April 16, 2012

The Last Point Of Sanity

WMBF reports from South Carolina. “Realtors in the Grand Strand say foreclosures in the housing market are beginning to taper off, and now is the time for potential home buyers to look at properties. There are still some foreclosures in the housing market, keeping some home prices lower than their actual value. ‘It’s more in the condo market than single family homes,’ said Tom Maeser, a statistician with the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors. ‘But it’s a problem because it drives prices down.’ That can mean some trouble for people trying to sell condominiums in the Grand Strand. The condo market makes up 66% of the area’s housing market, and it still hasn’t stabilized.”

“‘Buyers are seeing a great opportunity to buy,’ said Tom Maeser, a statistician with the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors. ‘Prices couldn’t be better.’”

The News Press in Florida. “Homes will continue selling and prices are beginning to climb, a panel of experts reassured a sold-out crowd of 250 at Friday’s Naples Area Board of Realtors’ inaugural economic summit. This past week, Cindy Carroll, VP of Carroll & Carroll Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants in Naples, appraised two houses that resold for the same prices they had in early 2005. ‘In the next 12 to 24 months, our property values in most areas, I think, (are going to) return back to our 2004 levels, to that last place in the market, that last point of sanity before the uptick, and I think that’s going to happen in some market areas quicker than you might think,’ Carroll said.”

“John Tucillo, Florida Realtors chief economist, believes it’ll take more than three years for distressed properties to sell. ‘It’s not going to be a disruptive force,’ he said.”

The Bradenton Herald in Florida. “Several years ago as the Manatee County housing market crashed, Eric Marsh lost his construction job. But Tuesday he was with a new company, Paradise Homes, at a Country Club East construction site. Marsh is now serving as construction superintendent for nine new homes under construction. ‘It feels like 2005 and 2006,’ he said.”

“Thus far this year, the average sales price of a new home in Lakewood Ranch is $385,000. There are 60 inventory homes available and about 200 homes under construction, an SMR press release said.”

The Herald Tribune. “Native Sarasotan and board-certified real estate attorney, Thomas Luzier has been in practice for more than two decades. Correspondent Chris Angermann interviewed him in his office. Q:What is the current state of real estate? A:Since the beginning of last year, the residential market has been taking off again, and it’s amazing to see what seems to be happening in terms of the volume — how busy the Realtors and lenders are. It’s almost like 2004-05, thankfully without the speculative frenzy.”

The Naples News in Florida. “Construction has started on three villa residences at the Villas of Traditions at Grey Oaks. The collection of single-family residences range from 2,642 to 4,476 square feet under air and are priced from $690,000 to the mid-$800s. The new decorator-ready villa residences are being built on spec.”

The News Chief in Florida. “Bob Anarumo, a Davenport-based Realtor, said foreign buyers make up about 75 percent of his clientele. Anarumo said many of his clients originate from England and Canada, but he is seeing more business coming from Brazil and China. Inman News said the top three countries of origin for foreign buyers of local homes are Canada (41.7 percent) the United Kingdom (21.9 percent) and China/Hong Kong (6.2 percent).”

“Quebec resident Richard Larocque purchased a house in Davenport in October 2009 and bought a second one about six months ago, paying roughly $100,000 for each. He rents one property to a long-term tenant and uses the other for a vacation home, renting it out to tourists when he’s not there. ‘I got some information that Florida housing prices were extremely down, so I went there for the first time in June 2009 to look at the area - I fell in love with it,’ said Larocque, 43, a sales manager for a building materials company. ‘The price of properties are still very affordable over there, versus here in Canada.’”

The Palm Beach Post in Florida. “Nearly 7,000 stagnating foreclosure cases lie dormant in Palm Beach County’s courts, creating a payment-free limbo for some homeowners but a stain of vacant and abandoned homes in deteriorating neighborhoods. The 6,927 zombie files make up about 17 percent of Palm Beach County’s 39,252 foreclosure cases.”

“‘I have no idea what’s going on and I’m not pushing it,’ said Robert Feinson, a Jupiter resident whose case has sat idle since November 2010, more than two years after his lender initially filed for foreclosure against him.”

WUSF News in Florida. “It takes on average 861 days - more than two years - to process a foreclosed property in Florida according to a National Public Radio report. Floridians can expect the estimated backlog of 383,000 foreclosed properties (as of January 2012) to grow even larger over the next few years according to the Florida Bar News: ‘State Courts Administrator Lisa Goodner told a legislative subcommittee that she expects the backlog of cases to grow by another 380,000 cases by 2016, which is when she expects foreclosures will return to their ‘normal’ rate of around 70,000 cases a year. For 2012-13, she predicted 165,000 foreclosure filings.’”

“‘The 750,000 is what we don’t think we have the resources to handle,’ she told the Senate committee.”

The Atlanta Journal Constitution in Georgia. “Unemployment in metro Atlanta has been slowly improving. After deep job losses between 2007 and 2010, the Atlanta unemployment rate improved from 9.9 percent a year ago to 9 percent in February. But the local housing market has not even hit bottom yet. The average sales price in metro Atlanta was down 2.1 percent in January, sliding to the lowest point since mid-1997, according to Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller index. In the past year, average prices have dropped 14.8 percent.”

“‘In general, home prices are going to be the last thing to recover,’ said Christopher Herbert, director of research at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Start with years of near-frenzied construction — the housing bubble — followed by a collapse of demand, dried-up credit and then a flood of foreclosures — and you’ve got a massive pool of supply, Herbert said.”

“‘As long as excess vacancies are there, they will continue to be a drag on home prices,’ he said.”

The Augusta Chronicle in Georgia. “More homes are selling in the Augusta area, but they are selling at lower prices and staying on the market for a longer time than the past few years. The average selling price for homes was $142,296 for this March, however, slightly less than the $146,037 average in March 2011 and $157,972 in March 2010.”

“Sherri Melton, an agent with Keller Williams Realty Augusta Partners, believes home construction is one of the biggest reasons existing homes are remaining on the market for a longer time. ‘For about $135,000, someone can get stainless appliances, granite and new everything,’ she said. ‘Compared to a house where everything is at least 10 years old, that’s hard to beat.’”

The Daily Home in Alabama. “The Realtor Nationwide Open House Weekend is April 28-29. Local Realtors will hold open houses all weekend, bringing buyers and sellers together. The Realtors will be available to answer consumer questions about the home buying process and local market conditions. Nicole Anderson, 2012 president of St. Clair Association of Realtors, said now is a great time to buy a house. Anderson said homeownership matters to individuals, families, communities and the nation’s economy.”

“‘The housing market plays a vital role in both the long- and short-term health of this country,’ she said. ‘Homeownership is not just an investment in your future; it’s an investment in the future generations to come.’”

“Lawrence Fields, with Fields Gossett Realty in Pell City, said it is exciting to have the open house weekend. ‘The housing market has been steady,’ he said. ‘We are still selling homes and closing them out. It’s not quite back to where it was before the economy crashed, but it was unreal the way homes were selling then.’”

Bits Bucket for April 16, 2012

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