Insightful thoughts on Florida Real Estate

Posted on June 29th, 2012
by Greg Ellingson

Three Florida Cities Rank Among Top Ten To Purchase a Rental Property

Three Florida cities have been highlighted as the best areas for investors to buy rental properties, indicating improvement of the Florida housing market.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – June 29, 2012 – Rents are rising nationwide and investors want to cash in. Local Market Monitor recently reviewed 316 housing markets to find which ones appeared to have the highest investment potential for single-family rental properties. Three Florida cities made the top 10, with two in the top five.

The following are the top markets that, according to Local Market Monitor, emerged from its list as best places to purchase a rental property in the U.S.:

1. Las Vegas
Median home price (2012): $122,000
Estimated median home price by 2015: $121,087
Projected annual rent in 2015: $12,829

2. Detroit
Median home price (2012): $78,000
Estimated median home price by 2015: $93,982
Projected annual rent in 2015: $9,016

3. Daytona Beach, Fla.
Median home price (2012): $114,000
Estimated median home price by 2015: $123,282
Projected annual rent in 2015: $11,048


4. Orlando, Fla.
Median home price (2012): $115,000
Estimated median home price by 2015: $150,491
Projected annual rent in 2015: $13,105


5. Warren, Mich.
Median home price (2012): $114,000
Estimated median home price by 2015: $116,706
Projected annual rent in 2015: $9,308

6. Bakersfield, Calif.
Median home price in 2012: $115,000
Estimated median home price in 2015: $135,660
Projected annual rent in 2015: $10,628

7. Phoenix
Median home price in 2012: $135,000
Estimated median home price in 2015: $162,053
Projected annual rent in 2015: $12,268

8. Atlanta
Median home price in 2012: $122,000
Estimated median home price in 2015: $164,253
Projected annual rent in 2015: $12,255

9. Reno, Nev.
Median home price in 2012: $137,000
Estimated median home price in 2015: $152,509
Projected annual rent in 2015: $11,366

10. Tampa, Fla.
Median home price in 2012: $100,000
Estimated median home price in 2015: $150,271
Projected annual rent in 2015: $11,186


© 2012 Florida Realtors®

Posted on June 28th, 2012
by Greg Ellingson

Lennar Corp. Reports Earnings Exceeded Expectations

MIAMI – June 28, 2012 – Miami-based Lennar Corp., a homebuilding giant, reported second-quarter earnings well above Wall Street’s expectations, saying the nation’s battered housing market has “commenced a slow and steady recovery process.”

“I’m increasingly optimistic we’re seeing a real bottom in housing,” Stuart Miller, chief executive officer of Lennar, told analysts in a conference call Wednesday.

“While the downturn was national, the recovery is decidedly very local,” with pockets in the most desirable locations stabilizing and recovering first, while other areas languish, Miller added.

Lennar posted net income of $452.7 million, or $2.06 a diluted share, including a large tax-related gain, for the period ended May 31. That compared with year-ago earnings of $13.8 million, or 7 cents a diluted share. Excluding the tax-related gain, Lennar reported net income of 21 cents a share, beating analysts’ consensus estimate of 17 cents a share.

It was Lennar’s ninth consecutive quarter of profitability.

Second-quarter revenue rose 22 percent to $930.2 million from $764.5 million a year earlier.

Lennar said deliveries of new homes increased 20 percent in the latest quarter, while new orders increased 40 percent. Its operating margin widened to 9.2 percent, the best since the second-quarter of 2006.

Copyright © 2012 The Miami Herald Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

Posted on June 27th, 2012
by Greg Ellingson

Things to Remember When Working with a Housing Counselor

Though the housing market has improved significantly, many homeowners still find themselves underwater.  Here are just a few important tips to make your housing counseling experience more effective.

WASHINGTON – June 27, 2012 – The housing crisis continues to affect many homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments. As a result, more and more Americans are forced to reach out for help.

A recent housing study conducted by Money Management International (MMI) found that respondents would first seek help from family or friends (50 percent), followed by their lender (26 percent), then from a credit counseling service (13 percent) if struggling with mortgage payments. But a recent study by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) highlights the effectiveness of housing counseling in helping homeowners remain in their homes.

Seeking mortgage assistance is a big step to take, which can make the process seem daunting. To help homeowners better understand the housing counseling process, MMI issued the following advice:

• Prior to calling, have access to the following information, which the counselor will request: Monthly income, monthly expenses, debts and assets, and mortgage information. The latter includes the name of the servicer, payment amount, interest rate, amount of loan, date loan was acquired and your last contact with servicer.

• A typical phone call lasts about an hour and begins with a privacy disclosure. Your counselor will then answer any questions and ask about the specific hardship (the reason you’re having difficulty making payments) faced.

• A counselor will explain options based on the specific situation and recommend a nonprofit resource best suited to help you. Callers receive information on all their available options and specific foreclosure information for Florida.

• The counselor will create an action plan for the caller to review and send a written copy. It will be used to prepare a recommendation to your lender based on the option that best fits your needs, if you choose an option.

• At the conclusion of the counseling session, the caller can, if they wish, participate in a conference call with their lender to go over the recommendations and see if the lender will help. MMI suggests that callers agree to the conference call even though it’s optional because it carries some weight in helping homeowners avoid eventual foreclosure.

