Home Prices Up in 94 Percent of Major U.S. Markets

Homes Prices up for 2019Across the country, home prices remain on an uptrend, escalating in 94 percent of major metropolitan markets, according to the latest National Association of REALTORS® quarterly report, based on findings for the fourth quarter of 2019. In the fourth quarter, the existing-home median price was $274,900, a 6.6 percent gain year-over-year.

Buyers continue to lean on low mortgage rates, the report shows. In the final quarter of the year, household incomes rose to $79,740—an increase of roughly $2,650 year-over-year. At the same time, to afford a mortgage, NAR estimates home buyers needed $48,960, or about $3,940 less, year-over-year, due to lower mortgage payments. In the fourth quarter, the average 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.76 percent.

For first-time home buyers, affordability also expanded last quarter. To afford a mortgage, the average first-time home buyer needed $48,288, or approximately $575 less year-over-year, and their average monthly mortgage payment slid to $1,006, assuming a 10 percent down payment.

Still, housing options remain sparse. At the end of the fourth quarter, 1.4 million existing homes were on the market, an 8.5 percent deficit year-over-year, according to the report.

“We saw prices increase during every quarter of 2019 above wage growth,” explains Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. “It is challenging—especially for those potential buyers—where we have a good economy, low interest rates and a soaring stock market, yet are finding very few homes available for sale.”

In the fourth quarter, appreciation climbed considerably in 18 major markets, including:

  • Trenton, N.J. – 18.2% year-over-year
  • Boise City-Nampa, Idaho – 13.7%
  • Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss. – 11.8%
  • Kingston, N.Y. – 11.2%
  • Albuquerque, N.M. – 11.1%

Meanwhile, the coasts continued their high-price streak, with the costliest homes in:

  • San Jose, Calif. – $1.25 million (-0.3% year-over-year)
  • San Francisco, Calif. – $999,000 (3.9%)
  • Anaheim-Santa Ana, Calif. – $828,000 (3.6%)
  • Urban Honolulu, Hawaii – $812,600 (0%)
  • San Diego, Calif. – $655,000 (4.6%)
  • Boulder, Colo. – $630,400 (6.4%)
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif. – $617,300 (7.2%)
  • Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. – $528,800 (8%)
  • Nassau County, N.Y. – $496,600 (3.7%)
  • Boston-Cambridge, Mass. – $482,800 (4.9%)

To afford these areas, a family has to make more than $100,000, assuming 5 percent down on a 30-year fixed mortgage, according to the report.

“Rising home values typically create wealth gains for existing homeowners as shown in NAR’s latest study,” says Yun. “However, areas that are deemed ‘too expensive’ will obviously have trouble attracting residents and companies looking to do business there. We need a good balance that benefits both current and future homeowners, but right now, the balance is still in favor of home sellers.”

Rismedia.com February 12, 2020

U.S. Home Sales Uptick in October

Home Sales UpAccording to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales rose in October 2019. The four major U.S. regions were split last month, with the Midwest and the South seeing growth, and the Northeast and the West both reporting a drop in sales.

Total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 1.9% from September to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million in October. Despite lingering regional variances, overall sales are up 4.6% from a year ago (5.22 million in October 2018).

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said this sales increase is encouraging and he expects added growth in the coming months. “Historically-low interest rates, continuing job expansion, higher weekly earnings and low mortgage rates are undoubtedly contributing to these higher numbers,” said Yun. “We will likely continue to see sales climb as long as potential buyers are presented with an adequate supply of inventory.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $270,900, up 6.2% from October 2018 ($255,100), as prices rose in all regions. October’s price increase marks 92 straight months of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of October sat at 1.77 million units, down approximately 2.7% from September and 4.3% from one year ago (1.85 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.1 months in September and from the 4.3-month figure recorded in October 2018.

“The issuance of more housing permits is a very positive sign and a good step toward more inventory,” said Yun, citing the latest data for housing starts. “In order to better counter and even slow the increase in housing prices, home builders will have to bring additional homes on the market.”

Properties typically remained on the market for 36 days in October, up from 32 days in September and consistent with October 2018 numbers. Forty-six percent of homes sold in October 2019 were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in October, down from 33% in September and identical to the 31% recorded in October 2018. NAR’s 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 2019 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 33%.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales, purchased 14% of homes in October 2019 unchanged from September but down from the 15% figure recorded in October 2018. All-cash sales accounted for 19% of transactions in October, up from 17% in August but down from 23% in October 2018.

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – represented 2% of sales in October, unchanged from September but down from 3% in October 2018.

“It is great to see home sales rise along with an increase in housing permits,” said NAR President Vince Malta. “Both home buyers and the home sellers are being rewarded by these developments, and we see that conditions remain extremely favorable for real estate investment in America.”

