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!  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Where were you?

“Where were you on September 11th?” is a question you’ll hear a lot today. Some of us were in school, others were at work. When the news was broadcast, Americans all over the country were in disbelief. America hadn't had an attack of this scale on its own soil since Pearl Harbor.

As a country, we were devastated. As a country, we were united. With empowering speeches from former President George W. Bush, we came together as a nation and declared that we will not stand for acts of terrorism. We would unite as Americans and support the victims of this tragedy. We would act to prevent this from happening again, to America or to anyone in the world.
         On this day, we chose to remember those who have lost their lives in the World Trade Center. We chose to grieve with the families who have lost someone when the towers fell. We chose commemorate the firefighters and police officers who gave their lives to help trapped victims.

          Today, please remember to take a moment of silence today for all of those who have had their life taken away by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and for those who have fallen as a volunteer to help rescue victims. Be sure to give thanks to our soldiers who continue to defend the freedom and safety of our nation.

          Beginning at 6 pm today in New York City, the Memorial Plaza will be open to the public for a special viewing of the Tribute in Light. The memorial will remain open until midnight for the anniversary to ensure the experience is available for all who wish to pay tribute to ground zero.

          If you’re interested in learning more about September 11th, please be sure to visit the memorial’s website here, and if you’re ever in New York, pay it a visit.  God Bless America.

Where were you on September 11th? Be thankful and grateful for America, especially today.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Want an Easy Home Buying Experience? Read This!

Now is the time to act on purchasing your home. The housing market climate has drastically improved and builder confidence is at the highest level it has been in nearly a decade.  Recent mortgage and inventory trends are allowing you, as a first time buyer or a repeat buyer, to make your move.  But are you ready?  Purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial investments that is made in a lifetime. Although you might be ready to buy your home, there are a few ways to simplify the purchasing process, making it smooth sailing for you.  Here are four key ways to prepare for your new home purchase:

  1.  Credit: When purchasing a home, make sure to check up on your credit. The higher your credit score is, the more likely you’ll be able to finance your purchase with lower interest rates. Credit is influenced by many things, so it’s imperative to be mindful of it.  Do not purchase anything from a car, furniture, or take on any debt before, during or after a contract.  Sit tight and make not changes to your debt or income until after your closing!
  2. Get pre-approved: Before home shopping begins, get pre-approved for a home loan. You’ll know how much you’re able to comfortably spend and what your interest and financial scenario will be like. Knowing your monetary situation will help you target a price range for your home purchase.  Dick Gaylord, past president of the National Association of Realtors says that the preapproval process is much more extensive than it was a few years ago.  Be prepared, be involved.
  3.  Hire a real estate professional: An experienced real estate agent can make the home buying process efficient and effortless. Real estate professionals have access to a network of agents and sellers, mortgage and title agencies. That network will of other experts in the marketplace will assist you in the home buying process.  Agents have access to properties, are trained to use real estate specific websites and outlets to help you find the perfect property which meets your very specific home criteria. Real estate experts are proficient with geography, terms and industry jargon, inspections, appraisals, and HUD statements. These are incredibly useful, especially while closing on a house.
  4.  Closing the transaction: Getting to the closing table is the most important part of home buying, and there are several components of the process. First, your lender will order a home appraisal to ensure that the property is being sold and purchased at a fair market value.  This value is determined by comparable sales and an evaluation performed by the appraiser.  Next, a title search will then be performed to examine any issues that could affect the property’s title. Finally, the seller will sign the deed,  a legal component of the real estate transaction and the buyer will sign the new mortgage. The closing process is the most difficult. Real estate agents and title agencies have had extensive training on how to close a real estate transaction, and may be able to search out any hidden costs to ensure your purchase is fair.

