, McCarty says. “A large overhang of unprocessed foreclosures and a reduction in the maximum loan Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will finance may put further pressure on housing prices.”

McCarty thinks that consumers may get more stressed when the national stage again turns to cost-cutting issues. “We must keep in mind that the Super Commission (in Congress) is required to come up with recommendations for budget cuts by Nov. 23 or automatic cuts will be triggered,” he says. “Regardless of the outcome, we can expect renewed media coverage similar to the debt ceiling discussion in August that many consumers found unnerving.”

On the positive side, Florida’s seniors continue to report declining personal finances but that could change when cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security payments begin in January.

© 2011 Florida Realtors®

Friday, October 21, 2011

Foreigners’ sweetener: Buy house, get a visa

Foreigners’ sweetener: Buy house, get a visa

WASHINGTON – Oct. 21, 2011 – Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) have proposed a new type of resident visa for foreigners who spend at least $500,000 to purchase real estate in the United States. The proposal calls for at least $250,000 to be spent on a residence, while the other $250,000 could be invested in other real estate. However, the entire amount must be a cash investment.

The provision, part of a larger package of immigration measures, would complement existing visa programs that permit foreigners to enter the country if they invest in new businesses that create jobs.

Supporters believe the initiative would help absorb a glut of housing supply – especially in markets like Arizona and South Florida, where foreign buyers have represented a rising share of home buying activity. According to National Association of Realtors® (NAR) research, 5.5 percent of Miami homes sell to international buyers.

International buyers snapped up $82 billion in U.S. residential property in the year ended in March, surging from $66 billion during the prior 12 months, reports NAR.

Source: Wall Street Journal (10/20/11) P. A7; Timiraos, Nick

Foreign buyers scooping up U.S. homes

Foreign buyers scooping up U.S. homes


By Les Christie October 21, 2011: 5:23 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Hey, wealthy foreigners! Want to live in the U.S.? Buy a home here.
International purchases of American homes are ramping up, and a new Senate bill designed to boost the ailing real-estate market would encourage globe-trotting investors to buy even more.

The bill, co-sponsored by Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mike Lee (R.-Utah) would grant a U.S. visa to international investors who agree to spend at least $500,000 on residential real estate here.

If passed, the legislation could add to a surge in homebuying by international purchasers over the past year or two that's already given some local U.S. markets a welcome boost.

Growing international interest
Foreigners spent $82 billion buying up U.S. homes in the 12 months ended in March, up 24% from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). That represents 8% of total U.S. sales.

In places like South Florida, international buyers already account for a whopping 25% of the market. California, Texas and Arizona also attract many foreign buyers, as do Hawaii and New York.

South Florida condo sales have been surprisingly strong, said Brad Hunter, chief economist for Metrostudy, a housing analytics company. "And the majority of those sales are to South Americans and Canadians," he said.

Your local forecast
All that international buyer activity has been a tonic for the anemic Florida market. Housing starts were up nearly 20% in the three months ended Sept. 30, according to Metrostudy.
In Manhattan, there's been a steady baseline of foreign condo buyers, said Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel, a New York appraisal firm. They generally account for about 15% of investors, but in recent years, the buyer mix in New York City has shifted, he said.

When the euro was strong in the mid-2000s, buyers from Western Europe -- and particularly Ireland -- dominated.The Irish "economy was so strong back home -- the 'Celtic Tiger' years -- that many were flush and wanted to invest and take advantage of the spread between currencies," said Miller. "There were marketing groups that would go to Ireland and sell packages of condos here."

Now, said Miller, the New York market now attracts more Asian and Latin American buyers than in the past. Wei Min Tan, a real-estate agent with Charles Rutenburg Realty who specializes in selling Manhattan real estate to Asians, said his volume has more than doubled this year.
"I tell [buyers] it's going to be a stable investment that should go up 10% a year," he said. That's "not as much as they might get in Hong Kong or Shanghai," but there's less volatility, he said.

Even better for homeowners, foreign sales can be very easy: The buyers are often affluent and buy more expensive homes. The median sale price of $175,000 they pay in Florida, for example, is well above the median sales price of $136,500 for all transactions.
There's also no hassle over financing or waiting around for a mortgage lender to approve the deal: Overwhelmingly, international buyers pay cash.

