FLOOD INSURANCE UPDATE

Please read below for latest update from FEMA regarding flood insurance. And i need to speak my peace. Notice what they call the law….the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act. The federal government thinks all of us Americans are pin heads. They think they can put the word “Affordabilty” in all their legislation and all of us regular Joe’s think they are helping. They used that same word in our new health insurance plan as well. Now premiums are skyrocketing and the deductables are at $6000. Pretty soon and only the rich will be able to afford health insurance. The rest of us will decline and take the penalty because our budgets can’t handle even the premium, much less the deductable. What a mess. There is nothing affordable to the American people in anything our government attempts to do. Just like health insurance, they need to privitize flood insurance and the rates will come back down.   

FEMA issues flood insurance update

 

 

WASHINGTON – April 4, 2014 – On April 3, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a memo that outlined the steps it’s taking to implement the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. 

The seven-page memo issues instructions to private insurers who issue flood insurance policies on FEMA’s behalf. 

The overriding message for homeowners and buyers: Be patient. They may not receive the lower rate under the new law immediately. Homeowners facing a high bill are advised to pay it and wait for a rebate rather than go without flood coverage.

If you currently have a flood insurance policy in effect and it’s time to send in a renewal payment, “under no circumstances should you allow that policy to lapse” while waiting for clarity on how the new flood insurance law will impact it, advises Lisa S. Jones, a flood insurance specialist with Carolina Flood Solutions and consultant to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

“FEMA is working with Congress, the private Write Your Own insurance companies (private companies that act as intermediaries selling flood insurance policies) and other stakeholders to implement these Congressionally mandated reforms,” says Dennis Kuhns, FEMA’s director of the Risk Insurance Division.

However, Kuhns also says, “It is not possible for changes to happen immediately. While the new law does require some changes to be made retroactively – applying to certain policies written after July 6, 2012 – other changes require establishment of new programs, processes and procedures.”

It’s the “programs, processes and procedures” that will take time, and FEMA offers no solid dates, only that more information “will be forthcoming.”

However, FEMA echoes Jones’ advice for homeowners: Pay your flood insurance bill even if it’s still over-priced rather than wait for clarity on the lower rates authorized by the new flood law.

“FEMA does NOT recommend cancelling a flood insurance policy,” Kuhns said in the letter. “Cancelling flood insurance policies now will leave policyholders unprotected during spring flooding, and may cause policyholders to lose important discounts on their rate if they reinstate in the future.”

The complete FEMA letter and memo is posted online in Florida Realtors Flood Insurance Toolkit.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

INTEREST RATES ARE RISING!

For all you fence sitters, the party is over…….no not really, but seriously, if you are considering buying a home and have been putting it of you may want to reconsider. Interest rates a year ago were in the middle to high 3’s and today they are at 4.5% and continuing to creep up as our economy gets better. In addition, home prices are also rising a bit, so with those two factors what it means is a year from now you won’t be able to buy as much house unless your income rises as well. For all you young people out there that are just coming into the housing market, please read article to the bottom and you will see the what the interest rates have been in the past by the decade. That should convince you that now is the time to buy that dream home now…..and buy as big as you think you will need and can afford as these current rates will never be back. They are still the lowest in my life time. Don’t miss the boat! As always, if you need any help making a purchase in the greater Tampa Bay area, please feel free to give Richard Kemper a call at 813-777-5332 or email me at getrichquick2@aol.comImage 

 

Freddie: No more record-low mortgage rates

 

 

WASHINGTON – April 2, 2014 – While mortgage rates have been rising the last few months, they’re still historically low compared to the trend over the last four decades, Freddie Mac says in a blog post.

But rates as low as they were in November 2012 – when the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage reached an all-time low of 3.31 percent – aren’t likely to return any time soon, the mortgage giant says. 

Still, Freddie assures borrowers that the all-time record high of 18.63 percent reached in October 1981 isn’t on the horizon either. (At 18.63 percent, monthly mortgage payments on a $200,000 loan would be $3,117, compared to $992 a month at today’s 4.32 percent average.)

With mortgage rates at 4.32 percent, 123 of the 157 metros that Freddie Mac tracks remain very affordable to households earning the median income. In order for affordability to be hampered in the majority of markets, interest rates would have to reach 7 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

“Stubbornly high unemployment over the last several years coupled with stagnant income growth exacerbates declining affordability in a rising interest rate environment,” according to Freddie’s blog post. “More jobs and income growth would help blunt the effects of higher interest rates and make buying a home more accessible. While jobs and income have shown some improvement in recent months, they continue to be challenged.”

