Archive for May, 2009

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When smaller is better – house downsizing

May 30, 2009

Is it me or is everything getting smaller?

I know this a luxury blog but luxury no longer equals HUGE. Lavish displays of extravagant wealth are no longer de rigueur. You can be opulent and tastefully small.

I have watched, with our current market conditions, as homeowners are downsizing in record numbers. People still want to be surrounded by beautiful things – just not so much of them. Maybe there is too much of a good thing.

I have also watched people who had extraordinary home settle for something sweet and simple. When the world around you is teetering, just a bit, it is good to have something that is warm and cozy and feels like home.

In the end, this may not be a bad thing at all. Luxury in a box, a delicious, delightful and small box. I think I may try it myself.

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God Bless America – Memorial Day

May 24, 2009

To Honor my father, S.A. PARVIN, B-17 Pilot and former POW, WWII. In Memory of RAY JOSEPH HUTCHINSON, KIA, Mosul, Iraq, December 7, 2003 and to all the other brave sons and daughters who serve our military. God Bless America and God bless our soldiers.

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Mortgage Meltdown affects many

May 21, 2009

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In the article, My Personal Credit Crisis, NY Times reporter, Edmund Andrews shares his descent into the mortgage abyss wherein he borrowed more than he could afford on a house that was over-valued by mortgage brokers who kept offering to “fix” his problems using the collateral in his homestead.

Sound familiar?

The loss of homes and crashing credit is affecting EVERYONE and even the smartest people, in fact, economist, fell for the whole scam. It was simply epidemic.

I have watched as the swine flu pandemic has created hysteria around our nation but nothing, and I mean nothing, will scare me as much as the unregulated lending practices of the past.

May they never return and may someone fix our system so we can get back to the business of selling homes to credit-worthy borrowers!

The entire article (if you want to read it) can be found at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/magazine/17foreclosure-t.html?pagewanted=1&ref=magazine

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Orlando housing market – Surge in sales of lower-priced homes indicate a healing housing market

May 11, 2009

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(May 11, 2009 – Orlando, FL)

Members of the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association in April sold nearly seven times more homes in the lower-price range categories than in the upper categories, which according to economists is typical of a rebounding market.

“Orlando’s housing market appears to be following a recognized healing pattern — from the bottom up — as evidenced by the greater number of sales in the lower-price categories,” explains ORRA President Les Simmonds, L.G. Simmonds Real Estate Corp. ”For example 75 percent of homes sold in April were purchased for less than $200,000, while 10 percent sold for more than $300,000. And, we expect the ratio of sales of lower-priced homes to increase exponentially as more and more first-time homebuyers seek to take advantage of the $8,000 federal tax credit.”

Sales activity in the lower-price categories gradually stimulates sales in other categories as sellers who want to become trade-up buyers are able to sell their current homes.

Forward-looking factors also indicate an improving market: REALTORS® filed 3,412 new contracts in the month of April, nearly double than the number of contracts that were filed in April 2008 (2,012), and are awaiting the closing of a record 5,818 pending sales. There were 103.90 percent more homes under contract last month than in April 2008 (2,853).

The 1,741 completed closings in April is a 41.43 percent increase compared to April 2008 (1,231) and a 0.74 percent decrease compared to last month (1,754). Year to date, there have been 42.58 percent more sales than by this time last year (5,867 to 4,115).

The median price of all Orlando homes sold in April ($132,900) decreased by 37.01 percent compared to April 2008 while the area’s average interest rate increased to 4.86 percent, up from last month’s record low of 4.67 percent.

Of the 1,741 sales in April, 49.68 percent of the homes were either bank-owned (733) or distressed (132). The median price of the bank-owned homes sold in April was $89,900, while the median price of distressed homes was $146,000. The median price for the “normal” homes (876) sold in April was $161,245.

The area’s affordability index continues to nudge the 200 percent mark, 194.01 percent to be exact. (An affordability index of 99 percent means that buyers earning the state-reported median income are 1 percent short of the income necessary to purchase a median-priced home. Conversely, an affordability index that is over 100 means that median-income earners make more than is necessary to qualify for a median-priced home.) Buyers who earn the reported median income of $52,307 can qualify to purchase one of 11,233 homes in Orange and Seminole counties currently listed in the local multiple listing service (MLS) for $257,840 or less.

The first-time homebuyer affordability in Orlando is currently 137.96 percent. First-time buyers who earn the reported median income of $35,569 can qualify to purchase one of 7,027 homes in Orange and Seminole counties currently listed in the local multiple listing service (MLS) for $155,850 or less.

Homes of all types spent an average of 104 days on the market before being sold in April 2009, and the average home sold for 93.14 percent of its listing. In April 2008 those numbers were 120 and 93.18 percent, respectively.

