July 27, 2015

Old Man Panic And The Ghost Of 2006

The News Press reports from Florida. “The south Lee housing market continued its hot streak last month, even as the region moved into its traditional slow season. Several key real estate indicators jumped double-digits in June 2015 over the same period a year ago, according to the Bonita Springs-Estero Association of Realtors. The numbers come as a welcome surprise to local realtors, who in the past have slogged through slow summer months. ‘Traditionally, this is considered the off-season, but buyers are flying down. They shopped during the season and are buying homes now,’ said Judi Gietzen, 2015 president of the realtors association.”

The Tampa Tribune. “Single-family home sales are ‘red hot’ in the Tampa metro area, jumping 28.5 percent in June, compared to the same month in 2014. That is nearly triple the national increase of 9.6 percent and ahead of the state, which experienced a 19.6 percent increase in sales. ‘If you are trying to buy, it is absolutely red hot right now,’ said Barbara Jordan, 2015 president of the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors, Inc. ‘It is not unusual for a house to have multiple offers in 24 to 48 hours if it’s priced right. I’ve been involved in cases where there are eight offers.’”

“Today’s market bears similarities to the real estate market in 2005 and 2006, before the housing bubble burst, Jordan said.”

“With houses selling at warp speed, buyers have to check listings daily and even resort to adding an extra touch, or in some cases, extra cash, said Thomas O’Bryant, Jr., executive director of the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors. O’Bryant said he’s also heard about love letters to sellers from buyers hoping to get that extra edge, some including pictures of the family that wants to move in. ‘Most of the time, you, as a seller, never even meet the people looking to buy your house. So, if you can have some way to put heart into it, more power to ya. I might do that, myself,’ O’Bryant said.”

The Miami Herald. “Nearly 1,400 single-family homes were sold in Miami-Dade County in June, an all-time record monthly high. The previous record was set during the housing bubble in June 2005 when about 1,320 single-family homes were sold, according to the Miami Association of Realtors.”

From Florida Today. “Brevard County’s home sales statistics for June are in, and they are impressive, as both the number of sales and the median sales price jumped significantly. But is the ghost of the torrid housing market of 2004-06 a concern? ‘I’ve kind of heard a little bit about that around town, but I don’t think so,’ said Andy Waterman, broker/owner of Waterman Real Estate in Melbourne.”

The Orlando Sentinel. “Home sales in Metro Orlando and throughout the state rose enough in June to raise questions of the market overheating. Tina Israelson, an agent for Longwood-based Infinity Real Estate, said she has concerns that the market has ramped up too much. She said she would like to see a greater share of home listings under contract and a more vibrant economy. ‘In my opinion, I think things are overheating,’ Israelson said. ‘I think we’re getting to the same point we were in during 2005, but that’s my opinion. A lot of people think it’s just fine.’”

“‘With the continued growth in both sales and prices inFlorida, it raises the question of whether the market is starting to overheat,’ said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr.John Tuccillo. Upward pressure on prices across the state may soften somewhat in the months ahead with new condominium projects rolling out in certain markets, Tuccillo said.”

The Herald Tribune. “One of the largest real estate investors in the nation has started to unload its Southwest Florida inventory. The California equity group that has been busy buying up distressed homes in Florida during the recovery and converting those houses into rentals is beginning to slowly cash out. Now that housing values are rebounding, Colony has begun to test the waters as a seller — in what could be the first of many rounds of liquidations.”

“Colony has sold at least 13 of the investment homes it bought in Sarasota and Manatee counties — turning a profit on each one — and grossing a total of $806,200 on those deals, records show. Blackstone has been slower to enter the re-sale market, unloading just of the two of the homes it previously snapped up, both for modest gains.”

The Palm Beach Daily News. “Banking in Palm Beach has always been a little different, starting with the days of the Farmer’s Bank & Trust Co., which opened in 1913. Farmer’s went under in the late 1920s after a crash caused by over-speculation in land and by the Great Miami Hurricane, which also heavily damaged Palm Beach. David Reese still has a stock certificate from the institution for two shares. ‘My father [Claude Reese] always said that was his investment in the bank.’”

“Many Florida banks were already struggling in the early 1920s from the real estate bust. ‘Florida is always the first to be affected by a financial crisis and the first to recover,’ said Debi Murray, chief curator at the Historical Society of Palm Beach County. A July 1926 newspaper story about runs on local banks noted that they looked ‘comparatively mild to those who in other places [that] have seen Old Man Panic smashing banks like a cook would break eggs to make an omelet.’”

“And although Palm Beach financial institutions still strive for concierge treatment of their clients, it’s hard to beat this story from Hazel Sowell, who was with the First National Bank from its earliest days. ‘There were eight of us working for the bank when it opened,’ Sowell, who eventually became a senior vice president, told Palm Beach Life in 1977. ‘There was no stenography service in town. If there was a letter to be written, people would call the bank and say, ‘Send Hazel over. I haven’t paid my bills in six months and I need some letters written.’”

Bits Bucket for July 27, 2015

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