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Daniel’s Land Project

Changes in county land use rules that could bring another 2,000 homes to sites near Daniels Parkway will go before county commissioners in the coming weeks.

Neighbors of one are battling against the change, while the other faces little opposition.

A county panel that makes recommendations to county commissioners on changes in the Lee Plan, the county’s basic land planning document, has endorsed the development of 1,315 new homes on a site at Daniels and State Road 82 that’s currently a part of the protected Density Reduction/Groundwater Resource area.

The Local Planning Agency gave a negative recommendation to a county proposal that would rezone an area at Palomino and Apaloosa lanes off Daniels to allow an additional 693 housing units.


Read More:
New Daniel’s Complex

 

 

Forclosures Decline, Home Sales Up!

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The median price of an existing single-family home in Lee County was $200,000 in June — an 8.1 percent increase from $185,000 in June 2013.

Also, sales of existing homes in Lee County in June spiked up from the same period last year, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach. However, the number of sales and the size of inventory decreased slightly from May.

Steve Koffman, broker and associate for Century 21 Sunbelt Realty in Cape Coral, said only the median price is up.

“If you look at waterfront properties, those prices are looking pretty flat,” Koffman said.

In May, the median price for a house was $195,000.

In June, there were 1,213 single-family sales, up 15.3 percent from last years’ 1,052 sales. Despite the increase, single-family home sales are down 6.2 percent from May 2014’s 1,293 sales.

“Buyers, in general, are declining,” Koffman said.

Short sales and foreclosures made up 20.1 percent of single-family home sales in June, while traditional sales made up 79.9 percent. Short sales and foreclosuresmade up 22.3 percent of sales in May 2014.

“Foreclosures and short sales are declining,” he said. “Those were remnants of people affected by the real estate crash.”

In Collier County, the median price for a house rose to $392,000 from $322,000 in June 2013.

 

The existing homes market is starting to level off from the real estate crash eight years ago.

The inventory of single-family homes for sale in June was 5,229, up 5.5 percent from June 2013. June’s inventory was down 311 from May 2014.

Increased prices gives people a chance to put their homes up for sale and then become buyers.

 

Foreclosure rates in Cape Coral-Fort Myers decreased for the month of May over the same period last year.

Information compiled by CoreLogic reveals that the rate of Cape Coral-Fort Myers area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 4.02 percent for May, a decrease of 3.11 percent in May 2013 when the rate was 7.13 percent. Foreclosure activity in Cape Coral-Fort Myers was higher than the national foreclosure rate, which was 1.73 percent in May.

Also, the mortgage delinquency rate in Cape Coral-Fort Myers decreased. In May, 7.27 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 11.25 percent for the same period last year, representing a decrease of 3.98 percent.

Source: CoreLogic

Highlights from reports

  • Highlights from the June 2014 existing homes reports:
  • In Lee, the median price of condos increased 5.6 percent in June to $171,000 from the $162,000 it was in June 2013.
  • The percentage of sellers getting the original listing price was 92.8. This is a 1.1 percent decrease from the 93.8 percent it was in June 2013.
  • The median days home was on the market in June was 53. This is a 7 percent decrease from June 2013, which was 57 days.
  • In Collier, closed sales on houses jumped to 419 from 408 in June 2013. Sales at $2 million or more declined to 16 from 22 in June 2013.

Sources: Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and The Beach; Naples Area Board of Realtors

Zillow: Buy A Home In Southwest Florida

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To the age-old question of whether to buy or rent, Zillow has an answer: buy if you live in Southwest Florida.

The Seattle-based real estate data collector says in a recent survey that people in Lee, Collier, Charlotte and Hendry counties have better odds than most of the country of coming out ahead if they buy.

Nationally, buying is a good decision for people who plan to stay in the home for at least two years, according to an analysis of first-quarter financial data.

But what Zillow calls the “breakeven horizon” is much shorter here: 1.1 years for Lee County; 1.0 for Collier; 1.1 for Charlotte; and 0.7 for Hendry.

Commercial real estate agent Jim Garinger of Colliers International Southwest Florida said Zillow’s analysis is borne out by what he sees in the apartment complex market.

“Traditional apartment complex occupancy has become stronger over the past 12 months or so,” he said. “There’s been a significant increase across the board but especially in Class B apartments.”

As that’s happened, rents have increased as well, Garinger said.

The average apartment complex in the Fort Myers area in March had a vacancy rate of 96.7 percent, up 1.8 percent from March 2013, according to Carrollton, Texas-based ALN Apartment Data.

In the same period, the average monthly rent rose 7.9 percent to $920, ALN’s report says.

Even as occupancy rates and values rise for apartments, however, lenders are still skittish about financing multi-family housing, Garinger said.

“Lenders are still looking at comparable sales as distressed properties,” which makes them reluctant to finance purchases or new construction, he said.

That problem will resolve itself with time, Garinger said, but meanwhile “If you’re a renter, it’s a great time to buy if you can swing it. As occupancy rates increase, rents are increasing as well.”

Home prices are also going up and interest rates are still historically low, contributing to the advantage of buying, he said.

