GOOD NEWS FOR PROSPECTIVE TAMPA HOME BUYERS!

This is really good news for those of you who are in the market to buy a home, BUT please know that home prices are going up in the Tampa area so you will need to think about purchasing soon….especially as the spring season (most busiest time of year and when prices go up due to competition in the market place) is upon us soon. If you know anyone who is interested in purchasing a home please have them give me a call…Richard Kemper 813-777-5332 http://www.tamparealestate4you.com

More Americans within reach of homeownership
WASHINGTON – Feb. 25, 2013 – In all, 74.9 percent of U.S. homes sold between the beginning of October and end of December were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,000, up nearly a percentage point from the 74.1 percent of homes sold the previous quarter, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).

“The most recent housing affordability data should be encouraging to many prospective home buyers, because it shows that homeownership remains within reach of median-income consumers even as most local markets appear to be on a recovery path,” says NAHB Chairman Rick Judson. In the latest HOI, 259 out of 361 metros qualify as “improving.”

“The median price of all new and existing homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $188,000, essentially unchanged from the previous quarter’s $189,000 that marked a nearly three-year high,” says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Affordability remains historically high thanks to favorable mortgage rates, even as national home price indexes show some rise in values.”

Ogden-Clearfield, Utah held its position as the nation’s most affordable major housing market for a second consecutive quarter at the end of 2012. There, 93.7 percent of families earning the area’s median income of $71,500 could afford a home.

New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J. switched places with San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. as the nation’s least affordable market. Just 28.4 percent of homes sold in San Francisco during the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning that area’s median income of $103,000.

Florida

In The Sunshine State, affordability ranged from a high of 93 percent in Lakeland-Winter Haven, where more than nine out of 10 residents could afford a home, to the state’s lowest-ranking metro, Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, where less than 7 in 10 (66 percent) of resident could afford homeownership. Of the 22 Florida markets, only three had an affordability index below the national average.

HOI ranked the following Florida cities for affordability:

1. Lakeland-Winter Haven – 93%
2. Ocala – 90.6%
3. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach – 88.3%
4. Gainesville – 86.8%
5. Punta Gorda – 86.8%
6. Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach – 85.6%
7. Tallahassee – 85.6%
8. Jacksonville – 85.2%
9. Port St. Lucie – 84.9%
10. Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Bren – 84.1%
11. Palm Coast – 82.9%
12. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin – 80.8%
13. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford – 80.7%
14. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater – 80.6%
15. Sebastian-Vero Beach – 79.7%
16. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville – 79.1%
17. Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach – 78.0%
18. Cape Coral-Fort Myers – 79.6%
19. North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota – 75.4%
20. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach – 74.7%
21. Naples-Marco Island – 69.7%
22. Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall – 66.0%

The HOI measures the percentage of homes sold in a given area affordable to families earning the area’s median income. Core Logic, a data and analytics company, collects prices of new and existing homes from court records. Mortgage financing conditions incorporate interest rates on fixed- and adjustable-rate loans reported by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

© 2013 Florida Realtors®>

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WHICH TO PURCHASE? A NEW CONSTRUCTION HOME OR A NEW HOME?

Why would someone buy a new home verses an existing home? Just a few things to think about…..it’s new, so you don’t have to worry about any major repairs for a long time, such as roof or ac. Most new homes are more energy efficient saving you money each month on your utilities. Some new master planned communities include such things as pools, walking/biking trails, free concerts, close proximity to grocery stores and other places you frequent. Another great reason is we can get the builder to pay all or most of your closing costs, and get some other items thrown in! If you or anyone you know is thinking about purchasing a new home have them visit my website and look around a bit and make sure they give me a call at 813-777-5332. Experience does matter! http://www.tamparealestate4you.com

INVESTMENT FIRMS BUYING UP FLORIDA FORECLOSURES

This is true for the Tampa area as well. I have had two listings recently purchased by Investment firms and they were both cash deals. What the article doesn’t say is why have they chosen Tampa? The reason why is that prices in our area are more affordable than many other places in the country! I am an investor as well and use the purchase of properties as part of my retirement portfolio with several goals in mind. First and foremost the property must have a positive cash flow. Then the home must be in a desirable neighborhood with A rated schools because that is where you can command higher rent. The best purchase is a new home that you know won’t have too many issues for some time, which gives you time to build up an account with monies for repairs, paint, roof, ac, etc. Then when I retire I will sell the units off, but become the make giving me a revenue stream when i am retired. If you would like to become an investor in the Tampa area give me a call and we can discuss further. Visit me on the web at http://www.tamparealestate4you.com

Investment firms buying up Florida foreclosures
NEW YORK – Feb. 19, 2013 – Hedge funds and investment firms are buying up Florida foreclosures, beating out homebuyers and local flippers, while steering the state into what some fear is another real estate bubble.