Realtor.com’s Market Hotness Index, measuring time-on-the-market data and listing views per property, revealed that the hottest metro areas in October were:

  • Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • Pueblo, Colo.
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Rochester, N.Y.
  • Colorado Springs, Colo.

Active listings on Realtor.com increased by over 1% from one year ago in only a few of the largest metro areas:

  • Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington (16%)
  •  Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise (14%)
  •  San Antonio-New Braunfels (9%)
  •  Detroit-Warren-Dearborn (5%)
  •  Atlanta-Sandy Springs (5%)
  •  Denver-Aurora-Lakewood (4%)
  •  Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington (4%)
  •  and Myrtle-Beach-Conway (4%).

Mortgage rates were trending downward since July through September, but slightly rose in October.  According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage increased to 3.69% in October, up from 3.61% in September. The average commitment rate across all of 2018 was 4.54%.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales sat at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.87 million in October, down from 4.77 million in September, but up 5.4% from a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $273,600 in October 2019, up 6.2% from October 2018.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 590,000 units in October, about even with the previous month and 1.7% lower than a year ago. The median existing condo price was $248,500 in October, which is an increase of 5.6% from a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

Compared to last month, October sales increased in the Midwest and South regions, but sales are up in all regions from a year ago. Median home prices in all regions increased from one year ago, with the West region showing the strongest price gain.

October 2019 existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 1.4% to an annual rate of 690,000, with no change from a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $296,700, up 5.7% from October 2018.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales increased 1.6% to an annual rate of 1.29 million, up 2.4% from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $209,900, a 6.7% jump from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South increased 4.4% to an annual rate of 2.35 million in October, up 7.8% from a year ago. The median price in the South was $234,900, a 6.0% increase from this time last year.

Existing-home sales in the West declined 0.9% to an annual rate of 1.13 million in October, 3.7% above a year ago. The median price in the West was $410,700, up 7.8% from October 2018.

World Property Journal, November 22, 2019

2020 Real Estate Outlook: Expert Predictions for Mortgage Rates, Home Prices, Tech and More

Real Estate Outlook2020 Real Estate Outlook

The 2019 housing market has been one of low rates, high demand and limited supply—particularly on the lower-priced end of the real estate market.

Will 2020 be more of the same? According to experts, yes and no.

We spoke to six mortgage, real estate, and housing professionals. Here’s what they say is in store for the year to come:

Mortgage rates will stay low—or maybe go lower.

Mortgage rates currently sit at 3.75%, according to Freddie Mac’s most recent numbers—nearly a 1% difference from the monthly average a year ago. The drop in rates caused a surge in refinancing over the last few months, and purchase activity ticked up as well.

According to Odeta Kushi, deputy chief economist at title insurance and settlement services provider First American, there’s “emerging consensus” that rates will remain low next year—likely somewhere between 3.7% and 3.9%, she says.

Forecasts from Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association back this up, both predicting 2020 rates within this range. Fannie Mae actually predicts rates will clock in even lower, vacillating between 3.5% and 3.6% throughout the year.

Sean Hundtofte, chief economist for online mortgage lender Better.com, says that thanks to these continued low rates, refinancing should remain a popular choice in the new year. And for homebuyers, he says, they’ll “be able to afford more house than they would have otherwise.”

Prices will keep on rising.

Home prices will continue their climb upward, according to experts, largely thanks to tight inventory and high demand.

According to the latest home price forecast from property data firm CoreLogic, home prices should tick up by 5.6% by next September—up from the just 3.5% jump we saw this year.

As Daryl Fairweather, chief economist for real estate brokerage Redfin, explains, “Right now we aren’t seeing a ton of new listings. Without more listings coming on the market, there will be more competition starting off in early 2020 and that will lead to more price pressure.”

The problem will be worse on the lower end of the price spectrum. According to Ralph DeFranco, chief economist for mortgage insurer Arch MI, entry-level home prices will rise higher than incomes next year—and disappointing construction numbers will only compound the issue.

“Low interest rates and a shortage of starter homes will continue to push up prices,” DeFranco said. “This is especially the case for lower price points, since builders have tended to focus on more expensive, higher-profit houses and less on replenishing low inventories of entry-level homes.”

It seems the price growth may continue beyond 2020, too. Data from Arch MI shows the chance of home price declines at a mere 11% for the next two years. There are currently no states or metro markets projected to see prices declines in that period.

Inventory will be tight.

Housing inventory is going to remain limited for much of 2020, experts say. And interest rates and record-high homeownership tenures are a big part of the problem.

According to recent data from Redfin, the average homeowner is staying in their home 13 years—up from just eight years in 2010. In some cities, homeownership tenures are as high as 23 years.

