7 Housing Trends for 2013


As 2013 comes to a close and real estate experts predict where the housing market is headed in 2014, a look back reveals several trends.

“In 2012 we saw the housing market recover and, going into 2013, we expected continuing recovery,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS®. “Instead, the recovery accelerated a lot faster than we anticipated, which was great for sellers and for the 75 million homeowners who saw their home values appreciate.”

1. Housing Prices Rose Faster Than Expected

The national median listing price was $179,900 in January 2012 and rose to $180,000 by December 2012, according to realtor.com® research. The pace of price appreciation accelerated quickly over the year to reach a median list price of $199,500 by September 2013.

2. Mortgage Rates Rose but Remained Low

“We expected mortgage rates to rise in 2013, and they started to increase in the late spring, but they’re still very affordable when you look at rates on a historical basis,” Yun said. “They just aren’t at the super-low point we saw earlier.” According to Freddie Mac, 30-year fixed-rate loans were as low as 3.45 percent in December 2012 and rose to 4.49 in September 2013. Barry Habib, co-owner and chief market strategist for Residential Finance Corp., said mortgage rates are likely to stay low and perhaps even drop between now and March 2014.

Housing Trends - Mortgage Rates

3. Bidding Wars Returned

The combination of rising prices, low mortgage rates and low inventory led to a sense of urgency among buyers and the return of bidding wars, said Don Frommeyer, president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. According to realtor.com® research, inventory in 2012 reached a high of 2,083,710 homes on the market, then steadily declined to a low of 1,583,497 homes in February 2013. At the end of September 2013, 2,210,000 homes were for sale, approximately a five-month supply.

Housing Trends - All Cash Buyers

4. Housing Affordability Remained High

“Housing affordability has come down a little this year because of double-digit home value appreciation and the fact that income isn’t rising in comparable amounts,” Yun said. “Rising mortgage rates, even though they’re still low, also have an impact. While affordability right now is at a five-year low, it’s still the fifth highest for the past 30 years.”

5. All-Cash Buyers Continued to Be a Strong Market Segment

Yun said a continuing surprise is that about one-third of all home purchases were made with cash, a market share that has been consistent for the past three years. While some of these cash buyers are from overseas and some are institutional investors, others are “mom and pop” investors who have had trouble getting financing. “Even some owner-occupant buyers are cash buyers because of the excessively tight underwriting standards for loans,” Yun said. “Some people are getting help from relatives to buy, and then they plan to take out a home equity loan later to repay them.”

6. Mobile Apps Accelerated Connections Between Buyers, Sellers and REALTORS®

Nearly every REALTOR® and brokerage in the country introduced a mobile app this year to make it easier for buyers and sellers to access information from their smartphones and tablets, including realtor.com®. “Everyone realizes that it’s inconvenient to be tied to a desktop when you’re looking for housing-market information and homes,” Yun said. A recent study by Google and the National Association of REALTORS® found that 68 percent of homebuyers used a mobile app during their home search and 89 percent used a mobile search engine at the onset of the home-buying process and throughout their research

7. Rising Rents and Pent-Up Demand Pulled More First-Time Buyers Into the Market

“Right now we’re seeing replenishment of renters who want to buy homes,” Habib said. “At the peak in 2002, nearly 70 percent of people owned homes and 30 percent were renters; now 65 percent of people are homeowners and 35 percent rent. Not only are rents rising faster than home prices in many markets, but there’s pent-up demand from people who don’t want to live at home with their parents and who want to buy a home.”


Lakewood Ranch ready to double residents and businesses!


The number of residents and businesses in the master-planned community of Lakewood Ranch are expected to almost double over the next decade.

To that end, the community straddling Sarasota and Manatee counties is moving forward with expansions in both its northern and southern districts — the most ambitious push by Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc. since the market spiraled into recession some six years ago.

Growth already is taking shape north of State Road 70 — where nearly 700 acres of empty cattle pastures could soon give way to several thousand homes, new hotels and a retail hub that would rival anything now offered in the ranch.

