Florida Home Sales Jump as Season Winds Down

Florida home buyers closed on 25,921 single-family homes in March, up 9.3 percent. Condo sales rose 11.4 percent to 11,193. Homes throughout Florida traded for a median $231,900, 10.4 percent more than last year, while condos sold for $171,000, a 9.4 percent gain.

March turned out to be one of the strongest month’s real estate experts have seen in a long time for sales of existing homes in the Sunshine State. Sales for both single-family homes and for townhouse-condo units in March marked the fourth-highest monthly total for any single month over the past decade.

The data shows that inventory levels in the more affordable price tiers continue to fall, especially in the case of single-family homes. The number of active single-family home listings was down almost 5 percent year-over-year at the end of March. As a result, the single-family sector remained a seller’s market, though the inventory situation in the townhouse-condo market appears more balanced.

Nationwide, Americans purchased homes in March at the fastest pace in over a decade, a strong start to the traditional spring buying season.

Sales of existing homes climbed 4.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million, the National Association of Realtors said. That was the fastest sales rate since February 2007.

The U.S. housing market faces something of a split personality: A stable economy has intensified demand from would-be buyers, but the number of properties listed for sale has been steadily fading. The result of this trend is prices rising faster than incomes, homes staying on the market for fewer days, and a limit on just how much home sales can grow. It’s a situation that rewards would-be buyers who can act quickly and decisively.

The pace of sales the state saw in March is unsustainable. Sales may be soaring, but inventory isn’t.

The inventory shortage largely reflects the legacy of a housing bubble that began to burst a decade ago.

Foreclosed properties were snapped up by investors who turned the homes into income-generating rentals, depriving the market of supply. And many owners who escaped the downturn unharmed chose to refinance their mortgages at extremely low rates, possibly making them hesitant to move to a new house that could increase their monthly costs.

This mismatch between supply and demand can be seen in two simple figures tracked by the Realtors.

Sales have risen 5.9 percent over the past year, but the inventory of homes for sale has fallen 6.6 percent to 1.83 million properties. This means there are essentially more buyers chasing fewer properties.

The consequences can be seen in home values and days on the market. The median sales price in March climbed 6.8 percent over the past year to $236,400, significantly outpacing wage growth. And it took an average of 34 days to complete a sale, compared to 47 days a year ago.

To learn more about the current state of the Florida real estate market contact 9 Core Realty today!

Florida Lifestyle Homes’ Taylor to open at Babcock Ranch

Kitson & Partners announced that Florida Lifestyle Homes’ furnished Taylor model is expected to be completed and open for viewing by April 22 in the Lake Timber neighborhood at Babcock Ranch. A second furnished model featuring Florida Lifestyle’s Lauren floor plan is on schedule for completion in 60 days and construction of a third model, the Sydney, will begin shortly thereafter.

Babcock Ranch is a new 18,000-acre eco-centric, solar powered town being developed by Kitson, east of Fort Myers off State Road 31, north of the Lee Civic Center. Lake Timber is the first neighborhood to be built at Babcock Ranch. Each home at Babcock Ranch is being built to Florida Green Building Coalition Certification standards.

Florida Lifestyle’s residences will join Babcock Ranch’s diverse array of residential product choices that includes twin villas by Lennar base priced around $180,000; single-family homes by Lennar base priced at $220,000; single-family residences by Homes by Towne and Fox Premier Builders base priced in the $300s; single-family homes by Stock Development base priced in the low-$400s; and single-family residences by Castle Harbour Homes base priced in the $500s. Completed furnished models by Homes by Towne and Stock Development are open for viewing.

Base priced in the low $500s and situated on 80-by-130-foot home sites, Florida Lifestyle’s floor plans were designed specifically for construction at Babcock Ranch. Each plan includes covered front and rear porches that allow the home to live from front to back. The Taylor and Lauren models will feature interiors by Norris Furniture and Interiors’ Sydney Warren and Luanza Maitland. All paint choices are VOC free.

To learn more about purchasing land or a new construction home in Babcock Ranch contact a member of the 9 Core Realty team!

Cities in Florida, Texas, Ohio, and Nevada Top List of Spring’s “Hottest” Single-Family Markets

RealtyTrac recently released its Top Single-Family Housing Markets Report for Spring 2017, which ranks the nation’s 50 largest housing markets according to current and forecasted housing fundamentals. Among the 50 largest US markets, the top five (in order) were Tampa, Fla., Dallas, Columbus, Ohio, Las Vegas and Jacksonville, Fla., each demonstrating a vigorous combination of consistently strong demand, home price appreciation, and economic and demographic growth. ­

While previous reports have heavily featured Florida markets, this quarter’s list is more diverse. Tampa and Dallas each advanced three spots to take the top two rankings this quarter, respectively. Columbus jumped from tenth to third this quarter, while Las Vegas rejoined the top five metros list after a brief hiatus, rising from ninth to fourth. Jacksonville rounds out the top five, climbing a few spots from last quarter.

