Tag Archives: homes for sale in fort lauderdale


Confidence to heat up summer market

Survey: Confidence to heat up summer market


WASHINGTON – May 28, 2014 – More buyers are saying that summer is the best time to purchase a home, according to the latest Prudential Real Estate Consumer Outlook Survey.

More consumers say that the spring momentum will carry into summer, with the survey showing an eight-point jump over a year ago in those who view summer as the best time to buy a home.

Overall, 77 percent of 2,500 consumers surveyed reported a favorable view of housing, a 12-point jump from one year prior. Millennials showed the most optimism, at 85 percent.

Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed said they’re committed to buying or selling a home now, a six-point increase compared to Prudential’s survey at the end of 2013.

“Consumers understand that home valuations remain attractive and mortgage rates are still near historic lows, but with the brutal winter that extended into spring around the country, they really couldn’t do much about it,” says Earl Lee, president of Prudential Real Estate.

“The optimism and enthusiasm we’re seeing through the survey underscores consumers’ motivations and pent-up demand,” says Lee. “As more homes come to market and lenders ease their stringent underwriting guidelines, we anticipate busy times ahead in real estate.”

Survey findings

  • 78 percent of potential buyers say it will be easier to buy a home this spring since “homeowners want to sell”
  • 63 percent of sellers report increased optimism based on an improving economy and their perception of buyer motivation
  • 76 percent of consumers say pent-up demand will create more competition for existing homes this season
  • 83 percent of buyers say they plan to buy a home sooner rather than later because they fear interest rates will rise

Source: “Buyers and Sellers See Spring Buying Season Blooming into Summer: Survey,” RISMedia (May 26, 2014)

© Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688


Fla.’s housing market shows strength in 1Q 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. – May 12, 2014 – Florida’s housing market reported higher median prices, more new listings, fewer days on the market and a slight uptick in inventory during the first quarter of 2014, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 50,251 in 1Q 2014, up 2.3 percent over the 1Q 2013 figure.

“The first three months of 2014 show a strong housing market in Florida, with diminishing distressed property sales,” says 2014 Florida Realtors President Sherri Meadows, CEO and team leader, Keller Williams, with market centers in Gainesville, Ocala and The Villages. “More jobs are being created, putting more Florida residents back to work, and our population continues to increase. All of these factors are bolstering the state’s economy and providing a solid foundation for a strong housing market.

“Statewide, new listings for single-family homes over the three-month-period rose 12 percent year-over-year, while new townhouse-condo listings rose 8.2 percent. Home sellers, whether in the single-family home market or the townhouse-condo market, received more than 92 percent, on average, of their original listing price during the first quarter of this year.”

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 1Q 2014 was $168,000, up 9.1 percent from the same time a year ago, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties during the quarter was $135,000, up 16.9 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

Looking at Florida’s townhome-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 24,860 during 1Q 2014, down 0.8 percent compared to 1Q 2013. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales last month: Short sales for condo-townhome properties declined 55.8 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 52 percent. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

“The first quarter statistics reflect the fact that Florida, in part a derivative market, has felt the sting of the northern winter.” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Yet, the market is showing some positive movement. Sales are up, particularly for non-distressed properties. Other data indicate that this is a market that is settling down and returning to more stabilized conditions.”

In 1Q 2014, the median days on market (the midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to sell during that time) was 58 days for single-family homes and 56 days for townhouse-condo properties.

Inventory was at a 5.7-months’ supply in the first quarter for single-family homes and at a 6-months’ supply for townhouse-condo properties, according to Florida Realtors.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.36 percent for 1Q 2014, up from the 3.50 percent average recorded during the same quarter a year earlier.

To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center and look under Latest Releases, or download the 1Q 2014 data report PDFs under Market Data.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®


Correct grammar may help sell homes faster

Correct grammar may help sell homes faster



SEATTLE – May 9, 2014 – Luxury-home listings that are written in full sentences – without spelling or grammatical errors – move off the market three days faster, and they’re 10 percent more likely to sell for above list price compared to listings in general.