Mortgage rates through the years

Here’s an overview of mortgage rates in the past four decades, as well as the approximate payment on a $200,000 mortgage and how it changes with the rise and fall of rates, according to Freddie Mac.

 1970s
 Average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage: 8.86%
 Approximate payment on a $200,000 mortgage: $1,589

 1980s
 Average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage: 12.70%
 Approximate payment on a $200,000 mortgage: $2,166

 1990s
 Average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage: 8.12%
 Approximate payment on a $200,000 mortgage: $1,484

 2000s
 Average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage: 6.29%
 Approximate payment on a $200,000 mortgage: $1,237

 2014
 Average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage: 4.36%
 Approximate payment on a $200,000 mortgage: $997

Source: “Mortgage Rates: From Dirt Cheap, to Cheap,” Freddie Mac (March 24, 2014)

© Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688 

ARE FORECLOSURES ON INCREASE OR DECREASE?

Read below to get all the details, but bottom line looks like foreclosures are on decrease, but so are institutional investors. So what does it all mean? We don’t know exactly yet, but as we go into the 2014 major selling season, we will have some hard statistical data to look at. If you are on the fence about buying, you need to go ahead and buy as interest rates are slowly going up and so are home prices. Just to give you an example, we put in a full price offer on a property in Tampa and asked for $3000 towards buyer closing costs and prepaids and didn’t get the property….someone offered more than our great offer. What does this mean? If you are out there looking for a home and you see something you like, put a good offer in immediately before your dream home is picked up by another buyer. As always, if you need any help purchasing a home in the Tampa area, please feel free to give me a call at 813-777-5332 or email me at getrichquick2@aol.com. You can see me on the web at http://www.richardkemper.com 

Feb. foreclosures up for year, down for month

 

IRVINE, Calif. – March 27, 2014 – RealtyTrac released its February 2014 Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report. It finds that U.S. residential properties, including single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes, sold at an estimated annual pace of 5,083,241 in February – a 0.2 percent decrease from January, but up 7 percent year-to-year.

February marked the fourth consecutive month where foreclosure sales activity decreased month-to-month.
 
“Supply and demand have reached a bit of a standoff in this uneven real estate recovery,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “The supply of distressed properties – which buyers and investors have come to rely on over the past few years – is evaporating quickly in most markets – but that dwindling supply is not being adequately replenished by non-distressed homeowners listing their homes, or by new homes being built.”

Meanwhile, a key source of demand over the past two years – institutional investors purchasing single family homes as rentals – is starting to decline, Blomquist says, and “it’s not yet clear if that diminishing demand will be filled by first-time homebuyers and move-up buyers.”

The national median sales price of U.S. residential properties – including both distressed and non-distressed sales – was $164,667 in February, down 1 percent from the previous month but up 4 percent for the year. It was the 20th consecutive month where the median price increased or stayed flat year-to-year, but it was the second month-to-month decrease.
 
Short sales and distressed sales – in foreclosure or bank-owned – made up 16.9 percent of all U.S. sales in February, up from 16.1 percent of sales in January but down from 19.1 percent of sales in February 2013. The median price of distressed properties – in foreclosure or bank-owned – was 44 percent below the median price of non-distressed properties.
 
Short sales nationwide accounted for 5.7 percent of all sales, up from 5.5 percent in January but down from 6.9 percent year-to-year. Metro areas with the highest percentage of short sales included Las Vegas (17.0 percent), Orlando (16.8 percent), Tampa (14.9 percent), Memphis (14.5 percent), and Miami (12.3 percent). The percentage of short sales decreased from a year ago in all of these metros.
 
Sales of bank-owned properties nationwide accounted for 9.7 percent of sales, up from 9.3 percent in January but down from 11.1 percent a year ago. Metro areas with the highest percentage of bank-owned sales in February included Cleveland (29.8 percent), Stockton, Calif. (25.5 percent), Las Vegas (25.4 percent), Detroit (23.0 percent), and Jacksonville, Fla. (21.1 percent).
 
