Hurricane Irma slowed South Florida real estate deals, but median prices rose, Realtors say

The South Florida housing market got its first glimpse of what Hurricane Irma did to residential sales volume in September and the results can hardly be a surprise: closings for existing, single-family homes in the tri-county area fell by 31 percent, according to figures released by local Realtor boards.

The reports they compiled showed the combined closings in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties declined to 2,735 compared with 3,964 deals completed in September 2016.

There is no doubt that Hurricane Irma impacted real estate activity throughout the month of September. In addition to most businesses losing up to five working days, no closings could take place until FEMA lifted our disaster area status.

It should also be noted that federal-backed lenders required new appraisals on properties under contract due to the hurricane and many buyers and sellers experienced delays in acquiring the services of crews, inspectors and appraisers last month.

Along with the missed days due to the hurricane, September also had a shortened work week with the Labor Day holiday.

Area real estate experts expect a bump in closings in the forthcoming months once homes on the sales block are re-inspected and South Floridians finalize their stalled sales.

The storm did nothing to erode prices, as the medians trended upward. The median price in Broward last month was $357,600, up 10 percent from a year ago, according to the Realtors of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale. Palm Beach County’s median price increased almost 3 percent, to $325,000.

Miami-Dade experienced an increase 6.5 percent, from $314,500 in September 2016 to 335,000 last month, according to the Miami Association of Realtors, which also noted that single-family home prices have now risen for 70 consecutive months.

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $239,900, up 7.6 percent from the previous year.

Similarly, townhouse and condo closing sales also declined about 22 percent throughout the tri-county area, with last month’s 2,738 sales compared to September 2016’s 3,543 sales.

Median prices for townhouses and condos rose in all three counties, reaching $156,000 in Broward, $172,000 in Palm Beach County and $234,000 in Miami-Dade.

To learn more or invest in South Florida real estate, contact an expert member of the 9 Core Realty team.


The Florida Real Estate Market: Was It a Good Investment in 2017?

Are you an investor who’s considering buying a house in Florida? Wondering where your money would yield the highest return?

According to, Florida is indeed a great place to invest in based on last years’ statistics, in general. Still, it really depends on the type of house/condo you buy and in which city. They recommend some research prior to investing.

Here are some facts to get you started

real estate2017 proves to be another strong year for the American economy. In spite of doom and gloom prophecies after president Trump’s election, the economy has been doing better than ever. The S&P has gained more than 250 points since January, and the real estate market has gained an incredible 6.9% .

The question is how did the Florida housing market fare this year? Was it up to par or better than the national real estate averages? Would buying a house at the beginning of the year have been a better investment than others?

Let’s inspect the statistics

Based on a survey conducted on the Miami Herald less than 3 months ago, Miami properties are gaining modestly. Most people believe that we are currently in the middle of a property cycle, but are seeing uptick of interest in buying versus rent which can indicate prices are not stopping anytime soon.

In addition to that, the article indicates that more than a third of the buyers last year are foreign, which beats the national average by a lot. Real-time data from Zillow tells us the people who were surveyed had the right idea about the Miami real-estate market. It has been gaining very modestly in comparison to the national average – only 1.9% this year.

One  particular area which has shown a tremendous growth was single-family homes all across Florida which grew 7.5% in sales, in comparison to last year, based on data from FloridaTrend. In fact, the impact on single-family home prices all across Florida was noticeable, beating the national average on real estate investment by more than two fold!

Florida single-family homes have gained more than 13% so far this year, from an average of $195,000 to $225,000 in September 2017. Another thing that could demonstrate an uptick in interest for single-family homes in Florida is the increase in demand for home warranties, which are bought exclusively by single-family homeowners. These have seen an increase in 2017 based on data from ReviewHomeWarranties’s Florida section.