Home buying is one of the most exciting milestones in life. Make it an enjoyable experience with SI Real Estate.  Never a cost to a buyer, only benefits and savings.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Real Estate News | Housing Inventory Remains Low while Buyer Demand Remains High

According to, real estate inventory remains low in the US housing market nationwide. With such a significant shortage in inventory and such high demand; homes are becoming more difficult to come by for many first-time buyers. Low inventory continues to be a collective frustration in the real estate market, specifically in the affordable price bracket.  According to Zillow Real Estate Market Reports, the inventory constraints on the affordable side of the market make it particularly tough for entry level buyers. 

Buyers are not finding ample options, while the costs of affordable homes continue to rise.  
Reports indicate that in addition to the low numbers of affordable homes for sale, home buyers with traditional financing are still competing with all cash buyers in today’s market. According to Zillow, “more than one third of all sales of the lowest-priced homes were made with cash.” In cities such as Tampa Bay, Miami, and Detroit, more than eighty percent of all home sales in the affordable price bracket were cash transactions.

On the bright side, the increase in home prices has helped to boost an impressive surge in builder confidence.  CNBC News cites a monthly sentiment from the National Association of Home Builders reached an all time high in the month of July. This is the highest level builder confidence has been since January, which is great news for buyers in the real estate market. David Crowe, Chief Economist of the NAHB notes that builders across the country have been expressing a positive outlook on current sales conditions. The amount of consumer traffic is more than builders nationwide have seen in the last five years. Stuart Hoffman, Chief Economist at PNC Financial Services Group suspects that although inventory is low, the increase in home prices will eventually bring more homes into the market. Prospective sellers will gain confidence to sell their homes, which will satisfy the growing demand of buyers.

Despite low inventory conditions in the real estate market, 2014 is still a great year to purchase a home in Tampa Bay. The National Association of Realtors has named Tampa one of the ten housing markets it believes will see a  housing turnaround. Take advantage of these positive market conditions, and see what Tampa Bay has to offer. SI Real Estate serves clients both locally and internationally. With over 40 years of experience, and extensive knowledge of the Tampa Bay area; SI Real Estate is here to answer any of your real estate questions, and assist you with any of your real estate needs. Call us today at 813.631.5144.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Moving to a New Home Made Easy! The Ultimate Moving Survival Guide!

Summer is always a tremendously popular time of year for families and movers changing homes across the United States. According to the American Moving and Storage Association, 15.3 million Americans moved between the summer months of June and August last year. Moving into a new home can be a stressful and overwhelming task. Fortunately, a little preparation and careful planning is all it takes to reduce stress, and ensure a smooth transition into your new home. Save time and reduce stress with these helpful tips provided by Mattress Firm, Inc., and

Be ahead of the game:  Saving all your tasks for one day is not the best idea, but planning ahead is a great way to stay organized and make your move much easier. Start planning your move as early as possible, and be sure to mark your move in date.  Utilizing a calendar is a great tool to visualize your move. You can schedule a day for each room, and save the most used rooms for a later date.  Storing all of your moving information in one place is can also be helpful.

Protect Your Valuables:  Some items may need to be dissembled when moving, keep small screws and pieces in a small bag that is marked and labeled accordingly. Fragile items like dinnerware should be wrapped separately with extra padding to avoid damage. Using old clothes to wrap your dishes is a great way to save money and protect fragile items. Just make sure to label your boxes accordingly to ensure safe handling.
Pack your Closet:  Your clothes can be vacuum sealed and stored in boxes to make more space. If you have clothes that are hanging, wrap them in trash bags for a quick and easy alternative.
Pets:  All of the commotion that is involved with moving can be frightening and stressful for animals. Consider making arraignments to check your pet into a pet day care facility. You can also arrange to leave Fido with a friend or family member on move day.
Change your address! You can change your address online with the US Postal Service. You can also specify the date you want your address change to become effective.
Get Organized: Moving is a great opportunity to get rid of old belongings. Sort out the items that can be donated instead of throwing everything out.  Shred old documents, try not to move anything that you don’t have to.
Survival kit: Pack an overnight suitcase with all the necessary items you will need on the first day, and be sure to have snacks and plenty water available. Keep a first aid kit on hand in case of an accident, and make sure that it is easily accessible.
If you are thinking of moving to the Tampa Bay are, let SI Real Estate give you a hand.  We can streamline the process for you and your family whether you are seeking a home in suburb, and urban residence, or a hot spot on the Beaches!   We have you covered!  Call us at 813.631.5144 or feel free to email us at