The majority of single-family homes (153) that changed hands in April 2009 were sold in the $200,000 – $250,000 price range. Eight hundred eighty-seven homes sold for less than $200,000 in April, and 159 sold for more than $300,000. On the far ends of the scale, 12 homes were sold for $1 million or more while 102 homes sold for less than $50,000.

Inventory

There are currently 20,194 homes available for purchase through the MLS. Inventory decreased by 1,254 homes from March 2009, which means that 1,254 more homes left the market than entered the market. Compared to last year, the April 2009 inventory level is 20.60 percent lower than it was in April 2008 (25,436).

The inventory level reflects an 11.60-month supply at the current pace of sales, which is down from the 12.23-month supply recorded in March 2009 and equal to the pace during the last quarter of 2006. Altogether, inventory months-of-supply has declined 5.15 percent since January 2009.

There are 14,472 single-family homes currently listed in the MLS, a number that is 4,579 (24.04 percent) less than this time last year. As usual, most (1,755) are listed in the $200,000 – $250,000 price range. Condos currently make up 3,928 offerings in the MLS, while duplexes/town homes/villas make up the remaining 1,794. Most condos (622) are priced below $50,000; the majority of duplexes/town homes/villas (273) are listed in the $120,000 – $140,000 price category.

Condos and Town Homes/Duplexes/Villas

The sales of condos in the Orlando area have increased by 167.52 percent (down from last month’s massive increase of 252.22 percent). A total of 313 condos changed hands in April of this year compared to 117 in April 2008. Nine hundred eighty-three condos have sold to date this year, a 138.01 percent increase over last year’s 413.

The most (148) condos in a single price category that changed hands were in the $1 – $50,000 price range, again nearly three times the number (49) that were sold in the next most populated category ($50,000 – $60,000).
Orlando homebuyers purchased 148 duplexes, town homes, and villas in April 2009, which is a 23.33 percent increase from April 2008 when 120 of these alternative housing types were purchased. The majority (29) of duplexes, town homes, and villas sold in April 2009 fell into the $100,000 – $120,000 price category.

MSA Numbers

Sales of existing homes within the Orlando MSA (Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties) in April were up by 48.26 percent when compared to April of last year. Throughout the entire MSA, 2,178 homes were sold in April 2009 compared with 1,469 in April 2008.

Each county’s year-to-date sales comparisons are as follows:

Lake: 24.67 percent above 2008 (1,142 homes sold to date in 2009 compared to 916 in 2008);
Orange: 64.37 percent above 2008 (3,889 homes sold to date in 2009 compared to 2,366 in 2008);
Osceola: 105.54 percent above 2008 (1,410 homes sold to date in 2009 compared to 686 in 2008); and
Seminole: 6.74 percent above 2008 (1,030 sold to date in 2009 compared to 965 in 2008).

For detailed statistical reports, please visit http://www.orlrealtor.com and click on Housing Statistics on the top menu bar. This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Orlando Regional Realtor® Association or its Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Neither the Association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the Association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. Due to late closings, an adjustment is necessary to record those closings posted after our reporting date.

ORRA Realtor® sales, referred to as the core market, represent all sales by members of the Orlando Regional Realtor® Association, not necessarily those sales strictly in Orange and Seminole counties. Note that statistics released each month may be revised in the future as new data is received.

Orlando MSA numbers reflect sales of homes located in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Lake counties by members of any Realtor® association, not just members of ORRA.

Statistics on the sales of area homes that are sold without the assistance of a Realtor® are available in the Real Estate Index, a report produced jointly by ORRA and the Real Estate Attorney’s Fund.

Copyright © 2009 Orlando Regional Realtor® Association.
All rights reserved.

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Behind the Picket Fence – What is REALLY happening in real estate

May 5, 2009

I find that with today’s social media and news coverage we have a wide variety of opinions on the state of our world from various pundits.

There are prognosticators who predict the end is near, the bottom has dropped and doomsday is just around the corner. “Experts” from all fields want to tell us their idea of what is going to happen in 2009, 2010 and beyond.

Here is what I think. NO ONE REALLY KNOWS. I have listened to people share the most outlandish comments and they are wrong. I have listened to the media pummel us with negativity (sinking stocks, foreclosure mania, closing Detroit down and now swine flu). If there was no BAD news to report…they would make it up. Oh wait…I think they already do.

If I sound cynical – it is because I AM cynical. I am choosing to ignore the hyperbole, the garbage and the embellished “news” reports. I choose instead……..

HOPE

All the aforementioned things do is to create FEAR. I’m sick of fear. I am disgusted with fear. I can’t predict anything and I certainly don’t know when the good times return but I know that there is always HOPE and I’m clinging to it like a mad woman.

Won’t you join me?