Friday, January 27, 2012

Another Example of Government Intervention in Real Estate

A new article is out regarding FHA certification of condo buildings for buyers trying to obtain low down payment FHA insured mortgages.

These types of mortgages attract mostly first time home buyers.  While the Sarasota area is not a mecca for first-time buyers, and our housing market is healthier than most, it's yet another example of supposedly well-intentioned government regulation putting a damper on the housing market.

The FHA "certifies" a condo building for approval for FHA financing based on financial health of the condo association and a raft of other analyses of condo ownership and legal issues.  Of course, the burden of providing paperwork to the FHA falls on the condo association management, many of whom are already scrambling with owners in short sale or foreclosure. 

To make matters even worse, the goverment apparently has not made rules and regulations for condo managers easily available.  Like the good public servants they are, the FHA hopes to actually publish it's condo certification rules in the Federal Register sometime this year for public comment.

In a typical government employee response, an FHA spokeswoman was quoted: "It's not really that onerous, a lot of it is just basic information".  Yet one condo manager states: "It seems like there's always something additional that the FHA wants."  Sound familiar?

The NAR has asked us to pay higher dues, so they can wine and dine and lobby Congress to "protect" the public and improve the real estate market, but it's my opinion that more intervention results in more headaches for the public and ourselves as Realtors.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sarasota Ranked Top 5 Florida School Districts 2011

I just read an article on Yahoo News about Florida school district rankings.

Sarasota County is in the top 5 in 2011.  Read the article here: http://yhoo.it/zWyoUQ

You can also view the rankings here:  http://bit.ly/Armqn6

Top ranked beaches, top ranked place to retire, and now the top schools in Florida make Sarasota the best place to buy real estate in 2012.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Are Cash Buyers Driving Down Home Prices?

I saw another real estate article in my daily update from Florida Realtors that made me roll my eyes.

In the article (link here), cash buyers are blamed for forcing down home prices, because a recent survey showed 1 in 3 buyers were cash investors.

Since when does having cash translate into a bank or a private seller dropping their sales price?  Yes, it's a great tool to have in a negotiation to leverage terms or in a multiple offer situation (in which case, the property price is usually bid UP), but it's a bit of a stretch to blame the continued soft real estate market on investors.

As Realtors we should be watching unwanted government intervention as the cause of unhealthy real estate markets to help speed recovery and rebuild confidence in the buying public.









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Monday, January 2, 2012

2011, adios!

Is anyone else out there glad 2011 is over?  Yes, it was a huge improvement over 2010, as we began to see the real estate market recover in the last part of the year.  It didn't kill me, so as the saying goes, it made me stronger.

I get the impression that buyers in the market now are working with a mindset that's about a year old.  While other agents are touting our recovering market, I think this could discourage potential buyers from considering the Sarasota area if they think they can get better "deals" in cities like Tampa or Ft. Myers.

Real estate in soft markets like Tampa is like buying stock in Netflix.  It's bound to go lower.  Is that a good investment?

We are better off in our local real estate industry promoting the past and current demand for the Sarasota lifestyle.  There are plenty of recent articles and statistics to back this up. 

As one recent client said to me, "Tampa prices looked good on paper, until I saw Sarasota and figured out I didn't want a cheap condo with no local amenities".  Amen.