Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Tags:   Newsletter

Miami-Dade and Broward home prices rose in June

The median price of an existing single-family home in Miami-Dade rose 5 percent in June to $194,250 from a year earlier, marking the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year price increases, the Miami Association of Realtors said.
Miami-Dade condos were the hottest items, with the median price of an existing condo spiking 34 percent in June to $160,000 from a year earlier amid a dramatic 29 percent drop in the inventory of residential units listed for sale, the group said.

The number of single-family homes sold in Miami-Dade dipped 1.8 percent in June from a year earlier, reflecting the scarcity of listings, but condo sales increased 4 percent over that period.

“Prices are going up, and things are selling,” said Anthony Askowitz, a broker with Re/MAX Advance Realty in Miami.

“There is just not much on the market. The homes that are good go very fast,” said Susan Pantin, a paralegal who closed on the purchase of a four-bedroom, two-bath home in Palmetto Bay on July 6.

Her new home, which was updated recently and in top condition with impact windows and a good roof, had been on the market just two days when three or four offers poured in, said Pantin, who had put in unsuccessful offers on four other homes in recent months. “When you find something, you have to move fast.”

In Broward County, the median price of a single family home jumped 8 percent to $215,000 in June from a year earlier as buyers similarly competed for a sharply smaller inventory of properties on the market, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors.

Despite the tight inventory of only half the number of single family homes listed for sale as last year, the number of home sales closed in June in Broward County rose 1.3 percent to 1,310 from 1,293 a year earlier, the Realtors group reported.

The median price of a Broward condo rose 14.5 percent to $85,900 in June from $75,000 last year, the Fort Lauderdale group said.

The number of Broward condos sold in June fell 4.4 percent to 1,485 from 1,554 a year earlier, reflecting a 47 percent drop in inventory of condos listed for sale.

Amid the dramatic decline in inventory and solid buyer demand, Broward homes are selling faster and at prices closer to their asking price, the Realtors group added.

With the average price of a South Florida home virtually sliced in half since the peak, few homeowners are willing to part with their properties at such depressed prices, especially since many of them are under water on their mortgages and would have to ante up cash out of their pockets in order to sell their homes. Meanwhile, with prices trending upward, buyers are feeling more pressure to act.

The average period of time that a single-family home was on the market in Broward fell to 39 days in June from 51 days a year earlier. Homes fetched 93.3 percent of asking prices, compared with 90.4 percent in June 2011.

“Inventory is continuing to shrink,” said Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors in Miami. “It’s frustrating for our sales people, because they have buyers and there aren’t enough properties. It’s like going to Macy’s too late at Christmas and the shelves are empty.”

In June, a 4.1-month supply of single family homes and a 4.4-month supply of condos were available for sale in Miami-Dade, Miami Realtors said. In Broward, there was a 3.5-month supply of single family homes and a 3.7-month supply of condos, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors.

“When you get below a six-month supply, you definitely will see prices appreciate,” Shuffield said.

On the flip side: Tight credit standards for mortgage seekers continue to sideline many would-be buyers.

Cash is king in Miami-Dade: 65 percent of sales that closed in June — nearly two out of every three transactions — were for all cash, according to the Miami Realtors group.

Distressed properties are in high demand, totaling 44 percent of closed sales in June, down from 57 percent in June 2011. That includes bank-owned properties and short-sales, which are transactions in which the lender accepts less than is owed on the mortgage.

The 4 percent increase in condo sales in Miami-Dade combined with the 34 percent jump in median condo prices underscores a rebound in that segment of the market.

Todd Weiler, a defense-contract consultant who lives in a beachfront unit on Miami Beach, bought a one-bedroom, 1 1/2-bath condo in the Marina Blue tower at 888 Biscayne Boulevard in Miami with views of Biscayne Bay and downtown, for about $250,000 last November and just signed a contract to sell it for $315,000 this month. Weiler said he debated whether to live in it himself, but loves the beach so much he decided against it. “I thought now is a good time to take my winnings,” he said.

The statewide picture for residential real estate also looked sunnier in June, according to Florida Realtors.

The median price of a single-family home in Florida rose 8.2 percent in June to $151,000 from $139,500, the Florida Realtors said. Single-family home sales in Florida rose 5.3 percent in June to 18,800 from 17,861 a year earlier. The number of homes listed for sale in Florida shrunk 31.1 percent in June to 112,365 from 163,118 last year.

