Monthly Archives: August 2008

Is There Good News on the Horizon?

Sales of existing homes increased in South Florida last month as buyers responded to deep price cuts.

According to the Florida Association of Realtors press release on Monday, Palm Beach County had 652 sales in July, that number is up 8 percent from 605 sales a year ago. The median price of home in Palm Beach County is currently $291,300 falling 22 percent from $372,200 a year ago.

Real estate agents say more prospective buyers are showing interest as sellers become realistic with asking prices. However, analysts expect more price declines through the end of 2008 and into 2009.

Housing experts caution that the South Florida housing market won’t begin to rebound until the double-digit price declines begin to fade away and ultimately home prices start increasing incrementally as sales are.

In an article posted today on MarketWatch.com, Florida’s existing home sales in 2008 have remained level compared to 2007. A total of 11,498 existing homes sold statewide last month while 11,492 homes sold in July 2007, maintaining the same level of sales activity in the year-to-year comparison, according to FAR (Florida Association of Realtors).

More than half of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased sales of existing homes in July; seven MSAs also showed gains in condo sales. Realtors around the state reported increased business activity, including more telephone calls, more home showings and a rise in pending sales.

Below please find a chart indicating statistics for Florida and its 20 MSAs (Metropolitian Statistical Areas). The chart compares the volume of existing, single-family home sales and median sales prices in July 2008 to July 2007 based on Realtor transactions

 Florida Sales Report - July 2008
Single-Family, Existing Homes

Realtor Sales Median Sales Price
Statewide &
Metropolitan Statistical July July % July July %
Areas (MSAs) 2008 2007 Chge 2008 2007 Chge

STATEWIDE* (1) 11,498 11,492 - $193,600 $238,900 -19
STATEWIDE-YEAR-TO-DATE 72,347 83,598 -13 $201,000 $240,100 -16
Daytona Beach 595 575 3 $171,100 $204,600 -16
Fort Lauderdale 581 559 4 $303,600 $373,700 -19
Fort Myers-Cape Coral 768 426 80 $154,900 $246,100 -37
Fort Pierce-
Port St. Lucie 415 371 12 $159,300 $231,300 -31
Fort Walton Beach 217 257 -16 $218,200 $228,800 -5
Gainesville 205 319 -36 $187,800 $199,200 -6
Jacksonville (2) 831 1,073 -23 $180,800 $193,100 -6
Lakeland-Winter Haven 267 253 6 $138,300 $172,600 -20
Melbourne-Titusville-
Palm Bay 478 458 4 $152,600 $195,800 -22
Miami 392 505 -22 $322,700 $377,400 -14
Marco Island (3) 31 26 19 $462,500 $540,900 -14
Ocala 167 236 -29 $140,600 $166,500 -16
Orlando 1,656 1,484 12 $209,100 $258,000 -19
Panama City 111 147 -24 $204,400 $215,000 -5
Pensacola 321 427 -25 $157,300 $173,600 -9
Punta Gorda 200 185 8 $141,800 $179,600 -21
Sarasota-Bradenton 657 711 -8 $230,100 $277,700 -17
Tallahassee 218 250 -13 $205,900 $210,200 -2
Tampa-St. Petersburg-
Clearwater 2,174 2,068 5 $176,500 $215,600 -18
West Palm Beach-
Boca Raton 652 605 8 $291,300 $372,200 -22

(1) * Statewide figure includes data from the Naples Area Board of
Realtors.
(2) Data from the St. Augustine & St. Johns County Board of Realtors was
not available.
(3) Data is only from the Marco Island Association of Realtors.



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The information herein is believed to be accurate but not guaranteed and may be subject to errors, omissions and changes without notice. This is not to be construed as a solicitation of property presently listed for sale. All information is derived from the Palm Beach County Property Appraisers website and the MLS.


The information herein is believed to be accurate but not guaranteed and may be subject to errors, omissions and changes without notice. This is not to be construed as a solicitation of property presently listed for sale.

All information is derived from the Palm Beach County Property Appraisers website and the MLS.

Florida Supreme Court to Review Amendment 5

Florida Supreme Court to Review Tax Swap Plan

TALLAHASSEE – The fate of the Amendment 5 tax swap is in the hands of the Florida Supreme Court.

The First District Court of Appeal in the state capitol today agreed to fore go its review of a state judge’s decision to strip from the ballot the plan that would eliminate most school property taxes, sending the case to the Supreme Court. The seven-justice body must agree to accept the case and hear arguments.