Indeed, the Senate bill would require buyers to pay cash for the homes to qualify for the new "homeowner" visa. They'd also need to pay U.S. taxes and spend at 180 days a year in the country, and can't work here or take out home-equity loans against the properties. In return, they'd get to live here for at least three years.

A vote of confidence
The program could improve the housing market nationwide, said Schumer. "We think a very significant number of people will be brought in," he said. "They'll sop up the extra supply of homes we have right now that has been dragging down the economy." Foreigners seem to have more confidence in the U.S. real estate market than Americans do. Almost half of buyers surveyed by NAR cited the profitability or safety of their investments as the main factor that persuaded them to buy.

"With the economic distress in Europe," said Miller, "people are still looking for safe havens for investing and the U.S. is perceived globally as safe."

It's Time to Buy That House - By JACK HOUGH

It's Time to Buy That House

By JACK HOUGH

U.S. house prices have plunged by nearly a third since 2006, and homeownership rates are falling at the fastest pace since the Great Depression.

The good news? Two key measures now suggest it's an excellent time to buy a house, either to live in for the long term or for investment income (but not for a quick flip). First, the nation's ratio of house prices to yearly rents is nearly restored to its prebubble average. Second, when mortgage rates are taken into consideration, houses are the most affordable they have been in decades.

Two of the silliest mantras during the real-estate bubble were that a house is the best investment you will ever make and that a renter "throws money down the drain." Whether buying is a better deal than renting isn't a stagnant fact but a changing condition that depends on the relationship between prices and rents, the cost of financing and other factors.


But the math is turning in buyers' favor. Stock-oriented folks can think of a house's price/rent ratio as akin to a stock's price/earnings ratio, in that it compares the cost of an asset with the money the asset is capable of generating. For investors, a lower ratio suggests more income for the price. For prospective homeowners, a lower ratio makes owning more attractive than renting, all else equal.

Nationwide, the ratio of home prices to yearly rents is 11.3, down from 18.5 at the peak of the bubble, according to Moody's Analytics. The average from 1989 to 2003 was about 10, so valuations aren't quite back to normal.

But for most home buyers, mortgage rates are a key determinant of their total costs. Rates are so low now that houses in many markets look like bargains, even if price/rent ratios aren't hitting new lows. The 30-year mortgage rate rose to 4.12% this week from a record low of 3.94% last week, Freddie Mac said Thursday. (The rates assume 0.8% in prepaid interest, or "points.") The latest rate is still less than half the average since 1971.

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As a result, house payments are more affordable than they have been in decades. The National Association of Realtors Housing Affordability Index hit 183.7 in August, near its record high in data going back to 1970. The index's historic average is roughly 120. A reading of 100 would mean that a median-income family with a 20% down payment can afford a mortgage on a median-price home. So today's buyers can afford handsome houses—but prudent ones might opt for moderate houses with skimpy payments.

For example, the median home in the greater Phoenix market, including houses, condos and co-ops, costs $121,700, according to Zillow.com. With a 20% down payment and a 4.12% mortgage rate, a buyer's monthly payment would be about $470. Rent for a comparable house would be more than $1,100 a month, according to data provided by Zillow.com.

Of course, all of this assumes mortgages are available—no given now that lending standards have tightened. But long-term data on down payments and credit scores suggest conditions are more normal than many buyers think, according to Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow. "If you have good credit, a job and a down payment, you can get a mortgage," Mr. Humphries says. "There's more paperwork and scrutiny than five years ago, but things are pretty much like they were in the '80s and '90s."

Not all housing markets are bargains. Mr. Humphries says Zillow has developed a new price/rent ratio that uses estimates for each individual property rather than city medians, to better reflect the choices facing typical buyers. A fresh look at the numbers suggests Detroit and Miami are plenty cheap for buyers, with price/rent ratios of 5.6 and 7.7, respectively. New York and San Francisco are more expensive, with ratios of 17.6 and 17.2, respectively. The median ratio for 169 markets is 10.7.

