Florida Real Estate Bounces Back After Irma

The most powerful hurricane ever recorded over the Atlantic made landfall in Florida in September 2017, giving homeowners there a stark reminder that every so often conditions in the Sunshine State momentarily turn treacherous.

The statistics surrounding Hurricane Irma, a category 5 storm when it first hit the state’s south-west corner, are alarming – wind speeds of 140-plus miles per hour, evacuation plans for more than six million and insurance claims worth over $5-billion from nearly 800,000 affected property-owners (State Office of Insurance Regulation, as of end of October 2017).

But Florida is accustomed to hurricanes – Irma is hardly the first and won’t be the last – and its residents are well versed in protecting themselves and their homes. Reassuringly, the state-wide building code there, implemented in the early 2000s and constantly updated, has made a significant difference to reducing both storm damage to buildings and injuries to occupants.

Florida has the strictest building code in the country. Most damage caused by hurricane Irma was either natural debris, such as trees, or poorly secured pool cages or shingle tiles from older properties. Unlike inland areas, Naples and the southwest of Florida were hit especially hard in September, due to topographical reasons.

Inevitably, Irma caused a blip in sales and new listings in Florida’s property market in September 2017. Now though there is no reason to delay your search for a Florida property – for peace of mind, be sure that properties you consider are built to storm-proof standards and are not in a flood zone and when you do buy, get adequate hurricane and/or flood insurance.

To learn more about investing in Florida real estate, contact a member of the 9 Core Realty Team.

It’s a (Canadian) Snowbird’s Market in South Florida

South Florida realtors are rolling out the welcome mat to Canadian snowbirds. Brokers who are pushing new, upscale condos north of Miami—from Hallandale Beach to Fort Lauderdale to Boca Raton—say they’re betting on a convergence of promising circumstances to attract Canadians.

Those circumstances include: a sustained, strong Canadian housing market making it attractive for owners to cash out, and an aging population that demands convenience and luxury as retirement nears. Separately, at work in Florida, a spate of new properties offers prime amenities in a soft real estate market. The result, brokers say, is a pool of buyers who are ready to invest in a vacation property in a region that offers easy access and gorgeous weather.

As always, Florida holds the appeal of warmer climates. Winter is typically when the market for luxury vacation properties heats up, but this year it appears to be especially vigorous, some brokers reported, thanks in part to brutal weather in the north.

December and January brought record-breaking cold to Canada, with temperatures in Toronto plunging to -23 degrees Celsius (-9.4 degrees Fahrenheit) on Jan. 5, and during a six-day stretch in Montreal the mercury didn’t rise above -17 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit). Some small towns in the Far North experienced dangerous temperatures as low as -48.2 degrees Celsius, or nearly -55 degrees Fahrenheit.

If brokers were concerned that the storms that walloped southern Florida last year—inflicting billions of dollars of damage from coast to coast—would depress interest in the market, they were apparently fleeting.

Already many Canadians have called Florida home. An established population of Canadian snowbirds can help draw new blood down south as well, brokers said. Some have owned larger homes or older condos in Florida for years and are looking to upgrade to a modern property with an array of services, including 24-hour security, concierge and valet.

Other big appeals are a multitude of restaurants, shopping, the nearby international airport—a nonstop flight from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale is about three hours—and of course, proximity to the beach.

Of all foreigners purchasing homes in the U.S., Canadians have long been among the top buyers in terms of number of units purchased and dollar volume, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2017 report on international activity in U.S. residential real estate. Throughout the U.S., Canadian buyers purchased $19 billion of residential property in 2017, up from $8.9 billion in 2016, the report states.

In the South Florida market, which includes Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties, foreign buyers from all over the world purchased $7.1 billion in residential properties in 2017, up from $6.2 billion in 2016, according to a report released Feb. 8 by the MIAMI Association of Realtors and NAR. Canadians account for 9% of all foreign buyers in South Florida, up from 6% in 2016.

If you are a Canadian snowbird interested in investing in South Florida real estate, contact 9 Core Realty today!

10 states predicted to have strong housing markets in 2018

The housing market in the U.S. has experienced a major uptick over the past two years. In 2016, existing home sales were the strongest they’ve been since 2006. More than a decade after the worst housing crisis in U.S. history, it seems we’re finally in a sustainable recovery period.

As we enter 2018, the housing market shows no signs of slowing, and is slated to remain among the world’s top performers, according to a forecast from Fitch Ratings. U.S. home prices are expected to rise 4.6 percent this year.

