Updates from October, 2012

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  • New-Home Sales Rise 5.7 Percent in September

    3:04 pm on October 26, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , ,   Filed under: Agent information, Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, Housing Market, new homes, Real Estate Trends, Second Home Buyers, Statistics, The Housing Market

    Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 5.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 389,000 units in September, according to newly released figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the fastest sales pace recorded since April of 2010.

    “Combined with consistent, positive reports on housing starts, permits, prices and builder confidence in recent months, today’s data provides further confirmation that a gradual but steady housing recovery is underway across much of the nation,” says Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “Consumers who have been on the sidelines during the past few years are deciding now is the time to go forward with a new-home purchase, assuming they can qualify for a good mortgage under today’s exceedingly stringent guidelines.”

    (More …)

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  • Housing Finance Reform Must Provide Reliable Credit to Home Buyers, NAHB Tells Congress

    8:59 am on July 19, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: Congress, Home builders, mortgage regulations,   Filed under: Agent information, Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, Credit, economy, Federal Goverment, Housing Market, mortgage, Real Estate Trends, Second Home Buyers, The Housing Market

    The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) told Congress recently that proposed mortgage lending reforms under the Dodd-Frank Act must be imposed in a manner that causes minimum disruption to the mortgage markets while ensuring consumer protections.

    Testifying before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, NAHB First Vice Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C., said that “NAHB believes a housing finance system that provides adequate and reliable credit to home buyers at reasonable interest rates through all business conditions is critical to our nation’s economic health.”

    (More …)

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  • Builder Confidence Rises Five Points in May

    9:03 am on May 17, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: builder index, , ,   Filed under: Agent information, Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, Housing Market, new homes, Second Home Buyers, Supply and Demand

    Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes gained five points in May from a downwardly revised reading in the previous month to reach a level of 29 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo (More …)

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  • Best Places to Retire 2012 - 10 Great Sunny Places to Retire

    11:37 am on January 26, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: AARP, , Dr. Beach, , ,   Filed under: Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, Retirement, Sarasota, Second Home Buyers, Seller Info, Siesta Key, The Gulf Islands, Tourism, Vacation

    If bright skies and warm temperatures are on your must-have list, these cities fit the bill

     from: AARP | January 2012
    Sarasota, Florida

    If you’ve ever dreamed of retiring on the best beach in the U.S., now might be your chance: Siesta Beach, of the dozens of waterfront strands in and around Sarasota, earned the top beach in the U.S. honors from Dr. Beach for the white sands, crystal water and wide area for sunbathing, playing or people watching.

    Sarasota, which sits south of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is beach-centric but there’s more to this city of 52,025 people than simply embedding toes in sand.

    See also: Ten best states for retirement.

    Start with the arts scene, which includes a renowned Rubens collection at the Ringling Museum of Art, which is adjacent to John Ringling’s Ca D’Zan Mansion, an impressive, if somewhat gaudy, homage to Venetian Gothic architecture. Sarasota also has its own opera house, ballet company, symphony orchestra and multiple theaters, all in a modern downtown surrounded by water.

    The city’s historic neighborhoods include Towles Court art district, which harbors colorful wooden homes, galleries, shops and restaurants. Main Street is ideal for walking — and popping in and out of quaint boutiques and restaurants, along with lively bars. Towles Court hosts regular art walks, featuring works of local artists.
    For non-beach natural diversions, forge into Myakka River State Park, which offers hundreds of miles of hiking trails, campgrounds, cabin rentals and airboat tours. Wildlife here includes red-tailed hawks, otters, foxes and alligators. And for man-made diversions? Golf and tennis are big in Sarasota, with dozens of public and private courses and hundreds of tennis courts. For baseball fans, Ed Smith Stadium is the spring training headquarters of the Baltimore Orioles and home to a minor league franchise.

    Sarasota was hit hard during the housing crash and is still recovering. Foreclosures are a big issue here, but that also means you might pick up a house at a steep discount. Unemployment is above the national average and most jobs are in retail, tourism and hospitality, and thus don’t pay well. But prices of most goods and services are in line with incomes, thus the cost of living index is average.