For investors seeking income, one back-of-the-envelope way of seeing how these numbers stack up against yields for other assets is to divide 1 by the price/rent ratio, resulting in a rent "yield." The median market's rent yield is 9.3% and Detroit's is 17.9%.

Investors would then subtract for taxes, insurance, upkeep and other expenses—costs that vary widely. But suppose total costs were 4% of the purchase price. That would still leave a 5.3% rent yield in the typical market. With the 10-year Treasury yield at 2.2% and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index carrying a dividend yield of 2.1%, rents for residential housing in many markets look attractive.

A few caveats are in order. First, not all transactions are average ones. Even in low-priced markets, buyers should shop carefully. Second, prices could fall further. Celia Chen, a senior director at Moody's Analytics, expects prices to drop 3% before bottoming early next year and rising slowly thereafter. "If the economy slips back into recession, however, we could easily see a 10% drop," Ms. Chen says.

And property "flipping" can be dangerous even when prices are rising. That is because, absent a real-estate boom, house price gains simply aren't that exciting. Research by Yale economist Robert Shiller suggests houses more or less track the rate of inflation over long time periods.

Houses aren't the magic wealth creators they were made out to be during the bubble. But when prices are low, loans are cheap and plump investment yields are scarce, buyers should jump.

—Jack Hough is a columnist at SmartMoney.com. Email: jack.hough@dowjones.com

Copyright 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Economic reports may calm fears

Economic reports may calm fears

WASHINGTON – Oct. 20, 2011 – Inflation slowed from its summertime blip in September, housing starts rebounded, and the Federal Reserve reported signs of modest economic growth, suggesting that fears of a double-dip U.S. recession may have been overblown.

Consumer prices rose 0.3 percent, driven by cost increases for food and energy, while builders broke ground on new homes at an annual pace of 658,000 houses and apartments, the U.S. government said in two separate reports. Each was better than economists’ forecasts. The Fed’s “beige book” survey of business conditions said companies reported tourism and auto sales are leading growth in much of the nation.

The news shows inflation is well under control and growth is still weak, said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago.

The pockets of inflation in food and energy should slow as consumers balk and growth slows in developing nations that have pushed commodities prices higher, Swonk said.

“The essential story is that a very sluggish economy is keeping inflation in check,” said Ken Goldstein, chief economist at the Conference Board in New York. “In August, we wondered if the economy was about to go off a cliff. Now, it looks like August was just a bad month.”

The consensus before the report was that the consumer price index would rise 0.3 percent, and that the core inflation rate, excluding more volatile energy and food costs, would be 0.2 percent. Instead, the core rate was 0.1 percent, for a 12-month gain of 2.0 percent. The two reports follow a better-than-expected 1.1 percent retail sales gain in September, said Randell Moore, editor of the Blue Chip Economic Indicators newsletter. That makes a recession less likely, although falling savings rates and the looming expiration of last year’s payroll tax cut mean consumers might not have the cash to keep spending, he said.

The biggest inflation flare-ups continue to be in food eaten at home and in energy, especially gasoline prices.

Groceries rose 0.6 percent in September and 6.3 percent for the last year, while energy jumped 2 percent last month, bringing its 12-month surge to 19.3 percent.

Food inflation will likely slow soon, Swonk said. Last week’s retail sales report said grocery store sales fell 0.3 percent in September as overall sales rose. Combined with falling after-inflation incomes since June, grocery-store data suggest consumers are switching to cheaper products, Swonk said.

© Copyright 2011 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

Florida’s existing home and condo sales up in September

Florida’s existing home and condo sales up in September

ORLANDO, Fla. – Oct. 20, 2011 – Florida’s existing home and existing condo sales continued their upswing in September, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Existing home sales increased 10 percent last month with a total of 15,036 homes sold statewide compared to 13,723 homes sold in September 2010, according to Florida Realtors.

“One of the most overlooked statistical trends in all of real estate is the growth in home sales, both single-family and condo, in the state of Florida,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “We’ve seen an upward trend in sales since January 2011, and September’s sales were a full 10 percent above September 2010. Even prices, which have been static over the past few months, are well above where they were in January 2011.