Here are 10 states that are predicted to be among the top performers in 2018:

  1. Nevada

Housing forecasts for Nevada suggest that the market will continue to be strong, and that home prices will continue to rise in 2018. The fact that the state is home to Las Vegas — where median home values are expected to rise approximately 5.8 percent over the next 12 months — accounts for much of the market strength. Home values in Sin City rose 8.6 percent during the most recent 12-month reporting period, according to S&P/Case-Shiller’s Home Price Index. The median home price is approximately $285,045.

  1. Texas

Thanks to a booming economy, Dallas and many other areas in the Lone Star state have seen a boom in housing over the past several years. A steady flow of profitable companies continue to relocate, expand, or launch their businesses here, thanks to lower taxes and a lower cost of living. The median home price in North Texas is $339,950. In 2018, home sales are expected to grow by six percent in 2018.

  1. Florida

Led by cities including Deltona and Lakeland, Florida will continue to see a strong housing market in 2018. With the appeal of oceanside living, warm weather, and the ability to live an active lifestyle, Florida’s most popular areas are expected to see a more than 5 percent boost. The median home price in Deltona, the state’s most-booming housing area is $275,050.

  1. California

With the economy expected to continue growing statewide, housing demand is poised to remain strong into 2018. However, a shortage of available homes for sale and affordability constraints make it a more challenging market to get into for homebuyers. Those with top credit scores have a competitive advantage over the competition when it comes to securing a mortgage. One of the fastest-growing areas, Stockton, is predicted to grow its housing market by 4.6 percent, and the median home price there is $385,050. In the most desirable areas, would-be homebuyers have been largely squeezed out altogether. For example, the median price of a home in San Francisco has increased $100,000 in the past year.

  1. Utah

Businesses continue to flock to many parts of this state, making for a booming housing market that’s set to continue into 2018. The Provo/Orem region was recently ranked as the best-performing city by the Miliken Institute, thanks to a robust high-tech sector and broad-based job and wage growth. In Salt Lake City, the median home price averages $360,000, and the market is predicted to grow 3.2 percent in 2018.

  1. North Carolina

North Carolina’s strong housing market is being largely driven by the amount of people relocating there from other states. Home sales are predicted to grow 6 percent in 2018, and the median home price averages $325,000. Charlotte is among the fastest-growing because it has capitalized on the popularity of mixed-use developments that surging in popularity across the country.

  1. Colorado

The home of the Mile High City has seen some of the steepest price increases in housing of any other state in the U.S. over the past two years. While the market will remain strong, it is poised to level out a bit in 2018 to around 3.1 percent. Colorado Springs tops the cities for growth and the median home price there is slated to rise 5.7 percent this year.

  1. Tennessee

Namely in Nashville, the housing market will continue to flex its muscle in 2018. According to a Nashville Realtor, single-family homes in the city’s premier suburbs often fetch multiple offers above asking price “overnight.” Currently the median home price hovers around $358,500.

  1. Oklahoma

Oklahoma City boasts one of the strongest — yet affordable — housing markets as we move into 2018. That makes it an attractive option for those looking to secure a mortgage with a manageable payment. Home prices average $99,000 there, which a bit lower than the national average, and also lower than the statewide median home price of $116,800. Thanks to a lower cost of living, steady job economy, and low crime rate, the state will continue to stay at the top of the U.S. housing market this year.=

  1. Georgia

This “peach” will continue to be sweet in 2018. In a one-year period between July 2016 and July 2017, home values jumped 10 percent. Thanks lower median home prices of $218,350, and a smaller amount of home available for sale, we will continue to see a strong housing economy, particularly in and around Atlanta.

To learn more about investing in the US real estate market contact an expert member of the 9 Core Realty team.

The Natural Disasters of 2017’s Impact On the Housing Market Will Surprise You

Realtor.com recently released research and analysis on the impact of 2017’s natural disasters on the country’s housing market. According to realtor.com most areas saw a delay in– or disruption–to an estimated 18 to 32 percent of home sales in the month of the disaster.

The website compiled data on seven different events including California wildfires and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. They looked at when an event hits, what does it look like with online searches for homes? They found that it did hinder sales and demand in those local markets. About one in four sales were delayed or disrupted.

The information from realtor.com is based on expected sales or page views, anticipated sales or page views for the month if no disaster occurred. Estimates are based on previous month’s actuals and account for seasonality.

Here’s realtor.com’s research on four events:

Southern California Wildfires: December sales not yet available. Realtor.com page views were 2 percent lower than expected.

Northern California Wildfires: Approximately 900 lost home sales, sales 18 percent lower than expected. Views were 2% lower than expected.

