Josephine Godinez, PA
June 2009

NAR Chief Economist: South Florida Real Estate Market At Bottom

June 18, 2009 by Josephine · Leave a Comment 

During his June 11th keynote address to the International Real Estate Congress and Expo, NAR Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun made the following statements:

“I think the prices have already pretty much bottomed in the South Florida market,” Yun said. “The rest of the country is more difficult to say but I think here, given the buyers, the prices have already bottomed in Florida.”

Given the growing number of residential deals occurring in South Florida despite no readily available financing, Yun projects that today’s buyers could actually realize some home price appreciation as soon as next year when credit is expected to be available once again.

“Soon you will reach the point of equilibrium where home prices begin to show growth,” Yun said. “It is always difficult to precisely predict. I think that many people who are buying today in this month -  June of 2009 -  if they look back a year from now in June 2010, I think many people will see that they have actually gained in equity.”

Yun cautioned that the South Florida market conditions - a diverse community with limited developable land, attractive weather, and an international appeal -  give the region an advantage over many other areas in the United States.

“There will be some premium attached to Miami, in relation to say Atlanta, Birmingham, and others,” Yun said. “So the price point in Miami will be much stronger when compared to other, say, southern states across the country or even say the rest of America. For that reason, I am very hopeful that currently it is an undervalued market.

“Buyers are recognizing [that]. Sales up about 100 percent from one year before.”

While Dr. Yun’s confirmation of what I’ve already been seeing is welcome, I continue to keep an eye on other contributing factors such as the recent creep in mortgage rates, the pace of foreclosures, the speed at which short sales are approved by lenders and whether or not the higher end of the market ($300k +) begins to break out of its doldrums.

All in all, the news in very positive. It should be noted that Dr. Lawrence Yun, in 2008, was named one of the Top 5 Economic Forecasters in the United States based upon the accuracy of his analysis. He was named to the position of Chief Economist by the National Association of Realtors in 2007.

2901 NW 126th Avenue Unit 2-422 - Sunrise, FL

June 15, 2009 by Josephine · Leave a Comment 

2901_front_lgSPECTACULAR 3 BEDROOM / 2.5 BATH CONDO OFFERS RESORT STYLE SOUTH FLORIDA LIVING. THIS TOP FLOOR UNIT INCLUDES AN UPGRADED KITCHEN WITH GRANITE COUNTERTOPS AND STAINLESS STEEL APPLIANCES AS WELL AS 2 ASSIGNED PARKING SPACES IN THE SECURE GARAGE.

Florida Tops List of Most Undervalued Housing Markets

June 13, 2009 by Josephine · Leave a Comment 

It’s not a surprise given the rapid devaluations experienced in Florida housing markets over the past few years, but alas the pendulum has begun to swing in favor of the Sunshine State.

According to yesterday’s article in CNNMoney, home price declines have sent affordability soaring. Prices have fallen so far that the average U.S. home is now undervalued by 12.2%, according to a new report from IHS Global Insight. “The good news is that the declines are happening as consumer confidence is rising and housing sales and [building] starts seem to be bottoming out,” said Jeannine Cataldi, senior economist for IHS in a statement accompanying the study.

The report claimed the most undervalued metro area in the nation is Vero Beach, Fla., where the median home price has fallen 29.7% since the first quarter of 2005 to $125,400. That is 42.5% below the expectation. Las Vegas prices have dropped more than 46% since 2005, and the city is now undervalued by 40.9%.

To arrive at these figures, the analysis focused on three key factors of home affordability: income, housing densities and historical prices. IHS used that to define statistically normal housing values for a given area and then compared them with the actual prices. The difference between those two figures determines how much a place is under - or over-valued.

“In Florida, there are many condo developments with listings ripe for plucking, either in bunches or individually”, according to Matt Martinez, who represents a private equity group that is investing hundreds of millions of dollars there. He reports that investors are able to make profits of 7% to 8% a year, after all expenses, by buying condos and then renting them at market rates.

The moral of the story? If you are in the market to purchase real estate and are financially qualified, valuation trends and a boat load of incentives make now the right time to make your move. As always, please be sure to consult a qualified real estate professional in order to get the most from your home buying experience. Best of luck!

Sometimes the Little Things Sell the Home

June 9, 2009 by Josephine · Leave a Comment 

While the snippet below from the Wall Street Journal was undoubtedly meant in jest, it did speak to the fact that sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference in selling a home. Adding to the irony of the piece is the fact that Dan Marino resides right here in my hometown of Weston, FL.

Dan Marino Sweetens Home Offer

With three kids in college and a fourth graduating from high school soon, “we’re looking to downsize a little bit,” Mr. Marino says. The former NFL star, who retired in 2000, first put the home on the market in 2006 for $15.9 million. Now, the home is being offered fully furnished, says the listing agent of One Sotheby’s Realty, which is marketing the property with Quintessentially Estates.

Mr. Marino adds, “I’ll leave one football, how’s that?”

Besides a football autographed by a hall-of-fame quarterback, what other items tend to speed along the process of selling your home?

1. If you are a traditional seller (not a short sale or foreclosure), but not a current resident of the property, consider staging the home. It has been documented that professionally staged homes sell 32% faster and for 3% to 10% more than non-staged homes. Staging may also be the way to go for those who currently reside in the home, but who feel that setting a different tone will allow them to compete more effectively with other comparable properties.

2. If you are involved in a short sale, be sure to maintain the property; have the grass cut, clean the pool, touch up the paint and get rid of the dust bunnies. I’ve been involved in many of these over the past three years and recognize that it can be an emotional time for sellers. By keeping the home in good shape, you not only increase the chances of selling the property faster and avoiding foreclosure but also earn yourself some positive “karma points” for down the road. Good advice for all home sellers.

3. If at all possible, sellers of short sale properties should work with their realtor and a trained negotiator to reach a “bank approved” selling price. Many home buyers do not want to involve themselves in what might be a four month short sale negotiation process with one or more lenders. If your property is already approved, you will attract a motivated group of buyers who are ready to close in 30 days.

4. Beyond the basics of curb appeal, make every effort to “de-clutter” the inside of your home. I realize that these are your belongings and that they may have both financial and emotional value, but you must think like the prospective home buyer. A home without clutter appears larger, better-maintained and evokes a more positive response from buyers. If you can afford to do so, rent a storage facility and temporarily move some of the non-essentials. I had a client earlier this year do just that (cleaned out the messy garage, guest room and several closets); the property sold within 20 days of the clean-up after being on the market for five clutter-filled months.

If you’d like to learn more, feel free to contact me at your convenience. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures of Dan Marino’s home - it’s a beauty!

Josephine Godinez, PA