There’s no shortage of prospective home buyers.

The share of Americans who own their homes was 64.8 percent in the first quarter, down from 65.2 percent in the previous three months, the Census Bureau said. The rate is the lowest since the second quarter of 1995, when it was 64.7 percent.

Cape Coral-Fort Myers Leads In All-Cash Home Sales

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Cape Coral-Fort Myers leads the nation in all-cash home sales, according to statistics released today by Irvine, Calif.-based housing data company RealtyTrac.

Nationally, the share of all-cash sales reached a new high in the first quarter even as the share of institutional investor purchases dropped to the lowest level since the first quarter of 2012, said RealtyTrac’s Q12014 U.S. Institutional Investor & Cash Sales Report.

Among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 500,000, those with the top five highest percentages of cash sales were all in Florida: Cape Coral-Fort Myers (73.6 percent), Miami (67.1 percent), Sarasota, (65.1 percent), Palm Bay, (64.1 percent), and Lakeland, (61.8 percent).

“Strict lending standards combined with low inventory continue to give the advantage to investors and other cash buyers in this housing market,” Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said in a written release.

“The good news is that as institutional investors pull back their purchasing in many markets across the country, there is still strong demand from other cash buyers — including individual investors, second-home buyers and even owner-occupant buyers — to fill the vacuum of demand left by institutional investors,” Blomquist said.

15 percent of all-cash purchases in the first quarter were properties in the foreclosure process, and 10 percent were bank-owned properties.

Other findings in the report:

  • 11 percent of all-cash purchases in the first quarter were to institutional investors, investors buying at least 10 properties in a calendar year.
  • 52 percent of all-cash purchases in March (most recent month’s data only available for this metric) were sold to buyers with a different mailing address than the property address — indicating investors or second-home buyers. That compares to 34 percent of all sales — cash and financed — sold to investors or second-home buyers in March.

The average sales price of an all-cash purchase in the first quarter was $207,668 — 13 percent below the average estimated full market value of the properties that were purchased: $237,900.

More Home Owners Tap Into Equity Again

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A wave of home owners reportedly are borrowing against their home’s equity once again as home prices rise.

“After a home equity credit binge during the housing bubble, banks shut off the tap as home prices plummeted,” the Los Angeles Times reports. “Sobered home owners stopped viewing equity as free money for cars, vacations, and college educations.”

But home equity lines of credit are back on the rise. Bank of America said that its home equity business rose 75 percent last year compared to 2012. In the fourth quarter, BofA reported it issued $1.9 billion in new home equity credit lines, up from $1 billion a year earlier.

The most popular use of equity lines is home improvement, followed by debt consolidation, says Kelly Kockos, Wells Fargo’s senior vice president of home equity. Some borrowers are also using the credit to buy a second home.

Home equity lines of credit are a second mortgage with a type of variable rate that can allow home owners to borrow up to a pre-set amount. For example, a home owner with a $200,000 first mortgage on a $400,000 house could opt to take out a $100,000 line of credit. “If the home owner borrowed the maximum, the mortgage debt would total $300,000 — 75% of what the house would bring in a sale,” The Los Angeles Times explains.

While home equity lines of credit are back on the rise, lenders say they are not as easy to get as they once were. Home owners getting approved tend to have higher credit scores and must show ample savings and equity in their homes, lenders say.

Act Now to Refinance Your Home Before It’s Too Late

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(Florida) – There has never been a better time to refinance your home. That’s because of a little-known government program called the Home Affordable Refinance Plan (HARP). This allows Americans to refinance their homes at shockingly low rates, and reduce their payments by as much as $4,905 a year.

But here’s the catch – like most government programs, this is likely temporary. But the good news is, once you’re in, you’re in. If the thought of a lower payment, fewer years on your mortgage, and even taking some cash equity out of the deal is appealing, the time to act is right now.

A true middle-class stimulus package

This is unknown to many, but the Home Affordable Program is for the middle class. If your mortgage is $625,000 or less, you most likely qualify. Basically, the Government wants banks to cut your rates, which puts more money in your pocket (which is good for the economy). However, the banks aren’t too happy about this – here’s why:

  1. You can shop several lenders, not just your current mortgage holder
  2. Your home’s Loan-to-value (LTV) can be 80% to 125%

You think banks like the above? Rest assured, they do not. They’d rather keep you at the higher rate you financed at years ago. That’s why the pressure is on time-wise. The Middle Class seems to miss out on everything (did you ride the last stock bubble? Probably not). Thus, it’s almost a no-brainer to jump on this now. You should act fast in order to refinance your house at these near historic low refinance rates. If your mortgage rate is currently higher than 3.11%, you can greatly benefit:

  • The average monthly savings is $250. Can you use an extra $250 a month?
  • Many homeowners not only save every month, but depending on their current rates, they can also shorten their term.
  • Get cash now – because the rates are so low, besides the benefits above, many homeowners also opt to take a little cash equity for home improvements, a vacation, or a nice boost to the savings account.