The median price of a Florida condo prices in Florida rose 15.8 percent in June to $110,000 from $95,000 last year, Florida Realtors said. The number of units sold in June rose 1.5 percent to 9,202 from 9,067 a year earlier, even amid a 35.6 percent plunge in inventory.

One big unknown for South Florida’s hard-hit housing market: How will the huge inventory of foreclosures affect home prices in the months and years ahead. EWM’s Shuffield expects that the region’s distressed properties, which are sought after by many buyers, will be absorbed without much tumult, but he acknowledges the uncertainty is a headwind for the market.

“Prices would be up even more, but people are still somewhat concerned about how many foreclosures are out there,” he said.



© 2012 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.
http://www.miamiherald.com


By Martha Brannigan
mbrannigan@MiamiHerald.com
 


 
Friday, November 02, 2012
Tags:   Newsletter

 

Brokers optimistic as Miami's housing glut melts away

Leaders of some of Miami-Dade's larger realty brokerages say that based on last year's performance and record-breaking levels of investor interest in the area, they're feeling optimistic about the future of the local residential market.

"I think we are on the verge of another boom," said Patricia Delinois, incoming president of Miami Realtor Association and president & CEO of Century 21 Premier Elite Realty. She cited National Association of Realtor Chief Economist Lawrence Yun's prediction of dramatic increases in sales in 2012.

"Sales prices per square foot are up; the luxury market is doing well; distressed sales are down from 2010; we're seeing sharp increases in the numbers of second-home buyers, especially in Miami Beach and South Beach, and the numbers of first-time buyers converting from renting is astounding," said Vanessa Grout, president and CEO of Douglas Elliman Florida. "All of that is very positive."

"We have been through one of the longest low cycles in South Florida's history, and the biggest high cycle just before it," said Mike Pappas, president and CEO of The Keyes Co., which closed on 20% more units in 2011 than in 2010.

Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger Wooten Maxwell Realtors, said the 28,277 properties sold countywide in 2011 represents an 18% increase over 2010 sales and is the highest number reported since records have been kept.

The market has still not recovered from the dramatic price hit it took in 2008, Mr. Pappas said, but "we are eating through the inventory at a lot higher rate than anyone expected. There's a fire sale in South Florida real estate, and the world market is coming here bringing global cash.

"I believe the foundation has been laid for a new strong real-estate cycle. We are budgeting a 10% increase over last year in number of units sold."

Pricing increases, Mr. Pappas said, will depend upon getting through whatever inventory of distressed properties remains unreleased by lenders.

According to the Clear Capital Home Data Index Market Report, Miami's annual price gain of 5.6% in 2011 was the third highest in the nation, which correlates to its position as the market with the third- strongest decrease in REOs, or distressed properties. Clear Capital's economists predict Miami will be among the five highest performing metro areas in 2012, with an estimated 7.4% growth.

Right now, Mr. Shuffield said, there's a problem no one expected to see so soon: inventory unequal to demand. When the market faltered in 2008, there were 42,000 homes on the market locally. At the end of December 2010, there were 23,272 listings. Now, there are only 14,129.

"The challenge we're going to have this year," he said, "is getting more inventory."

"We're starting to have to push to get listings," Ms. Delinois said.

In 2011, 55% of all home sales were foreclosures or short sales, Mr. Shuffield said, down from two-thirds of all sales in 2010. That has resulted in some positive price adjustment, "but it's very building- specific and area-specific. Waterfront and Brickell properties are seeing solid increases, but outlying areas don't appeal as much to international buyers, so they're lagging behind."

Low inventories have sparked a small flurry of new project announcements.

 

The global nature of real estate marketing these days is driving a continuing trend towards consolidation in the industry. Small brokerages are being absorbed by larger firms with the resources to compete on a global scale; larger brokerages are expanding their footprints.

Douglas Elliman Florida is expanding into Boca Raton and Palm Beach, Ms. Grout said.

"We do encourage smaller companies to fold into our platform," she said. "That is part of our growth strategy. They can still maintain their individuality and independence to some extent.

"With the capital it takes to market these days, it's difficult for small shops to compete. We offer strong brand recognition, a strong network, back-office infrastructure."

Ms. Delinois said she chose to operate as a Century 21 franchise "because we saw what was happening with the global trend. Foreigners know the names of the large brokerages worldwide, and that recognition is what you need now. Branding is a must."

