Gratia Group Featured Lot of The Week: Great Location in Port Charlotte, Florida

Avery Road PC FL
This week Gratia Group is excited to announce a newly listed Featured Lot of the Week, a great deal in Port Charlotte, Fl.  Located at 15505 Avery Road, Port Charlotte, FL 33981 this undeveloped Florida lot for sale is a perfect find for an investor wanting to build their real estate portfolio with great investment land parcels.  Listed at only $10,900, this lot is sure to sell fast.

The zone on the Gulf of Mexico from Venice to Port Charlotte is world famous for its fishing, beaches and beautiful climate.  Now it is also one of the best places in the US to find profitable land and waterfront property investment opportunities.  The real estate market meltdown is over and land prices have started to rise quickly after reaching bargain levels across the board, usually down 60% to 90% since August 2005.  Port Charlotte land prices are moving up and home inventories very low, at seller’s market levels.

To learn more about the Gratia Group Featured Lot of the Week contact an expert member of the Gratia Group sales team at (239) 333-2221.

SWFL Land and Home Sales See Big Jump

Blog PhotoThe median price of an existing single-family home in Lee and Collier counties increased sharply in October compared to a year earlier along with Cape Coral land prices.  In Lee County, the median rose 17.3 percent from $157,000 to $184,175, according to statistics released by the Realtors Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach.

Collier County’s median increased 20.1 percent from $279,000 to $335,000, according to the Naples Area Board of Realtors.

Area real estate experts feel that even with such a robust surge in Florida land sales prices, there isn’t the danger of a bubble similar to the last boom’s over-heated market in 2005.  It would take annualized increases of 20 percent for five years to get us up into the territory where the region was (at the peak of the boom and currently the area isn’t even close to a danger bubble.

The rate of increase in prices is actually slowing but the market will stay strong this winter with omens such as six feet of snow in Buffalo, N.Y.   Experts feel the region is poised to have a very, very good season.  To learn more about the SWFL real estate market contact a member of the Gratia Group team at (239) 333-2221.

2014 was a Stellar Year for Real Estate Sales to Foreign Investors

Foreign Land Investors

In the year to June, non-resident foreign buyers purchased an estimated US$7.97 billion worth of Florida real estate, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Florida Realtors.  This compares to just US $6.43 billion in the same period a year earlier.  This represents a rise of US $1.5 billion or nearly a quarter (approximately 23%).

According to the NAR’s Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida 2014 report, about a third (32%) of these purchases were made by Canadian buyers.  A further 24% of total spending came from buyers in the Western Europe, particularly the UK, Germany and France.  Latin American and Caribbean investors were collectively close behind their Western European counterparts when it came to buying home, lots and acreage for sale in Florida, providing a further 23% of all foreign funds.  Many of these investors are resident in Brazil or Venezuela.  Asian buyers made up 10%, with China alone accounting for 6%.  As China represented just 1% of Florida real estate purchases by foreign buyers a few short years ago, it seems the country’s investors are rapidly taking a greater interest in Florida and in US markets in general.  Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa represented fairly small percentages of the total pot, 5%, 4% and 2% respectively.

Overall, these figures suggest that a full 10% of the total residential market in Florida was made up of sales to foreign buyers, up from 9% last year.  Furthermore, it shows the significant popularity of Florida with foreign buyers, as roughly 17% of the US $46.7 billion spent by foreigners on US properties went towards purchases in Florida.  Of all foreigners buying and holding one or more US properties, roughly a quarter are believed to own at least one unit in Florida.

In terms of the number of units purchased by this near US $8 billion pot of spending, it is estimated that international buyers snapped up around 26,500 individual properties in Florida.  This compares to just 22,600 in the same period a year earlier, representing growth of just over 17%.

According to the report: “The increase in international home buying activity was driven by the continued recovery of the world economy and the affordability of US properties.  Both US and Florida residential prices remain affordable to most international homebuyers.”  It was noted that the strong position of many currencies against the US dollar was a factor in the decision to purchase, making US properties more affordable as foreign buyers can get more for their money.

The report also went on to note that “international clients continued to purchase properties, lots and land for sale that are on the average above the mean price paid by domestic buyers.”

Compared to a national average of just 28%, over half of Florida real estate agents (52%) have international buyers among their list of clients.  However, this figure is down from last year’s 63%. Of these, almost one in five (19%) has at least six foreign clients, and 20% say that more than a quarter of their business comes from international buyers.