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Basketball King Leaves Florida

Miami Heat fans were in shock when MVP LeBron James, announced that he would be leaving the Heat and returning to the Cavaliers. James holds two NBA titles, and has now decided to return home to Cleveland where his basketball career began. He states, My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball.” James writes that he has a responsibility to be a leader in the court, as well as in his home state. Cleveland is excited to have LeBron James back however, James holds humble and realistic expectations for the upcoming season. He says that he is “not promising a championship” because he knows “how hard that is to deliver.” Although James wants to win next year, he is prepared for the road ahead, and says that “it will be a long process.” James is hopeful for the future, and intends to bring a championship to Cleveland.

After four years with James, co-star and teammate Chris Bosch declares that he and James will always be brothers, and holds no hard feelings towards him. Bosch states, "We're all making decisions to make ourselves happy and our families happy… That doesn't take away what we've done together and the special bond that we created… As you move forward, you appreciate those moments and keep going forward."

Chris Bosch and Dwayne Wade are two of the “big three” that will be returning and carrying the Miami Heat this coming season. Heat fans are excited that two of the three players who lead Miami to two NBA championships are returning, despite LeBron James’s departure. New signees Danny Granger, Josh McRoberts, and NBA All-star Luol Deng, will also be joining the Miami Heat for the upcoming season. Bosch intends to lead the team back in to title contention, and is excited for the season ahead. Bosch believes that he has what it takes to “maximize this team’s potential.” He also states that he is ready to step up to the challenge of carrying the Heat to a winning season.  Bosch says that “nothing is going to change” and he believes in the team’s ability, no matter who he is playing with.

Although Florida will definitely miss NBA superstar LeBron James; Miami will continue to be a hot spot, a hot ticket, and a hot city economically, state wide, and internationally. The beautiful state of Florida is a wonderful place to call home, and also a very desirable destination for people worldwide. The Sunshine State’s world famous beaches, amazing theme parks, treasured natural landmarks, and unique cultural mosaic, continue to capture the hearts of people all over the world. Come and experience some Florida sunshine, and see all of the wonderful things Florida has to offer. I am sure LeBron will come back during those super cold, knee deep in snow, winter months!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Real Estate market is heating up! Inventory is on the rise.

May 2014 was a spectacular month for the real estate market throughout the nation. If you don’t feel like the market is recovering, here are some facts for you to consider.

1.    Total existing home sales, including completed transactions such as single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums, grew 4.9% to an annual rate of 4.89 million in May 2014. This gain is the highest increase since August 2011. Higher sales volume is a great sign for the market as buyers are being more confident. According to National Association of Realtors (NAR) chief economist, Lawrence Yun, “home buyers are benefiting from slower price growth due to the much needed, rising inventory levels. Moreover, sales were helped by the improving job market and the temporary but slight decline in mortgage rates.”

2.   Total housing inventory in May increased by 2.2% and reached a total number of 2.28 million existing home available for sale. The number of homes represents a 5.6 month supply at the current sales pace. The unsold inventory of 2.15 million existing homes also rose by 6% in comparison to last year. Growing inventory is crucial for each housing market and builders nation-wide are very important players in the recovery of our economy.

3.   Median existing-home price experienced a 5.1% growth in comparison to May 2013. The average price of a property of any kind for the past month was $213,400. “Rising inventory bodes well for slower price growth and greater affordability. New home construction is still needed to keep prices and housing supply healthy in the long run,” Lawrence Yun added. The combination of a healthy increase in housing prices and a long-lasting inventory, will fuel the recovery process for the upcoming months and years.

4.   Distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 11% of May sales which is a 7% decrease from May 2013. 8% were foreclosures and 3% were short sales. The average discount rate for foreclosures was 18% below the market value and 11% for short sales. Fewer distressed homes are a great indicator of the recovery as we can see more families refinancing their loans and keeping their homes instead of being forced to sell them.

