March 23, 2016

There’s Just No Frenzy Like There Was

The Herald Tribune reports from Florida. “Home sales tumbled again in Southwest Florida last month, but prices continued to climb. For the fourth time in five months, sales of existing single-family homes and condominiums declined over the year in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties, according to the Florida Realtors trade group. Charryl Youman, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty in Venice, said sales perked up this month after potential sellers saw the price increases and finally decided to list. ‘As we got into March, we have seen daily price reductions for sellers trying to hook a buyer before they all went home,’ she said. ‘The result was more inventory and lower prices — and so, the buyers are back.’”

“New homes also have helped slow sales at certain price points, Youman said. ‘The only listings that seem to still be in a trance are the $300,000 to $600,000 homes,’ she said. ‘I am hearing from colleagues that these listings are not getting many showings, and not seeing offers.’”

The Orlando Sentinel. “Orlando home-sale prices have grown in the last year but not as much as price growth across the state, according to Florida Realtors. One real-estate trend seen in neighborhoods throughout Orlando and the state — increased for-sale signs. ‘The trends we’re seeing in closed sales and new listings have led to two straight months of rising inventory levels (active listings),’ said Brad O’Connor, chief economist for Florida Realtors.”

The Sun Sentinel. “South Florida home prices continue to climb, even as the housing market loses some of its sizzle. February is the unofficial start of the traditional spring and summer buying season, but sales were mixed last month. ‘Buyers are not in a hurry to buy,’ said Jerry Kopensky, an agent for Century 21 City Real Estate Corp. in South Florida. ‘There’s just no frenzy out there like there was.’”

The Palm Beach Post. “In the Northeast, an important feeder market for Florida, existing-home sales plummeted 17.1 percent to an annual rate of 630,000. That’s bad news for Florida, which depends on people living outside the state to sell their homes and move to the subtropical climes of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. Only 1,146 single-family homes closed in February, a 5.1 percent decrease from a year ago, when 1,208 homes closed.”

“The multifamily market showed a sales slowdown, too. In February, there were 913 closed sales of townhouses and condos, down from 801 in January, and 972 during February this past year — a 6.1 percent decline. The peak in sales appeared to be this past April, when 1,452 sales closed. Since then, it’s been a slow decline, with the lowest dip coming in January, when only 801 sales closed. ‘You need to put things in perspective and look how far we’ve come over the last seven years,’ said Daniel Markow, market executive for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management for the Palm Beach market.”

The Naples Daily News. “Single-family home sales dropped by a larger percentage in the Naples area than anywhere else in the state last month. Existing single-family home closed sales were down 16.8 percent in February from the same month a year earlier, Florida Realtors said. Closed sales for the Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island metro area dropped to 297 from 357 the year before. It was the largest drop out of 22 metro areas the trade group tracks.”

“Elizabeth Mancini, managing broker of Premier Sotheby International Realty in Bonita Springs, said Canadian buyers, which are the biggest group of buyers in Southwest Florida, ‘are not buying, just selling.’”

The News Press. “While Lee County real estate prices continued their upward trajectory in February, sales took a nosedive, according to a report. City for city, every Lee locality saw a drop in home and condo sales led by Sanibel/Captiva, and median prices increased in all markets except Sanibel. Many sellers anticipate the season by putting property on the market early in January and February, asking higher than market prices, observes Jeff Miloff, managing broker for Miloff Aubuchon Realty Group. As the season winds down, their prices come down, too. ‘Buyers are aware of that behavior, and act accordingly,’ he said.”

From Miami Today. “With more ultra-luxury condo units than ever before coming to Brickell all at the same time, brokers specializing in the market are seeing the first signs of rents trending down as supply starts exceeding demand. This cycle is looking at 14 new towers, four of which are already complete, according to Nayla Benitez, vice president and managing broker for EWM Realty International’s Brickell office. Judging from these four, she said a lot of the buyers in this cycle weren’t intending to live in the condos, given that almost a third of these units have come back on the market as rentals and about 10% as re-sales.”

“‘Most units were bought by investors so we are going to see more coming back as re-sales or rentals as sellers realize they will have to hold the units for a longer period than expected if the goal was to flip them when they initially purchased them,’ Ms. Benitez said.”

“Ten additional condo towers are expected in Brickell between 2016 and 2018. These new, ultra-luxury condo units are being built with a high level of construction, aesthetics and amenities that Brickell has never seen before, Ms. Benitez said. That’s certainly going to be popular and make home-life more interesting and special for Brickell residents, Ms. Benitez said. It’s probably not as good for the investors who bought the units for a quick flip and might not find the profits they anticipated, or, at least, not as soon as they’d planned.”

“No one expected so many condo units would come to the market all at once, Ms. Benitez said. ‘By 2018, there will be more than Brickell has ever seen, and we believe the rents will go down, maybe not as low as in 2013, but will drop when there’s more inventory than demand.’”

Bits Bucket for March 23, 2016

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