The companies, including New York-based Blackstone Group and Lake Success Rentals, a partner of Toronto-based Tricon Capital Group, purchased an estimated 5,300 Florida homes last year that were in some stage of foreclosure, according to a report from RealtyTrac.

In Palm Beach County, RealtyTrac measured 425 purchases by firms buying multiple properties out of foreclosure and usually with the intent to rent them out until increasing property values can offer a substantial return on investment.

RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said the buying trend accelerated around the second quarter of 2012 after billionaire business magnate Warren Buffett said he would buy up “a couple hundred thousand” single-family homes if he had a way to manage them.

But Blomquist warned that prices jacked up by the increased competition could lead to an artificial inflation.

“There is some potential for locally based housing price bubbles because of this almost frenzy on the part of these big-money folks to purchase as many properties as they can,” he said. “They’re paying cash, so it shouldn’t result in a lot of foreclosures, but it may be that down the road, they decide the gamble isn’t paying off and flood the market with properties.”

Florida’s biggest buyer last year was Malibu, Calif.-based American Homes for Rent, with more than 260 purchases, according to RealtyTrac. The Blackstone Group-related company THR Florida, LLC, had more than 160 purchases.

But both of those companies focused their efforts mostly in areas outside of South Florida.

Heavy hitters locally include Lake Success Rentals, based in Fort Lauderdale, and Southeast Florida Rental Housing (Sfrh SF Rental), which shares the same Fort Lauderdale address as Lake Success.

In July, Tricon Capital Group announced its partnership with Lake Success in an aggressive push to buy more distressed real estate. Tricon, which says it has $1.2 billion of assets under management, provides financing to local companies to buy the homes.

“I expect Miami to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the next decade, and the opportunity to purchase homes for rental housing in the surrounding areas at a fraction of peak prices and replacement cost was very attractive to me,” said Lake Success co-founder Barry Bergman in a news release announcing the partnership.

Last month, Tricon announced the purchase of 550 homes in Charlotte, N.C., for $26 million.

Blomquist said RealtyTrac’s study compared active foreclosures against sales deed data and may not include all bulk buyers in an area.

Don Cameron, a real estate investor who owns a South Florida franchise of We Buy Ugly Houses, said he bought more than 100 homes last year, many of which were at foreclosure auction, but he is not included in RealtyTrac’s report.

Also not included is a Greenwich, Conn.-based company called SRP SUB, LLC, which has bought about 40 Palm Beach County homes at foreclosure auction since November.

Cameron said he noticed an increase in competition from the big-time investment firms and hedge funds about eight months ago. His company buys homes, renovates them and then sells them. He said he’s lost out on homes because the larger firms pay asking price, or higher.

“They just have loads of money and are paying maximum dollars for the properties then renting them out,” Cameron said. “Some people are really inflating the market right now.”

Copyright © 2013 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.), Kimberly Miller. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

30 YEAR MORTGAGE RATE CURRENTLY AT 3.53%…..ITS TIME TO BUY!

For all you who wonder about interest rates they are holding steady at about 3.5%, but rising home prices make this the best time to buy a home. If you are wondering if the housing market has bottomed out, the anser is yes in the TAmpa market anyway. If you’ve been sitting on the fence wondering if the market hit bottom and now is the time to buy, the answer is YES. If you have any questions please feel free to give me a call at 813-777-5332. Richard Kemper Realtor and Property Manager serving the Tampa area. http://www.tamparealestate4you.com

U.S. rate on 30-year mortgage steady at 3.53%
Mortgage Rate Trend Index

A slight majority (54%) of industry experts polled this week by Bankrate.com expect this week’s rate to stay for at least the short term. Of the rest, 31% foresee a drop and only 15% predict an increase.

