Monday, September 14, 2015

Hot Home Sales in Tampa Bay. Nearly as hot as the summer weather!

2015 has been a pleasant year for the Tampa Bay real estate market, marking a full resurgence. Normally sales fall off during the summer vacations, but not this year! 
Homes listed for sale are continuing to seek out higher prices, while buyers are actively finding properties to put contracts on. A local North Tampa homeowner listed their house at $450,000 3 weeks ago and had a pending contract 8 days later, including backup offers. SI Real Estate has also participated in this high level of activity, selling three different properties in less than 10 days recently. While we normally see soft interest during summer months, especially July that has is not the case in 2015!

”Statewide in July, the inventory of available homes tightened to a 4 1/2-month supply. Most analysts consider a six-month supply to be evidence of a balanced market between buyers and sellers,” said John Tuccillo, chief economist of Florida Realtors. He is demonstrating here that inventory is dwindling and shifting the scales towards a seller’s market. Obviously that is resonating with homeowners.  To include all buyers and sellers, some of our 2010 investor clients have reached out to us lately to sell their properties.   The conversation starts as a gauge of where their real estate values are, leading to a review of comps for their properties. Most are pleasantly surprised to find out their home’s current value, prompting some to start the process of listing their homes. Could mean a great September and 4th quarter!

One of the main reasons there has been a surge this summer is fear of interest rates going up. The FED has not raised the rates yet, in fact rates are still at historic lows. This is welcoming news for everyone in the market to purchase or sell a home.  The reduction in PMI insurance has also helped spur this real estate turnaround. Buyers can afford more home this year than they could last year, while keeping the same income so both the seller and buyer have a win/win.

Tampa Bay real estate is in full bloom this summer; do not miss out. It’s natural for people to want to feel the same positive emotions that their friends or neighbors are experiencing. If you know someone that has had a great real estate transaction lately, maybe you should think about your own goals or desires. Don’t sit on the sidelines anymore or miss out on your dream. People are finding their dream home, or are finally able to sell their current home and relocate. So if you have been thinking of relocating or upgrading, check out all of the options available to you. This is what we have seen and been experiencing lately at SI Real Estate and we would be glad to help you too.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Real Estate Pulse: July New Home Sales up 25%!

July New Home Sales up 25%!

If you have been following SI Real Estate’s blog this year… we have been tracking the housing market from January all the way through now.  As predicted, the market has been rebounding all year! The most recent news is fantastic, with New Home Sales up 25% in July 2015 versus July 2014.  That is a LARGE rebound in a short amount of time. Another pertinent statistic for tracking the real estate market: we saw an increase of new home sales from June to July, up 5.4% or 26,000 more home sales in July.

The numbers that were just released reflect what we are seeing here in Tampa Bay. SI Real Estate’s most recent for sale listings have been extremely active, one of which went under contract in just 6 days - pretty much for the exact listing price too. Homes priced at $750,000 + have been seeing increased activity as well.  Around 6% of all new home sales in July 2015 were at the $750K+ price range.  That is 3% more than June, doubling the sales in that price range.

Consumer confidence has been the highest since 2005, which is bringing more and more investors to the market. They are no longer sitting on the sidelines; they are out there buying and selling real estate!  Another reason sales are up: people are finally willing to list, sell, and relocate.

2015 has been steadily rebuilding the Real Estate market, both here in Tampa and Nationally. Homes are being sold at higher prices, and in a timely manner compared to last year. My neighbor listed her house at $450,000 and had a pending contract in 8 days, including backup offers. SI Real Estate has sold two different properties in less than 10 days so far this July. We hope to see more of the same to close out this year! Continue to follow our blog updates to stay informed about the most current Real Estate trends.

Wall Street Journal reporting on July Home sales:

Friday, July 10, 2015

Real Estate Update: Pending Home Sales reach highest level in 9 years!

It’s no secret the housing market is making a strong comeback. Inventory is incredibly scarce.  Buyers are confident enough in the economy to be actively searching for real estate to purchase. This is leading to a shortage of ready-to-move-in homes. When there is a housing shortage, buyers need to act quickly and sellers are now stepping in. This has been the driving force behind skyrocketing pending home sale statistics. Probably the most positive statistic (there are many this month) is “45% of homes sold within 30 days of being listed”. That is a staggering number compared to what we were seeing since the recession began.