Last week, Circuit Judge John Cooper threw Amendment 5 off the Nov. 4 ballot, ruling that the summary prepared for voters was misleading about the potential effect the amendment could have on school funding.

Amendment 5 would cut Floridians’ property tax bills by one-quarter starting in 2010. To make up for the lost revenue, legislators would have to boost the state’s 6-cent sales tax by a penny and raise billions more in revenues by closing sales tax exemptions and cutting services.

Gov. Charlie Christ and the real-estate industry are the chief supporters of the tax plan, while teachers’ unions and a broad array of business groups worried about a services tax oppose it.

By: Josh Hafenbrack
Source: Sun Sentinel.com
Posted: August 19, 2008

View more information on Amendment 5
Link: http://www.giveme5florida.com/myths.html

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Note: If you are currently subscribed to our Luxury Resort Portfolio Blog you are NOT subscribed to the Mizner Country Club – Real Estate News Blog. Please click on the link today and subscribe to receive all the latest updates of real estate transactions happening at Mizner Country Club. Thank you for all your continued encouragement and support!!!

-Philip and Carla Smith

The information herein is believed to be accurate but not guaranteed and may be subject to errors, omissions and changes without notice. This is not to be construed as a solicitation of property presently listed for sale.

All information is derived from the Palm Beach County Property Appraisers website and the MLS.

Toll Brothers Warn Investors

When it comes to investors, bad news must be shared and Toll Brothers had to prepare them for what it hopes will be the worst.

The company said in a preliminary report Wednesday that its home building sales fell 34.0% in the fiscal third quarter, amid a prolonged housing slump. It also expects $100.0 million to $200.0 million in write-downs during the quarter, related to operating communities, land options and joint ventures.

“Our third-quarter results for revenues, contracts and backlog reflect the continued weakness in most of our markets,” Chief Executive Robert Toll said in a statement to the press. The company plans to announce its final results on Sept. 4.

The housing market has been spinning out of control for the last two years, causing many homeowners to default on loans and abandon their homes. The state of the market has pushed many home builders into bankruptcy. Last week, WCI Communities was the latest to go under.

The company’s home building sales for the three months ending July 31, its third quarter, fell to $796.5 million from $1.21 billion last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected, on average, third-quarter sales of $717.6 million.

Yet-to-be-fulfilled orders fell 52.0% to $1.8 billion from $3.7 billion a year ago. Net contracts, or gross contracts minus cancellations, fell 35.0% to $469.7 million from $727.0 million a year ago. Toll Brothers (nyse: TOL news people ) said it was not comfortable providing guidance, “given the state of the market.”

Frederick Cooper, a spokesman for the builder, told Forbes.com that the firm didn’t release numbers related to its outstanding inventory, but will later in the year. Unsold homes create a serious drag on builders as they are forced to pay maintenance and insurance on their glut and the excess drives down home prices. (See “Falling Prices Haunt New Houses.”)

Luckily for them, home builders caught a break this summer from Uncle Sam. Chief Executive Robert Toll said that the passage of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 “offered a lifeline to many homeowners facing foreclosure, which should help keep more people in their homes and fewer distressed properties from coming on the market.” (See “The Home Builder Relief Act of 2008.”)

Toll said the bill provided an “incentive to new customers to move off the fence and become first-time buyers,” which “may help to restore confidence in the market.”

Shares of Toll Brothers were up slightly, rising 0.9% or 20 cents, to close at $20.84 in New York.

Source: Forbes.com
Posted: 08/13/08
By: Maurna Desmond

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Note: If you are currently subscribed to our Luxury Resort Portfolio Blog you are NOT subscribed to the Mizner Country Club – Real Estate News Blog. Please click on the link today and subscribe to receive all the latest updates of real estate transactions happening at Mizner Country Club. Thank you for all your continued encouragement and support!!!

-Philip and Carla Smith

The information herein is believed to be accurate but not guaranteed and may be subject to errors, omissions and changes without notice. This is not to be construed as a solicitation of property presently listed for sale.

All information is derived from the Palm Beach County Property Appraisers website and the MLS.

New Wave of Baby Boomers Are Ready To Descend On Florida


The Sunshine State is about to boom with Boomers.

Between 2010 and 2030, Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are expected to descend on Florida in even larger numbers and will increase their standing as the state’s largest age group. The reason: They are nearing retirement age, the state’s housing prices have become more affordable and Florida’s tropical climate remains a draw.

