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.  


Friday, January 9, 2015

Real Estate Boost for 2015

Reduction in FHA insurance makes home buying more affordable  

The President announced on Wednesday that the federal government will reduce PMI insurance premiums on FHA loans with the goal of making it easier for Americans to own a home. This is fantastic news for anyone in the market for real estate since this reduction will save home buyers an average of $900 a year. The lower insurance premium will affect 800,000 home owners immediately, as they will save on their monthly mortgage payments. This change is coming out at a great time considering all of the other positive news in the Real Estate industry the first week of 2015. Unemployment is down, gasoline prices are the lowest in 7 years and spending power is up.

In the Tampa Bay market, SI Real Estate is already noticing the enthusiasm and buzz this news is bringing to the area. Federal Housing Administration loans are largely popular for many home buyers in America. “I want to talk about helping more families afford their piece of the American dream, and that is owning their own home,” Obama said. First time home buyers are a significant building block to a healthy economy. Reducing the cost of buying a home is a surefire way to again boost the economy immediately. Qualifying for an FHA loan will be more attainable since you will have lower monthly payments to qualify for the same loan.

Lowering the cost of monthly mortgage payments also entices the switch from renting to buying. The rental market has become more expensive every year since the recession. “Apartment rents are rising at the highest pace in seven years, which means some of the renters . . . will seriously consider buying,” said Yun of the national real estate group. Yun is expressing what everyone already knows; buying a home is always a better investment than renting. Reducing the cost to own is a great way to spur renters into buying.

Here at SI Real Estate, we utilize our years of experience while working with clients in all possible situations. Our personal relationship with each customer makes us a very valuable asset in the search for a new home. No matter if you are a first time buyer or if you just want to get more information about the current market conditions, SI Real Estate will take the time to go over all the possibilities with you. We will make sure that you are 100 percent satisfied with our services. Real People | Real Results!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Momentum in the Housing Market: 2014 Updates!

Since 2010, the Floridian housing market has been stabilizing, and this pattern continues through 2014. According to Florida Realtors Association, Florida’s housing market has had an increase of sales and median prices since 2013.  In fact, the statewide total for single-family houses sold in October was over 21,800, an increase of nearly 18% since October 2013.  Statewide, even the sales price of single family residences has increased nearly 5%.
Be assured, these are signs that the housing market is not only gaining momentum, but truly stabilizing and becoming a healthy and prosperous industry once again.  According to Sherri Meadows, President of Florida Realtors, October of this year marks the 35th month in a row (nearly 3 full years) that the state wide median sales prices have rose for both single family homes, and for townhouse-condo properties.
Florida is on track to close out 2014 with tremendous momentum, more than we’ve had in years. The statewide “closed sales” for townhomes and condos reached over 9,000 just in October. The closed sales data also shows that short sales for townhomes and condos have declined 55.6% from the previous year.  Short sales for single family homes have declined 47.6% from the previous year as well.

The health of the Floridian real estate economy is undeniable and the momentum seems to be unstoppable. Everything Real Estate in Florida is heading in a positive direction. With the increase of home sales and sustainable price changes in market, the Florida housing market is booming! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

South Tampa: The Treasure of Tampa Bay

Tampa is centrally located on the west coast of Florida and has many alluring attractions.  Everything is available to us; from the many Orlando Theme Parks to our celebrated sunny beaches. Many of our best kept secrets in Central Florida are known only to its residents. One of the popular treasures of Tampa Bay is South Tampa. Its energy and popularity have continued in full force, even during the economic adjustments.  It’s easy to understand why, once you've visited South Tampa.

South Tampa is home to several mini neighborhoods. Davis Island, which is one of the most beautiful areas in the city, is about to get another make over. One example, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, a low-slung brick home on Davis Island is scheduled for demolition to make way for a brand new 6 million dollar mansion. This West Indies style home will be over 7,300 square feet and is slated for completion in late 2015.

Housing on Davis Island isn't the only thing that’s getting a real estate makeover lately.  The Tampa International Airport is set to begin a 2.5 Billion dollar project for improvements after Thanksgiving. Rated as one of the best airports in the nation, the Tampa International Airport is awarding 250 million dollars in contracts to expand the main terminal beginning December 2nd, 2014. It has been stated that up to 7000 jobs will be created as a result of this massive expansion!

It’s not only our real estate and infrastructure that’s being reworked, it’s our laws and policies, too. Among the new Tampa Bay developments is Riverwalk. This recently added district is home to many residents and businesses of all varieties. Riverwalk now invites you to wine and dine in open air outdoor cafes, take in the skyline, the vistas, and the surrounding activity. A new city ordinance has recently passed to allow responsible adults to enjoy a cocktail while taking it all in around this beautiful and newly developing vicinity. Tampa has been very assertive in developing the surrounding area for our residents, businesses and visitors alike.  Patrons of eight local and licensed alcoholic beverage provides will be able to get their drinks in a special plastic cup that bears the Riverwalk logo and has been provided by the city. The law is slated for approval by December of 2014.