Tampa, Jacksonville and Las Vegas have all emerged in the aftermath of a devastating housing bust. While they are still on the road to recovery, they have all made impressive strides benefiting from accelerating population growth and prosperous local economies. This has contributed to both an increase in the local jobs market and increased demand in the housing market. Columbus stands out among otherwise struggling metros in the Midwest as stronger economic and demographic trends in this market have supported healthier housing demand. Columbus has also benefitted from historically lower volatility than most of the Midwest, as has Dallas, which offers a more diversified local economy – a factor that has helped strengthen its housing market despite the uncertainty surrounding oil prices.


The Tampa housing market continues to flourish in its impressive recovery. Metro employment is up 3.1 percent year-over-year and has been consistently growing in the 2 to 4 percent range for five years. Jobs in the two biggest sectors, professional/business services and education/healthcare services, continue to reach new heights and drive nearly one third of the local economy. Median existing home prices continues to rise, topping all major metros this quarter with 13.1 percent year-over-year growth. The metro’s accelerating population growth and positive economic outlook should bolster demand and serve as solid underpinnings for Tampa’s housing market.


The Dallas housing market continues its exceptional performance despite low oil prices that are proving detrimental to other Texas metros as employment growth measures in the low 4 percent range. Home sales remain elevated as they gradually close the gap with their pre-recession peak, most recently rising 2.9 percent from a year ago. Seasonally adjusted prices are at an all-time high after their recent 10.6 year-over-year gain and have risen for 20 straight quarters following a modest downturn. Although prices are more than 56 percent beyond their pre-bust peak, single-family homes remain very inexpensive relative to local income levels. In addition, single family homes are more affordable than local apartment rentals, which should keep demand focused on home buying. Thanks to its diversification, Dallas benefits from superior population growth and a solid economic forecast, both of which should continue fueling the metro’s housing market.


The Columbus housing market is making impressive progress. Year-over-year employment growth is at 2 percent and on par with the growth seen through much of this cycle. Payrolls are now at an all-time high, some 11.2 percent beyond their previous peak. The metro’s professional and business services sector has been more erratic, but continues to rise with 2.1 percent annual growth. Home sales are up 6.6 percent from a year ago and are now at a cyclical high within 10 percent of their pre-recession peak. Home prices are 9.6% higher than a year ago as annual price growth has accelerated to its strongest pace this cycle. Columbus’ population growth and solid economic forecast should continue to bolster local housing demand, suggesting an optimistic outlook for the housing market.

Las Vegas

The Las Vegas housing market continues to thrive in the aftermath of its severe recessionary downturn. The education and healthcare services sector is seeing solid employment growth in the 5 percent range. The small but oversized construction/mining sector is also seeing notable gains, with payrolls now up 7.3 percent from a year ago. Home prices continue to see phenomenal growth, recently rising 9.7 percent from a year ago. Prices have now risen nearly 90 percent since they bottomed out five years ago, yet they remain very affordable at roughly 30 percent below their bubble peak allowing for additional gains. Strong demographics in the metro indicate continued economic expansion, as population growth accelerates and a superior economic forecast portends a bright outlook for this market.


Jacksonville’s housing market is excelling as sales and prices continue to improve in the wake of its severe bust. Though Jacksonville’s expansion has slowed modestly after posting job losses in two of the last four months, the metro’s economy continues to impress with job growth just under 3 percent year-over-year. The sizeable education and healthcare services sector recently saw nearly 5 percent job growth, while the oversized financial services sector is reaching new heights. Existing-home sales are up 7.3 year-over-year and are marching towards their pre-recession peak. Jacksonville also benefits from excellent population growth and has been outpacing the US for over two decades. Accelerated population growth combined with a robust economy should fuel Jacksonville’s local housing market going forward.

To learn more about the spring 2017 real estate market in your area, contact the 9 Core Realty team today.


Lennar to create new Neighborhood at Babcock Ranch in SWFL

Lennar is joining the roster of builders at Babcock Ranch, the nation’s first solar-powered town. Kitson & Partners announced an agreement for a mix of twin-villas and single-family homes at price points within reach for a broader range of homebuyers.

The neighborhood located southeast of Founders Square, adjacent to the permanent school site and community park, will include approximately 180 homes.  Twin-villas at Lennar’s Babcock Ranch neighborhood will start at around $180,000, with single-family homes starting in the $220s.

At Babcock Ranch, the dream features that come standard with every home include a full gigabyte of fiber-optic connectivity, and an environmentally friendly lifestyle powered the 75mw Florida Power & Light solar power plant located within the town. While Babcock residents will pay the same rates for electricity as any other FPL customer, the green-building standards for all homes will lower overall costs because their energy consumption will be significantly lower.

Lennar will be offering their popular Twin Villa Homes, with a new countrystyle design that will fit in well with the rustic motif of Babcock Ranch. These maintenance-free homes will offer 1,417 to 1,564 square feet of comfort and style with two-car garages, two to three bedrooms and a covered lanai. A spacious kitchen and open plan are perfect for entertaining, and the natural light shining through glass sliders will give these homes a breezy, Floridian feel. Each new Villa includes notable features such as granite counter tops, wood cabinets, upgraded tile flooring, and a full GE stainless steel appliance package.

To learn more about purchasing Babcock Ranch land for sale, contact a member of the 9 Core Realty team today!