“I enjoy warm weather and I want to be close to the beach,” said Frank Moschiano, 50, who on Thursday moved from Albuquerque, N.M., into a two-bedroom condominium in Fort Lauderdale. “The social and professional opportunities in Fort Lauderdale are huge. The real estate prices kept dropping and dropping. … It made it easier for me to afford.”

Boomers made up about 23 percent of Florida’s 15.9 million population in 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2010, they will account for 27 percent of the 19.6 million people expected to be living here.

“The first of the Baby Boomers are just barely over 60 now, so over the next 10 or 15 years you’ll see a real increase in that group,” said Stan Smith, director of the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “Lower [housing] prices could have some impact because historically Florida has been a relatively low-cost place to live but that has been going up in recent years.”

Lured by low taxes and the advent of Social Security payments, throngs of seniors flocked to Florida in the post-World War II economic boom. Their numbers ebbed in the last decade, but Baby Boomers over the next 20 years are expected to reinvigorate the state’s status as a retirement mecca.

Such an influx worries some demographers and social services advocates.

“Florida is going to face a very different racial and cultural gap as the older Boomers age and the younger immigrants come with competing demands on public services,” said William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, a Washington public policy think tank.

Edith Lederberg, executive director of the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Broward County, said there are already waiting lists for seniors needing most types of subsidized in-house services, such as personal care, home-delivered meals and nursing care. “It will get worse before it gets better,” she said. “A lot of Baby Boomers will expect social services to be there for them, and that won’t be the case because funding hasn’t kept pace with the need or demand.”

Robert McFall, chief executive officer of Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast Inc., agreed.

“Florida’s destiny and its demographics are on a definite collision course unless we have the fortitude to invest in those essential services that will sustain a growing older population,” McFall said.

Real estate agents say they are already fielding more calls this summer from Boomers, especially those who live up North. Sparking their interest is the continued drop in home and condo prices, and the large number of foreclosures on the market.

Ron Schulman, managing broker at Majestic Palms Realty in Boca Raton, explained why. He had a condo listed for $70,000 at King’s Point in Delray Beach that sold – after more than a year — for $20,000.

“These Baby Boomers are thinking more about coming here, and they’re realizing now is the time,” he said.

The bargain prices enticed Jim and Debra Ciervo.

“We came for the weather,” said Debra Ciervo, 45, who recently moved from New Jerseyto Tamarac. “The prices are so much lower right now. We got our house for $100,000 less than what is was going for a year ago.”

South Florida’s high cost of living was partly to blame for an unprecedented population drop from 2006 to 2007. According to newly released U.S. Census Bureau estimates, 26 of Broward’s 31 cities lost a total of 15,000 residents, and three of them — Hollywood, Coral Springs and Pembroke Pines — made the Top 10 list of the nation’s fastest-shrinking large cities.

In Palm Beach, 27 of the county’s 38 communities lost a total of 2,238 people.

“I think people got run out of town by the high prices and now that prices and rents are coming down, we’ll see more people,” said Brad Hunter, South Florida director of the research firm Metrostudy in West Palm Beach.

Jim Godino, 59, a luxury-car salesman from Boston, is one of them. He is looking to buy a house in St. Lucie or Palm Beach County.

“I’m just waiting for the house that’s a good bang for the buck that I can make an offer on,” he said. “With the economy the way it is, I will probably have to work, so I’d prefer to be in a place where I can play golf and enjoy the warm weather.”

Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
BY ROBIN BENEDICK and JENNIFER GOLLAN
August 4, 2008

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Please Contact:The Smiths – Luxury Resort Portfolio at (561) 445-2282


Please visit:
The Mizner Country Club – Real Estate News
click on this link: http://MiznerCountryClub-RealEstateNews.blogspot.com

Note: If you are currently subscribed to our Luxury Resort Portfolio Blog you are NOT subscribed to the Mizner Country Club – Real Estate News Blog. Please click on the link today and subscribe to receive all the latest updates of real estate transactions happening at Mizner Country Club. Thank you for all your continued encouragement and support!!!

-Philip and Carla Smith

The information herein is believed to be accurate but not guaranteed and may be subject to errors, omissions and changes without notice. This is not to be construed as a solicitation of property presently listed for sale.

All information is derived from the Palm Beach County Property Appraisers website and the MLS.