“One of the reasons for this is stabilization in the distressed property market. This is not a problem that’s going away, but there’s a degree of certainty that is helping the market.”

Fifteen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported higher existing home sales in September; 11 MSAs had higher existing condo sales.

The statewide median sales price for existing homes last month was $133,900; a year ago, it was $135,000 for only a 1 percent decrease. According to analysts with the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), 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 2011 was $168,400, down 5.4 percent from a year ago, according to NAR. In California, the August statewide median resales price was $297,060; in Maryland, it was $241,564; and in New York, it was $220,000.

In Florida’s year-to-year comparison for condos, 6,666 units sold statewide in September, a 10 percent gain over the 6,035 units sold in September 2010. The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $87,200; a year earlier, it was $81,800 for a 7 percent increase.

“Historically low mortgage rates and stabilizing home prices all across Florida’s local housing markets continue to attract potential buyers – housing affordability conditions are very favorable right now,” said 2011 Florida Realtors President Patricia Fitzgerald, manager/broker-associate with Illustrated Properties in Hobe Sound and Mariner Sands Country Club in Stuart. “However, financially qualified buyers are still being denied home loans because of overly restrictive lending requirements, and that’s a significant obstacle to the housing recovery.”

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.11 percent in September, down from the 4.35 percent average during the same month a year earlier. Florida Realtors’ sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

© 2011 Florida Realtors®

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

UNFURNISHED 1/1 OCEANFRONT RENTAL - OCEAN POINT (SOFI). NO PETS. MIN 1 YEAR LEASE. - $1350

Rafael A. Velasquez, Pres/Broker | SUNSET REALTY GROUP | (305) 303-9098
345 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL
UNFURNISHED 1/1 OCEANFRONT RENTAL - OCEAN POINT (SOFI). NO PETS.

MIN 1 YEAR LEASE.
1BR/1BA Condo
$1,350/month
Bedrooms 1
Bathrooms 1 full, 0 partial
Sq Footage 659
Parking 1 dedicated
Pet Policy No pets
Deposit $1,350

DESCRIPTION

LIVE IN SPACIOUS CONDO UNIT SOUTH OF 5TH STREET AND ENJOY THE BEST SOUTH BEACH HAS TO OFFER!!! AMAZING WEST VIEW OF THE CITY. ORIGINAL WOOD AND TILE FLOORS IN PERFECT CONDITION, RENOVATED KITCHEN, AND REMODELED CLOSET SPACES. LARGE OVERSIZED BALCONY, AND ASSIGNED, COVERED PARKING. WALK TO BEACH, RESTAURANTS, CLUBS ... MOVE-IN AND LIVE THE EXPERIENCE!!!!!!!!!! AVAILABLE 11/01/2011.


see additional photos below
RENTAL FEATURES

- Air conditioning - Central heat - Dishwasher
- Refrigerator - Stove/Oven - Microwave
- Balcony, Deck, or Patio   

COMMUNITY FEATURES

- Garage parking - Laundry on-site - Swimming pool(s)
- Gated property - Elevator  


LEASE TERMS

MINIMUM 1 YEAR LEASE. NO PETS.

MOVE IN TODAY WITH ONLY 1STMONTH RENT&SECURITY DEPOSIT.
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS


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Contact info:
Rafael A. Velasquez, Pres/Broker
SUNSET REALTY GROUP
(305) 303-9098

Equal Opportunity Housing
Powered by Postlets
Posted: Oct 19, 2011, 7:42am PDT

405 W DILIDO DR, Miami Beach, FL - $1,050,000

Rafael A. Velasquez, Pres./Broker | SUNSET REALTY GROUP | (305) 303-9098

405 W DILIDO DR, Miami Beach, FL
House was renovated in 2008!
4BR/3+1BA Single Family House
offered at $1,050,000
Year Built 1948
Sq Footage 2,205
Bedrooms 4
Bathrooms 3 full, 1 partial
Floors Unspecified
Parking Unspecified
Lot Size Unspecified
HOA/Maint $0 per month