As Kushi explains, “You can’t buy what’s not for sale.”

“While historically low rates increase buying power and make it more likely for potential buyers to attain their homeownership dream, they also increase the risk of a long-run housing supply shortage, which we predict will continue through 2020 and possibly intensify,” Kushi says. “As first-time buyers lock-in these historically amazing rates and existing owners refinance—in droves in recent months, everyone will stay put and not sell. Where’s the incentive?”

There’s a chance that increasing construction may offer some relief in the inventory department. Last month’s residential construction report from the Census Bureau saw building permits and housing starts both increase over the year. At the same time. builder confidence was at a 20-month high, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Still, it may not be enough to meet the needs of today’s buyers, Kushi says.

“As for building new homes, builders have a reason to be cautiously optimistic, given pent up demand stemming from a strong economy, lower mortgage rates and continued wage growth,” she says. “However, building pace still lags behind historical standards, and it will likely take months before we can begin building at a pace that will support the demand.”

Millennials will keep up their homebuying streak, while Boomers hold up inventory.

Data from Realtor.com shows Millennials made up a whopping 46% of all mortgage originations in September—up from 43% one year prior. Meanwhile, shares of Baby Boomer and Gen X mortgage activity declined.

It’s no wonder, either. Millennials rank homeownership as one of their top goals in life—higher than even marrying or having kids—and with interest rates low and incomes up, it’s the right time to buy a home for many.

Unfortunately, they face an uphill battle. As Kushi explains, “Looking ahead, Millennials may be entering a tougher housing market in 2020. A limited supply environment, combined with growing demand and increased competition for homes, is accelerating home price growth once again.”

The Baby Boomer generation is part of the challenge for this younger cohort, as many are choosing to age in place—keeping more homes off the market than ever before.

In fact, a recent study from Freddie Mac shows that if today’s older adults—those born between 1931 and 1959—behaved like earlier generations, then an additional 1.6 million homes would have hit the market by the end of the last year.

As Kushi puts it, “The fate of Millennial homebuying to close out 2019 and into 2020 will depend on two factors: if there is anything for them to buy, and whether rising purchasing power stemming from increasing income and historically low mortgage rates can continue to outpace house price appreciation.”

The suburbs will be a big draw thanks to Millennial demand.

As home prices skyrocket, cash-strapped Millennials are looking toward more affordable places to put down roots—namely smaller, suburban towns on the outskirts of major metros.

The trend has led to an uptick in “Hipsturbia” communities—live-work-play neighborhoods that blend the safety and affordability of the suburbs with the transit, walkability and 24-hour amenities of big cities.

Melissa Gomez, an agent with ERA Top Service Realty in New York, has seen the trend in action.

“Being based in the boroughs of NYC, I see Hipsturbia happening every day,” she said. “As cities like New York become increasingly expensive, younger people and families are looking for more bang for their buck with real estate, schooling and everything in between. And slowly but surely, it is breathing new life into small towns outside of major urban hubs.”

The Urban Land Institute recently named Histurbia as one of its top real estate trends to watch in 2020.

As the report explains, “If the live-work-play formula could revive inner cities a quarter-century ago, there is no reason to think that it will not work in suburbs with the right bones and the will to succeed.”

The industry will continue to digitize. 

The mortgage and real estate spheres have been moving away from their manual, paper-laden processes in recent years, and 2020 will only see that trend expand further—especially as more tech-savvy Millennials enter the market.

As Hundtofte explains, “In 2020, we’ll continue to see Millennials growing their share of the mortgage market, which in turn, will serve as a catalyst to lenders to continue to rapidly innovate their technology offerings to meet the expectations of an audience more accustomed to an Amazon, Venmo-like experience.”

Though plenty of tech offerings already exist—from e-signing and e-notary software to fully-digital mortgage applications, automated income verification and more—Hundtofte says we’ll probably see these solutions start teaming up in the new year.

“Rather than compete with each other, we’ll see companies combining technologies across the board, from startups partnering with startups to startups partnering with legacy institutions,” he says.

Aaron Block, the co-founder of MetaProp—a venture capital fund focusing solely on real estate technology—says to keep an eye on the Airbnb and WeWork brands specifically in this regard.

On WeWork’s recent IPO blunder, Block says, “One major positive outcome of this year’s ‘DiePO’ is the plethora of ‘proptech’ innovation talent hitting the street. Some exciting new companies are being formed as we speak.”

Forbes.com Nov. 15, 2019

 

After Steady Declines in 2019, Luxury Home Prices are Stabilizing in Some U.S. Markets

luxury home pricesLuxury Home Price Report

According to Redfin, the average sale price for luxury homes in the U.S. rose 0.3 percent year-over-year to $1.6 million in the third quarter of 2019. Even though that’s essentially flat, it marks the first time luxury prices did not drop after three straight quarters of decline.