5.   Low mortgage rates are very encouraging for buyers of any kind. Current rates for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 4.19% last month and recorded the lowest rate since June 2013 (4.07%). NAR President Steve Brown, said, “the temporary pause in rising interest rates and more homes for sale is good news – especially for first-time home buyers – who likely have a better chance in upcoming months to make a competitive offer that’s in return accepted by the seller.”

Here at SI Real Estate, we diligently follow the newest real estate trends so we can offer the best possible customer service to our valued clients. Understanding the behavior of the market and being able to work with an experienced real estate professional can sometimes make the difference between getting the perfect home or being outbid by someone else. With over 40 years of experience, SI Real Estate would be honored to represent you in a real estate transaction of any kind. Feel free to give us a call at 813.631.5144, email us at, visit our website or follow us and like us on one of our social media platforms.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Futbol Fever! | 2014 FIFA World Cup

The World Cup is back. Brazil, the country where it all began, spent over $12 billion dollars to host the biggest futbol (soccer) event in the world. As 32 countries battle each other for the next few weeks, there are many beautiful things we can look forward to such as the amazing atmosphere, cultural treasuries that Brazil has to offer, and of course the actual performance of the teams. The entire country of Brazil is behind its own national team and expects nothing but winning it all. Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff welcomes all the futbol fans, “I’m certain that in the 12 host cities, visitors are going to mix with a happy, generous and hospitable people and be impressed by a nation full of natural beauty and which fights each day to become more equal.”

The United States are hoping for a good fortune after beating Ghana in the first game of the tournament. Trying to advance out of the so-called “group of death” including Germany, and Portugal, the U.S. team will have to play two perfect games in order to advance. Coach Jürgen Klinsmann has been working with the team for the last couple years and a great deal of improvement can be noticed as the result of his hard work. The 2014 roster is full of young promising players who will use this occasion as a great deal of experience towards the future tournaments. According to Klinsmann, “we cannot win this World Cup because we are not ready yet. For us, we have to play the game of our lives seven times to win the tournament.” Even though some fans and experts do not agree with his opinion, they will have to acknowledge the fact that Klinsmann did a phenomenal job since taking over the coaching position and that it will take time to rebuild the U.S. team.

So who is going to win the World Cup? If everything goes according to hosting nation’s plan, Brazil will win the whole tournament; however, there are also European powerhouses such as Germany and the Netherlands to consider. Either of these teams could potentially become the first European nation to ever win a World Cup in the Americas. We also cannot forget about Brazilians bitter rival Argentina; led by Lionel Messi seeking the World Cup title to complete his legacy. Regardless who wins, the next 3 weeks will give us some unforgettable moments and also some unexpected upsets. Historically, Brazil has the most World Cup titles and it would be a great moment to see the home team winning it all in front of its own crowd. Nevertheless, it would be thrilling to see the U.S. team advancing out of the group and showing the world that we are capable to win! GO TEAM USA!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Is now the time to buy your new home? Real Estate factors you may want to consider

If the thought of buying a home has crossed your mind lately, market conditions suggest that now may be the right time to make your move. The Real Estate market is reaching a critical point for home-buyers and conditions have not been better in the past 12 months.

Many people dream of becoming homeowners, and mortgage rates, the qualification process and more seem to keep some home buyers on the side line.  Conditions for purchasing real estate have greatly improved. For example, according to this Housingwire article, 30-year fixed mortgage rates have hit a nine- month low.  In fact, mortgage rates have been declining for 5 weeks straight. Some may attribute this to 2014’s slow start to the fiscal year, but it’s evident that now is the time to buy a home to ensure the most affordable rate to make a house your home.

If you’ve been renting or leasing a home over the past few years and are thinking about becoming a homeowner, the New York Times posted this in depth rent versus buying calculator to help determine if it’s the right financial decision for you!  This calculator can be based on the your individual conditions and includes real estate price, length of time you plan to live in your home, mortgage details, closing and maintenance costs, and even taxes. This calculator has been credited as one of the best rent versus buy tools available on the internet.