    Crime is above average here but most residents say they are happy living here, and most are fairly healthy: The obesity rate is below the national average (although the diabetes rate is slightly above average). While there’s no science to prove it, good health and happiness may be linked to hanging around some of the world’s best beaches every day.

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  • Real Estate 2012: Many Positive Outlooks

    11:21 am on January 26, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , ,   Filed under: Agent information, Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, Housing Market, Second Home Buyers, Seller Info, The Housing Market

    by The KCM Crew on January 24, 2012

    There is a growing belief among many experts that 2012 will be the year housing turns the corner and starts heading in a more positive direction. Whenever we write a post like this, we unleash the hordes of critics who say we are again wearing rose colored glasses or are puppets being controlled by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and other industry groups.

    It is for that reason we will not be covering the projections of those groups. Instead, we want to share the beliefs of other organizations.



    Washington Post:

    “Housing Market and Economy Showing Encouraging Signs.”

    The Wall Street Journal:

    “From Bottom Up, Signs of Housing Recovery”

    USA Today:

    “Housing Outlook is More Upbeat”


    “CoreLogic’s chief economist Mark Fleming says housing statistics and the duration of the downturn to date indicate 2012 may be the year the housing market begins to turn the corner.”

    Freddie Mac:

    With the New Year comes a sense of cautious optimism. There are some positive signs in the job market and consumer confidence; housing is starting to raise hopes for continued gradual economic recovery.”

    Fannie Mae:

    “The housing sector will likely take incremental steps forward in 2012 …according to economists at Fannie Mae.”


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  • How to be Top

    11:01 am on January 26, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: global affiliate, home buyer, ,   Filed under: Buyer Info, Global Affiliates, International, Mayfair International, Second Home Buyers

     As we enter a New Year Nick Churton of Mayfair international Realty takes a look at what may lie ahead for the real estate market.  

    Although mature real estate brokers and agents are apt to say that they have seen it all before, this time it is different.  No one has seen this market under this set of national and international financial conditions before.  But what is rather refreshing is that the uncertainty now cuts down the speculation aspect of a home purchase and strips the requirement to buy down to the real and age-old essentials.  This makes for easier choices. 

    Le Corbusier, the pioneering architect, stated that, “The requirements for a house should be to provide a shelter against heat, cold, rain, thieves and the inquisitive”.  He didn’t add that a home should also provide its owner with an investment return of seven per cent year-on-year. 

    For the first time since, perhaps, the 1960s property investment can take more of a back seat in the home buying mindset and, instead, fundamental life requirements can come back to the fore.  Of course with other financial instruments providing so little in the way of return, real estate is a natural arena in which to invest.  But with little or no indication about if or when the market will return in any zest we are left with simpler decisions and choices – does a home suit our requirements in size, location, style and price? 

    It is although our needs have been simplified in the way they may have been fifty years ago.  With less frenzy and greater choice, for a while at least, this may be a very good time to choose a primary or secondary home for all the very best lifestyle reasons. 

    We quickly learn to expect that there is an investment opportunity to be gained from property purchase in a rising market.  But we are rather slow to appreciate the reverse is likely in a poor market and/or in particularly adverse economic circumstances as we have now.

    2011 was a hard year in property and this year may not be much better. We may have new US, Russian and French presidents, more ructions in Europe and the Middle East, and greater privations at home before we see greater improvement. But still there is a reassuring level of market activity that has more to do with need than discretion.  This is the market we have and this is the market we have to deal with – and deal with it we will.

    But real estate buyers and sellers should not be deterred.  Indeed they should be encouraged as the more life there is in the real estate market the more life there is in the economy.  But those still insisting on the sort of financial profit they may have achieved several years ago should perhaps think again and get real. It will be the enlightened that get to the top of the property class in 2012, not those in denial.

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  • Where Are House Prices Headed in 2012?