For this analysis, Redfin tracked home sales in more than 1,000 cities across the U.S. (not including New York City) and defines a home as luxury if it’s among the 5 percent most expensive homes sold in the quarter. In the other 95 percent of the market, home prices increased 3.6 percent annually to an average of $319,000 in the third quarter.

Sales of homes priced at or above $1.5 million rose 3.2 percent in the third quarter. The increase comes after three straight quarters of dipping sales in the luxury sector, including a 12 percent annual drop in the first quarter of 2019. Sales of homes priced below $1.5 million experienced a similar annual increase, with a 2.9 percent rise.

Supply of homes priced at or above $1.5 million rose 9.3 percent year-over-year in the third quarter, the sixth consecutive quarter of growth, albeit the smallest annual increase in a year.

The big increase in luxury supply was largely driven by a boost in the number of high-priced homes hitting the market. New listings priced at or above $1.5 million rose 6 percent year over year in the third quarter, while new listings of homes priced below $1.5 million dropped 4 percent.

“Because recession fears peaked over the summer, I expected luxury home prices and sales to dip. But it appears that nerves alone weren’t enough to scare off wealthy homebuyers,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “The U.S. economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter, partly as a result of healthy consumer spending. Those results, along with flat luxury home prices and rising sales, go to show that Americans are basing their spending habits on their own personal financial situation rather than concerns about global economic tensions. For many, that means strong incomes and good employment prospects.”

Luxury U.S. housing market summary

Biggest luxury price gains

Luxury prices increased in more than two-thirds of the markets tracked by Redfin. West Palm Beach tops the list, with a 128.3 percent year-over-year increase to an average price of more than $3.7 million. It’s followed by two other cities in Florida: Clearwater (up 49.3% to $1.6 million) and Delray Beach (up 47.3% to $2.6 million).

West Palm Beach Redfin agent Elena Glatko said one driving force in the particularly large year-over-year price increase in West Palm Beach in the third quarter was dozens of sales in a new luxury condo building. Sale prices for individual units spanned from roughly $4 million to more than $12 million. Glatko also noted a few other factors that contribute to the area’s strong luxury market.

“Homebuyers can get a lot more for their money in West Palm Beach than in more expensive places like Miami and Palm Beach Island,” Glatko said. “And I’ve noticed that both luxury buyers and sellers feel that real estate is one of the assets least susceptible to economic changes. They believe that over time, luxury real estate is a better investment than the stock market.”

Biggest luxury price declines

Luxury home prices in Charleston, South Carolina declined 17.6 percent to an average of $1.6 million in the third quarter, a bigger drop than any other city. Next come Virginia Beach (down 7.6% to $1 million) and Reno (down 6.9% to about $1.5 million).

Luxury prices also declined in San Diego (down 4% to about $2.6 million), Miami (down 3.8% to about $2 million), San Jose (down 3.2% to about $2.3 million) and Scottsdale (down 1.5% to about $2 million).

“There’s been less activity in the luxury market in Miami over the last few years, and now it’s definitely shifting toward buyer’s favor,” said local Redfin agent Jessica Johnson. “Sellers in the area can’t get away with overpricing their home because buyers are less willing to overpay when they know luxury prices aren’t increasing in Miami–if they can’t get a good deal on one particular luxury home, they can probably go down the street or to another neighborhood and find a seller who is willing to negotiate with them.”

 

World Property Journal November, 2019

The Quay Sarasota Project – Potential to Shift the Epicenter of Downtown Sarasota

Quay Sarasota ProjectWith nearly 700 high-end residences and more than 200,000 square feet of commercial, retail and restaurant space spread over 15 acres, the Quay Sarasota project has the potential to shift the very epicenter of downtown Sarasota.

In addition to the roughly $1 billion investment master developer GreenPointe Holdings anticipates, the Quay property also benefits from pending upgrades to a 52-acre, municipally owned site adjacent to it.

The 52-acre “The Bay” project also is likely only to enhance, rather than compete, with GreenPointe’s offerings. That’s because city leaders and planners have mandated that the property be devoid of commercial space and condos and be improved with open space and event-driven amenities.

Taken together, the Quay and the Bay could easily alter where tourists and residents alike dine, congregate, shop and play when each reach critical build out a decade from now.

But Edward Burr, GreenPointe’s president and CEO, believes that even after the Quay’s six planned towers, embedded retail and restaurants and connected entertainment space are completed, the project won’t compete directly with the city’s historic downtown that was created in the 1920s.

“I view the Quay Sarasota as merely an extension of the city’s downtown,” says Burr. “I don’t see it shifting the focus of downtown; I expect it will simply complement what’s there, the existing entertainment and restaurants.