She said she is currently hiring at least one new agent a week, and is in the process of expanding to two new locations.

One Sotheby's International Realty, which reported a growth of more than 250% in sales in 2011, opened new offices over the past year in Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, Aventura and South Beach-South of Fifth.

"I think our industry consolidation will continue," Mr. Pappas said. "The free agency game of associates has driven the margins down so dramatically that only volume will allow a brokerage to provide excellent services to its associates."


By Marilyn Bowden


 
Thursday, November 01, 2012
Tags:   Newsletter

South Florida home prices up 4.4% from a year ago

South Florida’s beleaguered housing market got another dose of good news.
According to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday, home prices in the area rose 4.4 percent in June from a year earlier.

Nationally, single-family home prices also showed solid improvement, with the annual growth rate turning positive — 1.2 percent — for the first time since 2010 when federal tax credits were fueling sales.

Also bolstering signs that the residential market is finally on the upswing, prices in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties rose 1.6 percent in June from May, and they were up 0.7 percent in the second quarter from the first quarter, according to S&P/Case-Shiller.

The widely monitored report tracks sales of thousands of single-family homes.

South Florida, which was among the hardest hit spots in the nation during the housing crisis, chalked up its seventh straight month of rising values in June. That is the area’s longest positive streak logged since 2006.

Despite the recent gains in prices, South Florida home prices are still down 48 percent from their 2006 peak.

“There is a lot of pent-up demand, a lot of enthusiasm at open houses,” said Lisa Dority, an agent with REMAX/Advance Realty. “I don’t know that I’ve had a house on the market for more than three weeks.”

Along with rising confidence that the market has bottomed, buyers are attracted by the historically low mortgage rates. “You can get a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for 3.625 percent with no points,” said Ron Rosen, a mortgage broker with Abacus Lending Group in Miami. “It’s been very active.”

Lucy and Alex Arrieta expect to close soon on a three-bedroom, two-bath house in Aventura with an attractive FHA loan. The Arrietas, who have three children, are moving from a condo to a single-family house with a pool, capping a yearlong search. “We’re tired of looking,” said Lucy Arrieta, who with her husband had waited months to complete a short sale that eventually fell through.

Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell in Miami, said a primary factor shaping the market continues to be the tight inventory of homes for sale at a time that buyers are feeling convinced the housing market is safe to jump into again.

“When you get down to a four or five months’ supply [of homes for sale], it’s inevitable that prices will rise,” said Shuffield. “Buyer confidence is increasing, making people willing to make these deals.”

Despite the dearth of inventory, agents say buyers have a keen sense of the market and overpriced homes will sit untouched.

“The new inventory that is coming on the market priced correctly is selling,” said Nancy Klock Corey, who manages Coldwell Banker’s Miami Beach office. “There is a percentage of inventory on the market that is not saleable because it is overpriced.”

Jon Mann, an agent with The Jills team at Coldwell Banker, said the latest Case-Shiller data echo what he sees in the market. But Mann stressed that the Miami market is highly segmented, with homes in the downtown and coastal areas posting gains, “but down south and out west, you’re still seeing a continued decrease in home values.”

On a national basis, the latest Case-Shiller data were positive for all three major indexes the firm tracks — national, 10- and 20-city lists — in June. The national composite price rose 1.2 percent in the second quarter from the year-ago period and increased 6.9 percent from the first quarter of 2012.

“The combined positive news coming from both monthly and annual rates of change in home prices bodes well for the housing market,” David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement.

All 20 of the cities tracked saw average home price increases in June from May. Only six cities – Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and San Diego – still showed negative annual rates of change, according to the report.

While the Case-Shiller report focuses on single-family homes, the South Florida condo market, which is a major part of the region’s housing scene, is also back from the dead.

Maria Gugliotta, a Miami real estate investor, bought a one-bedroom condo at Paramount Bay at 2020 North Bayshore Drive for $395,000 in November 2011 and sold it about a month ago for $520,000. “But I don’t think you can stretch the rubber much more,” said Gugliotta, who thinks condo prices have gotten so high the math for renting them as an investment soon won’t add up. “Miami is beautiful. It’s full of opportunity, but it ends. [When prices get too high,] it’s not an investment anymore.”



© 2012 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.
http://www.miamiherald.com

By Martha Brannigan
mbrannigan@MiamiHerald.com


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