Fla.’s housing market: Pending sales, median prices up in March

April 24, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. – April 22, 2019 – Florida’s housing market reported more pending sales, higher median prices and increased inventory (active listings) in March compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 25,013 last month, about the same level as March 2018.

“Along with low mortgage rates, the pressure on home prices is easing due to increased inventory, which is a positive trend for housing affordability and could encourage some buyers to enter the market,”says 2019 Florida Realtors President Eric Sain,

In March, statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties rose year-over-year for the 87th month-in-a-row. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $256,000, up 2 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Last month’s statewide median price for condo-townhouse units was $189,500, up 3.6 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

According to the National Association of Realtors(NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in February 2019 was $251,400, up 3.6 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $534,140; in Massachusetts, it was $377,000; in New York, it was $280,000; and in Maryland, it was $273,762.

Looking at Florida’s condo-townhouse market in March, statewide closed sales totaled 10,340, down 6.1 percent compared to a year ago. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.

According to Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor, March is typically a busy month for real estate in Florida and March 2019 was no exception.

“On a statewide basis, more homes typically go under contract in March than in any other month of the year,” O’Connor says. “And compared to March of last year, new pending sales of single-family homes this March were up by 2.6 percent to a total of 31,383. In fact, this is the highest number of new pending sales we’ve seen in any month across the previous 11 years in which Florida Realtors has tracked this statistic.

“New pending sales in the condo and townhouse category, by the way, were also up, rising by one percent from last March’s total. Of course, not all homes that go under contract end up as closed sales, but this is a pretty good sign for the market going into spring.”

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.27 percent in March 2019, compared to the 4.44 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier.


Disney shares sneak peek at new Epcot nighttime show

April 11, 2019

Walt Disney World’s latest nighttime show, Epcot Forever, now has a starting date and a few newly shared details.

The show, which begins Oct. 1, is the latest homage to the iconic theme park that celebrates various cultures of the world. The new show will have similar elements seen in previous shows such as IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth show, which runs until the debut of Epcot Forever.

“Epcot Forever is a celebration of what Epcot has been and is going to become. We are using some of the greatest aspects of the park over its past 30 plus years, especially the music,” said Alan Bruun, Epcot Forever show director with Disney Parks Live Entertainment, via a preview video.

The new show will introduce new elements such as special effect kites that light up in the sky, fireworks and many other aspects that make nighttime shows a must-see for guests.

Disney previously described Epcot Forever as a limited-time experience with a new show debuting in 2020.

This is one of many new attractions in the works at Epcot, including Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at the France pavilion and a new Guardians of the Galaxy ride in Future World.

In February, Disney announced it also will spruce up the entrance to Epcot, as well as redevelop the Wonders of Life pavilion into a new “Play Pavilion.” Those additions also are toying with the same 50th anniversary timeline. Renderings provided by Disney showed a dome-like projection attraction also could be at play for the new Play Pavilion.


Unicorp plots $125M project on Disney-owned land

April 11, 2019

Unicorp National Developments Inc., one of the most prominent Orlando-based developers, is “under agreement” for 33 acres of Walt Disney Co.-owned land in Celebration, President Chuck Whittall told Orlando Business Journal.

The property, in near World Drive and Interstate 4, may be the future home of a large $125 million entertainment concept, hotel and restaurants, he said.

Whittall described the location as “A-plus,” but declined to give further details. Whittall and Unicorp presented future project plans on April 10 at Retail Live, a networking event at Orlando World Center Marriott. No renderings were immediately available. A general contractor and architect haven’t been selected.

Burbank, California-based Disney (NYSE: DIS) couldn’t be reached for comment.

It’s the latest Unicorp project proposed in the tourist corridor. The developer also plans to build the $1 billion O-Town West — a 200-acre development that will feature shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, a thrill ride, roughly 1,600 apartments and a $40 million office tower.


Celebration Exotic Car Festival 2019

April 6, 2019

The largest Exotic Car Festival in the US is taking place in Celebration Florida today!

Come out to see hundreds of exotic cars .

Award ceremony starts at 3:00 this afternoon!

Visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CelebrationFloridaLifestyle/ to see photos and short videos of many of the cars.

 


2019’s States with the Best & Worst Taxpayer ROI

April 4, 2019

2019’s States with the Best & Worst Taxpayer ROI

Tax Day can be a painful reminder of how much we have to invest in federal, state and local governments, though many of us are unaware of exactly what they give us in return. As a result, this creates a disconnect in the minds of taxpayers between the amount of money we should fork over every April and how much we deserve in return.

Perhaps that’s why, according to WalletHub’s Taxpayer Survey, 55% of U.S. adults feel they pay too much in taxes and why 90% don’t think that the government uses tax revenue wisely. We do know, however, that taxpayer return on investment, or ROI, varies based where one lives. Federal income-tax rates are uniform across the nation, yet some states receive far more federal funding than others. But federal taxes and support are only part of the story.

Different states have dramatically different tax burdens. This begs the question of whether people in high-tax states receive superior government services. Likewise, are low-tax states more efficient or do they receive low-quality services? In short, where do taxpayers get the most and least bang for their buck?

WalletHub aimed to answer that question by contrasting state and local tax collections with the quality of the services residents receive in each of the 50 states within five categories: Education, Health, Safety, Economy, and Infrastructure & Pollution. Our data set includes a total of 30 key metrics. Read on for our findings, methodology and commentary from a panel of experts.

State and Local Taxes Paid vs. Spending Received by State (1=Best)

1 New Hampshire
2 South Dakota
3 Florida
4 Virginia
5 Colorado
6 Missouri
7 Texas
8 Georgia
9 Nebraska
10 Wyoming
11 Utah
12 Wisconsin
13 Ohio
14 Alaska
15 Rhode Island
16 Indiana
17 Tennessee
18 Oklahoma
19 Iowa
20 Montana
21 South Carolina
22 Maine
23 Arizona
24 Idaho
25 Kentucky
26 North Carolina
27 Michigan
28 Kansas
29 Illinois
30 Pennsylvania
31 Alabama
32 Washington
33 New Jersey
34 Oregon
35 Massachusetts
36 Minnesota
37 West Virginia
38 Maryland
39 Delaware
40 New York
41 Connecticut
42 Mississippi
43 Vermont
44 North Dakota
45 Nevada
46 Louisiana
47 Arkansas
48 California
49 New Mexico
50 Hawaii


From our New Zealand Customer

April 3, 2019

Dear Kathy, Bruce, Sheila and Ann,

Wanted to send you a proper “Thank you!” after all your hard work selling our property on Longmeadow for us. Such a relief for me personally and helps us all re-focus on the most important thing in Celebration, our Dad’s health and well being.

Convincing my brothers to sell was the hard part. And watching you all work (from afar) and manage the property was smooth and easy. I cannot thank you enough!

We’re now heading into winter in Auckland, New Zealand and will come for some good ole Florida heat in August. I’ll pop by and say hello!

All the best, Steve Brennan and Family (April 2019)


A word from our Customer

April 3, 2019

“Kathleen and her team are the best in Celebration–period. She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to our community, which comes in handy when navigating the pitfalls of buying and selling in a community with very little inventory. I have used Imagination for several transactions and would highly recommend working with them.” David