Another major factor leading to the housing market surge is because of the historically low mortgage rates. If you could afford a $300,000 home last year, you can get approved for a $330,000 mortgage today. This is due to rates hovering right at 4% and buyers have more purchasing power after sitting out last year.

We have not seen this much buyer activity in a long time here in Tampa Bay. There has also been a spike in the rental market as well. Rental prices have been rising in the last 12 months nationally, as well as here locally in Tampa. This has been a direct cause of buyer activity since renters are looking hard at all of their options. What they are finding out now is that it’s an excellent time to own versus rent, especially with the 30 year rates staying so low! The shortage of rentals is leading to shortage in for sale properties… and the whole housing market has been activated.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Real Estate Pulse: Tampa’s Rental market is on fire! Act on it or the property will be gone in a flash!

Real Estate Pulse:  Tampa’s Rental market is on fire!  
Act on it or the property will be gone in a flash!

SI Real Estate is a full service real estate boutique in Tampa Bay, including property management.  We have seen a significant increase in rental activity since February, 2015. As the year has progressed, so has the interest in Tampa’s rental market!  Right now, our agents are finding that rental listings are gone in a New York minute.  We are receiving calls and emails from an abnormal amount of new residents relocating to our area, causing the demand to drastically outweigh the supply.

This trend has not gone unnoticed by property developers in the area especially our urban core. They are purchasing land and building multifamily high end rentals, rather than luxury apartments or condos for sale.  Jeff Vinik has been at the forefront of this new demand. Starting with revitalizing the Channelside District.  The city of Tampa and developers are adding exciting urban attractions such as the popular Tampa Riverwalk. "I think people are buying into the story now that downtown Tampa will become a real downtown," Mike Davis, an executive director with Cushman & Wakefield of Florida Inc.  We are noticing the same effect, with interest in areas/price points that have not been popular in the past for our local rentals.

Here in Tampa, rentals have always been available as long as you have a fair budget. In SI Real Estate’s experience lately, this has not been the case! The vacancy rate of the rental market here has been pretty average the past 15 years, until now. Our vacancy rate has hit a 9 year low this year, 4.9% of all apartments here are vacant. That figure is lower than all 19 other southeastern metro areas that the company tracks. Now we know why we are having a tough time scheduling showings for rentals! They are gone as soon as they come up online or on the MLS.  Our landlords are using this high demand as a great reason to bump the rent pricing back up to pre-recession rates. Another market correction underway… Possibly the final stretch!

Apparently developers want in on all the action the rental market has been seeing. “Data from Vertica Partners LLC in Tampa shows more than 10,000 potential units — projects in various stages of development, between downtown Tampa, South Tampa and the Westshore area.” These areas are the crème-de-le-crème and seek the highest rent in Tampa Bay. They must be listening to market experts who are echoing that the vacancy rate will stay this way for the next year and a half. Rent prices will also keep rising according to industry leaders. By Real Data's figures, “the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom bay area apartment this year is $1,046 — $40 a month higher than a year ago and $176 higher than in 2010. Rents are expected to rise another 2 to 3 percent annually, the most in the Southeast, the report says”. SI Real Estate will keep an eye on the market while we remain incredibly busy putting families into homes, rentals and buyers!  Are you in?   

Read more:

Friday, May 8, 2015

Big gains in March Home Sales, Florida and National Market heating up!

Big gains in March Home Sales
Florida and National market is heating up in 2015
SI Real Estate has been monitoring and reporting the increased activity in the housing market this year. Last month we reported about skyrocketing first quarter new home sales. This month all of the home-sales reports, including both new homes and resale homes echo those same sentiments.

Some of the markets reporting sharp rises in March 2015 home sales include the following: Minneapolis, Washington D.C., Atlanta, San Antonio, Jacksonville, Houston, and Seattle. The Real Estate market in Florida has been scorching hot, especially in Miami, Boca Raton and Tampa Bay. Our neighbors to the North (Georgia) are also seeing the same trends. Nancy See, of Atlanta Fine Homes says “I’m seeing a lot of multiple-offer scenarios when a house is well-priced… Buyers are having to act very quickly to get the house they want. It’s almost like a buying frenzy”. This type of great news has not been reported since before the recession!
Florida’s housing market in particular has been strengthening all year long. March was the best month yet. Housing data released by the Florida Realtors Association shows more closed sales, higher median sales prices, increased pending sales, and shorter selling times for houses on the market and increased seller / listing activity. Closed sales of existing single family homes statewide totaled 24,811 last month which is a 24.6% increase over March of 2014.