To work with Florida’s premier land sales firm, Gratia Group, call us today at (239) 333-2221.

Owning Land can Lead to Worthwhile Tax Deductions

Tax Deductions

FL land has long been viewed by many as an attractive investment.  After all, it’s the stuff they’re not making any more of.  You usually earn no income from  land, but you do have expenses for such items as property tax, interest and other carrying costs.  Can you deduct these costs?  It depends.

First of all, for tax purposes there are two types of people who own vacant land: investors and real estate dealers.  Real estate dealers are in the business of buying and selling land.  A dealer buys property and resells it, usually at a price higher than the purchase price, and normally after only a short holding period.  A good example is a subdivider who buys large tracts of vacant land, divides them into smaller lots, and then resells the lots separately.  Numerous and continuous sales over an extended time period are the hallmark of a real estate dealer.

Real estate dealers are entitled to much the same deductions as any other business owner.  They can deduct all the expenses of owning the vacant land they buy and sell, including interest, taxes and other carrying costs.  If a sole proprietor, these are deducted on IRS Schedule C.

On the downside, all the profits real estate dealers earn from their business are taxed at ordinary income rates instead of capital gains rates.  Moreover, they must pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on their net self-employment income, as well as income tax.  Also, real estate dealers are not allowed to take depreciation deductions.  So if land has structures on it, their cost cannot be deducted.

A person who purchases real estate as an investment is not in the business of buying and selling vacant land on a continuous and extended basis.  Rather, he or she purchases land and usually holds on to it for some time in the hope that it will appreciate in value.

Since an investor is not engaged in a business, he or she is not entitled to business deductions and does not file Schedule C.  However, many investment expenses are deductible as personal itemized deductions on Schedule A.  These expenses are an ordinary tax deduction that results in tax benefits at your regular income tax rate, which can be as high as 39.6 percent (43.4 percent if you’re subject to the Medicare net investment income tax).

Any interest an investor pays on money borrowed when buying investment land is investment interest that can be deducted only as an itemized personal deduction.  Moreover, the annual deduction for investment interest is limited to the investor’s net investment income for the year.  Any excess is carried over to future years.  You determine the amount of your net investment income by subtracting your investment expenses (other than interest expenses) from your investment income.

Example: George purchases a vacant lot on which he pays annual property taxes of $1,000 and interest of $2,000.  His only other investment is a savings account, which earns $2,000 in annual interest.  His net investment income is $1,000 ($2,000 interest income – $1,000 property tax expense = $1,000).  Thus he may deduct only $1,000 of his interest expense.  The excess $1,000 is carried over to future years.

An investor can also deduct property taxes paid on vacant land as a personal itemized deduction on Schedule A.  This deduction is not limited to the amount of net investment income.

Any other carrying costs such as legal and accounting fees, insurance, and travel expense are also deductible on Schedule A.  However, they are deductible only as miscellaneous itemized deductions.  This means that they can be deducted only if, and to the extent, they exceed 2 percent of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income.

If you don’t itemize your deductions on your tax return, you won’t be able to deduct any of the expenses you incur from owning vacant land.  In this event, you should elect to add these expenses to your land’s cost basis.  This will reduce any taxable profit you earn when you sell the property.

Example: Jean purchases a vacant lot for $10,000 in 2009.  During 2009-2013 she elects to add $5,000 in carrying costs to the lot’s cost basis.  In 2013, her adjusted basis in the lot is $15,000.  She sells the lot for $20,000.  Her taxable gain is only $5,000 ($20,000 sales price – $15,000 adjusted basis = $5,000).

You must make an annual election to add these costs to your land’s basis — “capitalize” them in tax jargon.  You can elect to capitalize all your costs, or capitalize some and not others — for example, you could capitalize interest but not taxes.

To make this election you should add a statement like the following to your tax return:

“For tax year _____, taxpayer hereby elects under Code Section 266 and IRS Regulations 1.266-1 to capitalize, rather than deduct, property taxes, mortgage interest, insurance expenses, and other miscellaneous carrying costs on the 111 First St. vacant lot.”

You need to make this election each year you want to add these costs to your land’s basis.  If you wish, you can make the election some years you own the property, and not make it in others.

To learn more about buying land and lots for sale contact a member of the Gratia Group land sales team at (866) 501-6273.