    9:15 am on January 19, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,   Filed under: Agent information, Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, Housing Market, investment, Median Sales Price, pricing, Second Home Buyers, Seller Info, Supply and Demand, The Housing Market

    by The KCM Crew on January 18, 2012

    There is no shortage of opinions as to where home prices are headed in 2012. From Clear Capital’s expectation that prices will show a ‘slight uptick’ this year to Fitch’s projection that prices ‘will fall another 13 percent’, there seems to be no consensus as to where real estate values are headed. How can there be such a disparity of opinion among industry experts? Prices are determined by the relationship between supply and demand and there are many unanswered questions regarding both of these components.

    Questions about Demand

    Will this be the year that the 5.9 million adults between the ages of 25 and 34 that are still living with their parents decide to purchase a home of their own?

    With mortgage payments lower than rent payments in the majority of the country, will first time buyers finally decide it makes more financial sense to buy rather than rent?

    Will the baby boomers take advantage of the great deals available and start purchasing vacation and retirement homes?

    Will investors continue to purchase large quantities of distressed properties?

    Will hedge funds negotiate a deal with the banks for bulk purchases of foreclosures?

    Questions about Supply

    Will 2012 be the year that builders again increase inventories of newly constructed homes?

    Will baby boomers put their primary residences up for sale and relocate to their retirement destinations?

    Will 2012 be the year that the shadow inventory of foreclosures finally makes its way to market?

    If prices depreciate, it will force more homes into a negative equity situation. Will this create another surge in short sales and foreclosures?

    Will the government put together a plan to convert large numbers of foreclosures into rental properties?

    Bottom Line

    With so many unanswered questions regarding both the demand for housing and supply of properties, it is very difficult to determine where prices will be at the end of the year. We suggest you contact a local real estate professional to help you determine where values are headed in your area.

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  • Luxury and Vacation Homes Are Selling

    9:06 am on September 15, 2011 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , ,   Filed under: Buyer Info, Luxury, Second Home Buyers, Seller Info, Vacation

    by The KCM Crew on September 12, 2011

    It has been a trying time for most segments of the real estate industry. However, two areas that are showing improvement are the luxury home and vacation home markets. It seems that people in these segments are again beginning to purchase.

    Vacation Homes

    Last week Market Watch published an article discussing the vacation home market. Dan White, president of Daniel A. White & Associates, a wealth-management firm in the Philadelphia area, was quoted in the article.

    “A lot of people are worried about the [stock] market today because of the volatility and the fact we could be going into a double-dip recession. They’re looking for other avenues. Real estate, if we’re not at the bottom [in prices], people think we’re pretty darn close.”

    The article also explained some purchasers are seeing this as an opportunity to buy a vacation/retirement home:

    “Some baby boomers are seizing an opportunity to get a deal on a vacation home they can enjoy now but that’s also a home that eventually will become their primary residence when they retire.”

    Luxury Homes

    Along with the vacation home market, the luxury market has also made a comeback. HousingWirereported on the luxury market last month:

    “In the nation’s top 20 markets, million-dollar property sales rose 18% in 2010 with a 21% increase in California, said Laurie Moore-Moore, CEO of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, a Dallas-based firm…

    In Miami, 517 properties sold for $2 million or more during the first seven months of 2011, up nearly 16% from a year earlier.”

    Bottom Line

    If you are in a position to move-up to the home of your dreams or have been thinking about a vacation home for the family, now might be the time to make the move.


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  • Vacation Home Sales Surge Higher

    9:18 am on March 29, 2011 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , , single family homes   Filed under: Buyer Info, Condominiums, Consumer news and advice, Retirement, Second Home Buyers, Seller Info

    By Mike Colpitts

    RISMEDIA, March 26, 2011—In a sign that the housing market is finally making a major move in a positive direction, vacation home markets—some of the most battered in the real estate downturn—are making a surge higher in many of the hardest hit areas of the nation. Condominium sales in Hawaii and Florida are surging higher even as some potential buyers remain hesitant about the economy. (More …)

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  • Florida: Inviting, delighting Anna Maria Island

    11:37 am on December 6, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , ,   Filed under: Anna Maria Island, Buyer Info, Communities, Second Home Buyers, The Gulf Islands

    Thursday, December 2, 2010 – Life With Lisa by Lisa M. Ruth, The Washington Times

    Anna Maria Island, Fl., 

    In our hectic, tense, sometimes even unpleasant lives, Anna Maria Island is an oasis. 