Our personal experience here at SI Real Estate reaffirms what we have been reading. We are doing MLS searches for clients and finding fewer home available to show simply because of how fast homes are being sold or active listings going pending. Even the rental market is on fire! Yesterday one of our agents had a list put together for a client of houses available for rent in the area. By the time they had left the office to go to view properties, 4 of them were no longer available!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

First-Quarter Homes Sales surge in Tampa Bay. Prices rise..

SI Real Estate has been watching the market in Tampa Bay closely this year. We have reported several times since the beginning of 2015 that the market is on the upswing, with statistics to back it up. Hillsborough County just released more first quarter data, and the real estate market is continuing to surge! Housing data released Monday by Florida Realtors showed 3,213 single-family homes sold, 28.6 percent more than February 2014.

Buyers are finding that inventory is still thin, causing prices to rise. The Tampa Tribune interviewed Thomas O’Bryant, executive director of the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors. “Home prices are going up,” he said. In Hillsborough County, the median price for a house in February was $177,000, up 7.3 percent over February 2014. “Sales of townhomes and condos also were on the upswing in Tampa Bay (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties) The median price was $106,400, a 12.1 percent bump” from February 2014. We are seeing more activity lately on our own listings here at SI Real Estate.
The time to buy a home in Tampa is now. Now is a great time to list your property for sale too!   Interest rates are still at historic lows until the Fed meets in June. The rates will almost surely be raised when they do meet!  PMI insurance reduction, steady job growth, and rising home values have activated the market and we are seeing results.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Florida is on the rise again. Maybe you should move here too!

Almost everyone over the age of 20 has said the phrase “that’s it, I’m moving to Florida” at some point during their life. Usually it is said out of frustration with the weather, or another popular reason being high taxes elsewhere. In the 90’s and early 2000’s, Florida was an incredibly popular destination to move to. The younger crowds flocked to Miami or Tampa, the wealthy to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and then the retirees to Naples or Fort Myers.   Since 2007 though we have been lagging behind…. Until recently.

Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida, says Florida's economy is now solidly passing the Nation’s. Not only are we recovering fully, but we are about to start leading the pack again. Tourism is back to full throttle. Booking hotel rooms or going out to dinner is becoming a serious issue again with all of the traffic. People are spending money again and are confident the economy has stabilized.

The real estate market is one step away from being at the level it was before the market crashed. New home sales have been extremely high in 2015. "Florida ranked No. 2 in new home permits to Texas.” Why are all of these new homes being built in Texas and Florida? The answer is jobs; people gravitate to places they can afford to live and put food on the table. Florida and Texas have been adding jobs since 2013, more and more by the month. Florida's annual job growth rate has exceeded the nation's pace since 2012. Florida also just surpassed New York as the third most populous state in the US!

Tampa Bay is thriving now too. We have the 2nd ranked airport in the world, all major sports teams in the city, close proximity to Disney World, top ranked beaches everywhere you go, Busch Gardens and other theme parks and last but not least- gorgeous weather year round. The SI Real Estate team here in Tampa is seeing a lot of activity on the MLS and inventory is dwindling. Tampa Bay is the 3rd most active market in the state and has a lot to offer, just like Miami and Orlando. Anyone who is thinking of relocating, should consider Tampa.  Ask us why we choose Tampa to live, work, and play.  SI Real Estate will assist if you have any questions! 


Monday, February 23, 2015

Freddie Mac 3% down payment mortgage, qualifying, PMI updates

Earlier this year the president reduced private mortgage insurance rates. FHA loans were more attainable for first time home buyers. Home owners that wanted to refinance and reduce their monthly payments could also participate in the reduction. Now Freddie Mac is about to roll out a new appealing option for home buyers: 3% down payment mortgages coming in March! Contributing to continued Real Estate recovery and stability, the guidelines of qualifying for this type of loan will not be as loose as the guidelines from the adjustable rate mortgage disaster in 2007-2008.

Donald Layton, CEO of Freddie Mac, assured everyone that the 97% loan-to-value option will be limited to borrowers who can prove a “very good income”. Basically comforting the skeptics that this option will not be available for the average loan applicant. He also reinforced that “underwriting standards are stronger than ever”. Obviously they have learned from their past mistake of handing out mortgage loans to anyone with a paystub.