South Tampa has been ranked as one of the best up and coming areas in the southeast and its energy is absolutely incredibly contagious! This snapshot of the development in and around Tampa area does no justice to the area itself. It’s something you truly have to experience.   

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tampa Real Estate & Builder Pulse: New homes abound around Tampa

A New Home may be the very best option for you to review! 

“Thousands of new homes are under construction in the Bay Area.” According to the WFLA and the Tampa Bay Builders association, Tampa Bay has been booming with constructions. Since 2011, the housing market has been steady, and new home building has been slowly increasing. This could be due to the continuously low interest rates on mortgages over the past 2.5 years.  There are at least 3,000 new home construction starts in Tampa Bay this year, and there are still more coming. 

Why new homes?  There are many floor plans and color options to choose from. You will enjoy less competition in the contract and offer process. Enjoy the streamline procedure of one stop shopping in a new construction development. These are just a few of the innumerable options available. 
Jennifer Doerfel, the current Vice President of the Tampa Bay Builder Association says that if consumer confidence stays where it is, there should continue to be an increase in building activity. This building activity has created hundreds of jobs in the Tampa Bay area, and will continue to stabilize the housing market through 2015.

The Tampa Bay Builders say their biggest challenge in this surge of activity is the lending community, of course.  Although in the past several years it has been somewhat challenging for some to get a mortgage, the rates still remain low. Recently, mortgage applications have surged 11.6%. According to this article, the average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances have decreased to 4.03%, the lowest it has been since May 2013.  The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage has decreased to 3.28%, also the lowest since May 2013.

If you are considering your real estate purchase options, you may want to consider buying a new home. Many of the stresses of purchasing a home can come from bidding wars with other home buyers. When purchasing a new house, not only will you be the first owner, but the only buyer.  A new home in Tampa bay may be just what you want for your next home. Contact SI Real Estate with any questions you may have. SI Real Estate has fantastic connections with new communities, home builders, and lenders. We guarantee quality service and satisfaction to our clients!   

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Real estate investors are moving to Tampa, should you?

Plans for retirement are important to start thinking about during your career. There are many ways to plan for retirement by investing your money. You can invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or real estate. In recent years, more investors have been reaching for the real estate industry. Investors purchase homes and rent them to tenants, creating a stable form of income with little expenses.

Real estate isn’t always easy to invest in, but it is more stable. Stocks have the tendencies to rise and fall with investment trends over the course of a year; however, a rental property with a locked in lease generates predictable and stable income. This is ideal for risk adverse investors, or investors who are getting a later start in building their portfolio.

There are many opportunities to invest in real estate. The first of which being crowdfunding. This new concept is to split up the cost of a venture (or in our case, property) into sections and having different investors purchase a part of it.

A different way to invest in real estate is through a purchase and rental. In fact, now is a great time for investment in real estate. If you’re considering investing in real estate and need a mortgage to do so, interest rates have just dropped from a four month high, according to this Bloomberg article. With mortgages low, and the average cost of a rental home increasing, it seems as if now may be the perfect time to invest.

Once you have invested in real estate, the decision to manage the property is up to you. If you’re retired, you may find your properties easy to manage. Property management is rarely a full time occupation, but it can be daunting if you’re still in your career. If you chose to manage your own property and are in the last decade of your career, you may even find it overwhelming at first. If you’re unfamiliar with how to manage a property, there are companies like SI Real Estate to help with your maintenance and marketing needs. These are value added services for your portfolio that will help elongate the life of your investment to make sure you’re getting everything possible.

If you’re considering investing in the Tampa Bay area, feel free to contact SI Real Estate for more information and learn how we can assist you in the real estate  process.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Changing the mortgage game? Here's what it means for you!

Recently, bankers have joined loan guarantors to push the ease the proposed capital rules for mortgage insurers. The bankers advised that easing up on the proposed rules will make real estate financing even more affordable for buyers seeking a new home and loan.  Along with the bankers, the National Association of Realtors discussed the importance of having accessible mortgages for first time home buyers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Citigroup and Bank of America are providing mortgages at discounted interest rates as a part of their efforts to help borrowers with low incomes or lack luster credit histories. These discounts are larger than what other banks currently offer on fixed-rate mortgages with high credit scores.

This new home loan program encourages borrowers to pay points as a means to receive an even larger discount rate. A point upfront fee lowers the interest rate on a mortgage, and one point is equivalent to 1% of the loan. If you have a $100,000 loan, one “point” is equivalent to $1,000. In the past, a 15-year fixed mortgage could be as high as 3.25% of the loan, but with this program in place, there have been cases where it dropped to an astounding 0.125% for the entirety of the loan.

Because of bankers pushing to ease the capital rules, and loaners like Citigroup and Bank of America offering discounted programs for mortgages, what does that mean for you as a borrower?  It means as a borrower, you have easier access to a mortgage even if your credit isn't stellar.

If you are considering a home purchase, the mortgage game has changed and the benefits are to your favor!