The Sun Sentinel reports a completely different situation particularly in South Florida. The newspapers’ experts are concerned with  thousands of high end condos and high end single family homes built in the South Florida region which are driving prices down. That concern is spot on, since prices are starting to decrease significantly after reaching a peak in mid-year in Palm Beach.

The average price now for a single-family home is only $4,000 higher than it was in January 2017. Between January and May, single family homes have increased by $11,000, but dropped $7,000 in the following three months. The trend is unique to single family homes, but other high-end condos in Palm Beach have also shown stagnation in 2017 (those peaked earlier in the year and have shown a huge dip in mid-year to recover back to January’s prices in August).

In Tampa, it seems like the biggest upward trend was at around Nov-Dec 2016, and since then there has been somewhat of a stagnation in prices, especially in top-tier assets, but low-tier assets have gained tremendously each and every month this year. From an average of less than $90,000 for a low-tier asset in Tampa, prices have surpassed the $102,000 mark, an increase of more than 11.5%.

Overall, Florida property moved up 8.5% on average this year, and in particular sectors like single-family homes or low-tier houses in Tampa, which have beat the stock market and the national real estate average. Some areas, particularly Palm Beach and Miami, have not shown price growth even remotely close to these figures, but these are areas in which property prices have recovered very significantly in past years, so it is explainable.

To learn more about the Florida market for investors or to purchase investment properties that create ROI in Florida, contact 9 Core Realty today!

The surprising reason why renting is on the rise

The rise of rental housing has been one of the biggest trends in the post-2008 U.S. real estate market. But it isn’t all about falling incomes and unattainable mortgages.

Wealthy and well-educated Americans in large metropolitan areas are increasingly keen to rent, according to a new report by NYU’s Furman Center. Among households with more than 120 percent of area median income, the share of renters grew by 1.2 percentage points between 2012 and 2015, while it fell by 0.2 points among households making less than 50 percent.

The share of renters among well-educated households also grew more quickly than among their less educated peers, the report noted.

Renting households are still far more likely to be poor than homeowners: 41.6 percent of renters earned less than 50 percent of AMI in 2015, compared to 15.7 of home-owning households, the report found. A mere 21.4 percent of renters earned more than 120 percent of AMI, compared to 53 percent of home-owning households.

The report is based on data from the American Communities Survey and covers 53 metropolitan areas with 1 million inhabitants or more.

Large institutions have increased their multifamily investments since the financial crisis, pointing to growing demand from young Americans.

To learn about the rental market in your area, investing in rental home and build to rent homes contact 9 Core Realty today.

U.S. home prices jumped in July even as sales level off

U.S. home prices climbed steadily in July even as sales have slowed, evidence that a limited supply of available houses is distorting the real estate market.

The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index, released Tuesday, rose 5.9 percent in July from a year earlier, slightly faster than June’s 5.8 percent annual pace.

Sales of both new and existing homes slipped over the summer, which typically might slow price gains. But demand remains strong and has created bidding wars among house hunters, pushing up prices at a much faster pace than incomes. The number of existing homes for sale fell 6.5 percent in the past year.

Seattle, Portland, Oregon, and Las Vegas saw the largest increases, with prices in Seattle soaring 13.5 percent in July from a year earlier.

Closer to home, the Tampa market saw a 7 percent increase in sales, while Miami saw a 5.1 percent increase.

Case-Shiller Home Prices Index

None of Southwest Florida is included in the Case-Shiller measure, but a similar pattern has been pervading the market.

Homebuyers closed on 1,317 homes in the Sarasota-Manatee market last month, a 6.9 percent jump, while the median price rose 3.8 percent, to $275,000 by the August measures of the trade group Florida Realtors. Manatee, topped Sarasota County in median sales price, $286,855 vs. $258,000, but the opposite occurred in hard figures of total home sales, 725 compared with 592, a 9.2 percent increase for Sarasota County and a 4.2 percent rise for Manatee.

Charlotte County home sales fell 0.9 percent in the August-to-August comparison.

