Is the Market Unbalanced?

And what would that mean, anyway, if the market was unbalanced? First let’s look at what it means to be balanced. The market is said to be balanced when the average month’s supply of inventory is at 6. And what that means in simple language is that if no other home came on the market, the current homes on the market would sell within 6 months. That 6 month supply of inventory is considered “balanced” because there is about an equal amount of supply and demand. 

Right now the real estate market is showing the supply of inventory to be at 3.8 which means that demand is strong. To back that figure up is another figure – 66. The time it takes to sell a house right now is averaging 66 days on the market. This is a pretty quick selling time and the two figures together show there is a high demand for the existing inventory. Are we running out of houses? Is this a reason for concern?

No, not at all. This figure has to be viewed as a part of the larger picture. For several years we had a market that was almost stagnant. Homes sat on the market month after month. Buyers could not get financing, sellers could not get a good price, and the market was down. Now the market has swung in the opposite direction and that is good. We want the market to respond to the jobs market picking up and the easier lending guidelines that banks are following. We want sales to speed up and sellers to be smilingly handing the keys over to happy buyers!

So we are happy that things are a little unbalanced in favor of demand to correct for the time we’ve had in the last couple of years. Time for a little celebration! The market will settle down and the supply and demand will balance themselves soon enough. In the meantime, we’d love to list your house for you. If you own a home in Flagler County and you’ve been waiting for the market to correct, i’s time to sell!

 

 

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Census Data

A blog post about census data recently caught my attention. The post showed that some states have a population that is getting younger. That means the median age in some states has moved down. What that does not mean is that they have found the fabled fountain of youth. It also is not a positive phenomenon. The states that got younger are, by and large, cold dry states with the exception of Hawaii. North Dakota is on this list. How can North Dakota get younger? Two ways: the first is simple, younger people are going there to work in the oil industry that is booming at this moment. The second is something you see all over the northern states, older people who have the income and health to be mobile are moving out.

The oil boom in the Dakotas is relatively recent. But since the era of the railroad and cars, people who could afford to bought winter houses in Florida and then eventually stopped going home. Why go home when you are happy where you are?

In their home states many citizens can only golf until the course closes in November. The first day of boating may be the Memorial Day weekend. The planting and growing season may be May to October. But here in the land of sunshine, golf can be every day if you want it to. There’s no particular date you can put your boat in the water or go for a long bike ride. Your lawns slows down but is not covered by a blanket of snow, and your car does not ever wear a sheet of ice.

So when you look at Florida and see an “aging population,” remember that these are the people who knew what they wanted and got it. They made it. They worked hard in their youth and now they are sipping an iced tea in a beach chair! Now that’s the way to age gracefully!

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How Happy Are People Where They Live?

According to a Gallup Poll conducted in April of 2014, people are feeling restless. The poll took a look at two aspects:

  • How many people would move if they could
  • How many people are planning on moving in the next 12 months

gallupThe states do not stack up exactly the same. The state where the most people would move if they could is Illinois, followed by Connecticut, Maryland, and Nevada. The states where people are actively planning to move are: Nevada, followed by Illinois, Arizona and Maryland. Apparently many people would move away from Connecticut if they could but are not immediately planning to. Here is a link to the original poll.

Florida is way down the line on those “we want to move away” lists. For the most part, people who move here are happy and productive. They make lives for themselves and enjoy them. They go to work and on the weekends they play golf, fish, or grill out in their backyards.

Florida has had fewer home sales in 2014 than we had in 2013 same quarter. But, year over year, the home prices have continued to trend upwards and foreclosures are down. That’s good news and a sign that Florida is more stable than it was a year ago. We also notice more homeowners taking on DIY home improvement projects and more homeowners opting for new roofs, new appliances, and new flooring. Those are all signs of confidence in the housing market and also confidence in their own county and neighborhoods.

At RE/MAX we see buyers come in for all kinds of reasons. But many are from out of state or out of the area, and many move here due to the weather and the relaxed lifestyle. They are often some of the proudest citizens because they have “chosen” their new location. We’re glad they are enjoying Florida. If you would like to enjoy Florida too, visit www.JimmyAndAnnette.com and get ready to pick out a house.

 

Fishing Around for a New Home?

To someone from out of state, Florida is one long strip of land surrounded by beaches. And that is not a completely inaccurate description of it. To home-buyers who like to fish, the first thing – and sometimes the only thing – they think of is deep sea fishing. They look forward to the day when they can charter a boat and go out to land the “big one.”

But Florida is considerably more than that, both geographically and when it comes to fishing. Take Flagler County, for instance. There is the great Atlantic Ocean that borders Flagler County from north to south along the east coast of Florida. That is a favorite spot of blue-water fishermen and women for a day’s excursion on one of the man charter boats available in the area. But you do not have to take a boat, you can travel to Flagler Beach and stroll out on the public fishing pier and catch plenty of fish without leaving firm footing!