To date, two vertical developments have been announced for Quay Sarasota: a luxury, 73-unit condo tower being developed by The Kolter Group, and a 241-unit apartment tower by a division of homebuilder Lennar Corp.

The 18-story Ritz-Carlton Residences, where some units are being marketed for as much as $8 million, is under construction now and is slated for delivery late next year.

Lennar Multifamily’s planned 11-story apartment complex has yet to be formally approved by city officials. The $150 million project, which is slated to break ground sometime in the second quarter of next year, will require about 24 months to build, Burr says.

Like Water Street Tampa, the $3 billion project in Tampa that will encompass 53 acres in that city’s downtown and Westshore Marina District between St. Petersburg and Tampa, another 52-acre, mixed-use development that will be a ground-up neighborhood of high-end residences, shops, restaurants and amenities, Quay Sarasota could transform the urban core of Sarasota through critical mass alone.

The associated commercial space also is expected to have a profound impact. GreenPointe has retained commercial real estate brokerage firm The Shopping Center Group to oversee Quay leasing.

Burr says he expects the next ground-up development, following the Ritz-Carlton Residences and the Lennar apartments, will either be a “condo project with a higher-end price point or a hotel, or both.”

Quay Sarasota is entitled for a 175-room hotel. That component likely wouldn’t debut until the close of 2022 or the first half of 2023, he says. The bulk of the Quay development is expected to be completed by the end of 2025, Burr believes.

And even as the vertical projects progress, other development is slated to occur on the site, which is adjacent to a 266-room Ritz-Carlton Sarasota hotel.

GreenPointe has pledged to install a marina and a one-acre park within the project, and state transportation officials are planning a traffic calming roundabout at North Tamiami Trail and Fruitville Road, at the Quay’s entrance. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of next year.

An internal main street, Quay Commons, is on tap to be ready by the first quarter of 2021, as well.

Although Quay Sarasota is perhaps GreenPointe’s most urban project at present, it isn’t the Jacksonville-based company’s only Gulf Coast endeavor.

In Tampa, GreenPointe is developing Triple Creek, a 990-acre master-planned community with more than 2,000 homesites, and Belmont, a 930-acre community with more than 2,000 residences and 180,000 square feet of commercial space.

In Lakeland, the company is building Bridgewater, a 700-acre tract slated for more than 860 homesites and commercial space.

And in Fort Myers, GreenPointe is working on Hampton Lakes, a 413-acre project planned for more than 400 homes and River Hall, a 1,500-acre property scheduled to contain roughly 2,000 homes.

“Our core competency is developing communities with a sense of place,” says Burr. “We work hard to balance the economic realities of a place with the demands of that particular marketplace.”

Business Observer October 25, 2019

Local Resorts Make Condé Nast Traveler’s 2019 List

top resortsThree local resorts have been honored by Condé Nast Traveler readers as part of the magazine’s readers’ choice list of the top 30 resorts in Florida.

The Zota Beach Resort, Ritz-Carlton Sarasota and The Resort at Longboat Key Club all made the magazine’s 2019 list released this week. Condé Nast Traveler readers voted their favorite Florida resorts outside of the Keys and the Orlando area to make the rankings.

The Zota Beach Resort at 4711 Gulf of Mexico Drive in Longboat Key snagged the list’s 15th spot. The hotel, formerly known as the the Longboat Key Hilton Beachfront Resort, underwent renovations and added a new 84-room tower in 2018.

The name “Zota” was unveiled in 2015, and at the time owner Ocean Properties explained the name change like this:

“Zota is believed to be a native word meaning ‘blue waters.’ The word ‘zara’ may be a Spanish reference to Sahara-like sands, and as the name of the area evolved over time, Longboat Key and the surrounding area became known as ‘Zara Zota,’” or “Sahara by the blue waters.”

“It is an honor to receive this recognition from Condé Nast Traveler readers. Our team is proud of this recognition and hope to continue exceeding expectations every day,” Roy Padgett, general manager of Zota Beach Resort, said in an emailed statement. “We are incredibly thankful for our guests and want to ensure a memorable experience happens with every visit.”

Also on the list is the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota at No. 18. The Ritz, a luxury hotel in downtown Sarasota overlooking the bay, has 266 guest rooms, a private beach on Lido Key, a spa, a golf club, about 60,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, a 12,000-square-foot ballroom (the largest in Sarasota) and two restaurants — Jack Dusty and Ridley’s Porch.

The Resort at Longboat Key Club came in at No. 20. The resort, just north of St. Armands Circle at 220 Sands Point Road, has 218 guest rooms and suites, a spa, on-site dining, tennis and golf.

The No. 1 resort on the Condé Nast List is the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa.

