Most President’s week vacationers depart tomorrow, but we expect new arrivals as schools up-north begin their winter vacation breaks. Warm weather is forecast into next week, so the beaches and bike paths and roadways will continue to be busy too. Here are some real-estate-related news items, followed by the island MLS action over the past seven days.
New Sanibel Home Permits at 5-Year High
Here’s an interesting tidbit which hopefully will promote more interest in our eight lot listings. Permits were pulled to begin construction of 16 new homes on Sanibel in 2010. This represents a 5-year peak in island new home construction. Building permits for all construction, including remodeling and new homes on Sanibel for calendar year 2010 was recorded at $34,528 million. Upon releasing statistics this month, Sanibel City Manager Judie Zimomra said, “Our trends support the fact that Sanibel remains a desirable community to reside and invest in, even during these most difficult economic times.”
Using Equity in An Exchanged Property for 100% Down Payment
I got an e-mail this week from Dan Royal, Private Mortgage Banker with Wells Fargo’s Sanibel Office. It says “Did you know a buyer can use their equity in an exchanged property for 100% of the down payment on a financed sale? I have funded many mortgages over the years involving exchanges including 1031 Tax Deferred Exchanges. It’s a good tool for your clients with so much equity tied up in real estate these days. Funding is available for conforming and Jumbo loans.” www.wfhm.com/loans/dan-royal/index.page
Florida’s Home & Condo Sales Up In January
According to the latest housing data released this week by Florida Realtors®, existing home and existing condo sales rose in January. Existing home sales increased 14% last month with 12,151 homes sold statewide compared to 10,702 homes sold in January 2010. January’s statewide sales of existing condos rose 36% compared to the previous year. Seventeen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas reported increased existing home sales in January; 16 had higher condo sales.
“Now is a great time for anyone thinking of buying a home in Florida to make that decision,” said 2011 Florida Realtors® President Patricia Fitzgerald. “Mortgage rates are historically low, although they are beginning to tick up slightly as the economy shows signs of strengthening. Conditions remain very favorable for buyers, with a range of housing inventory and attractive prices.”
Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month was $122,200; a year ago, it was $131,000 for a 7% decrease. Analysts with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) note that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in December 2010 was $169,300, down 0.2% from a year ago, according to NAR. In California, the statewide median re-sales price was $301,850 in December 2010; in Massachusetts, it was $285,950; in Maryland, it was $240,000; and in New York, it was $225,000.
According to NAR’s latest outlook, improving economic conditions and strong affordability are positive factors for the coming months. “Modest gains in the labor market and the improving economy are creating a more favorable backdrop for buyers, allowing them to take advantage of excellent housing affordability conditions,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Mortgage rates should rise only modestly in the months ahead, so we’ll continue to see a favorable environment for buyers with good credit.”
In Florida’s year-to-year comparison for condos, 6,681 units sold statewide last month compared to 4,916 units last January for an increase of 36%. The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $79,400; in January 2010 it was $97,000 for an 18% decrease. The national median existing condo price was $165,000 in December 2010, according to NAR.
The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.76% in January, down from the 5.03% average during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac. Florida Realtors® sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
How Do Sanibel & Captiva Islands Fare in This?
Unlike last January/February, the islands are seeing some sales. Already this year, 21 Sanibel condos, 23 Sanibel homes, and two Sanibel lots have sold and closed. Another 65 Sanibel properties are under contract (20 condos, 43 homes, and two lots), but 669 remain for sale with the average number of days-on-market growing, while average sale prices are decreasing. On Captiva, two condos and one home have sold/closed, with another two condos and a home under contract. Another 158 Captiva properties are for sale (63 condos, 80 homes, and 15 lots). Yes, this is huge inventory. We have our fingers crossed that the turmoil in the Middle East doesn’t create more havoc with oil prices, as history has shown us that when gas prices are up, island sales are down. That makes the next few weeks even more important – just eight more weeks of high season remain.
Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity February 18-25, 2011:
Nothing to report.