On the other hand, listings riddled with technical errors like misspellings, incorrect homonyms and incomplete sentences sit on the market longest; they also have the lowest percentage of listings that command more than list price, according to a study conducted by online proofreading app Grammarly and Redfin.

For the study, Grammarly examined 106,850 luxury listings in 52 metro areas last year.

“Perfect” grammar listings may indicate the agent is attentive to other details as well, like pricing the home correctly and weighing offers, suggests Karen Krupsaw, vice president of real-estate operations at Redfin.

The analysis also looked at style preferences and found that phrases written in all-capital letters saw the least success in terms of sale price. Common abbreviations that tend to be recognized even by buyers outside the real estate industry, such as “bdrm” for “bedroom,” fared well by comparison.

Source: Wall Street Journal (05/09/14) P. M12; Tanaka, Sanette

© Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688


Mortgage availability hits 3-year high

WASHINGTON – April 14, 2014 – Access to mortgage credit is at its highest level in at least three years, and credit standards are expected to loosen even more this year, according to a newly released index by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

MBA’s index, which tracks mortgage credit availability, shows that in March the gauge rose to 114 – the highest reading in the gauge’s three-year history.

“I don’t think there’s any question that mortgage underwriting has gotten easier or is looser than it was two or three years ago, but it’s nowhere near where it was in 2005, 2006,” Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, told The Wall Street Journal. “We are talking about easing from extremely tight underwriting standards.”

Some housing experts worried that new mortgage rules for lenders and borrowers this year would tighten credit access. Indeed, 80 percent of bankers said they expected the new regulations to have a “measurable reduction in credit availability,” according to a survey by the American Bankers Association.

However, Bob Davis, ABA’s executive vice president, says standards will likely loosen up as lenders adapt to the new rules.

“There will be a tendency for some liberalization over the course of the year,” Davis told The Wall Street Journal. The reason: Lending experts say that the number of mortgage refinancing applications has fallen drastically over the past year, and more banks will probably look to the home-purchase market to make up for that lost share of income.

Nearly 17 percent of large banks have recently eased credit standards for prime purchase mortgages, while 5.6 percent have tightened their standards and the remainder have left standards the same, according to the Federal Reserve’s recent senior loan officer survey.

Source: “Mortgage Credit Most Available in at Least Three Years, Gauge Says,” The Wall Street Journal (April 9, 2014)

© Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688


Foreclosed owners could buy home again in 12 months

WASHINGTON – April 11, 2014 – Typically, homeowners who lost their homes to a short sale or foreclosure must wait about 36 months before purchasing a primary residence again with a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan. But the FHA’s Back to Work Program is allowing buyers to purchase a primary home much sooner – possibly as soon as 12 months following a short sale, foreclosure or deed in lieu of foreclosure.

The program runs through Sept. 30, 2016.

To qualify for the program, potential buyers must document the financial problem that prompted their short sale or foreclosure, such as showing a 20 percent loss in income for at least six consecutive months prior to losing the home. Buyers will also have to show that they have taken steps to re-establish their income and credit – having a credit score of at least 640 or having undergone a HUD-approved counseling agency program on homeownership or residential mortgage loans.

The program does not consider divorce, previous loan modifications or adjustable-rate loan recasting as reasons to qualify.

With conventional loans, boomerang buyers are typically eligible to buy again seven years after a short sale or foreclosure, or possibly three years with sufficient documentation of the circumstances and a lender exemption. FHA VA, and USDA all offer opportunities for boomerang buyers to repurchase 36 months following a short sale or foreclosure.

A Mortgagee Letter issued by FHA outlines the details of the Back To Work program.

Source: “FHA Program Gives Distressed Homeowners a Second Chance,” Credit.com (April 9, 2014)

© Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688


Buyers want ‘green’ more than they think

Buyers want ‘green’ more than they think



WASHINGTON – April 8, 2014 – More than 65 percent of homebuyers recently surveyed say they desire an “environment friendly” home, but only about 15 percent are willing to pay more for a home with such features, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) “What Home Buyers Really Want: Ethnic Preferences” study. The study found that energy efficiency was a top priority across races and ethnicities.

