Saturday, August 18, 2012

In Florida it's looking pretty good...

As mom used to say, “important if true”, applies to the revisions of the sales forecasts real estate gurus have recently made.  All the numbers for Florida look promising, and Englewood is not being left behind.  The only weakness noted is that actual sold prices are not keeping pace, but every other number is better that I would have guessed.

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have upped their take on sales and prices this year and next. “The Freddie Mac House Price Index for the U.S. showed a brisk 4.8 percent gain from March to June 2012, the largest quarterly pickup in eight years.

Freddie now forecasts prices flat in 2012 and up 2 percent next year, an improvement over its June forecast of a .5 percent drop in 2012 and a 1.5 increase in 2013.

Bank of America improved its price forecast for the year from a .5 percent increase over 2011 to a 2 percent increase, citing shrinking inventory and a shift toward short sales.

Even internet real estate site Zillow’s chief economist Stan Humphries revised his 2012 vision, stating: “The housing market has finally turned a corner and he forecasts home values will rise 1.1 percent.” That’s a net change of 4.8 percent in six months.

Let me try to cut through the mumbo-jumbo provided by the egg-heads. In layman’s terms:

We’re halfway through 2012, and in Englewood sales of homes are up 29.5% Last year we sold 95 homes, this year 123 homes. 

Last year in Englewood a home took 87 days to sell, (from the time it went on the market until a buyer was found), this year, homes are selling in 51 days. That’s a 41.4% improvement.

At the rate we were selling houses last year, in 2011 it would take us 11.4 months to sell all the houses we had listed.  This year we will sell all our listings in 6.8 months. And we have more listings too. That’s an improvement of 40%

As I mentioned, the only weakness is the median price actually received by a seller, which is down by 7.4%.  This is a function of the many short sales which seem to often be give-away prices.  But the good news is the average sale price has gone up some 6.8%.  Meaning that the higher priced homes are starting to sell as well.

Fannie Mae is also increasingly bullish on this year’s national marketplace. Within the past month, its economists have changed their price forecast from negative to positive, signaling that they believe prices have bottomed.

Fannie also now sees existing home sales across the US up 8.2 percent to 4.6 million this year, the same level forecast by the National Association of REALTORS®.
Kiplinger’s experts go so far as to suggest housing will lead the overall economy in the second half of the year. “Housing will be one of few brighter spots in a slow-growing economy in the second half of 2012.

Moody’s predicts price appreciation to be modestly stronger in Case-Shiller’s second quarter 2012 report, followed by mild declines through early 2013. It has moved back its prediction for the price trough from fourth quarter 2012 to the first quarter of 2013.

Obviously the impending presidential election is a referendum on the economy.  Jobs are the key to the long term recovery. Job growth provides the dual benefit of stimulating new household growth AND it relieves distressed homeowners.  Today homes are affordable to those who qualify for the low interest mortgages now available, so is it a good time to buy? There has probably never been a better time to invest in real estate.

Dane Hahn is a real estate professional practicing in Englewood.  You can reach him at or by phone at 941-681-0312.  See him on the net at

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