Enjoy Sailboat and Gulf Access with the Gratia Group Featured Lot of the Week

3428 SANTA CLARA DR

Boat enthusiasts are sure to love the Gratia Group Featured Lot of the Week, a beautiful Florida lot with sailboat and gulf access.  Located at 3428 Santa Clara Drive in Punta Gorda, Florida this lot also offers river and harbor access, giving boaters access to virtually every type of waterway in the city. Listed at only $55,000 this lot is located in the popular Harbour Heights area of Punta Gorda.

Harbour Heights is a cozy community nestled along the Peace River in Charlotte County, Florida.  This secluded community is particularly attractive to retirees and Baby Boomers.  With fewer than 3,000 residents, the community has the feel of a small town, where everyone knows their neighbors.  Enjoy the Florida outdoors under shady old oak trees at Harbour Heights Park, which has a boat ramp, fishing pier on the Peace River, picnic tables and barbeque grills, basketball, tennis and shuffleboard courts.  There are numerous public golf courses nearby, and the community park provides a tranquil place to relax.  Here the Harbour Heights Horticultural Society thrives, and the Women’s Club and Civic Association sponsor town events.  The nearby Deep Creek elementary school and park playground attract families and children.

The weather is always beautiful, and naturalists and bird enthusiasts abound, reveling in the Florida landscape, and the local bird sanctuary.  Whether you long for a view of the mangrove islands or a glimpse of an egret, dolphin or manatee, you are never far from the water.  Here you can canoe and fish to your heart’s content.  You can enjoy the nearby convenience of I-75, the Fort Myers airport, and Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, where you will find restaurants, schools, entertainment, medical facilities, and grocery stores.

To learn more about the Gratia Group Featured Lot of the Week or any of our many land and lots for sale throughout South Florida, contact a member of the Gratia Group Land Team at (239) 333-2221.

Short Sale, Great NE Cape Coral Lot is Gratia Group’s Featured Lot Package of the Week

2417 NE 19th Ave

Gratia Group’s Featured Lot of the Week is a lot that is sure to be put under contract quickly, a gorgeous piece of land in the popular NE region of Cape Coral.  The Cape Coral land is located on a freshwater canal perfect for boaters looking to invest in a slice of Florida’s paradise.  Located at 2417 NE 19th Ave. Cape Coral, FL 33909 this lot package of the week is a steal at $12.500. Please keep in mind this Cape Coral lot is a short sale subject to lenders approval.  Please allow additional time for acceptance and closing.  A beautiful Cape Coral lot close to schools and shopping, it is appropriate for both a home site or as an addition to an investment portfolio.

Come invest in one of the hottest areas of Florida, Lee County.  The region is best known for world-class fishing, beaches and a warm sunny tropical lifestyle.  Cape Coral is a large family oriented community just minutes away from Fort Myers that offers beautiful parks and a wonderful school system.

To learn more about this lot or others in our land catalogue, contact a member of the Gratia Group land sales team at (239) 333-2221.

Gulf Access in NW Cape Coral is this week’s Gratia Group Featured Lot

1803NW38CapeCoral

This week’s Gratia Group Featured lot of the week, is a great home site in the desirable NW region of Cape Coral.  This is a stunning Gulf Access Cape Coral land lot, and is in very high demand!  This awesome Gulf access lot is listed at only $52,000 and is going to sell quickly with more and more investors invading the Cape Coral land market.

Investors have found great success in purchasing Cape Coral lots, particularly in the northern section of the largest city in Southwest Florida.  A hot spot for boaters, golfers, fishing enthusiasts and those that love the natural beauty of South Florida, Cape Coral is home to a large population of foreign investors.  Don’t miss out on owning a piece of paradise!

To learn more about the Gratia Group Featured Lot Package of the Week or any of our lot and land listings in Cape Coral and other hot SWFL cities and towns, contact a member of our land sales team at (239) 333-2221.

Determining Land Value

Land Values

The question of value is something that people selling and buying lots and acreage for sale struggle with.  What makes one piece of land more valuable than another?  You must consider this question: is the land a better value because it has more features, or is it a better value because it’s cheaper?  Some additional questions and considerations about property value should be: is this parcel more valuable because it’s closer to a city, or is this other property better because it has a beautiful view?  What if a piece of land has neither of these things, but it is close to land your family already owns?