Hurricane Irma: Approximately 9,700 lost sales, sales 32 percent lower than expected. Views were 15 percent lower than expected.

Hurricane Harvey: Approximately 3,700 lost sales, sales 24 percent lower than expected. Views were 6 percent lower than expected.

Short-term, there is no question impact includes shrinking inventory and sudden higher demand on rental properties with rising rent prices. For the long-term, the impact doesn’t seem to last. People know the inherent risk of buying homes in areas prone to wildfires and hurricanes and continue to buy there. To learn more about natural disaster effects on home sale or to purchase investment real estate, contact 9 Core Realty today!

South Florida’s housing market is roaring: Should we be worried about a housing bubble?

The median sales price for a single-family home in Brevard County rose more than 19 percent in December 2017, to $227,789 from the same point a year earlier. For homeowners it’s pretty sweet as property values also increase and sellers are able to beef up their asking price if they’re in the market to sell.

But what were once whispers of an overheated housing market are turning into more of an open debate between the “yes, we are” vs. the “no, we’re not even close” camp of a housing bubble.

And what does it all portend for 2018?

Real estate experts are confident 2018 will be just as strong if not stronger than last year, especially if interest rates stay where they are today. Sales prices continue to rise, interest rates are low, and appropriate lending policies are in place. Combined with a strong employment base, 2018 continues to look good.

The latest housing news follows a positive jobs report released last recently by Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity. In Brevard, the jobless rate last December fell to 3.7 percent over the year, with 3,330 more people working than the prior 12 months.

The health of the Brevard labor market also is helping fuel home prices. Sales price increases have been steady over the past five years.  Employers bringing in more jobs — at a higher base salary than average — account for an increase in new qualified buyers and due to lack of inventory the prices naturally rise due to supply and demand. To learn more about the Florida real estate market or to invest in Florida land, contact 9 Core Realty today.

Florida Real Estate Bubble Won’t Burst In 2018 According To Survey

With the national stock market reaching all-time highs in the past year, many real estate experts have indicated that the U.S. real estate market is bound for a bubble burst. That isn’t the case in South Florida, however, according to a new survey released by Berger Singerman. Results from the Florida real estate survey reveal that, thanks to e-commerce advancements, continued foreign investment and the newly signed tax bill, professionals expect South Florida’s real estate growth to continue in 2018.

The e-commerce boom is expected to make big waves in 2018 as 33 percent of survey respondents believe the warehouse/industrial sector will have the highest returns this year, and 48 percent believe that retail will have the lowest returns.

The expected industrial growth is consistent with the enormous activity insiders are currently seeing in the e-commerce marketplace. There is a greater need for warehouses to store products that people purchase online with expectations that they will be delivered in two days (or less). In addition to companies needing warehouse space for storage, real estate groups have seen many businesses purchasing industrial space instead of leasing it, and converting the space into open offices.

Results from the survey show that 31 percent of local real estate professionals expect 2018 will be even more successful than 2017. However, optimism was higher last year with more than half of respondents expecting 2017 to be more fruitful than 2016. Confidence in the market for 2018 was sparked by the improvements in the U.S. economy with 42 of respondents citing it as the primary reason.

The new tax law is expected to be positive for the real estate market. Local developers are upbeat about the new law and its benefits for real estate developers, as well as the anticipation that it will bring back more funds to the U.S. and potentially bring new residents to the sunshine state.

While overall results reinforce confidence, the survey reveals there is still concern over the uncertainty of governmental policies and oversupply, as a noteworthy 62 percent reported those two matters as the most pressing issues facing the South Florida real estate market.

Other key findings include:

  • 69 percent of respondents believe foreign investment in South Florida will remain at 2017 levels or increase, which is up from 63 percent last year despite the new administration’s trade and immigration policies.
  • 61 percent of respondents indicate that the biggest impact of hurricanes are increased building costs.
  • 51 percent of respondents describe the 2018 South Florida real estate market as “competitive”, while 34 percent would use the term “cautious.”

To learn more about investing in Florida real estate and the state of the current real estate market, contact a member of the 9 Core Realty team today!

2017′s robust home market in Sarasota-Manatee holds promise for a strong 2018

Southwest Florida’s residential real estate world is riding a winning streak, and current market conditions indicate continuing prosperity and growth. That’s the consensus evaluation of the robust home market in 2017 and the strong forecast for 2018 among industry insiders in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Residential real estate in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties, in all price points, all home types, continued its consistent momentum through 2017.  Buyer demand has been consistently high and rising, inventory was strong and is expected to rise, and prices are seeing an appropriately steady increase.