WASHINGTON – Feb. 15, 2013 – The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage was unchanged for a second week, remaining near historic lows. The average rate on the 15-year mortgage also stayed the same. Low mortgage rates are helping to strengthen the housing recovery.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year low stayed at 3.53 percent. That’s near the 3.31 percent reached in November, which was the lowest on record going back to 1971.

The rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage stayed at 2.77 percent for a second week. The record low is 2.63 percent.

The one-year adjustable mortgage was the only rate to change this week. It averaged 2.61 percent, up from 2.53 percent last week.

Cheap mortgages are giving a boost to the slowly improving housing market.

Increased sales have helped to push home prices up, which makes consumers feel wealthier and helps to boost consumer spending. In addition, the increased housing demand is boosting new home construction.

Still, housing has a long way to go to achieve a full recovery. And many people are unable to take advantage of the low rates, either because they can’t qualify under stricter lending rules or they lack the money to meet larger downpayment requirements.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for 30-year loans was 0.8 point, the same as last week. The fee for 15-year mortgages was 0.8 point, up from 0.7 point last week. The fee for one-year adjustable rate mortgages was 0.3 point, down from 0.4 point last week.

Freddie Mac said that the average rate on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages edged up to 2.64 percent this week from 2.63 percent last week. The fee stayed the same at 0.6 point.
Copyright © 2013 The Associated Press, Martin Crutsinger, AP economics writer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

DAVID WEEKLY OFFERS GREAT INCENTIVE PACKAGE THRU MARCH 31, 2013

Here is a great deal for anyone interested in purching a new construction home. If you are interested in purchasing a new home give me a call and let me represent you! My services are free to Buyers! Give me a call today at 813-777-5332.

See a David Weekley Homes Sales Consultant for complete details. Not valid with any other offer or on previously written contracts. Dream Deal pricing incentive ($5,000 on Flex Dollars and $5,000 toward Closing Costs with use of our preferred lender) available between January 1, 2013, and March 31, 2013 (the Program Period). Dream Deal pricing good on all David Weekley homes sold in the Tampa area, excluding Central Living. *To use incentive toward closing costs, homes must be financed through our preferred lender in the Tampa area. Offer must be presented to Sales Consultant prior to the signing of the contract. Decorator Selections must be made through the David Weekley’s Design Center in Tampa, FL. Any other amount above incentive amount is the Homebuyer’s responsibility. David Weekley Homes reserves the right to terminate program or change rules at any time. Prices, plans, dimensions, features, specifications, materials or availability of homes or communities are subject to change without notice or obligation. Illustrations are artist’s depictions only and may differ from completed improvements. Copyright © 2012 David Weekley Homes – All Rights Reserved. CBC1257289 Weekley Homes, LLC Tampa, FL)

UNCERTAINTY IN MARKET KEEPS RENTERS RENTING – 2/7/13

That’s not so true in our market. Don’t get me wrong the rental market is very well here in the Tampa area, but their is really no uncertainty from a real estate agent perspective. We have low inventory levels which means more competition for what is on the market which has lead to a stedy increase of approximately 12k to 15k increase in property values over the last year. In addition, the new constuction builders have raised their prices and reduced incentives twice in the past 6 months. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about your property value. You can find me on the web at www.fishhawkhomesforsale.com
 
Survey: Economic uncertainty keeps renters renting

 

CHICAGO – Feb. 6, 2013 – The average monthly apartment rental cost in the U.S. was $1,048 in fourth quarter 2012, up 3.8 percent from a year earlier, according to Reis. At the same time, the nation’s apartment vacancy rate continued a steady decline to 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter – its lowest level in more than a decade.

In response, Apartments.com conducted a nationwide survey of more than 1,300 renters to gain insights into their moving plans this year. In looking at the survey results, Apartments.com says a growing number of former homeowners are choosing to rent, while others make a move based on employment relocation, cost savings and apartment size.

“There is a growing trend toward previous homeowners choosing to rent after carefully considering economic factors such as affordability, employment opportunities and unaffordable homeownership expenses,” said Dick Burke, senior vice president and general manager, Apartments.com. “The fiscal cliff our country was headed toward in December seems to have motivated all renters to take a realistic approach toward budgeting for 2013.”