 

The simplest explanation of the market value of a home site is that it is worth whatever people are willing to pay.  If someone is willing to pay $10,000 for a piece of property, that property is worth $10,000 and it is assumed that all properties around the first parcel are also worth around $10,000.  A few months later, a property several miles away may sell for $5,000.  The parcels between these properties are re-valued at $7,500, between the two prices.  This system of basing land values on nearby, comparable sales is something that real estate agents frequently use to place a value on a piece of land.  But this is really little more than an educated guess.

 

Local governments also involve themselves with property values.  They look at the market value of the property based on the last time it sold or on comparable sales in the area.  They then use that market value to come up with an assessed value.  The assessed value is often a percentage of the full market value.  This assessed value is what the county uses to determine how much they will charge in property taxes on that piece of property.  Sometimes the county looks at the market values every year and adjusts the assessed value accordingly, and sometimes they will only re-evaluate a property when it sells.  The assessed value might lag far behind rapidly changing market values an area.

 

When you are looking to buy a piece of property, it is good to look at all these types of value: market value, assessed value and comparable sales.  They can all be important tools for figuring out what a piece of land is worth. But it is even more important to look at what the land will be worth to you, personally.  Finding a piece of land that you will use and enjoy is much more important than looking at a particular price range.

 

To find the perfect piece of land contact a member of the Gratia Group Land Sales Team at (239) 333-2221.

 

 

 

 

 

Gratia Group Featured Land Package of the Week: A Hot, Rotonda West Lot

Rotonda WestRotonda West is the site of this week’s Gratia Group Featured Land Package of the Week!  The property located at 1123 Rotonda Circle Rotonda West, FL 33947 is located on a freshwater canal and listed at only $35,000.

Rotonda West contains 8,000 home sites with over 5,000 homes completed and is experiencing rapid growth and features the hottest Florida land sales.  Residents are predominantly full-time homeowners and their families, as well as tenants and those who winter in the community.  Many investors have found common ground in the city, building up portfolios through many great deals.

Thirty miles of picturesque canals, lakes and ponds wind through the community and offer fishing and boating opportunities for its residents.  Many exotic and beautiful birds call Rotonda West home, as it is a designated Bird Sanctuary.  Nearby recreation facilities, beaches, theaters, sporting events, and fine restaurants are keep residents of Rotonda West busy!

To learn more about this priced to sell Gratia Group Featured Lot Package of the Week and how to purchase land, contact a member of the Gratia Group team at (239) 333-2221.

How to View a Potential Land Parcel Online

Locating that perfect piece of property is an ‘ah ha’ moment.  Perhaps you are seeking the perfect lot to add to your land portfolio or maybe you’re looking for a home site to build your dream home, but you know the moment that you find it.  Nowadays, many searches for potential land to buy are done totally on the internet.  You find that perfect piece of land, but how do you actually get to view it before you sign on the dotted line?

Many people are familiar with the process of buying existing homes online.  You search for your perfect home, narrow down your selections to view and contact a real estate agent to set up times to view the homes in person.  With land the process, can seem a bit untraditional, but is completely plausible that you can locate, research and view the perfect land lot totally on the Web!

#1 Photos:  If you aren’t able to view your property in person, the next best thing is a photo.  Either a photo of the general area or the actual property should give you a basic idea of the lay of the land and any potential issues you could run into if you were to purchase the property.

#2 Satellite Maps/Google Earth:  This tool is almost more of a toy if you are a map “nerd”.  All you need is access to the internet and the address or coordinates of the property.  Satellite maps are a great way to see what the property’s terrain looks like, what kind of roads are in the area, where a property is located in relation to nearby towns, amenities, and recreation and what kind of development surrounds the property.

#3 Street View/Google Maps:  Google Maps street view is an easy to use tool that will give you a ground view level of your potential property.  Keep in mind that street view is more accessible in highly developed areas.  In rural areas, use street view to get an idea of how the general area looks.

#4 Parcel Map:  These are generally the types of maps you see when you view a property in the Gratia Group catalog.  A parcel map won’t give you a great idea of what an actual property looks like, it can help you determine how your property compares to others situated sound it.   Parcel Maps can provide you with information about planned roads for the area, property location in relation to surrounding properties, dimensions and legal description.

To learn more about viewing land for sale online contact an expert member of the Gratia Group sales team at (239) 333-2221.