Consider these factors and play around with the calculator to see if buying a home is in your near future!  

Friday, May 23, 2014

Remembering Memorial Day

     During the summer, Memorial Day is one of America’s favorite holidays (second only to Independence Day). Summer events draw much attention to the four day weekend, such as barbecues or events such as Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Winter Haven’s Floatilla. During these relaxing and fun times, have we lost sight of what Memorial Day is about?

     Memorial Day is a United States holiday to honor and remember the people who served in our military branches. Boeing’s 2007 commercial tugged at the heartstrings of friends and family who served in the military.  The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs gives a beautiful history of the holiday.

     After the civil war ended, Major General John A. Logan declared “Decoration Day,” a holiday to honor the soldiers who lost their life in the Civil War. The Grand Army of the Republic would gather to decorate the graves of the fallen on May 30th, when all the flowers would be in bloom. “Decoration Day” was celebrated sporadically until 1966, when Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared the birthplace of Memorial Day was in Waterloo, New York on May 30th. It wasn’t until 1971 that Memorial Day was expanded to celebrate all of the military heroes who lost their lives in the service and officially declared a national holiday.

     The first public Memorial Day celebration in 1971 was at Arlington National Cemetery and has remained stagnant since with number of attendees being approximately 5,000 people. The tradition continues throughout today of placing small American flags on each gravestone of our military heroes.

     In an effort to continue to honor and respect the fallen military heroes, the U.S. Congress passed “The National Remembrance Act,” and requests that all American citizens to pause their activities wherever they are at 3:00PM (local time) and give a moment of silence to those who have fallen to protect our freedoms as American people.

     So if you have plans to barbeque or attend a festival, this Memorial Day weekend, please remember to be thankful, honor, and take into account those who have given their lives to protect our freedoms as American people. Offer a moment at 3:00PM to silently appreciate the liberty and freedoms that were granted to you by our military heroes.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tampa Bay is a Great Place to Stay

A recent report indicated that Tampa is the 7th best city in the country for renters on the move. With a vacancy rate of 13%, there are plentiful opportunities to make this great city a place to call “home.”  With the increasing demand for residential construction, it is apparent that more people are choosing Tampa as their permanent location of residence. Here are 10 reasons why Tampa is so loved by both residents and visitors:

1.     Beaches – Within close proximity, you have access to some of the world’s top-rated beaches. Fort DeSoto Park was recently named America’s “Best Family Beach” by USA Today. Clearwater Beach was also named by USA Today as the “Best Beach Town” in January of last year. And if you’re looking for a bit of privacy, take a ferry to the Caladesi Island State park and enjoy the sandy shores of this barrier island.

2.     Theme Parks – Busch Gardens provides fun for the whole family with some of Florida’s greatest roller coasters, rides, attractions and shows. Adventure Island is right next door with some fun in the sun and water-soaked excitement.

3.     Professional Sports – Between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays, and Tampa Bay Lightning, there is no shortage of sporting events to enjoy with friends and family.  Spring Training is all around us.

4.     Exotic Wildlife – Between the Lowery Park Zoo, the Florida Aquarium, and the exhibits at Busch Gardens, animal lovers can see their favorite wildlife all year-round.

5.     Education – Between the University of Tampa and the University of South Florida, your thirst for continued education can always be quenched. USF is ranked in the Top 10 Universities worldwide for U.S. granted patents. In the May 2014 graduation ceremonies, USF awarded a record breaking 6,431 degrees to professionals that will soon be added to the experienced Tampa and national workforce.

6.     Major Conventions – Enjoy the meeting rooms, trade shows, and exhibitions from across the world offered by the Tampa Bay Convention Center. The nearby hotels, restaurants and nightlife will ensure you have a wonderful event experience.

