New Luxury Enclave

April 18, 2017

The first two model show-homes are complete! Central Florida’s newest enclave featuring in-home spa services and extra kitchens geared for catering is a reality through the Four Seasons Resort.

These are the country’s first single family homes affiliated with Four Seasons, according to Walt Disney World.

Buyers in the new neighborhood may use the resort’s golf course, clay tennis courts, adult-only and family pools, lazy river, water slides and weekly “dive-in” movies. They may dine at the resort’s six restaurants or book in-home catering and spa services.

Like other residents of Golden Oak, Four Seasons home buyers also can use the Summerhouse club with its concierge services, lounge, fitness center, restaurant and entertainment rooms.

All buyers become club members and the annual dues are $16,889. Homeowner association dues cost $24,514 for Four Seasons Residences, compared to $5,735 in most neighborhoods within Golden Oak.

 


Existing-Home Sales Stumble in July

August 25, 2016
Call today to get more information on the market in Celebration. 321-939-1300. Kathy can do a free market analysis of your home if you are thinking of selling.
Slowed by frustratingly low inventory levels in many parts of the country, existing-home sales lost momentum in July and decreased year-over-year for the first time since November 2015, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Only the West region saw a monthly increase in closings in July.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million in July from 5.57 million in June. For only the second time in the last 21 months, sales are now below (1.6 percent) a year ago (5.48 million).
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says existing sales fell off track in July after steadily climbing the last four months. “Severely restrained inventory and the tightening grip it’s putting on affordability is the primary culprit for the considerable sales slump throughout much of the country last month,” he says. “Realtors® are reporting diminished buyer traffic because of the scarce number of affordable homes on the market, and the lack of supply is stifling the efforts of many prospective buyers attempting to purchase while mortgage rates hover at historical lows.”
 
Home sales are still expected to finish the year at their strongest pace since the downturn, thanks to a very strong spring,
 
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage dropped from 3.57 percent in June to 3.44 percent in July. Mortgage rates have now fallen five straight months and in July were the lowest since January 2013 (3.41 percent). The average commitment rate for all of 2015 was 3.85 percent.

Baby boomers chart new direction in housing

August 23, 2016

NEW YORK – Aug. 22, 2016 – Economists are having a tough time figuring out what housing market moves baby boomers will make next. Americans over the age of 55 are veering from previous generations, opting not to retire but instead launching second or even third careers. They are shunning the traditional patterns of retirement, and that could have a big impact on their housing choices, according to a Freddie Mac Insight report.

Baby boomers are a critical piece to the housing market puzzle. Americans over the age of 55 make up a quarter of the population and control about two-thirds of the single-family home equity in the nation. Sixty-five-year olds who, on average purchased a home 35 years ago now tend to have a home value that is likely 3.7 times the purchase price.

Nearly a quarter of baby boomers recently surveyed by Freddie Mac say they need major renovations in their current home in order to stay there as they age – and many say they face financial constraints to take on those remodels. And some of the baby boomers may be underestimating the financial costs of outfitting their home with age-in-place features, says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

As a result, about 18 million homeowners over the age of 55 may be shopping for another house in the next few years, according to the Insights Report.

Unlike earlier generations, however, baby boomers’ main reasons to move aren’t due to downsizing. Instead, the survey showed the key influences making these generations move are: Affordability of the community, the need for retirement amenities and a home with less maintenance.

Bottom line, the authors note: The 55-plus population is likely to be an active part of the housing economy for years to come still.

Source: “Boomers Ignoring Conventional Housing Wisdom,” Mortgage News Daily (July 19, 2016)

© Copyright 2016 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD


What do you do if floodwater rises unexpectedly?

August 19, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. – Aug. 17, 2016 – Due to recent flooding in Louisiana, FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is offering the following tips on what to do after a flood to ensure that local residents are aware of hazards as they re-enter flooded areas and guidance on filing flood insurance claims for those who have coverage through the NFIP.

“We encourage area residents who are not insured for flooding to protect themselves from the financial costs of future floods by obtaining flood insurance through the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program),” FEMA adds. “You can learn about the NFIP and FloodSmart, the marketing and education campaign of the NFIP, by visitingFloodSmart.gov.

During a flood

  • Move to high ground. When it floods, go to higher ground. Avoid areas subject to flooding. Be aware of streams, drainage channels and areas known to flood so you’re not cut off from your evacuation routes.
  • Watch out for water. Don’t walk across flowing streams or drive on flooded roads. Moving water just six inches deep can knock you off your feet and cause an injury. Even two feet of water is enough to sweep a car off the road.
  • Listen for updates. Listen to the radio or TV for information. Be sure to follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • Turn off power. Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if advised to do so. Don’t touch any electrical devices if you’re wet or in standing water.

After a flood

  • Check for damage. Check for structural damage before re-entering your home. If you suspect damage to water, gas, electric or sewer lines, contact authorities.
  • Remove wet items. Immediately remove wet carpeting, furniture and bedding. Any item holding moisture can develop mold within 24 to 48 hours. Clean and disinfect everything touched by floodwaters. Get cleanup tips at the Center for Disease and Control’s website.
  • Plan before you repair. The rebuilding decisions you make now to lower your risk and insurance costs can result in big benefits over the long term. Contact your local building inspection or planning office or your county clerk’s office to get more information.
  • File your flood insurance claim. To file your claim, you’ll need your insurance company’s name, your policy number and a phone number where you can be reached. Take photos of any water in the house and anything damaged in your home. Make a detailed list of all damaged or lost items.
  • Ask about disaster assistance. Federal disaster assistance might be available if the president has declared a federal disaster. When available, this assistance typically comes in the form of a loan and must be paid back with interest.