Sales at the public foreclosure auction accounted for 1.5 percent of all sales nationwide in February, up from 1.3 percent in January and up from 1.1 percent in February 2013.
• 97 percent of all sales at the foreclosure auction were all-cash
• 35 percent of foreclosure auction sales were to institutional investors
• 81 percent sold for $200,000 or less
 
Metro areas with the highest percentage of foreclosure auction sales in February included Lakeland, Fla., (6.9 percent), Columbus, Ohio (5.4 percent), Charlotte, N.C. (4.7 percent), Miami (4.7 percent), and Las Vegas (4.6 percent).
 
Institutional investors – entities that purchase at least 10 properties in a calendar year – accounted for 5.9 percent of all U.S. residential property sales in February, up from a revised 5.0 percent of sales in January but down from 7.2 percent of sales in February 2013.

February was the third consecutive month where the institutional investor share of sales declined on a year-over-year basis after 19 consecutive months of year-over-year increases.
• 91 percent of all institutional investor purchases in February were all-cash
• 17 percent were properties in foreclosure or bank-owned
• 81 percent were priced $200,000 or lower
• 63 percent were between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet
• 55 percent were built in 1990 or later
 
Among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 500,000 or more, cities with the highest share of institutional investor purchases in February were Atlanta (25.2 percent), Columbus, Ohio, (21.4 percent), Knoxville, Tenn., (18.2 percent), Phoenix (15.2 percent), and Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. (14.8 percent).
 
All-cash sales accounted for 43.3 percent of all U.S. residential sales in February, up from a revised 42.1 percent in January and up from 20.2 percent in February 2013. February was the eighth consecutive month were cash sales accounted for 35 percent or more of all sales nationwide.
• 12 percent of cash sales were to institutional investors
• 15 percent were in foreclosure or bank-owned
• 67 percent were priced $200,000 or lower
 
Metro areas with share of all-cash sales above 50 percent included Miami (71.3 percent), Tampa (65.9 percent), Orlando (62.3 percent), Las Vegas (59.5 percent), New York (57.1 percent), Atlanta (56.7 percent) and Detroit (56.0 percent).

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

DO YOU THINK FLORIDA HOME PRICES ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO RISE?

I don’t have a working crystal ball, but I don’t see any statistical data or any eyebrow raising trend that would lead me to believe that prices for Tampa area real estate are not going to rise over the next year. In addition, we are heading into our busiest time of the year from now until about mid-August! The thing to keep your eye on is interest rates. If interest rates go up and home prices go up, home buyers will have less buying power. So, for now all looks good. If you are thinking of buying a new home, it’s a great time while prices and interest rates afford more buying power. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call me or text me at 813-777-5332 or email me at getrichquick2@aol.com. See me on the web at http://www.richardkemper.com    

 

Realtors in Fla. expect prices to rise more than 5%

 

WASHINGTON – March 24, 2014 – According to the just-released National Association of Realtors®’ (NAR) Realtors Confidence Index, members expect home prices to continue to rise over the next 12 months, but they expect them to do so at a moderate pace given tight credit conditions and lower home affordability.

The Realtors Confidence Index is a monthly survey distributed to more than 50,000 real estate practitioners. It gauges their expectations about home sales, prices and market conditions. Overall, Realtors expect a median price increase of 3.9 percent over the next 12 months.

Florida is one of four states where practitioners predict the biggest increases – 5 to 7 percent – along with California, Alaska and Hawaii. Tight inventories have helped to lift home values in these areas, according to the survey.

“In states with booming economies like Washington, North Dakota, Texas, Michigan, and the D.C.-metro area, the expected price increase is about 3 to 5 percent,” according to the report.

Real estate professionals also expressed several concerns over the housing market holding back some buyers, particularly due to “unreasonably” tight credit conditions.

“Access to credit was often cited as a deterrent to home buying,” the report says. “About 13 percent of Realtors who did not close a sale in February reported having clients who could not obtain financing.” In those cases, about 6 percent of the professionals said their buyer gave up, while 7 percent said their buyer continued to seek new or other financing.

Other transaction hang-ups were lack of agreement on a price (11 percent); buyer losing a home to competition (10 percent); and appraisal issues (3 percent).

The complete survey is available online.

Source: Realtor Magazine Daily News

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

FLORIDA FLOOD INSURANCE BILL PASSES – WHAT A RELIEF!

