Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Good News for Real Estate in the Sunshine State

As the 1st quarter of 2014 comes to a close, it is a great time to monitor the good news published across the Sunshine State in real estate headlines. In a recent report from Freddie Mac, utilizing its Multi-Indicator Market Index, analysts discovered that Florida’s housing market showed the most improvement in the entire country during 2013.  It also continued to show the most improvement month-to-month in January. The goal of the market index is to effectively measure the market’s stable range, proximity to “normal” and current trends.

In an article by Florida Realtors, Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer said, “a better employment picture, along with some income growth, makes it possible for more people who are considering buying a home to stay within reasonable payment-to-income ratios on their monthly mortgages.”

Employment opportunities and income growth are essential components to the continual housing market stabilization in Florida, as well as nationwide.  In local news, the Tampa Bay area received some very strong recognition in from a Tampa Bay Business Journal article that labeled Tampa Bay as a “job growth leader.” The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater areas gained an astounding 29,600 new jobs in February of this year!  Tampa is also ranked third in the nation as the best city to find a job, as well as the eighth best paid workforce. As a result of these job additions and new opportunities, the unemployment rate in the Tampa metro area declined by 1.4 percentage points over the last year.

With the improving employment opportunities and income growth in Tampa, we can expect to see more first-time homebuyers in the months ahead who can now qualify for affordable mortgage payments. Home price and mortgage rate increases have been moderate in the last few months, which indicate that the local market is returning to the most “normal” post-recession conditions we have seen thus far. There are quite a few pieces to the puzzle that need to be in place for the housing market to return to the levels that we are all hoping for, but it appears that those pieces beginning to align as we make our way through 2014.