    Although the island is only seven miles long, it has an expansive heart.  It is a place where entrepreneurs value hand-cut, hundred-year-old logs and historic chimneys over bank accounts. Where real estate developer’s brag about friends and tropical plantings rather than profits, and world-class restaurateurs retain a sense of humor and whimsy.  Resort managers sincerely overextend themselves to calm nervous brides and exclusive galleries welcome elderly women who visit daily to listen to the music and talk. 

    Aerial view of Anna Maria Island. Photo credit: Bradenton Area CVB.

    In the City of Anna Maria, there are no mailboxes – residents walk to the post office to get their mail, and there are no chain restaurants or stores on the island.  Largess and generosity are the norm, whether you are a resident, a first-time visitor, or a repeat traveler.  Everyone is embraced on Anna Maria.

    This amazing culture is only half the appeal of the island.  

    Located on Florida’s west coast, only 1 hour from Tampa International Airport, Anna Maria boasts some of the most pristine beaches in the world.  Beautiful white sand meets clear aqua water, and it’s all clean. 

    Without the shadow of boring fast food looming over the skyline, small, individual establishments flourish and create high quality, interesting food. Restaurants are plentiful and extraordinary, from wonderful breakfast quiche to juicy hamburgers to perfect bouillabaisse. 

     There is also limitless opportunity in the “things to do” category.  Water sports include kayaking, sailing, boating, parasailing, and jet skiing, you can fish in some of the best fishing waters in the world, walk on the beach, ride bicycles, visit museums, attend dog costume contests, or large art festivals. 

    Visitors enjoy an abundance of water sports, such as paddle boarding, around Anna Maria.

    Shopping ranges from the usual beach-goer fare to eclectic and interesting. Where else can you find specialty olive oils and bulk herbs and a mural of Elvis as a saint within a few blocks of each other? 

    There are no go-karts, water slides, roller coasters, or extreme sports on the island.  No drive through fast food or cookie-cutter restaurant chains. 

    Anna Maria Island begs one to ask, “Who needs the mundane when you can have the extraordinary?”  Residents and visitors alike celebrate breathtaking sunsets with cheers and bell ringing.  Every day.  Out loud.  They talk to each other and smile and enjoy the day.

    From sitting on white sand beaches, to dining at the finest of white tablecloth restaurants, there is plenty to do at Anna Maria Island. 

    Although it lacks noise and bluster there no shortage of activities.  Foremost, there’s the beach.  It’s hard to be bored when you can spend the day frolicking in the water and the sand, finding shells and body surfing, or reading a book and relaxing.  Anna Maria also has a full-calendar of special events, including a major art festival (Arts Hop) and the always popular Bayfest, as well as several other festivals and parades throughout the year. 

    White beaches of Anna Maria.

    Anna Maria’s location, on the Gulf and the Bay, lend themselves to other water sports.  It has some of the best fishing in the world, and you can fish on the shore, from a boat, or from the beach.  The three Anna Maria piers, the Bridge Street Pier, the Rod & Reel Pier, and the City of Anna Maria Pier, are generally filled with anglers fishing and talking and spending the day.  Many private companies rent boats for half or full day fishing trips, shore fishing or deep-sea fishing.  You can also parasail, jetski, or tube.

    Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures has kayak trips for all skill levels allowing for solo or multiple guided tours including the South Lido Mangrove Tunnels, the Myakka River, the Siesta Key/Turtle Beach, the Longboat Key, the Anna Maria Island, the Egmont Key, the Fisheating Creek , the Rainbow Springs, the Cabbage Key, and the Cayo Costa tour. 

    Tour guides are Master Naturalists and avid kayakers, expertly narrating while pointing out flora and fauna and explaining the history of the location. 

    While all the tours are beautiful, the South Lido Mangrove Tunnels are a unique activity well suited for all ages.  The two-and-a-half-hour trip starts in Little Sarasota Bay, where kayakers are likely to see manatee, dolphin, pelicans, herons, and osprey, as well as other wildlife. 