When this information was first released, many people in the industry had flashbacks to the previous real estate market bubble. On social media, comments about the credit floodgates opening and potential for inflated real estate prices were abundant. Layton insisted and reassured everyone there would not be an issue and Freddie Mac’s forecast for the amount of people to use this product is “not nearly as high as many expect”. The company is targeting “responsible, stable lending to extra-worthy borrowers” with this type of loan. Layton also said they will publicly release the actual mortgage numbers once the program gets started.


Friday, February 13, 2015

First quarter new home sales skyrocket for many national home builders!

Early 2015 quarterly reports reflect heavy increase in real estate activity, especially new homes. D.R. Horton is a nationally recognized home builder and has developments throughout the United States. They have been the largest home builder in the U.S. 13 years in a row. On Wednesday, D.R. Horton reported a dramatic increase in new home sales highlighted by “sales orders increased 40% in value to $2.1 billion” from the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015.

These numbers are significant considering that first quarter home sales are usually lack luster. What does this tell us? With the rising consumer confidence reports, buyers are investing in real estate and new homes sales are spiking. D.R. Horton has increased their land acquisitions and developed more communities recently to keep up with demand. Donald Horton, Chairman of the Board said ”our weekly sales pace has accelerated in January 2015, and we are well-positioned to capture demand in the spring selling season with our … robust community count, finished lot supply and inventory of homes available for sale.”

SI Real Estate posted a different Wall Street Journal article highlighting the sales increase of top national home builders last week. Taylor Morrison reported on Wednesday a 30% increase in its January sales from a year ago. Echoing that trend: M/I Homes, Beazer, Pulte and Ryland commented that their January 2015 sales exceeded their January 2014 sales. Jeffrey Mezger, president and CEO of KB Home predicts a strong second half of the year in 2015. “We believe the momentum of these favorable trends, in combination with our solid backlog, support a positive revenue outlook for the remainder of the year, particularly in the third and fourth quarters.” Every nationally recognized new home brand is seeing an increase in business. Real estate from the ground up has the ability to spur an economic turnaround and 2015 could be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Economic experts are expecting interest rates to be raised by the Fed after their June meetings. Right now we basically have a perfect storm for buyers: interest rates are still historically low, qualifying for FHA loans is easier due to PMI reduction, and consumers have more disposable income partly due to the drastic decrease in crude oil prices. SI Real Estate’s exposure to the market in Tampa Bay is showing us the same positive trends the builders are seeing nationally. We are getting more buyer traffic, and seeing demand for homes increase every week. 2015 is poised to be an excellent year for the real estate market!


Monday, February 2, 2015

January Home Sale Data is forecasting a strong 2015.

"Latest Home Sale Data reflects strong demand for affordable homes as 2015 kicks off”

Back in 2008/2009 after the Real Estate market crashed, economic and Real Estate experts were repeatedly forecasting a 6-7 year recovery period. They all highlighted 2015 as the year we would see resurrection in the housing market. Well that prediction seems to be coming to fruition now! We are seeing many positive reports and trends from late 2014 to early 2015.

We are starting to see the rebound all around Florida, but extra activity in Tampa Bay. The excitement/enthusiasm is building here and our team here at SI Real Estate is noticing.

Normally home sales in January are expected to be lower than in July or August. However, this month the Home Sale Data is showing that buyers are confident again. Tampa Bay has surged in January with 4,700 homes sold so far. That is 23.5% better than December ’14 and 22.8% better than January of ’14. Buyers are aggressively purchasing, and homes are selling instead of sitting. From January of 2009 to January of 2015, there’s been a huge change in median sale price. Nela Richardson of says “More people listed their homes for sale in December than in any other December since 2008. That led to a 4.8 percent year-over-year increase in total homes for sale heading into January. That much-needed inventory paired with strong buyer demand led to a solid increase in home prices in January compared with last year.” This is great news for the Real Estate market, especially here in Tampa Bay which was lagging behind nationally.

On the resale side, inventory is still low meaning that homes are selling at a faster rate than we’ve seen in quite some time. Supply and demand have finally evened out and stabilized in the past 6 months or so.

Interest rates are staying low (for now) and PMI reductions are helping more people become buyers. Our seasoned agents here at SI Real Estate are preaching that now is the time to buy, before Real Estate prices come all the way back. If you haven’t thought about buying yet, it is time to get serious. Do not be late to the party, get in while there are still deals to be found. There are many properties affordably priced and 2015 may be the last year interest rates and home prices will be this incredibly attractive.