Statewide, closed sales of existing family homes reached 25,235 with a median price of $240,000, a 6.7 percent jump. Condos and townhouse sales rose a modest 2.6 percent with 9,716 purchases on a median cost of $170,000, a 6.3 percent increase.

More in the market

Other cities in the Case-Shiller measure also were seeing strong gains during July.

Home prices rose 7.3 percent in Dallas and Detroit, and 7.2 percent in Denver. The slowest increases were in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, which both reported 3.3 percent gains.

With unemployment low and paychecks rising modestly, more people are in the market for a home. But construction of new single-family homes has been held back by a limited supply of land in hot markets and difficulty in finding construction workers.

That has intensified the competition in the housing market. Homes sold after an average of just 30 days on the market in August, according to the National Association of Realtors, down from 36 days a year ago.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma began to pinch sales in August and should drag on the sales in the months ahead.

The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The July figures are the latest available.

To learn more about investing in SWFL real estate, contact a member of the 9 Core Realty Team today!

Solar power generation takes center stage at Babcock Ranch

Recent additions to Founder’s Square at Babcock Ranch shine a spotlight on the new town’s commitment to solar energy. Solar panels installed on commercial rooftops, electric vehicle charging stations and five “solar trees” installed within the initial downtown district help position this charming new hometown on the cutting edge.

Located off State Road 31 north of the Lee County Civic Center, the solar-powered town being built by Kitson & Partners will eventually be home to 50,000 people living and working in a town of 19,500 homes and apartments and six million square feet of commercial space – all constructed to Florida Green Building Standards. Sustainability features – from water conservation to alternative transportation – are woven right into the infrastructure of this environmentally-friendly community. But solar power is what really sets Babcock Ranch apart.

The planners of Babcock Ranch spent a lot of time talking about how to make the community sustainable, how to make it different than anywhere else – and solar energy to them was the key. The cities partnership with Florida Power & Light (FPL) makes them the first solar-powered town in the country.

The Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center, located on 440 acres of former sod-farming field on the northern edge of the new town, generates more clean, renewable energy than the new town will ever consume. The 74.5 MW solar field went online in December of last year – before the new town’s first buildings were constructed. But the partnership with FPL extends beyond the solar field. Earlier this summer, FPL installed five “solar trees” around Founder’s Square – functional sculptures with solar panels powering charging stations for smartphones and other handheld electronics. The solar trees are also an educational tool for students at Babcock Neighborhood School who will learn about renewable power generation by monitoring data feeds from the solar tree located just outside their door. Late last month, solar panels placed on the rooftops of three buildings at Founder’s Square added another 121 KW of solar generating capacity. These rooftop arrays are the first of many “micro-communities” of solar generation that FPL will be installing on top of commercial buildings throughout the new town.

The technology and renewable energy focus makes Babcock Ranch a living laboratory where great new technologies can be incubated, adopted and continually improved to stay on the cutting edge.  For future generations, Babcock Ranch is creating an environment where future generations will feel open to exploring new ideas and using technology in new ways to transform their lives.

To learn more about Babcock Ranch or to purchase a land lot or home in the sustainable SWFL city, contact an expert member of the 9 Core Realty sales team.

Booming Hispanic homeownership helping fuel U.S. housing market

For years, the myth of easy, accessible American homeownership and upward mobility—the caricatured image of white picket fences, suburban living, and keeping up with the Joneses—has needed a refresh in light of post-recession realities and the affordability crisis. But, with looming demographic shifts poised to change the U.S. housing market, it’s time for another change in popular perception.

The typical American homebuyer, like much of the rest of the country, is increasingly young and Hispanic. According to statistics from the 2016 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report, jointly released this May by the Hispanic Wealth Project and the (NAHREP), the U.S. is in the midst of a Hispanic homeownership surge. Since 2000, Hispanic households have increased by 6.7 million, representing 42.5 percent of the nation’s overall household growth, a trend only expected to accelerate. Latinos are expected to make up 52 percent of new homebuyers between 2010 and 2030, fueled in large part by the nation’s 14.6 million Latino millennials and growth in the increasingly diverse suburbs.