I have put two homes on the market recently that had issues due to Flood Insurance. One, was a case where the previous owner owned the home outright and because he didn’t have a mortgage he wasnt required to carry flood insurance. In order to make home competitive in the market place I had to get the sellers to pay for an elevation certificate for $275 and then give that to an insurance agent who could then give me a quote. In the end no worries, as the buyer turned out to be a cash buyer as well! 

The other is a home that when purchased wasn’t in a flood zone, but the U.S. Government changed the lines and now it is in a flood zone. We have the same issue with this home as well. We need to get an elevation certificate at the seller’s expense in order to find out what the cost of flood insurance will be, and the terrible thing for the seller’s is that some buyers may bypass the property and choose to buy a home that does not require flood insurance. By the way I live in the area, and I’ve never seen any standing water in that area….ever.

Bet you won’t read about yet another way, the government gets involved in our lives and makes everything more complicated and more expensive for everyday people just tring to get by. As always, feel free to email me, text me, or call me if you have any questions regarding the sale or purchase of a property in the Tampa, FL area. Richard Kemper, REMAX   

 

U.S. House repeals some flood insurance hikes

 

Fla.’s Realtors applaud House passage of flood insurance bill

“This action in Congress will bring the much-needed certainty our real estate market has been missing since Biggert-Waters went into effect, and provide immediate relief to Florida homeowners who were facing financial ruin due to sudden, unanticipated and drastic flood insurance premium increases,” said 2014 Florida Realtors® President Sherri Meadows, CEO and team leader, Keller Williams, with market centers in Gainesville, Ocala and the Villages.

Read more.

TAMPA, Fla. – March 5, 2014 – A bill to repeal many of the rate hikes in the government’s flood insurance program passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday with strong bipartisan support.

After weeks of revisions by both House Republicans and Democrats, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act passed 306-91 following a brief debate on the floor.

Before the vote, members of both parties made passionate appeals in favor of the legislation, saying it would relieve homeowners burdened by excessive premiums while ensuring the deeply indebted National Flood Insurance Program remains solvent.

“It will provide relief for homeowners struggling to keep their homes. It will ensure all participants in the flood program are treated fairly and eliminate an untenable financial burden in these tough economic times,” said Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor.

Tampa Democrat Rep. Kathy Castor praised the bipartisan agreement on the bill, echoing members from New York, New Jersey, Louisiana and even landlocked states like West Virginia.

“I’m heartened here today because even though this Congress has a reputation for not addressing the challenges that face families all across this country, we’re going to come together here today to address a very important financial issue for families.”

The bill was passed under the “suspension of the rules” procedure, a method to speed up voting on legislation that has broad, bipartisan support.

Passage required a two-thirds majority, more than the 230 bipartisan co-sponsors who had already signaled their support.

Fiscal conservatives led by House financial services committee chair Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, opposed to the bill, complaining that it forces taxpayers to continue subsidizing a small portion of at-risk properties that will continue getting low rates.

The rolling back of several financial reforms meant to fix the flood program’s $24 billion debt has stirred controversy with conservative and environmental groups.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page Monday called for Congress to vote down the bill.

Among other measures, the bill would keep “grandfathered” rates in place for homes in flood zones after new flood maps are drawn up.

It allows homebuyers to keep a home’s lower, subsidized rate instead of immediately paying higher premiums based on the property’s full risk of flood.

If the bill becomes law, people who bought homes after the passage of the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act and saw huge premium spikes could be eligible for a refund.

On average, premiums would go by up 15 percent each year with a hard cap of 18 percent.

A policy surcharge of $25 for primary residences and $250 for other properties would go into a reserve fund to ensure the program has the financial wherewithal to pay claims in the event of a Hurricane Katrina-like catastrophe.

Gov. Rick Scott released a statement Tuesday night calling the bill’s passage “an important win in our fight to undo the unfair flood insurance rate hikes that are hurting Florida families.”

It may be a while before the changes reach policyholders.

The bill must be reconciled with a version passed in the Senate, which had called for a delay of rate increases, before going to the president to sign into law.

“Although it doesn’t go as far as the bill we passed in the Senate, it’s good the House has approved some curbs on flood insurance,” U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando, said in a statement after Tuesday’s vote.

“For the sake of policyholders facing massive rate hikes, I hope we can get a final version sent to the president quickly.”

If it becomes law, it could take many months for FEMA to work out the bill’s implementation and communicate changes to insurance agencies that write policies for the government flood program, said Patty Templeton-Jones, executive vice president and chief operating officer of St. Petersburg-based Wright Flood.