Other nearby resorts on the list are:

Gasparilla Inn & Club in Boca Grande (No. 3)

the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina in Fort Myers (No. 4)

Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach (No. 8)

The Don CeSar in St. Pete Beach (No. 9)

LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort in Naples (No. 14)

The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club (No. 19)

Sarasota Herald-Tribune October 9, 2019

Realtor® Survey Shows Decline in Foreign Investment in U.S. Residential Real Estate

Foreign InvestmentForeign Investment Down 36%

A decline in global growth and low housing inventory contributed to a drop in foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate over the past year.

This is according to an annual survey of residential purchases from international buyers, released today by the National Association of Realtors®, which found that foreign buyers purchased fewer U.S. existing homes from April 2018 through March 2019. Global economic growth, which increased in 2016 to 2017, slowed to 3.6% in 2018 and is on pace to taper to 3.3% in 2019.

NAR’s Profile of International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate 2019 revealed that foreign buyers purchased $77.9 billion worth of U.S. existing homes from the 2019 survey reference period, a 36% decline from the level reached in the previous 12 months ($121 billion). Non-resident foreign buyers accounted for $33.2 billion of U.S. existing-home sales, a 37% decline from the prior level of $53 billion. Resident foreign buyers – that is, recent immigrants – purchased $44.7 billion of residential property, a 34% drop from the prior level ($67.9 billion).

The dollar volume of purchases saw a decline as the number of purchases, as well as the average price, decreased from the previous year, as foreign buyers purchased in comparison to the levels during the previous 12 months. Foreign buyers were able to buy 183,100 properties (266,800 in the previous period) at an average price of $426,100.

“A confluence of many factors – slower economic growth abroad, tighter capital controls in China, a stronger U.S. dollar and a low inventory of homes for sale – contributed to the pullback of foreign buyers,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “However, the magnitude of the decline is quite striking, implying less confidence in owning a property in the U.S.”

Top Foreign Buyers

For the seventh consecutive year, China exceeded all other countries in terms of dollar volume of purchases, buying an estimated $13.4 billion worth of residential property, a 56% decline from the previous 12 months. The Chinese economy is growing at a slower pace compared to past years, slowing to 6.3% in 2019 compared to 6.9% in 2017. The Chinese government has also tightened the monitoring of dollar outflows since 2016 to manage its foreign exchange reserves.

Following China, the next top foreign buyer for 2019 was Canada at $8.0 billion. While Chinese investors and Canadian investors tied concerning the number of purchases, on average, Chinese buyers bought properties at a higher price point. Therefore, China ranked ahead of Canada in terms of dollar volume.

The third top international buyer was India at $6.9 billion, the United Kingdom was fourth at $3.8 billion and in fifth was Mexico at $2.3 billion. Each of the top five buyers experienced a decline in the dollar volume of purchases.

International Buyers – Where Did They Go?

Following historical trends, Florida was at the epicenter of foreign investment. The state attracted 20% of foreign buyers. Forty-two percent of Canadians purchased property in Florida. “Many Canadians and other foreigners found Florida so enticing because of its lenient tax laws,” said Yun. “Additionally, many Florida metro areas have an inventory of cheaper properties, relatively speaking – a combination which makes the state a very popular destination.”

California followed Florida, accounting for 12% of international purchases. Thirty four percent of Chinese buyers purchased property in California, which represents a decline from one year ago.

The third most popular destination among international buyers was Texas (10%), particularly desirable among Indian and Mexican buyers.

Arizona accounted for 5% of international buyers, popular for Canadian and Mexican purchasers, followed by New Jersey (4%). New Jersey appealed to a mix of international buyers, especially those from the United Kingdom.

A few other significant destinations were North Carolina, Illinois, New York and Georgia. Each of these states accounted for 3% of all foreign buyers.

Price Points

Forty-four percent of foreign buyers purchased in a suburban area, while 76% purchased single detached family homes and townhomes.

  • The median purchase price for foreign buyers was $280,600, slightly higher than the $259,600 average for all U.S. existing homes sold. According to Yun, the price difference is a reflection of the choice of location and the kinds of properties desired by foreign buyers.
  • Eight percent of international buyers paid $1 million or more for their property, compared to just 3% of all U.S. existing homebuyers.
  • Resident foreign buyers – those living in the United States either as recent immigrants or those holding visas for professional, educational or other purposes – typically purchased properties at a slightly higher price point ($282,500) compared to non-resident foreign purchasers ($277,700).

“Even though numbers were lower this year than during the previous 12 months, international investors and buyers still spent and invested a great deal of money in U.S. real estate,” said NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota and broker at Edina Realty. “Home buyers from across the globe know that the U.S. market is still a safe, secure and promising place to invest.”