Here is an example of how much can be saved:

Here’s an example of what can be saved by a rate of 3.25% and 6.75% (which is around what many homeowners have when they got loans years ago):

Refinance Example

So this means over the life of your mortgage, you could save more than $150,000. That’s just by lowering your “already good” rate of 6.75% to an even lower 3.25%.

This is why it’s a no-brainer – you will likely lower your payment, possibly shorten your term, AND also get cash. There’s zero downside. This is how powerful that little word called “interest” is. The middle class never sees “breaks” like this. So this is your chance to get “in”.

But how do you find these rates?

Here’s the trick – there are a few free websites out there that will compare mortgage rates for consumers, and allow them to choose the best one (that’s a great thing about the internet – it allows you to do business with lending institutions all over the country).

Our research found that RateMarketplace, one of the country’s largest and most respected refinance comparison websites, is one of the few companies with HARP lenders on its network, and is currently assisting homeowners like you to obtain further information regarding superb mortgage rates.

We like RateMarketplace, because there’s no obligation and their service is fast & easy. It takes about five minutes, and the service is 100% free. You have nothing to lose except money stress.
But you do have to act now.

Builders Ready to Ramp Up Production in 2014

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Builders are expected to increase new-home production in 2014, but the sector continues to grapple with several challenges that could hinder its progress, economists said at the National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show this week in Las Vegas.

“Consumers are back, pent-up demand is emerging, there is a growing need for new construction, distressed sales are diminishing, and builders see it,” says David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist.

However, builders continue to face rising costs for building materials, tight mortgage credit conditions, difficulties in obtaining appraisals that reflect builders’ prices, and limited availability in labor and developed lots, Crowe says.

Borrowing costs will likely inch higher this year since mortgage rates are expected to climb when the Fed begins to taper its $85 billion per month bond-buying stimulus program. Still, “regarding mortgage rates, we’ve gone from dirt cheap to cheap, and I think we will see a gradual rise of about a half a percentage point to 5 percent in 2014,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. Even then, he adds, “most markets will remain quite affordable.”

New-home sales are averaging 8.7 percent of total home sales – just barely half the historical average of 16.1 percent, according to NAHB. Crowe projects 1.15 million total housing starts in 2014, up nearly 25 percent from the 2013 total of 928,000 units. Single-family production is expected to increase 32 percent in 2014 to 822,000 units, and then rise an additional 41 percent to 1.16 million units in 2015.

Consumer confidence has returned to pre-recession levels and household budgets are mending. Household formations are on the rise and are averaging 620,000 compared to 500,000 during the housing downturn.  For comparison, during the housing boom, the U.S. was producing 1.4 million additional households each year.

Multifamily starts are projected to be at 333,000 in 2014, up 9 percent from 2013, Crowe says.

Home sales will benefit from pent-up demand in household formation, which was restrained during the Great Recession, says David Berson, senior vice president and chief economist at Nationwide Insurance.

“At least 3 million fewer households formed over the past five years than would normally have been expected,” he said. Many college graduates, for example, moved back in with their parents, which limited new household formation.

Home Sales in 2013 Rise to Strongest Level in 7 Years

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The housing market has been experiencing a “healthy recovery” over the past two years, with home sales last year rising to the highest level since 2006, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report.

“Existing-home sales have risen nearly 20 percent since 2011, with job growth, record low mortgage interest rates, and a large pent-up demand driving the market,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “We lost some momentum toward the end of 2013 from disappointing job growth and limited inventory, but we ended with a year that was close to normal given the size of our population.”

Existing-home sales rose 1 percent in December 2013 compared to November and reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.87 million.

Existing-home sales for all of 2013 reached 5.02 million sales, 9.1 percent higher than 2012, and the largest rise since 2006 when sales were at 6.48 million at the close of the housing boom, NAR reports.

Home prices were also on the rise in 2013, up 11.5 percent over 2012, with a median existing-home price of $197,100 last year compared to $176,800 in 2012. It was the strongest gain in home prices in a year since 2005, when home prices rose 12.4 percent, NAR reports.

NAR President Steve Brown says that with job growth expected this year, home sales should hold despite rising home prices and higher mortgage rates.

“The only factors holding us back from a stronger recovery are the ongoing issues of restrictive mortgage credit and constrained inventory,” Brown says. “With strict new mortgage rules in place, we will be monitoring the lending environment to ensure that financially qualified buyers can access the credit they need to purchase a home.”

Housing Recovery Regional Snapshot

Here’s a look at how existing-home sales fared in December and for the year across the country:

  • Northeast: Existing-home sales fell 1.5 percent in December but remain 3.2 percent higher than December 2012. Median price: $239,300, up 3.6 percent from year ago levels
  • Midwest: Existing-home sales dropped 4.3 percent in December and are 0.9 percent below year ago levels. Median price: $150,700, 7 percent higher than December 2012.
  • South: Existing-home sales rose 3 percent in December and are 4.6 percent higher than December 2012. Median price: $173,200, up 8.9 percent from a year ago.
  • West: Existing-home sales increased 4.8 percent, but are 10.7 percent below a year ago. Median price: $285,000, up 16.0 percent from December 2012.