If it comes to fruition, the proposed Lakewood Centre also will add elements of new urbanism to the community — with homes conveniently located within walking distance of work and entertainment.

The project dovetails with the new Mall at University Town Center now under construction and housing subdivisions sprouting along the Interstate 75 corridor, developments that have pushed the majority of the region’s new projects to mostly rural areas to the East.

“It’s not all going to come out of the ground tomorrow,” said Todd Pokrywa, SMR’s vice president of planning. “But we envision this as a place where business could be the foundation. I think we’re positioned well.”

The proposed Lakewood Centre will be north of State Road 70 and south of Malachite Drive, between Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and Pope Road.


Plans call for 4,683 new residences, more than 3 million square feet of commercial and retail space, and 300 hotel rooms. The project has an estimated completion date of 2026.

Coupled with 4,500 additional residential units also planned as part of a northwest expansion in Lakewood Ranch — and a push by SMR to build near its southern borders in Sarasota County — Lakewood Centre could more than double the community’s population of about 16,000.

Manatee County commissioners approved a change to their master comprehensive plan in 1999 that allows SMR to move forward with the mixed-use development. Company planners have spent the years since scouting other town centers, in areas like Palm Beach and Colorado, for ideas.

Now, they are ready to build.


The first phase of Lakewood Centre already is underway, with the completion of the Lost Creek Apartments on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard. Just north of State Road 70, the 272-unit complex debuted in January 2012 and was fully leased within seven months, according to SMR.

Thanks to that response, the Winter Park developer that built Lost Creek shelled out another $3.2 million in September to buy 17 more acres next door. There, the company plans to build another 256-unit apartment complex, records show.

Creekside Ranch Apartments LLC took out a $24.3 million loan from Synovus Bank to finance that September land deal and the subsequent development of apartments on the site, court records show.

SMR sold 24 acres of land in late November to a multi-family housing developer that plans to build another 280-unit apartment complex there.

DD Sarasota II LLC, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Davis Development, bought the site for $3.8 million. Representatives from SMR confirmed Davis Development intends to build the complex at Pope Road near State Road 70.

Pokrywa said residential development will continue to be the focus of Lakewood Centre throughout 2014; commercial and retail projects will follow later, when enough residential building has taken place and sold to support it.

“The (housing) begins to create the critical mass that allows the office and commercial to follow,” Pokrywa said. “Lakewood Centre will help reduce some of the trip lengths by putting more jobs for households within Lakewood Ranch. That helps the idea of live, work, play.”


Because Lakewood Centre could take more than a decade to complete, the flexibility of the current zoning approvals are key, Pokrywa said.

That is because it is hard to foresee if the market will continue humming for that long without another economic hiccup.

But even when Southwest Florida’s housing market came crashing down in 2007, Lakewood Ranch did not feel quite as much pain as other parts of the region did. And now that the market is recovering, Lakewood Ranch appears to be leading the way.

The new urbanism design — and higher density — of Lakewood Centre also is poised to bode well for baby boomers who are expected to migrate to Florida over the next several years. These empty nesters are among the roughly 76 million soon-to-be retirees born between 1946 and 1964 who are leading the state’s robust housing recovery.

For that reason, industry observers are confident demand will support the northern expansion over the long run.

As of Oct. 31, builders had sold 518 new homes in Lakewood Ranch this year, an 8.1 percent increase from the same time in 2012 and a 55.6 percent jump from 2011. At the same time, only about 145 resales are listed on the active market, and 321 homes are under various stages of construction.



Like its residential component, the 3 million square feet of commercial space in Lakewood Centre will be rolled out in phases, with commercial nodes in different areas of the community.

Lakewood Ranch planners say it is still too early to gauge the nature of the anticipated retail. Much will depend on need, market conditions and what other projects — including the Mall at University Town Center — are built.

But current trends bode well for future Lakewood Ranch commercial development.