The survey also showed that international buyers are more likely to purchase their homes in cash than all existing home buyers. Forty-one percent of the reported transactions were all-cash sales, in comparison to 21% for all existing-home purchases during the 2019 assessment reference period.

Non-resident foreign buyers are more likely to pay in cash than resident foreign buyers, who are more likely to acquire mortgage financing from U.S. sources. Sixty-three percent of non-resident foreign buyers had an all-cash purchase transaction, compared to 25% among resident foreign buyers.

Canadian buyers, who primarily live abroad, were the most likely to pay all cash (75%). The majority of Asian Indian buyers, most of whom resided in the U.S. as recent immigrants or visa holders, obtained a U.S. mortgage. Almost half of Chinese buyers made an all-cash purchase.

NAR’s 2019 Profile of International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate was conducted April 5 through May 3, 2019. A sample of Realtors® was surveyed to measure the share of U.S. residential real estate sales to international clients, and to provide a profile of the origin, destination and buying preferences of international clients, as well as the challenges and opportunities faced by Realtors® in serving foreign clients. The survey presents information about transactions with international clients during the 12-month period between April 2018 and March 2019. A total of 11,812 Realtors® responded to the 2019 survey.

 

National Association of Realtors® July, 2019

Sarasota-Manatee Foreclosure Rates On the Rise

foreclosure ratesForeclosure rate rises 23% in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

More Southwest Florida homeowners are struggling to pay their mortgages.

The number of residential properties with a foreclosure filing rose 23% as of mid-year in the Sarasota-Manatee region, according to a new report from real estate researcher ATTOM Data Solutions.

While foreclosures nationwide were down during the first half of 2019, the local increase was not that unusual. Foreclosure starts were higher in four out of 10 metros across the country. A total of 1,277 residential properties, or one in every 327 homes in the Sarasota-Manatee area, were in some stage of distress. That represents 0.31% of the housing units in the region.

But those filings – default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – are nearly 90% off their peak levels reached in 2008-2010 during the depths of the housing crash.

Florida posted the nation’s fourth-highest foreclosure rate at 0.39%, with the year-over-year increase the second highest in the U.S. The national foreclosure rate was 0.22%.

“Our mid-year 2019 foreclosure activity helps to show an overall view on how foreclosure activity is trending downward,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM. “Of course, you still have pockets across the nation where foreclosure activity is seeing some flare-ups. Foreclosure starts is a good indication of markets to watch. For instance, in looking at the largest markets across the nation with the greatest annual increase in foreclosure starts, four out of the five markets were in Florida.”

Charlotte County reported 379 filings, or one in every 271 housing units. That was 19% higher than the year before.

Last year foreclosure activity in Sarasota-Manatee receded to its lowest level since 2006, and has now held for several years at what analysts consider a normal volume of troubled homeowners. Filings have tumbled from the days when the region posted one of the top foreclosure rates in the nation.

Florida reported the third-longest average foreclosure timelines, from filing to completion, at 1,073 days. The national average was 716 days.

Fifth Third boosts pay

Fifth Third Bancorp is bumping the minimum wage it pays to employees to $18 per hour.

An estimated 4,900 workers will get the $3 hourly raise starting Oct. 28. Fifth Third, the sixth-largest bank in the Sarasota-Manatee metro area, said the increase recognizes the contributions of employees in driving the success of the bank and its customers.

“A competitive compensation and benefits package is essential to our ability to attract and retain the industry’s best and brightest,” said chairman/president/CEO Greg D. Carmichael.

The raise will bring those workers about $500 more per month on a pre-tax basis. It will cost the bank about $15 million a year.

The Cincinnati-based bank raised its minimum wage from $12 to $15 in January 2018, which it says contributed to a 16% annual reduction in employee turnover last year among workers most affected by that wage. The higher wage primarily impacts employees in retail branches and operations support functions such as customer contact centers. It will not be paid to employees who work on a commissioned basis, whose earnings typically run above $18 per hour.

Herald-Tribune August 2019

Conservation Foundation Protects 543 Acres in the Myakka Region

Tatum SawgrassAs aggressive development continues throughout the region, it has become imperative to protect our waterways, fragile ecosystems, wildlife and resources for future generations.  The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast has worked diligently to protect and restore the core of the 2,500-acre Tatum Sawgrass marsh.

The plan hopes to reduce flooding downstream, increase habitat for animals such as the wood stork, deer, snook and even the endangered Florida panther, and overall, improve the health and vitality of Myakka River. Protecting Murphy Marsh is critical to maintaining the region’s water quality, as water flows off the land into the Myakka River and through the more than 40 miles of protected lands that buffer the river before it flows into Charlotte Harbor estuary.