At a time when homeownership hovers near a 50-year low, more than 330,000 Hispanics formed new households last year. This is happening despite a low rate of inherited wealth in the Hispanic community, a shortage of low-cost housing options, and higher-than average loan refusal rates among potential Hispanic homeowners. Demographers note that high workforce participation and the “fervent desire to own a home” have driven growth in Latino home buying.

Many reports show this demographic playing an increasingly larger, and in some ways outsized, role in the U.S. economy. The most recent “State of the Nation’s Housing” study from the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) predicts minorities will fuel for three-quarters of the gains in U.S. households, with Latinos accounting for one third of these gains. It’s a symbol, perhaps, of the economic strength of Hispanics, which make up 17 percent of the U.S. population. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Hispanics accounted for 76.4 percent of the growth in the country’s labor force between 2010 and 2016, made up 20.8 percent of new entrepreneurs in 2015, according to the Kauffman Foundation, and started almost a million new, Latino-owned businesses between 2012 and 2016.

While it may not come as a surprise that Hispanics will represent the largest segment of the Texas population by 2020, according to state data, and will be the prime source of population growth in both the Lone Star State and California, Latino populations are also on the rise all across the country. Many of the fastest-growing Hispanic communities can be found across the South, in areas such as Russell County, Alabama, and Bryan County, Georgia. Even North Dakota, not a traditional center for Hispanic migration, has four of the top ten fastest-growing Hispanic populations in the country, according to Pew Research.

To learn more about the state of the real estate market or to get investing today, contact a member of the 9 Core Realty team.

Florida was leveled by the housing bust, but now is back on top

Few places were hit as hard by the housing bust and Great Recession as Florida, which is about to be to be walloped by Hurricane Irma. But in recent years, Florida has climbed nearly all the way back. Home prices that plunged 50% during the bust have rebounded.

Florida’s unemployment rate, which more than tripled to 11.2%, has plunged to 4.1% — lower than the national average. Economic growth, per person, is about 50% greater than across the nation. During the recession it was falling faster than anywhere but Nevada, Arizona and Michigan.

Experts say Florida was in recession for a good two-and-a-half years longer than the nation as a whole. But by 2012 they went from lagging the overall economy to leading it. The tourism industry, the state’s largest sector, is going strong, as is home building. People are flooding into the state, fueling growth and making Florida the nation’s third largest state by population.

The state depends on people moving to Florida and visiting Florida. Both those things are doing just fine for now. Experts say if Irma does as much damage in the state as feared, those factors are unlikely to change.

Regaining both visitors and residents is vital to a region’s recovery after a natural disaster. One of the problems for New Orleans’ economy 12 years after Hurricane Katrina is that so many people left and never came back. Population there is still 18% below pre-storm levels.

No one is expecting a permanent population loss for any Florida city. But since much of Florida’s strong economy is dependent on its population growth, even a slowdown in that migration would start to hamper the pace of economic growth, according to the experts.

One of the biggest problems the economy might face after the storm is finding the workers needed to recover and rebuild from damage, particularly in the construction industry.

But there are pockets of Florida’s economy that are struggling, particularly the signature citrus industry. But problems there are caused by a disease known as citrus greening, carried by an insect, which leaves the fruit green, bitter tasting and thus useless while killing the tree.

It has slashed production of oranges by more than two thirds since 2003, and left many growers in deep financial problems with mounting losses. Experts fear that Irma could cause widespread bankruptcies among already struggling growers, depending upon where the storm hits.

But in the overall scheme of the state’s economy, oranges are no longer a crucial industry, employing less than one-half of a percent of those with jobs in the state.  To learn more about the real estate market in Florida contact 9 Core Realty today.