Here are the nation’s healthiest—and unhealthiest—housing markets

Housing remains in high demand in most of the nation, but the housing recovery looks increasingly uneven, depending on location.

Whether buyers are shopping for their own homes or for investment properties that will throw off some cash, certain markets are becoming far more lucrative than anyone might have expected just a few years ago. Still, some of the hottest markets are falling from grace.

A few of the recession’s hardest-hit housing markets have suddenly some of the healthiest. Tampa, Florida, which lost thousands of homes to foreclosure in the past decade, now takes the title of the nation’s healthiest housing market, at least according to TenX, a real-estate auction and analytics company. It rated locations based on a number of key factors, including population and job growth, unemployment rate and wage growth, as well as industry-specific indicators like inventory and construction.

Florida is recovering very nicely from an economic standpoint. TenX has seen unemployment numbers drop pretty dramatically there. They have also seen job growth and wage growth stick for a few years now, and a very steady increase in both the sales of homes and home prices.

Jacksonville, Florida, also made it into the Top 5, based on the same criteria. Las Vegas made a surprise appearance at No. 4 on the list. That city served as ground zero for the housing crash, clocking the highest foreclosure rate in the nation. Prices there are still about 20 percent below their peak of the housing boom, but that is only adding to the area’s allure.

Not so surprising is No. 2 on the list, Dallas, which didn’t go through the boom to bust that much of the nation did during the recession. The area is seeing consistent employment growth, fueled by its very diverse set of industries of professional and business services, health care and leisure/hospitality. Its population nearly tripped the national rate in 2015.

On the other end of the spectrum, Northern and central New Jersey hit rock bottom of the list. Home prices there are high, while job and population growth are lackluster. Los Angeles and San Francisco are suffering from other ills, namely affordability. Prices are so high and inventory so weak that the potential for both sales and price growth are very low.

To learn more about purchasing real estate in Tampa, Florida, contact a member of the 9 Core Realty team.

Florida Real Estate Markets Remain Hot

Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, higher median prices, increased pending sales and more new listings in January, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 16,779 last month, up 5.2 percent from January 2016.

Florida’s housing market continues to show positive momentum. While existing inventory remains tight, Realtors across the state are reporting interest from both buyers and sellers — and with interest rates expected to rise over the next few months, now is certainly a good time to take action. On the buyer front, new pending sales for existing single family homes in January increased 3.8 percent year-over-year; pending sales for townhouse-condo units increased 6.5 percent. On the sellers’ side, new listings for single-family homes rose 7.6 percent year-over-year, while new townhouse-condo listings ticked up 0.9 percent.

When market conditions are tight, consumers can get ahead by working with a Realtor who’s an expert in the local area. A Realtor will have the knowledge needed to help both buyers and sellers through the complex homebuying process.

Home sellers continued to get more of their original asking price at the closing table in January: Sellers of existing single-family homes received 95.6 percent (median percentage) of their original listing price, while those selling townhouse-condo properties received 94.6 percent (median percentage).

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $220,000, up 10.1 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors research department in partnership with local Realtor boards/ associations. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties in January was $161,000, up 6.6 percent over the year-ago figure. January marked the 62nd month in a row that statewide median prices for both sectors rose year-over-year. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

To learn more about the Florida Real Estate market contact 9 Core Realty today!


NABOR Reports Inventory up, prices steady in February

The inventory of properties for sale in Collier County increased in February and prices held steady, a sign that buyers have more options, according to the latest real estate report.

Compared to this time last year when realtors were challenged to find properties for customers, the February report showed inventory is up by nearly 1,000 new listings, giving realtors almost nine months of inventory to show eager buyers.

At the same time, overall pending sales in February jumped 10 percent and closings shot up 18 percent compared to last year, according to the NABOR report for February. The data does not include Marco Island.

Condominiums in the $300,000 to $500,000 price range were the bright spot in pending sales and condos in the $500,000 to $1 million category hit the sky with a 75 percent increase in closings.

Property listings last month climbed to 6,466 homes, a 16-percent boost compared to inventory of 5,577 the same month in 2016. Condominiums dominated with buyers having 3,207 on the market compared to 2,599 the year before, which was a 23-percent boost in inventory.

High end condo buyers had the largest stock of 284 condos in the price range of $1 million to $2 million to consider, almost double the number compared to 198 high-end options on 2016. The bulk of the luxury condos available are in North Naples.

There were 613 closings last month compared to 518 last year in February. Pending sales last month stood at 1,092 for a 10 percent boost compared to 993 a year ago.

Overall median prices among closings rose just 3 percent to $333,000 last month compared to $323,000 the year before.

The median prices of single family homes that closed slipped 5 percent to $402,000 from $45,000 a year ago.

The area hardest hit was North Naples, which experienced a 29percent decline in closed prices to $650,000, compared to $917,000 last year at the same time.

On the flip side, homes in Ave Maria/Immokalee enjoyed a 29percent price increase at closing to $287,000. A year ago, the median closing price in Ave Maria stood at $222,000.

To learn more about investing in the booming SWFL real estate market, contact 9 Core Realty today.