Permanent protection of the 543-acre Murphy Marsh within Manatee County’s Myakka River watershed region was recently announced by the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast.  This land is in the most threatened portion of the watershed and links three Myakka River conservation areas: the 1,143-acre Triangle Ranch, the 1,213-acre Lettuce Lakes property and Conservation Foundation’s newly conserved 38-acre Tatum Sawgrass Scrub Preserve. Conserving Murphy Marsh enables the core of the 2,500-acre Tatum Sawgrass marsh to be restored. This will reduce flooding downstream, increase habitat for animals such as the wood stork, deer, and snook, and improve the health and vitality of the Myakka River. The endangered Florida panther is documented as traversing the area.

Protecting large tracts of private property like Murphy Marsh is critical to maintaining water quality as water flows off the land into the Myakka River and through the more than 40 miles of protected lands that buffer the river before it flows into the Charlotte Harbor estuary.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provided critical funding, and will hold the perpetual conservation easement and provide additional funding for restoration. This protection success was made possible by the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, The Gardener Foundation, the Felburn Foundation, the Myakka River Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation, the Disney Conservation Fund, Skip and Janis Swan, and the Everett W. Erdoesy & Gretha M. Erdoesy Foundation.

“This is a strategic addition to our protected lands and an outstanding example of how Conservation Foundation skillfully collaborates with federal, state, and private organizations, and people to accomplish large goals,” notes Charlie Hunsicker, Director of Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources.

The Conservation Foundation is facilitating a landscape-scale restoration plan based on comprehensive hydrologic modeling of the entire Upper Myakka River watershed. The protection of Murphy Marsh is the essential link in this restoration plan.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provided critical funding, and will hold the perpetual conservation easement and provide additional funding for restoration. This protection success was made possible by the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, The Gardener Foundation, the Felburn Foundation, the Myakka River Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation, the Disney Conservation Fund, Skip and Janis Swan, and the Everett W. Erdoesy & Gretha M. Erdoesy Foundation.

Scene Magazine – SRQ July 24, 2019

Sarasota Home Prices Near Pre-Recession Peaks

Sarasota Home PricesAfter wild swings before and after the economic downturn, home prices are inching closer to their pre-recession peaks in the Sarasota-Manatee County region.

Single-family homes and condominiums sold for a median $260,000 in the two-county area during the second quarter of 2019, a 4% increase over the year, according to a new report from real estate researcher ATTOM Data Solutions.

That price is just 3% off the pre-recession median high of $267,500 set in late 2005, just before the housing bubble burst. The Sarasota-Manatee area is one of 31 metro areas among the 108 largest in the U.S. where home prices still fall short of their pre-bust pinnacles.

That’s no surprise, given how deeply local home prices plunged during the downturn. The median price hit bottom at $127,000 in early 2011, a 53% dive from the peak, ATTOM’s report shows.

After the recession, local prices rebounded to double-digit annual gains, but those have slowed in recent years.

“In the general housing market, all indices have been pointing to modest appreciation in accordance with historical norms of 3% to 5%, but not the accelerated rates we have experienced since 2012,” said Robert Goldman, an agent with Michael Saunders & Co. in Venice. “If sellers failed to recognize this shift, then a tug of war of sorts would arise, wherein it would take longer, on average, to sell a home, the spread between final sold price and original list price would widen, and inventory would increase with the potential for stagnant pricing. There appears to be a growing body of evidence for this.”

Asking and selling prices are in a state of flux here, he said. Single-family homes are selling at 89% of original list price and condos at 90%, less than the customary 92% to 93%. Residential sales that used to take 60 to 75 days to close now need 90 days.

“All in all, barring unforeseen events, we should settle into a neutral market, with modest and sustainable appreciation, provided sellers have realistic expectations, in alignment with where the market is, rather than where one wishes it to be,” Goldman said.

Sarasota-Manatee homeowners are holding on to their properties longer, an average of 8.25 years before selling. That compares with two to three years during the frenzied buying-and-selling before the housing crash.

Those homeowners who sold in the second quarter realize an average price gain of $63,198, or 32.1% from their original purchase price. That was 5% higher over the year.

Nationwide, home and condo sales rose nearly 11% over the quarter and 6.4% annually to a median $266,000 — a new price peak. Homeownership also hit a new high at an average 8.09 years.

“As warmer weather brings a rush of house hunters to the market, the latest spike in median home prices marked the largest quarterly increase since the second quarter of 2015 and the third-biggest increase since the market started climbing out of the Great Recession in 2012,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM.

In Sarasota-Manatee, cash buyers are still major players. They accounted for nearly 43% of all home and condo sales during the April-June period, the eighth-highest ratio among the U.S. metros studied. Nationwide, cash sales were down to a 25% share.

Sarasota Herald Tribune July 18, 2019