But when NAHB changed the way the question was phrased to emphasize the benefits of environmentally friendly features in trimming utility bills, more buyers said they were willing to pay for it.

In the survey, buyers were asked to choose between a highly energy efficient home that saved 2 to 3 percent on utility bills over the life of the home versus a home without those features. When couched as a long-term savings, more than 80 percent of buyers preferred the more expensive energy-saving home.

The NAHB survey looked at ethnic differences in green housing preferences. Whites, on average, would pay $6,774 more for a home with energy efficiency features that lower utility bills; African American buyers are willing to pay $7,578 more; and Asian buyers will pay $8,251 more.

Hispanic buyers were willing to pay the most – an average of $9,146 more for a home with such features, according to the survey.

Source: “What Home Buyers Really Want: Ethnic Preferences (Part IV),” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing Blog (April 3, 2014)

© Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Top 5 Weekly Best Buys | Chris Berthelson | Real Living Real Estate

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via Top 5 Weekly Best Buys | Chris Berthelson | Real Living Real Estate.

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The home office deduction: What you need to know

NEW YORK – March 31, 2014 – Although individuals taking the home-office deduction are more likely to be flagged for an audit by the Internal Revenue Service, those who satisfy the various tests can save a good chunk of money through the deduction.

To qualify for the tax break, they must regularly use the space exclusively for business; and if it is not a separate structure – such as a studio or converted garage – they need a room where no other activities are performed.

Among the stipulations for employees who want to take advantage of the incentive: The office must be the principal space where they conduct business or a place where they meet clients or customers; and it must be used either for the company’s convenience or rented to their employer.

Taxpayers who meet these tests can deduct both direct expenses – painting the office, etc. – and indirect expenses – utilities, insurance, general repairs, burglar alarms, rent, etc. – but the latter requires them to calculate how much of the home is used exclusively for business.

They must then decide whether to deduct a percentage of their actual expenses, for which they must have receipts, or a simplified deduction based on their home’s square footage.

Source: Forbes (03/24/14) Jacobs, Deborah L.

© Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688 


More banks lower FICO score requirements

NEW YORK – March 31, 2014 – More banks are lowering minimum FICO score requirements in an attempt to shore up lending for underserved borrowers.

Carrington Mortgage Services is the latest company to announce that it lowered its minimum FICO score to 550. It also expanded guidelines on several FHA VA, and USDA loan programs to aid those with FICO scores below 640.

Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, said in February that it was lowering its minimum FICO score requirements on FHA-backed mortgages from 640 to 600. The move, bank officials said, was aimed at “opening up our credit box more.”

One in three consumers has a FICO score below 650, according to Carrington, which says it’s refocusing its business on the underserved segment and eliminating conventional and jumbo loans. In addition to accepting more lower-score borrowers, it’s also limiting its acceptance of wholesale submissions with FICO scores above 680 starting April 1, except for VA loans, HousingWire reports.

“Effectively meeting the needs of clients in the underserved market requires the ability to both originate quality loans and appropriately service them after the fact,” says Ray Brousseau, executive vice president of Carrington’s mortgage lending division. “Both Carrington’s lending platform and specialty servicing business were created to serve this particular market segment. That uniquely positions us as the lender of choice for this population of borrowers and the mortgage brokers and real estate agents who work with them.”

Source: “Carrington Ups Ante on Wells Fargo by Lowering FICO Standard,” HousingWire (March 24, 2014)

© Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

You Too Can Have a Green Thumb | Chris Berthelson | Real Living Real Estate

This How-To video from Info 4 Your Life contains easy to learn garden tips to help you grow radiant flowers and lush green lawns and show your neighbors that you do indeed have a green thumb!

via You Too Can Have a Green Thumb | Chris Berthelson | Real Living Real Estate.