• If a caller cannot work with his lender to keep the home, he will be told what to expect and may be offered a post-foreclosure counseling session.

A list of HUD-approved counselors is available on HUD’s website.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

Posted on June 26th, 2012
by Greg Ellingson

National Housing Survey says Most Americans Predict Rise in Housing Prices and Mortgage Rates

American confidence that housing prices and mortgage rates will increase over the next year has grown a considerable amount.

WASHINGTON – June 26, 2012 – More Americans are optimistic that home prices will inch up over the next year, and they expect prices to rise at least 1.4 percent in that timeframe. That marks the highest amount ever recorded in Fannie Mae’s monthly National Housing Survey.

Thirty-four percent – also the highest ever recorded – of 1,000 respondents in the May housing survey say they expect to see a boost in home prices in the next year. Forty-one percent say they think mortgage rates also will rise over the next year.

“Both indicators suggest the potential that consumers may consider moving off the sidelines to purchase a home,” according to the survey analysis.

Survey respondents also say they expect rental prices to continue to edge up over next year, projecting a 4.1 percent increase in that period.

Still, a slowdown in the pace of new jobs and income growth is creating a plateau in consumer sentiment that might delay a full recovery in the housing market, according to Fannie Mae’s survey. Fifteen percent of those surveyed reported that their household income is significantly lower than it was 12 months ago, which marks a record low in the annual survey.

“Our May consumer data show that Americans are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach about buying or selling a home,” says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist. “This is not surprising given their assessment that their income during the past 12 months and their personal financial expectation for the next 12 months have leveled off. … Current jobs data are reminiscent of the spring slowdown that continued into the summer months during the last two years.

“If this pattern continues, we do not expect to see any significant upturn in consumer sentiment during the summer, and a meaningful housing recovery likely will be delayed once again.”

Source: Fannie Mae and “Americans Expect 1.4% Increase in Home Prices: Fannie Mae,” HousingWire (June 6, 2012)

© Copyright 2012 INFORMATION, INC

Posted on June 25th, 2012
by Greg Ellingson

New Short Sale Assistance for Military Homeowners

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has implimented new provisions to assist military homeowners who have to move quickly due to PCS orders.

WASHINGTON – June 22, 2012 – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced new short sale rules for active-duty military homeowners.

If a military owner with a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) order has a mortgage backed by government-run Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, he or she can sell the home in a short sale even if current on their mortgage. Previously, many service members felt they either had to maintain two residences or default on their mortgage.

FHFA says PCS orders often require quick moves, which can create hardship for military homeowners who are underwater and can’t sell their home without taking a loss.

Under the new policy, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac won’t pursue a deficiency judgment, cash contribution or promissory note from military members with a PCS who purchased property on or before June 30, 2012. Service members must have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan to be eligible, however.

“These Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac policy changes, in combination with related guidance last fall, should now provide military homeowners with access to the immediate and automatic full range of foreclosure alternatives,” says FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco.

Last year, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issued guidance to mortgage servicers confirming PCS orders as a qualifying hardship for forbearance and loan modifications.

Service members can check Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac websites to see if they hold their loans, or they can call hotlines for military homeowners at 1-877-MIL-4566 or 1-800- FREDDIE.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

Posted on June 22nd, 2012
by Greg Ellingson

Foreign Investors Look for Multifamily Homes

Foreign investors seek rental properties as solid investments, a sign that the U.S. Housing Market is continuing to stabilize and improve.

NEW YORK – June 26, 2012 – Though it’s a good time to buy a house considering the low prices and interest rates, strict lending guidelines continue to drive more would-be homeowners to go the rental route. Enter overseas investors, who are well aware of the rising need for rental units and the low number of vacancies nationwide. These properties are drawing attention from investors across the globe, industry insiders say.

“Ninety percent of the buyers at our auctions are investor-based, with a tremendous amount of foreign money — they’re placing money into anything that provides a return,” says Lamar Fisher, president and CEO of Fisher Auction Company. “South American, Russian, and the Israeli buyers are the top three cash foreign buyers, and price is not a factor to them. They are closing transactions in two weeks. Foreign investors see this as protection for their money in light of their own country’s economic fluctuations. They feel the U.S. market will continue to improve and their investment is safe.”

This international interest shows that despite its recent economic issues, the U.S. is still seen by foreigners as the top option for investments. “There is a certain allure and prestige to being a U.S. investor. When people do well, they put their money in American real estate or a Swiss bank account,” says Faith Xenos of Singer Xenos, a wealth management firm in Florida that works with Brazilian clients.

One of the factors driving the costs of renting up is the low supply of units. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the rental market is “the tightest it’s been in more than a decade, with only 5.2 percent of apartments nationwide vacant at the end of 2011, down from a high of 8 percent in 2009, according to real-estate data firm Reis.”

“It’s going to be a hot market for the next 18 months to two years” Fisher says. “If you can secure a multifamily property, it will bring off-the-charts money because that’s what buyers want in today’s marketplace. Also, land development parcels that are fully entitled to build apartments have become another hot commodity – the developers that are purchasing these sites are going right to build based on market rate rental.

Waterfront properties are also in high demand right now – I literally receive one or two calls a day from investor pools looking for waterfront multifamily properties.”

Source: PropertyAuction.com

© Copyright 2012 INFORMATION, INC.

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