The stock market gains of 2017 are translating into strong cash buyers coming into the market. That said, sellers are also feeling quite confident, making for neither a seller nor buyer’s market which makes a Realtor’s job more difficult!

Across the Sarasota-Manatee-Charlotte market, moderately priced home sales — between $200,000 and $400,000 — continue to be very strong with a 9 percent increase in pending and sold listings year-over-year and an 11 percent increase in the number of new listings over last year.

Homes in this price range make up the largest segment of the region’s market at 44 percent of total sales.  With high demand and an average supply, this will force buyers to move quickly and possibly deal with multiple offer situations.

In the midprice market — from $400,000 to $900,000, which comprises 15 percent of the market — new listings fell in 2017, sales dropped at the lower end and were flat at the higher prices. Sarasota proved to be the exception with a 30 percent increase in pending sales in November.

Across the three counties, the residential luxury market — $1 million and higher, with sales representing 3 percent of the total market — went from fairly calm waters to a tsunami over the course of 2017. Closed sales were up only 4 percent in the first six months year-over-year, but surged a staggering 61 percent from July to November. Pending sales rose 18 percent in the first half of 2017, but soared a staggering 59 percent from July to November.

Despite the market hiccup brought about by Hurricane Irma in September, home sales rebounded quickly. Multiple Listing Service data for the Sarasota-Manatee-Charlotte market confirm that point. In November, closed sales reached 546, an 8.8 percent increase from the same month a year ago. Plus, there were 677 new pending contracts, up year-over-year by 16.5 percent.

The Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee describes the current housing sector as a “healthy market” with combined numbers showing an increase in sales, new listings and prices.

The housing market across Florida also continued its positive streak in November, with more closed sales, more new listings, more pending sales and rising median prices, Florida Realtors data shows. To learn more about the region’s market contact a member of the 9 Core Realty team today!

Babcock Ranch sets major milestones in 2017; more to come in 2018

Every day brings a new opportunity to make history at Babcock Ranch.  The environmentally-friendly new town rising northeast of Fort Myers is wrapping up a year jam-packed with historic ‘firsts’ — and looking ahead to many more milestones in the weeks and months ahead.

While construction of the first commercial buildings and homes got underway in 2016, when the history of this town is written 2017 will go down as the year that Kitson & Partner’s vision became reality.

Kitson’s team set ambitious goals focused on the environment, energy, education, technology, health, transportation and storm safety. The new town is the economic engine that made it possible to put 73,000 acres of the historic Babcock Ranch into permanent preservation, and it is designed to be a sustainable neighbor to the preserve. Half of the town’s 18,000-acre footprint will also be preserved as green spaces providing residents with opportunities to connect with nature.

Kitson partnered with Florida Power & Light (FPL) to lay the cornerstone for sustainable development at Babcock Ranch. FPL’s 75MW Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center went online at the very beginning of 2017 — generating enough clean, renewable energy to meet total community demand before the first building was even completed.  The water utility facilities at Babcock Ranch were also completed in early 2017.  In addition to water and sewer, Town & Country Utilities is providing reclaimed water for all irrigation purposes within Babcock Ranch.

A partnership with CenturyLink delivers on Kitson’s promised technological infrastructure.  All homes and businesses are equipped with a full gigabyte of fiber-optic connectivity. Another strategic partnership is introducing autonomous shuttles to put Babcock Ranch on the cutting edge for alternative transportation.

Founders Square came to life in February 2017 as the first buildings in the initial downtown district were completed. During a Founder’s Fest weekend celebration in early March, a ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the public opening of the Discovery Center at Woodlea Hall, Curry Creek Outfitters and the lakefront Table & Tap restaurant. Founder’s Fest also marked the opening of the first model homes in the Lake Timber Neighborhood. More than 20,000 turned out over the course of that first weekend to preview the new town-in-the-making.

The buzz of daily activity stepped up in August with the opening of Babcock Neighborhood School for students in grades K-6, making Babcock Ranch the first new town where education really does come first.

With the school building already at full capacity and more than a100 students on the waiting list, Kitson stepped up the timeline for a central education campus. The full-size K-8 building will open next August with the high school slated to open the following year.

November saw a boom in home sales at Babcock Ranch with the launch of two additional neighborhoods with home prices starting in the $190s. Multiple contracts were signed during the first week of the “Make the Move” promotion and future residents are continuing to take advantage of the pre-construction prices and incentives being offered by all homebuilders. The sustainability features at Babcock Ranch are proving to be attractive to young families and empty nesters alike.