7.      International Events – The most recent excitement in Tampa emerged from hosting the International Indian Film Academy Awards. Tampa was selected primarily because IIFA representatives said its residents were the “greatest of hosts.” As a result, nearly 30,000 attendees brought in an economic impact of approximately $56 million to Tampa in one weekend.

8.     Tampa International Airport – Just 6 miles away from Downtown Tampa, this airport allows for world explorers and business professionals to travel to any destination they desire with ease.

9.     Convenient Location – Orlando can be reached just one hour, and offers its own selection of attractions theme parks, shows, and its greatest landmark, Disney World. Many other great Florida cities are also just a short drive away.

10. Weather – Melt away the cold winters in Tampa with its average 361 days of sunshine each year.

Tampa was also just ranked as the best Florida city for starting a career, based on entry-level jobs per capita, median starting salary, and 16 additional metrics. These are just some of Tampa’s great offerings. Create your own list by visiting Tampa Bay today.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Favorable home-buying season is here & now!

So far, 2014 has been very positive for the housing market and for the overall economy. Steady increases in home prices and home sales are indicating a continuous trend of strong buyer and seller confidence. The outlook towards real estate is improving quarter by quarter and we are expecting it to stay this way for the upcoming months and years. According to Fannie Mae’s April 2014 National Survey, “for the third month straight, the share of respondents who believe now is a good time to sell a home increased and hit 42%, an all-time survey high.”

One of the other factors feeding the economic upturn is the low mortgage delinquency rate. TransUnion’s latest mortgage report states that in the first quarter of 2014, the rate fell to 3.61% which is a 24% decrease in comparison to last year, and it is now exactly at the same level as it was in the second quarter of 2008. It’s encouraging to see mortgage delinquencies drop once again, especially during a period when mortgage originations slowed considerably,” said Steve Chaouki, head of financial services for TransUnion. This turnaround is mainly caused by the combination of more conservative approach in underwriting mortgages and improved cooperation between the lenders and their clients.

Moreover, Fannie Mae’s National Survey found out that buyers and sellers concern about losing their current job has been the lowest since 2010. Furthermore, 69% of all respondents agree that now is a great time to buy a home and 42% believe that selling now would be the right choice. “These results are in line with our expectations for increased housing activity and gradual strengthening of the housing market going into the spring and summer season,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.

Here in the Sunshine State, we are excited about all this great news. We truly believe that we are now heading into enhanced prosperity. Especially here in the greater Tampa Bay area, median prices for homes are below national averages, and our wonderful climate year round and internationally known attractions make Tampa a very desirable to place to live.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Season Brings in Steady Breeze of Buyer & Seller Confidence

As the spring season is just around the corner, American optimism towards the housing market is gaining momentum. According to the latest Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, 38% of all respondents say that now is the right time to sell a home. This is an increase of 12% in comparison to the same time last year. This clearly indicates an improvement in homebuyers’ and homeowners’ market confidence. In addition, 52% of people share the opinion that it is easier to get a mortgage in the current economy, which matches the all-time survey high. This means that great financing options, combined with motivated homebuyers and homeowners, are going to continue fuelling the economic recovery.

Moreover, Americans are now beginning to feel more comfortable with their personal finances. Only 12% are expecting their financial situations to worsen in comparison to 21% from last year. Furthermore, 40% of respondents say that their financial situation has gotten better over the past couple years, which also matches an all-time survey high. According to Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae, “We see several positive signs going into this year’s spring home buying season, compared to last year. For example, consumers are less pessimistic about their personal finance, and more optimistic about the current selling environment and their ability to get a mortgage.”

The Tampa Bay area, according to the most recent census, is one of the top-10 most popular locations to migrate into in the entire country, and is known for creating a very healthy environment for its residents. We are expecting to see the continuing trend of economic growth and optimism for the rest of this year, which will increase home buyers’ and sellers’ confidence even more in the coming years.

Tampa Bay truly is a beautiful place to call home. Here at SI Real Estate, we believe that 2014 will be a very rewarding year for the housing market & the entire greater Tampa Bay area. Give us a call today at (813) 631-5144 to see what Tampa Bay has to offer for you!