    It then loops around to the South Lido Mangrove Tunnels, which originally were “mosquito ditches” dug in the 1950s to eliminate standing water which were breeding pools for mosquitoes.  The efforts were abandoned, but they created several “tunnels” through the red mangroves, where kayakers can see the complex root systems of the plants and the animals who live in the tunnels. 

    The tour is relaxing and quiet, a true up-close encounter with nature.  Because there is little currant, it is a perfect family kayak trip in an exclusive location.

    The easiest, best way to see all the island has to offer is by bike.  If you didn’t bring your own, you can visit Beach Bums Bike Rentals, where Diane and Lauren will happily rent you bike, Go-Pets, three-wheeled bikes, surrey bikes, or golf carts. 

    They also rent kayaks and baby equipment.  Diane and Lauren will also point you in the direction of interesting destinations and give you advice about what to see and where to go.  The island-colored store is conveniently located downtown and is a great place to start your tour of Anna Maria.

    Anna Maria oozes charm and elegance and embraces its history even as it moves forward. 

    Change is evolutionary, not revolutionary, and it does happen, even in this protected enclave.  Part of that evolution includes newer shops aimed at meeting the needs of residents and tourists.  The downtown area recently benefited from a redevelopment project that maintained the cultural identify of Anna Maria while upgrading the shops and implementing “green” policies. 

    That effort highlights high-quality, interesting businesses, such as Kelly Karry’s Anna Maria Olive Oil Company.  You can also head back to Ginny’s and Jean E’s, where you can find a huge selection of gifts, or go toward the pier for more downtown shops.  Most stores have a beachy/nautical theme, and there are several excellent T-shirt shops where you can pick up Anna Maria souvenirs.

    Anna Maria Olive Oil Company.

    The Anna Maria Island Historical Society hosts a wonderful museum that includes three buildings, the museum itself, the Belle Haven Cracker Cottage, and the original City Jail.  The building narrates Anna Maria’s history in displays, photos, and historical items.  

    Director Betty Yanger had in-depth knowledge of the history of the island, as well as current day happenings, and is exuberant in sharing information.  Guests can walk through Belle Haven Cracker Cottage, famous for falling off the City Pier where it was originally built, and view the house the way it was originally set up with numerous period items. 

    As an added bonus, the historic society bakes fresh bread on certain days of the week.

    Just a few doors down from the historic museum is the Studio on Gulf and Pine, the cultural art center on Anna Maria.  Owner Rhea Chiles and curator Tommy Fagan have created an outstanding center, with artist exhibits from across the spectrum, classes, and lectures. 

    The breathtaking 8×12 “Myakka Fork” by Jake Fernandez invites guests to gaze literally for hours at the 24-panel wood mural, depicting the natural Florida landscape.  The surface of the wood blocks is uneven, reflecting light differently from every angle, giving it a sense of being alive. 

    Many of the other artists in the gallery, such as Ann Abgott, are local, and all the art is original.  Tommy Fagan has several bells on display in the gallery, which he makes from old dive tanks.  The former blacksmith heats the tanks to just the right temperature to create the perfect sound, making the pieces both beautiful and audibly pleasant. 

    The 5,000-foot gallery includes not only some of the best art on the island, but also one of the best sound systems on the island.  Tommy welcomes residents and visitors to stop in, enjoy the art, talk, listen to the music and relax.  The studio is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1pm to 5pm.

    Anna Maria is truly one of the last great unspoiled family vacation spots, welcoming, warm, and wonderful. 

    “People on Anna Maria are genuinely happy because they want to be here, whether they are residents or visitors,” says Bert Schaefer of Ginny’s and Jane E’s.  She adds, “I do see some sad people here — they are the ones at our Internet Café printing out boarding passes to go home…I feel so sad for them…they always look miserable.”

    To fully enjoy Anna Maria, you have to downshift.  There’s no room for frantic or exasperated.  Relax.  You’re in one of the most beautiful places in the world, with some of the nicest people in the world.  Take a minute to enjoy.


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