PierThe next body of water is the Intracoastal Waterway. Slightly inland from the ocean, this is a waterway formed both by design and by the function of coastal barrier islands. The result is a long, salt-water stretch that goes down most of the east coast of Florida – definitely down the east coast of Flagler County, just a very few miles west of the Atlantic Ocean. Numerous native birds and fish gather around the Intracoastal and the marshy area that borders it so on any outing to explore it you may come across catfish, egrets, owls, manatees, porpoises and even deer along the banks. You can put in at any boat dock and use your motorboat, kayak or canoe to check out the scenery and the fishing. Again, if you don’t like the idea of a boat there are several public docks that you can fish from in the Intracoastal.

All the way to the west border of Flagler County is Crescent Lake. This lake is popular for canoing and kayaking, fishing and water-skiing. Several wildlife management areas are on the shores of Crescent Lake. So imagine yourself fishing in Flagler County – did you paddle out in a canoe? Sail out over the waves in a schooner? Or are you waving from the dock in Flagler Beach? No matter what, you’ll have a great time!

 

 

 

 

Onward and Upward

The statistics are in and the first part of 2014 looks really good. And not just for real estate! As you know, no one segment of the economy is in a universe all its own so as a rising tide raises all ships so does general economic growth help across the board. RE/MAX’s stats show us that March and April continued to rise in home prices and home sales by volume.

LaramieDriveAccording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida gained 34,000 jobs last month, posting the third highest gains in the nation, behind only Texas and California. Some of that growth in jobs may be directly related to the housing market as carpenters, roofers, and construction trades go back to work on new developments. Additionally, as home values rise, home-owners are willing to put money into their homes again. The DIY craze that saw everyone upgrading their homes and some flipping them during the early 2000’s fell flat after 2008 when many owners were under water with their mortgage or unwilling to put money into a home when the value was falling. Now those same homeowners are more optimistic and they are buying tile, painting, re-roofing and putting in new bathrooms. Again, that puts people back to work. Back to work:

  • As handymen
  • At hardware stores
  • At lumberyards and tile centers
  • At hauling away scrap

So the whole economy is slowly moving ahead for Florida and that is good news for both current Florida home-owners and people who are interested in moving here. Either way, investing in the state of Florida is a good move at this time.

If you’re wondering whether you should buy a home or investment property in Florida, please call us. We’ll be happy to tell you the in’s and out’s and assist you in finding just the right dream home or investment vacation rental. We know the area, we’ll help you feel like an expert! 386-931-0487

Internation Interest in American Homes Rises in 2014

International buyers are taking an interest in American residential property after 2013’s excellent property value numbers. Countries showing an interest are diverse and range from the United Arab Emirates to Switzerland and Germany. Search engines report data showing web visitors in other countries doing searches for homes on popular online search engines such as Google, Trulia, and Zillow. A recent report by RealtyTrac shows an increase of 95% in International buyer interest. Read more here.

In many cases, US homes are seen as a good investment by savvy buyers who have watched the market start to recover from the plunge of 2008-2009. As the prices rise, these buyers hope to get in on the early trend and benefit from the increasing home prices. Many want the homes as an investment, but many more say they are interested in long-term vacation properties or retirement properties.

States poised to take advantage of this market include mostly southern states including, of course, Florida. Palm Coast is already a fairly International city with citizens from Russia, Czechoslovakia, Portugal, and Poland living along side American-born citizens in well-kept neighborhoods. One of the attractions of Flagler County has always been the friendliness of the local people and the natural beauty of the county. Having a gorgeous coastline and beautiful weather certainly does not hurt us!

If you have thought about selling, now might be the best time. The market has rebounded, buyers are looking, and home prices are continuing to rise or holding steady. Call for a comparative market analysis today and find out what your home is worth. It may be more than you think! You can reach us at 386-246-8585 or visit us on the web at http://www.jimmyandannette.com

Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home is an exciting step. In many societies, having your “own” home confers a measure of social status on you. You are no longer temporary, you’ve made a commitment and purchased a large asset. It can also be a little frustrating if you do not know what to expect.

The process that takes the most time can often be qualifying for a mortgage. If you do not have a banker that you want to go through, your real estate agent can often suggest some local options that he or she has worked with before. The mortgage lender can lead you through the prequalifying process and let you know what to expect from them. They may pull your credit and make recommendations regarding loans you should pay off. If a family member is helping you with the down payment your banker can tell you the best way to handle that. They will also determine what price range of house you can qualify for. This is an important first step because it is a guideline that has to be followed.

Now that you know what you can afford, your agent will want to know about your lifestyle and preferences. Do you want to live near a good elementary school because you have young children? Maybe you have a boat and have been hoping to buy a home on a canal or lake. These are questions that will guide your Realtor® in helping you find just the right property. As you are looking at houses, give your agent feedback. What did you love or hate about the last house you saw? What would have changed your mind about it? Did it need to have more square footage or did you think the roof was too old? Your ability to put your thoughts into words will help guide your agent to the right houses to show you.

Finally, think about the way the house is being sold. Is the house a foreclosure or a short sale? Is it being sold by a family currently living in it? A foreclosure, and especially a short sale, may take longer to get to closing because there is more paperwork involved. Ask your agent what is a realistic time frame. In the end you will have a key in your hand for your very first house! Welcome Home!