Already, the 2.3 million square feet of total commercial space in Lakewood Ranch has the lowest vacancy rate in the region, at 8.3 percent, according to figures compiled by the two counties’ economic development offices.

That compares with 13.1 percent in downtown Sarasota; 26.1 percent in unincorporated Sarasota County; 22.2 percent in Manatee County; and 29.4 percent in downtown Bradenton, records show.

SMR envisions more ground-floor retail in Lakewood Centre, with small offices and condominiums on upper levels — similar to the design of Lakewood Ranch’s Main Street.

The master plan also calls for trails that will connect the different uses in Lakewood Centre with other villages of Lakewood Ranch to improve walkability.

Article courtesy of: http://www.heraldtribune.com


Interested in buying or selling in Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota or Bradenton Florida? Call the C & G International Realty Today! 941-556-5030 or 941-266-3872. We would be delighted to help you in your real estate needs!


The C & G International Realty Team

Angela Cegnar~ Marty Garcia ~ Nancy Curtis ~ Theresa Shelley – Keller Williams Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota FL 

Selling Your House During the Holidays

Don’t wait until the new year to list your property

It’s the holidays and you have a house to sell. Isn’t it best just to wait until after the new year before putting it on the market?
here is 11 good reasons why you should list your home during the holiday season.
  1. People who look at your home over the holidays are serious buyers.
  2. Serious buyers have fewer homes to choose from over the holidays as most sellers take their homes off the market. That means less competition for you and more money for you.
  3. Since the supply of homes will drastically increase in January, they’ll be less demand for your particular home. Less demand means less money.
  4. Houses show better when they’re decorated over the holidays.
  5. Buyers are more emotional during the holidays and tend to spend more money on getting your price.
  6. Buyers have more time to look over the holidays and can come during the weekdays.
  7. Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons.
  8. January is traditionally a month where employers have to move so they can’t wait until springtime. They have to buy now so you’re there to capture that market.
  9. You can still be on the market and you can have the option to delay your close or restrict your showings during those six or seven days if you want to celebrate the holidays.
  10. You can sell now for more money and provide a way for you to delay that closing and extend your occupancy until next year.
  11. By selling now, you have the opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer for next year when houses are less and you’ll have more opportunities to choose from. 

Article Courtesy of Realtor.com



Trends: The top issues that will impact real estate



According to an industry expert at the “Top 10 Issues Affecting Real Estate” session at the 2013 National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Conference and Expo, interest rates will rise and capitalization rates will too. Those two issues topped the list of upcoming changes that will impact the real estate industry.

Scott Muldavin, president of The Muldavin Company Inc., a consulting firm in San Rafael, Calif., shared his insights into the top issues that could potentially impact homeowners, real estate markets and the industry in the coming years.

According to Muldavin, historically low interest rates have driven the economy and real estate markets in recent years; but as rates start to rise, it could raise capitalization rates – the ratio between the income produced by an asset and its cost – which could create anxiety among real estate investors.

“Interest rates are going to rise significantly, so my advice is to be careful about your investments today and lock in those low rates if you can,” said Muldavin.

Healthcare is also an important issue with real estate implications. As the U.S. population ages, demand for senior housing with go up. That will change the configuration and size of available housing, and it will increase the need for medical care, which will create a demand for expansion among medical facilities.

Muldavin said there’s been a capital market resurgence, which is good news for residential and commercial real estate. In commercial markets, transaction volume is up, credit is available, underwriting has loosened and a full range of debt options has returned. For residential markets, underwriting remains tougher, but rates are near historic lows currently and affordability remains high.

Future housing demand from echo boomers, the 80 million Americans born between 1982 and 1995, will also impact real estate markets.

“We are the only developed country that has had an echo boom, and that’s a positive thing if the country can react and respond to it,” said Muldavin.

Echo boomers often prefer a more flexible and active urban lifestyle. They rely heavily on mass transit, and are often willing to trade home size for location. However, Muldavin said that the suburbs are fighting back with better mass transit, new bike paths and repurposed properties to attract more future buyers.