Rebuilding

  • Understand your flood insurance claim and policy. If you have questions, call 800-621-3362 and use Option 2.
  • Get a repair permit from your local building official. A substantial damage determination is required for building repairs in the Special Flood Hazard Area. A building that is damaged to 50 percent of its market value or greater is considered a substantially damaged building, which requires that all repairs meet local flood damage prevention ordinances. That determination is a factor in future premium rating for a flood insurance policy and is needed for Increased Cost of Compliance claims.
  • Learn more about ICC (Increased Cost of Compliance Coverage). You may be able to obtain up to an additional $30,000 toward elevating, relocating, or demolishing your home to comply with the local floodplain management requirements. Ask your adjustor about opening an ICC claim.
  • Ask about mitigation grants. Grants for elevating homes may become available because of the flood event. Ask officials about applying to the State of Louisiana on your behalf for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding.

For more information

  • Contact your local building inspections or planning office or county clerk’s office to get more information on local building requirements before repairing your structure. If you can’t find a local contact, call your state NFIP coordinator.
  • For more information about flood insurance, visit FloodSmart.gov. To financially protect your property with a flood insurance policy, call your insurance agent or call 800-427-2419 to find an agent near you.

© 2016 Florida Realtors®


Americans Are Feeling Wealthier, More Upbeat

June 17, 2016

Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index zoomed to an all-time high in May as consumers get more upbeat about their paychecks and home selling. In May, the index reached a reading of 85.3, which follows an 18-month low reached in March.

Three of six components the index measures registered increases last month, led by a 7 percentage point increase in the number of consumers reporting significantly higher income than a year ago. Also, the number of consumers who expect home prices to increase over the next 12 months rose 5 percentage points. Consumers were also upbeat that mortgage rates would decrease over the next year as well.

That said, the index indicator on whether it’s a “good time to buy” dropped 1 percentage point to an all-time survey low in May.

“Continued home price appreciation has been squeezing housing affordability, driving a two-year downward trend in the share of consumers who think it’s a good time to buy a home,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The current low mortgage rate environment has helped ease this pressure, and fewer than half of consumers expect rates to go up in the next year. While the May increase in income growth perceptions could provide further support to prospective home buyers as the spring/summer homebuying season gains momentum, the effect may be muted by May’s discouraging jobs report.”

Here’s a closer look at additional findings from Fannie Mae’s latest index reading:

  • 29 percent of Americans say now is a good time to buy a home, a drop of 1 percentage point from March and an all-time survey low for the second consecutive month.
  • 52 percent of consumers believe now is a good time to sell a home – an all-time survey high.
  • 42 percent of Americans believe that home prices will go up.
  • 72 percent of Americans say they are not concerned with losing their job, a drop of 2 percentage points from March.
  • 18 percent of Americans say their household income is significantly higher than it was a year ago, up 7 percentage points from March and at an all-time survey high.

Source: Fannie Mae


The annual hot home buying season starts April 1

March 16, 2016

TAMPA, Fla. – March 14, 2016 – Sellers, start your pressure washers. Buyers, hold off on purchasing new furniture for your future abode.

April 1 marks the beginning of sellers’ season for residential real estate, a four-month span during which more than 37 percent of homes for sale in the Tampa Bay region will get new owners.

Right now, it’s a sellers’ market, but that doesn’t mean those putting their homes on the market don’t have to spruce up and make repairs before sticking that sign out front.

“You have buyers coming out of the woodwork after the winter and looking to purchase,” said Daren Blomquist, chief economist for real estate research firm RealtyTrac. And a lot more houses will go on to the market, so there will be competition.

“Homes tend to sell faster in the spring because of the demand,” Blomquist said. Once school starts winding down, people are ready to look for their new locations.

“The first thing sellers need to do is look at their house with a critical eye,” said Barbara Jordan, immediate past president of the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors. “They really need to look at curb appeal, number one. Pressure wash the driveway, make it bright, get rid of the mold from last summer’s humidity and rain.”

Weed out the flower beds and throw down some new mulch, Jordan said. And pressure wash the front door – first impressions matter.

It is also really important to make sure all major systems in the house are functioning, including electrical, plumbing and air conditioning.

“If you have been living with leaking fixtures for months, fix them,” Jordan said.

A roof can be a real show-stopper, she said. “In order to get insurance, a roof must have three years of life left on it. The typical lifetime for a roof is 15 to 17 years. If you are coming up on 12 years, you need to take a critical look at it.”

Realtor.com suggests all homeowners do their own walk-throughs. Look for leaks under sinks and around toilets, water stains on ceilings or near doors and windows, wood rot around outside doorframes or window ledges.

Cracks in walls and floors or doors that don’t shut correctly can be red flags to buyers, Realtor.com warns. Inspect for these things inside and outside the house.

In between all that, get rid of the clutter, Jordan said. “Too much stuff and boxes in corners need to go.

Patio areas, especially in Florida, can sell homes, she said. “Make sure the patio is pressure washed, get rid of the weeds between the pavers and put out some flowers.”

And here’s a critical tip, she said. Get wide-angle professional photos of the house that can be posted on the Internet. That’s where buyers will first find a house they are interested in purchasing.


Average rate on 30-year mortgage falls to 3.62%

February 26, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) – Feb. 25, 2016 – Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week as anxiety over the global economy persisted. Long-term rates resumed their decline after being unchanged last week following six straight weeks of easing.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage slipped to 3.62 percent from 3.65 percent last week. That puts it well below the 3.80 percent it marked a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages declined to 2.93 percent from 2.95 percent last week.