Birchview

Choices, Choices

Are you moving to the Palm Coast area from out of state? Many people do. They relocate to the area because of the beautiful natural resources like the Atlantic Ocean, the birds, the dolphins, the manatees, and of course, the amazing weather. But when they get here sometimes they are not sure what they really want. It is almost as if we have too many choices. Well, let’s look at them.

Waterfront living. Flagler County boasts an unusual amount of homes with water frontage. Some are directly on the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, some are on our Intracoastal Waterway, some are on small lakes, and some are on canals. Is a waterfront home right for you? If you’ve always wanted to own your own boat, fish off your own dock, or get up every morning and walk on the beach, then your answer may be an enthusiastic, “Yes!” But think that over carefully. It comes at a price and sometimes maintenance and upkeep are more expensive too due to the corrosive nature of salt air, and the need to maintain your dock and seawall in addition to your home.

Golf Course living.  Palm Coast and the Hammock Dunes area have an amazing number of championship golf courses that are either public or membership dependent. If you live in one of the golf communities, you may want to purchase your club membership and play to your hearts content as well as enjoy the social amenities of the clubhouse, dining facilities, tennis, fitness and more. This will add to the purchase price of the house and to the yearly cost of living there but may be well worth it if you have been living for the hours you can be on the course.

Beach living. Whether you choose a condominium or estate home in the Hammock Dunes area or a cute little three bedroom, two bath a block or so from the ocean in Flagler Beach, the beach lifestyle has tremendous allure.

Last, but by no means least, you can buy a home in one of the pretty neighborhoods of Palm Coast. Your home may not have a canal and it may not be on the golf course or the beach. But wherever you live in Palm Coast you are never far away from any of those amenities. Ten minutes gets you on the links or strolling down the pier. Where do you want to live?

southlakelake golfcourse cfiles27149 southlakelake IMG_1680 IMG_1677 canal

Is a Condominium Right for You?

A lot of people buy real estate in Florida for a variety of reasons. Some of them are looking for an investment, maybe they want to flip the property, rent the property out long term, or use it as a short term vacation property to bring in income. Others are looking for a home to retire in and enjoy the relaxed Florida lifestyle they’ve waited all their lives for. Some are building new families and still others are downsizing now that they are empty-nesters. One of the first decisions to be made seems like a simple one: single-family home or condominium?

For many people the decision is immediate. They like one or the other and have never given the question serious thought. But really, if they did they might reconsider their choice. For one thing, many people do not want to deal with landscaping and exterior maintenance. Single mothers, couples who work long hours, even people who work and travel find the burden of caring for a yard, trimming hedges and mowing to be both time consuming and exhausting. They don’t want to paint the exterior or fix gutters. Then there is the question of amenities. Very few single-family homes come with a golf course, pool, tennis court and fitness center. Some subdivisions offer golf course homes and a clubhouse and pool, but nearly every condominium has at least a pool and clubhouse. And many condominiums in Flagler County come with far more, or have membership in a club available that grants you access to some very luxurious extras.

Concerned about security? Often condominiums have an advantage there as well. Upper level units give peace of mind to residents, secure entry, secure elevators, and a gated entrance all make living there easy for someone who is worried at night or on their own. And lastly, the social aspect of many condominium communities is not without charm. If you have recently relocated to the area, having a community that regularly has events or get-togethers at the pool pavilion or clubhouse might really be an asset.

If you have never thought about a condominium before, now is the time!

Stormy Weather

The beginning of 2014 has been a particularly turbulent one. Storms have lashed the United States almost from end to end bringing power outages, serious traffic snarls, foot after foot of snow, and even scattered deaths. Structural damage has been intense with roofs giving out under the weight of snow, strong winds tearing at buildings, signs and landscaping, icy rain and hail lashing at everything in their path. We know it is a powerful winter storm when it impacts southern cities like Atlanta, Georgia.

Naturally, any series of storms that disastrous has an effect on the housing market. Closings are delayed or cancelled, homes that just passed inspection have to be repaired or re-inspected due to damage, buyers suddenly change their minds based on snowfall, and lenders loan guarantees expire before the loan can close. That was particularly true this year according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report which released data showing 7.1% less volume in home sales this January over last. The lesson here is that numbers are not all driven by buyer trends or the economy. Sometimes the weather shows us just how powerful it can be and we have to understand that slower sales had more to do with extreme weather conditions than any other single factor.

On the other hand, home prices continue to rise when we look at January 2014 vs. January 2013. Some metropolitan areas like Detroit, Michigan, are having double-digit home price increases that are directly attributable to stimulus efforts in their depressed area. When homes are selling for $1 and new business investment is beginning to be made, buyers find themselves willing to take a risk and eager to get in on the ground floor. In Florida, we don’t need an infusion of business investors to make people ready to buy. Florida has always seen top numbers of people eager to move to the land of sun and fun, and that can only be increased by the storm experiences all of the states to the North of us have been experiencing.

All indicators so far look good for a successful 2014 in the world of Florida real estate!

remaxnumbersJan14