Babcock Ranch will mark yet another huge milestone during the first week of 2018 when the very first residents move in. They won’t be alone for long. The second closing and move-in is set for the middle of January with a steady stream of new neighbors coming close behind.

At Founders Square, the general store, Slater’s Goods and Provisions, will be celebrating its grand opening on Jan. 5. The Health and Wellness Center that takes up the entire east side of the lakefront downtown district is nearing completion starting the countdown toward the next big event in Babcock Ranch history. The town’s official grand opening is set for March 10.

To learn more about investing in Babcock Ranch land and real estate contact an expert member of the 9 Core Realty team today!

Thinking of Investing in Florida Real Estate?

There are probably a more than hundred places to invest in the real estate business in the United States, but the Southern States come into mind a lot. These include Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and more which have great deals just waiting to be grasped. But if you are serious about investing in real estate, you will probably come down to one option which is Florida. The state is one of the best when it comes to attracting many outsiders of the states to buy even including international investors. Investments are made here because of some very solid reasons which are mentioned below. But before you finalize the decision of investing in South Florida, have a look at the following.

Let’s be honest, many of us want to get away from the cold weather in the Cleveland area, if only for a weekend here or there during those harsh winters!

Florida is More of a Rental Market Today

Thanks to the recession, South Florida was effected in many ways. A lot of apartments in the area were converted into condos which led to less and less construction in Florida which in return made it mostly a place where rental market was increasing and the demand for rental homes became the norm. So basically, it became more of a rental property owner’s market.

But the good news is that even if it is mostly a rental market out there right now, the rent is steadily increasing over time. For example, experts say that the rental rate of Florida went up by 5 percent when compared to last year. Many different communities in South Florida are having a different rise in rental demand and each have their own benefits. This makes this market a lucrative one to invest in.

And with rental rates being quite high these days, being a landlord means that you’ll be getting a lot of return on your investment, at least for the upcoming many years as the rent will only be increasing from here on. Since mortgage rates are also very good in Florida, a landlord may decide to give away their property to someone to rent it and pay of their mortgage while they live someplace else.

South Florida real estate is also a great place to invest simply because it attracts a lot of foreign investment in the area. Whether their South Americans, Canadians or Europeans, everyone has heavily invested in the state and more are coming. According to many experts Florida is one of the top housing markets in the USA to have most of its investment in foreign investment. Around 48% of investors from other lands put most of their money into rental properties and vacation homes because of the fact that many tourists and students come to the state. Due to universities in the state, the students are always looking to rent out a property. Hence Florida makes it a great place for someone to invest especially if they are going to turn it into a rental property.

Plus Florida is a great place to live and attracts a lot of people from other states who want to start a new life here.  If you are interested in investing in Florida real estate contact 9 Core Realty today!

NABOR: Naples area home sales slowed in November

Home sales in the Naples area fell in November, as the overall market continues to recover from Hurricane Irma.  Total sales declined by 9 percent over the year to 521, according to the latest report by the Naples Area Board of Realtors.  The report tracks all sales made by its members in Collier County through the Southwest Florida multiple listing service, excluding Marco Island.

Sales have been up and down since September, when Irma wreaked havoc on Collier County and put most Naples area Realtors out of circulation for two to three weeks.  Single-family home sales increased 1 percent over the year in November, reaching 271. However, condo sales fell 18 percent to 250.  Pending sales — or new contracts written — rose slightly over the year, growing by 2 percent to 728.  The inventory of homes on the market was down 7 percent in November, when compared to a year ago. There were 5,322 active listings, down from 5,733 last year.

Irma led some sellers to take their homes off the market. Some properties have not been relisted because they’re waiting on repairs, or their owners have changed their minds after getting new roofs or other upgrades due to the storm.

Buyers and sellers have good reason to be confident as there are many positives on both sides of the fence.  Sellers should get their properties on the market now and buyers should move quickly as multiple offers could occur as a result of the tight inventory.

A tighter inventory is pushing prices up. The median closing price — the price at which half the homes sell for more and half for less — rose 9 percent  to $330,000 in November, up from $303,000 a year ago.  There were 116 cash sales for homes priced below $300,000 in November.  This was higher than expected and may indicate the return of investors to the market.

While sales activity was down in November, local brokers say the demand for million-dollar homes continues to be strong.


Sales in the $2 million and up price segment increased 21 percent for single-family homes and 22 percent for condominiums over the year.

November had a 63 percent increase in pending sales for single-family homes over $1 million. This is a clear indication that high-end buyers continue to find Naples a desirable location for an investment.

To learn more about the Naples real estate market contact an expert member of the 9 Core Realty Team.