Climate change and more extreme weather patterns will also have an impact on coastal homes and many other properties across the country. Muldavin cited the impact of recent storms like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and how property owners in these markets are now dealing with changes in code and zoning standards, and they’re paying significantly higher insurance premiums.

As always, unknown events can also impact the real estate market, and they can sometimes do it quickly – like major global events, such as acts of terrorism, war, global debt crisis and financial and economic downturns. “The risk of future events is high, and while it’s always hard to anticipate these risks, they need to be considered because their impact is often great,” said Muldavin.

Increased natural gas and oil production in the U.S., which has an impact on the economy and environment, is another issue with real estate implications. Muldavin said there’s been an increase in fracking and oil and natural gas production in recent years, and while this is creating greater employment opportunities and reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil, it’s also contributing to climate change, environmental degradation and contamination.

Muldavin also cited globalization as a trend to watch. While that benefits many U.S. markets, it also puts real estate at risk for foreign investment losses since the real estate market becomes more tied to the economies of other countries.

Another issue to watch: how new technology will impact office spaces. Muldavin said many corporations are already creating work-from-home policies and other mobility solutions that allow individuals to work when and where they want. That change could significantly reduce office space requirements.

“Many people are replacing physical items with electronics and free or virtual products, such as e-books and smartphones enabled with cameras, GPS and flashlights,” he said. “This means businesses will continue to require less retail space, so I believe the trend in the future will be for fewer and smaller stores.”

For real estate, Muldavin said the impact of the Internet on bricks-and-mortar retail stores is a growing issue. He said retail demand is down across the country due to an increase in Internet sales, which are expected to rise from the current 6.5 percent to nearly 15 percent by 2020.

Sarasota-area home prices rise 12.8% in September! What is your home worth??

Home price increases in Southwest Florida continued to outpace state and national gains in September, data provider CoreLogic says.

While some expect home prices to cool in the months ahead, late summer brought another round of double-digit gains regionally.

Single-family home prices in Sarasota and Manatee counties rose 12.8 percent in September over last year. Prices climbed 14 percent in Charlotte County on a year-over-year basis.

Both markets topped the 12.1 percent average increase in home prices throughout Florida and the 12 percent gain nationally.

Prices ticked up 1.2 percent in Sarasota-Manatee and 0.2 percent in Charlotte County from August to September, CoreLogic said.

Local home prices have posted double-digit gains all year as compared to 2012, driven by low inventories, pent-up demand and cash-rich investors eager to make deals.

But a recent report by CoreLogic Case-Shiller predicted that home prices will rise just 3.6 percent in Sarasota-Manatee — and 4.3 percent in Charlotte County — through mid-2014.

“We are seeing a slowdown in the rate of price appreciation over the past few months from the rapid pace experienced over the first half of this year,” said CoreLogic CEO Anand Nallathambi, in a statement. “This deceleration is natural and should help keep market fundamentals in balance over the longer term.”

Excluding distressed sales, over-the-year prices jumped by 22.2 percent in Charlotte and by 12.4 percent in Sarasota-Manatee. Distressed sales include short sales and real estate owned transactions by lenders.


The nationwide price increase for all home sales was the 19th consecutive monthly improvement.

“September marked the unofficial five-year anniversary of the start of the housing crisis,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “The five-year home price appreciation for all homes in the nation was 3.4 percent.”

The firm’s housing price index is at its highest level since May 2008, he said.

Despite the gains, home prices in Florida remain 37.7 percent off their peak, the second-highest level in the nation. Nevada was first in that category at 41.4 percent.

States with the highest over-the-year home appreciations were Nevada, at 25.3 percent; California, at 22.5 percent; Arizona, at 14.6 percent; Georgia, at 14.4 percent; and Michigan, at 13.9 percent.

Prices did not decline in any state in September.



Credit to herealdtribune.com for the article

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