Florida “Numero Uno” in Aug. for Short Sales and Foreclosures

Yeap, they say it’s over… I don’t think so. Hey, at least we’re number one in something… sorry for the sarcasm. I see this everyday when I go into the tax rolls, and I always point it out to my wife who is also in Real Estate.

I act for some of my customers as their buyer at auctions, and it hasn’t been busier since 2008.

According to the RealtyTrac August 2014 U.S. Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report, Florida ranked No. 2 nationwide for distressed sales – short sales, REOs (bank-owned homes) and foreclosure auctions.

However, the state outpaced all others in two of the categories: Short sales and foreclosure auctions, which ranked No. 1. In REO sales, seven other states recorded more.

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Three days only: Tax-free holiday on some appliances

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sept. 16, 2014 – While Florida’s school-sales-tax holiday makes headlines in August, a lesser-publicized tax holiday on energy-efficient appliances takes place this weekend, Sept. 19-21.

The tax holiday covers qualifying Energy Star and WaterSense products, and sales tax won’t be collected on the first $1,500 of the price during the tax-free weekend. Energy Star products use at least 10 percent less energy, and WaterSense products use at least 20 percent less water.

The list of qualified products includes selected ceiling fans, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, light bulbs, clothes washers, bathroom sink faucets, showerheads and more. Consumers are limited to one tax-free purchase of any item that costs more than $500, and it doesn’t apply to any rentals or repairs. There are no quantity limits on items that cost less than $500.

The holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 19, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21.

Qualifying Energy Star Products

  • Air purifier
  • Ceiling fan
  • Clothes dryer
  • Clothes washer
  • Dehumidifier
  • Dishwasher
  • Freezer
  • Light bulbs (packages)
  • Refrigerator
  • Room air conditioner
  • Swimming pool pump
  • Water heater

An Energy Star item must be designated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Energy as meeting or exceeding the requirements under the Energy Star Program. An Energy Star label must be affixed to the product.

Qualifying WaterSense Products

  • Bathroom sink faucet
  • Faucet accessory
  • High-efficiency toilet or urinal
  • Showerhead
  • Weather or sensor-based irrigation controller

A WaterSense item must be recognized as water efficient by the WaterSense Program sponsored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. A WaterSense label must be affixed to the product.

For more information, visit the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

Did you read the book?

First time buyers spend a lot of time reading on the internet how to buy their first home. Although a lot of useful information can be found in different blogs, most don’t paint the “real” picture of what’s going in the market right now. Most blogs or “books” paint an ideal situation, or something that applied when they wrote the book, or simple something that’s a good idea in a different state.

This information often make the prospective buyer miss out on a couple good buys as they learn what the local market is really doing. What can us REALTORS do? Not much. We have to be patient and let the buyer learn on his own. Unfortunately, I hear one too many times: “Man, that house we saw first was really a good deal”

My suggestion, is to talk to different REALTORS to get a better opinion on how to go about winning that right home early on. A common statement we use in the business when we see an offer that tells the story of an inexperienced buyer is: Did he read the book?

Home Price Ease Sign Of A Normal Market

After a period of sharp increases, home price gains began to slow last fall. The trend – which has continued ever since – is an indication of a more normal housing market, according to David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. The latest S&P / Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index found that, though up from one year ago, home prices are increasing at an ever-slower pace. In fact, all of the cities covered by the index showed lower annual rates for the first time since February 2008. According to Blitzer, the trend – along with other positive housing indicators, such as housing starts, existing-home sales, and builders’ sentiment – is an indication that the housing market is normalizing. And, in addition to contributing to a more balanced market, slower price gains, combined with mortgage rates still hovering near historic lows, mean more opportunities for buyers this fall. The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are considered the leading measure of U.S. home prices. More here.

Housing Market Continues To Stabilize

Since hitting its weakest point in September 2011, the housing market has made a 23.3 percent rebound, according to Freddie NeighborhoodMac’s most recent Multi-Indicator Market Index. The index – which measures local housing markets in all 50 states based on several fundamentals, including home purchase applications, payment-to-income-ratios, and proportion of on-time mortgage payments – found that most markets, though still weak, are trending upward. Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said as we see the economy slowly normalizing we’re starting to see its effects in the housing market as well. In fact, according to Nothaft, the bigger housing markets – some of which were among the hardest hit – continue to improve. Evidence of that improvement can be seen in recently released housing data showing positive gains in existing-home sales, new residential construction, and builder confidence. After a disappointingly slow start to the year, local markets are getting a boost from encouraging economic data and an increasingly stable job market.