Real Estate News for North Pinellas County

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Vacation, investment home purchases way up in 2012

 Here’s some more evidence to support the notion that the real estate market – and the economy in general – is on the upswing.

PrintThe National Association of Realtors says that the sale of both investmnent homes and vacations home increased by quite a lot in 2011:

  • Investment home purchases rose 64.5 percent, from 749,000 in 2010 to 1,23 million in 2011.
  • Vacation home sales rose 7 percent, from 469,000 in 2010 to 502,000 in 2011.

(The NAR defines vacation homes as recreational properties purchased for the buyer’s personal use. It defines investment homes as residential properties  purchased with the intent to either rent to others or to keep as investments.)

The market share of vacation and investment homes purchased in 2011 is at its highest point since 2005, NAR reports. The information was contained in NAR’s 2012 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey.

Accortding to NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, investors used cash to take advantage of the favorable market conditions in 2011.

Lawrence Yun

Lawrence Yun

“During the past year, investors have been swooping into the market to take advantage of bargain home prices,” he said. “Rising rental income easily beat cash sitting in banks as an added inducement.”

Yun also said 41 percent of investor buyers purchased more than one property during the year.

The upswing in sales, Yun said, show that the market is able to absorb the foreclosures that are coming into the market.

“Small-time investors are helping the market heal since REO (bank real estate owned) inventory is not lingering for an extended period,” he said. “Any government program to sell REO inventory in bulk to large institutional companies should be limited to small geographic areas. Even where alternatives are needed, it’s best to rely on the expertise of local businesses, nonprofit organizations and government.”

Yun said 49 percent of investment buyers paid cash in 2011, as did 42 percent of vacation-home buyers. Half of all investment home purchases in 2011 were distressed homes, as were 39 percent of vacation homes. Of buyers who financed with mortgages, Yun said, large downpayments were typical.

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Pending home sales are UP in Pinellas County and elsewhere

  Here’s some good real estate news: the National Association of Realtors says that pending home sales rose 10.4 percent during the month of October. Pending sales are contracts on home purchases that have not yet closed.

 Pending sales now are running 9.4 percent above last year’s levels.

Here in the South, those numbers are strong as well, if a bit behind the national average. Pending sales in the South for October were up 8.6 percent.

NAR doesn’t break down those figures beyond regions, but it’s safe to say that real estate trends in Pinellas County roughly track the NAR’s regional analysis. Some if you are thinking about a real estate purchase in Pinellas County, this information should be a real plus as you consider your options.

realtor logoLawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said the increase may be due to the continuing affordability homes, and pent-up demand.

 “Home sales have been plodding along at a sub-par level while interest rates are hovering at record lows and there is a pent-up demand from buyers who normally would have entered the market in recent years,” he said. “We hope this is indicates more buyers are taking advantage of the excellent affordability conditions.”

 While the numbers are encouraging, there is a caution that must be remembered; not all contracts lead to closed transactions. In fact, these tough economic times have resulted in an increase in the number of contracts that never reach closing. Sometimes appraisals come in lower than agreed-upon sales prices and that can end deals; Also, buyers sometimes underestimate the new, more stringent credit score requirements.

 “Although contract signings are up, not all contracts lead to closings,” Yun said. “Many potential home buyers inadvertently hurt their credit scores and chances of getting a mortgage through easily averted actions, such as canceling an old credit line while taking on a new one. Such actions could unwittingly prevent buyers from obtaining a mortgage if their credit score is close to the margins of qualifying, or they might get a loan but with less favorable terms.”

 If you are wondering where you might stand in trying to buy a home in Pinellas County, you should give me a call. I have many years of experience in the mortgage field, both in Pinellas County and elsewhere, and I can offer you valuable advice about how to go forward in today’s real estate market.