Florida Real Estate | Progress in Jacksonville Points to Likely Turnaround

Posted by John Sabia on Monday, August 25th, 2008 at 12:40am.

South Florida May Soon Follow As Equilibrium Nears Fort Lauderdale FloridaThe notion of selling a South Florida home in today’s market is daunting for some, if not disappointing for many. A second-quarter report for the Orlando, FL-based Florida Association of Realtors (FAR), however, shows progress being made in several cities throughout the Sunshine State, leaving many wondering when South Florida will follow suit. In Jacksonville, the median prices of existing homes sold between April and June rose from $185,300 to $191,700, a 3.5 percent increase as compared to the first three months of the year, according to the report. FAR president Chuck Bonillo calls the new findings positive, noting he expects Jacksonville to lead the Florida market out of its slump. “Realtors are reporting heightened interest from buyers, more business activity and an increase in pending sales,” he states. “Prices also appear to be reaching equilibrium in many areas ─ another encouraging sign that could boost the market’s momentum.” South Florida, a vibrant mecca for first-time home buyers, foreclosure bargain hunters and real estate investors, reported existing home sales in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach were down 8 and 3 percent, respectively, during the second quarter as compared to last year’s second-quarter figures. But, even with still-sluggish prices, some experts, such as those with Moody’s Economy.com, predict prices reaching equilibrium this time next year. This could be a result of fewer adjustable-rate mortgages resetting along with a steadily improving job market. A drop in foreclosures could really help jumpstart a recovery, too. The FAR report presents a positive outlook for the state in terms of existing home sales in the next several months as we see broader gains in the fourth quarter as first-time buyers take advantage of a tax credit made available through recently approved housing stimulus legislation. Some industry insiders predict a change in the market cycle as early as spring 2009. Moreover, people who are able to buy right now are sitting pretty as interest rates continue to drop and the selection of homes available grows. Today’s buyers have their pick of brand-new homes, not-quite-built homes and older homes in various states of foreclosure. Home sellers are realizing they can’t get top dollar for their 25-year-old home and they’re lowering their asking price. Cases like these can result in some great bargains on homes in high-end neighborhoods that are priced cheaper than some would expect. Even if a buyer ends up paying a little too much, it’s worth it if he or she plans to live in the home for the next 15 to 20 years. Buyers should be more cautious about overpaying for a home if they don’t intend on staying in it for very long. Often times, the media has a tendency to take on a the-sky-is-falling mentality to real estate, painting a picture of a grim market spiraling out of control. The fact of the matter is that it’s unlikely the South Florida real estate market will stay in an ongoing state of doom as long as the long-term outlook for the state and national economies stays positive. Fort Lauderdale Real Estate Home Page

John Sabia

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