“Once it passes, it’s going to be waiting for FEMA to give us guidance,” she said.

In Florida, 13 percent of the state’s 2 million flood policies are subject to rate changes under the Biggert-Waters Act, as FEMA removes subsidies on older homes that had been paying premiums that don’t reflect their true flood risk, according to a report by Florida Tax Watch.

Pinellas County has more than 33,000 single-family homes affected by the law, with the largest number of properties in the country.

Copyright © 2014 Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Fla.), Josh Boatwright.

PENDING HOME SALES UP JANUARY 2014?

No, pending home sales aren’t up. They are down slightly over last year, but prices still remain stable and we still have limited inventory. If you have been thinking about buying a home, or selling your current home and either up sizing or down sizing, now is the time. Interest rates are still at record lows, but they are rising a little at a time and are about 1% higher than last year. Once the goverment stops printing money, I would suspect the rates will jump back up to 6% which is where they were at the begining of the housing market crisis. Read on to get the details regarding pending home sale. Richard Kemper Remax

NAR: Pending home sales steady in Jan.
WASHINGTON – Feb. 28, 2014 – Pending home sales were essentially unchanged in January, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Monthly gains in the South and Northeast were offset by declines in the West and Midwest.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, edged up 0.1 percent to 95.0 in January from an upwardly revised 94.9 in December, but is 9.0 percent below January 2013 when it was 104.4.

“Ongoing disruptive weather patterns in much of the U.S. inhibited home shopping,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Limited inventory also is playing a role, especially in the West, while credit remains tight and affordability isn’t as favorable as it was a year ago.”

The December index reading was the lowest since November 2011, when it stood at 94.6.

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 2.3 percent to 79.0 in January – 5.3 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest, the index declined 2.5 percent to 92.9 in January – 9.3 percent lower than January 2013.

Pending home sales in the South increased 3.5 percent to an index of 111.2 in January – 5.5 percent below a year ago. The index in the West fell 4.8 percent in January to 84.2 – 17.5 percent below January 2013.

Existing-home sales are expected to be weak in the first quarter, but prices continue to rise from limited inventory.

“Increasing new home construction can quickly solve two problems, producing more inventory and taming price growth,” Yun says.

The pace of sales should pick up in the middle part of the year, according to NAR. Total existing-home sales are projected at just over 5.0 million in 2014, slightly below the volume recorded last year. The national median existing-home price is forecast to grow in the range of 5 to 6 percent this year.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

The title looks good, and is for some Florida cities, but Tampa is not in top ten. I think our prices rose dramatically last spring and then have been stable since then. I will give you an example of how they have risen. I bought a home at the beginning of 2012 for 252k and just sold it for 289k. If you are in the Tampa area and reading my blog, no worries that the Tampa area isn’t in the top 10….this time. To read article….see below

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 26, 2014 – A report from Black Knight Financial Services (formerly Lender Processing Services) finds that December home values in the U.S. are within 13.9 percent of the peak reached in 2006.

Black Knight’s Home Price Index (HPI) found nationally that home values rose 0.1 percent month-to-month (compared to November 2012 numbers) and 8.4 percent year-to-year. The high point for U.S. home prices was $270,000 in June 2006. In December, the HPI found a median of $232,000.

From Black Knight’s analysis, it appears most U.S. cities saw their biggest price spike last year, and their dramatic price increases have begun to slow to a more balanced level.

Florida, however, seems to buck that trend a bit, with home prices still climbing faster in comparison to other U.S. states and cities.

According to Black Knight, Florida prices rose 0.6 percent month-to-month in December, coming in second to top-ranking New York with a 0.7 percent rise.

However, Florida cities logged eight of the top 10 spots for “Biggest Movers” when comparing metro areas. Only two other U.S. cities even made the list.

Biggest metro area movers month-to-month

1. Miami: 1.2% month-to-month December price increase
2. Sarasota: 0.9%
3. Key West: 0.7%
4. Fort Walton Beach: 0.6%
5. Poughkeepsie, NY: 0.6%
6. Lakeland: 0.6%
7. Port St. Lucie: 0.6%
8. Tulsa, OK: 0.5%
9. Naples: 0.5%
10. Palm Bay: 0.5%

To calculate its HPI, Black Knight says it looks at repeat sales prices and its loan-level databases. It claims the numbers take REO and short-sale price discounts into consideration.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®