DESCRIPTION

It has an open floorplan, new kitchen with stainless steel appliances, marble countertops, marble bathrooms, lots of natural light, great outdoor space with pool and landscaping throughout for privacy. Located close to the beachand Downtown Miami, and yet very quiet and private.


see additional photos below
PROPERTY FEATURES

- Central A/C - Central heat - Living room
- Dining room - Breakfast nook - Dishwasher
- Refrigerator - Stove/Oven - Microwave
- Stainless steel appliances - Washer - Dryer
- Balcony, Deck, or Patio - Swimming pool

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS


Photo 1

Photo 2

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Photo 4

Photo 5

Photo 6
Contact info:
Rafael A. Velasquez, Pres./Broker
SUNSET REALTY GROUP
(305) 303-9098
For sale by agent/broker

Equal Opportunity Housing
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Posted: Oct 19, 2011, 8:44am PDT

3184 SHERIDAN AV, Miami Beach, FL - $899,000

Rafael A. Velasquez, Pres./Broker | SUNSET REALTY GROUP | (305) 303-9098

4450 NAUTILUS DR, Miami Beach, FL
A tropical oasis bordered by 10ft high ficus with Intercom gated entry!!!
3BR/3+1BA Single Family House
offered at $895,000
Year Built 1939
Sq Footage 2,303
Bedrooms 3
Bathrooms 3 full, 1 partial
Floors Unspecified
Parking Unspecified
Lot Size Unspecified
HOA/Maint $0 per month

DESCRIPTION

Master suite features generous walk-in closet with cherry wood closet system & cutting edge master bath with oversized rain shower & dual sinks. Landscaped pool including Gazebo! Granite countertops & S/S appliances in kitchen. Stunning original Terrazzo flrs in living/dining areas with hardwood in bedrooms. Hurricane impact windows.Fireplace & Sunroom. Walk to Temple & 2min to causeway!


see additional photos below
PROPERTY FEATURES

- Central A/C - Central heat - Fireplace
- Living room - Dining room - Dishwasher
- Refrigerator - Stove/Oven - Microwave
- Granite countertop - Stainless steel appliances - Washer
- Dryer - Balcony, Deck, or Patio - Swimming pool

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS


Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 5

Photo 6
Contact info:
Rafael A. Velasquez, Pres./Broker
SUNSET REALTY GROUP
(305) 303-9098
For sale by agent/broker

Equal Opportunity Housing
Powered by Postlets
Posted: Oct 19, 2011, 8:45am PDT

4450 NAUTILUS DR, Miami Beach, FL - $895,000

Rafael A. Velasquez, Pres./Broker | SUNSET REALTY GROUP | (305) 303-9098

4450 NAUTILUS DR, Miami Beach, FL
A tropical oasis bordered by 10ft high ficus with Intercom gated entry!!!
3BR/3+1BA Single Family House
offered at $895,000
Year Built 1939
Sq Footage 2,303
Bedrooms 3
Bathrooms 3 full, 1 partial
Floors Unspecified
Parking Unspecified
Lot Size Unspecified
HOA/Maint $0 per month

DESCRIPTION

Master suite features generous walk-in closet with cherry wood closet system & cutting edge master bath with oversized rain shower & dual sinks. Landscaped pool including Gazebo! Granite countertops & S/S appliances in kitchen. Stunning original Terrazzo flrs in living/dining areas with hardwood in bedrooms. Hurricane impact windows.Fireplace & Sunroom. Walk to Temple & 2min to causeway!


see additional photos below
PROPERTY FEATURES

- Central A/C - Central heat - Fireplace
- Living room - Dining room - Dishwasher
- Refrigerator - Stove/Oven - Microwave
- Granite countertop - Stainless steel appliances - Washer
- Dryer - Balcony, Deck, or Patio - Swimming pool

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS


Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 5

Photo 6
Contact info:
Rafael A. Velasquez, Pres./Broker
SUNSET REALTY GROUP
(305) 303-9098
For sale by agent/broker

Equal Opportunity Housing
Powered by Postlets
Posted: Oct 19, 2011, 8:45am PDT