Top 5 reasons renters choose to rent

• Renting is a more affordable option: 22.2% (down from 26.3% in 2012)
• Flexibility: 15.7% (down from 21.2% in 2012)
• Can’t afford to keep up with homeownership expenses: 14.2% (up from 10.5% in 2012)
• Relocate for employment: 13.3% (down from 20.5% in 2012)
• Lost home due to foreclosure or divorce: 11.2% (up from 5.9% in 2012)

Reasons renters plan to move in 2013

• Relocating for employment opportunities: 15%
• Shopping for a less expensive apartment: 13.2%
• Looking for a bigger apartment: 11.2%
• Change in marital status: 10.8%
• Wanting to live in a different neighborhood: 9.8%
• Relocating for educational reasons: 6.7%
• Other family reasons: 5.2%
• Recent college grad moving to their own place: 4.6%
• Looking for a smaller apartment: 3.3%
• Wanting to live alone: 2.5%

Resources used in an apartment search

All renters surveyed had used Apartments.com, but they also reported using other online apartment listing websites (such as Craigslist), search engines and review websites.

The opinions of others seem to play a more important role in searches than in previous years. More than half of respondents said they use review websites during their apartment search, versus 32.6 percent in 2012; 45.1 percent relied on word of mouth versus 31.5 percent in 2012.

Apartment share arrangements nearly identical to 2012

• Husband/wife/significant other and/or kids: 49.6%
• Living alone: 40.3%
• Roommate(s): 10.1%

© 2013 Florida Realtors®

 

Related Topics: Buyer services

 

5 OVERLOOKED TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR 2013

Its tax time everyone….thought you all would like this!
5 most-overlooked deductions can save money

WASHINGTON – Feb. 4, 2013 – There’s a lot of talk right now regarding Americans paying their “fair share” to the tax man. While many issues are up for debate, most parties agree that the tax code needs some work.

But as you gather documentation to do your 2012 taxes, forget about future tax policy. The important thing is to make existing tax breaks work in your favor. Nobody should pay more tax than they have to – and if the IRS provides a legal deduction, it’s not sneaky or unfair to take it.

The problem is that a convoluted tax code prevents many Americans from finding some deductions they’re entitled to. Here are five commonly overlooked deductions that may be worth noting.

“Catch-up” retirement deductions. The IRA contribution limit for younger Americans is $5,000 for tax year 2012, but you get up to $6,000 if you’re 50 and older. This deduction is designed to help those closer to retirement catch up if they’re behind – and considering that some polls estimate half of Americans have zilch in retirement savings, you can understand why many need to catch up.

Job-hunting costs. Did you pay fees to an employment placement agency during your job search or join a professional organization to network? Are you out of pocket for travel to an interview, even if it was just gas and mileage, or did you spend hundreds on high-priced resume stationery and work samples? These are applicable expenses that can be added to your itemized deductions.

Best of all, you don’t have to be unemployed to qualify for many job-hunting tax breaks: Just looking for a job in your present field of employment allows you to reap these benefits. Make sure you’re being reasonable, and that these costs are 100 percent related to a job search. In other words, a trip to the Super Bowl is not a tax write-off just because you fill out an application at Starbucks while you’re in New Orleans.

Interest on student loans paid by someone else. Since it’s your name on the loan, it’s your deduction, even if your parents co-signed and they’re making the payments. The only way your parents can claim the interest is if you’re still a dependent on their tax return or if the original loan was wholly in their names.

Glasses and contacts. Prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses are in the same category of itemized deductions as a wheelchair or a hearing aid. While it might not seem like a medical expense to buy reading glasses with pink plastic frames, the IRS will cut you a break. Considering what some of us pay for designer eyewear, this can add up.

Out-of-pocket charity expenses. It’s easy to include the documentation from cash donations. But what about the little things, such as paint and poster board for a school fundraiser, or the ingredients in your famous green bean casserole, which is served at the local soup kitchen each Sunday? Don’t forget the driving, either. While commuting to and from a charity office doesn’t count, delivering meals or chauffeuring other volunteers can be deducted at a rate of 14 cents per mile.

A qualified tax adviser will know more itemized deductions, and the IRS offers tax tips on its website.

Jeff Reeves is editor of InvestorPlace.com and author of The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks

© Copyright 2013 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc., Jeff Reeves.

 

Related Topics: Taxes