Monday, 23 March 2009

Article: News Grows Even Worse For Condos

If you're thinking of buying a condo (especially one in a large development) in southeast Florida, then it's a good idea to take a look at this article from the Arizona Star, published this Monday.

The newspaper reports that condo developments in which some owners have fallen behind in paying their regular association fees (which are used to maintain and pay for the upkeep of the development or building - for the lift/elevator, gardens and so on) and the residents' associations are in some cases struggling to pay for some maintenance items.

Furthermore, the Federal National Mortgage Association (i.e. Fannie Mae) - one of the two big mortgage lenders in America - will introduce a couple of new lending rules to those looking for a mortgage to purchase a condo which may exacerbate the situation.

Firstly, Fannie Mae will not lend to anyone that wishes to buy in a condo development where 15% or more of owners are behind on their association fees. Secondly, they will also not provide a mortgage for a condo in a development where fewer than 70% of units have been sold.

Although such measures are intended to protect buyers and lenders, some say that they will only make things worse for condo sales, a market which is already struggling from over-supply. Geunine sellers in struggling developments may now find it even more difficult to sell and, likewise, buyers may find it more difficult to purchase in particular condo developments - especially in new, recently completed ones.

On the other hand, if you are able to raise alternative financing - particularly in you're a foreign buyer and can get a loan in your home country - you may be able to take advantage of this situation.

Article: News grows even worse for condos (Arizona Star, 23rd March 2009)

Article: Houses Stay For Sale The Longest In South Florida Market

The Sun Sentinel featured an article last week on the average length of time it takes to sell a property in the Miami metro area. This figure currently stands at  193 days, meaning Miami takes the top spot in a survey undertaken by Altos Research and Real IQ.

The time taken to sell a property in the Miami area (which includes Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties) has increased quite a bit from the 156 days it took to sell in summer 2008.

Miami, unfortunately, is quite far out in first place - second on the list is the Chicago area, where it takes 180 days to sell.

The reason for Miami's high figure is the vast number of foreclosed properties in the region that are coming onto the market.

The decline in prices, however, should eventually see the tide turn and the time taken to sell decrease.

Article: Houses stay for sale the longest in South Florida market (Sun Sentinel, 14th March 2009)

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Article Roundup: Properties In Orlando More Affordable

Shifting our focus away from southeast Florida for a minute, here's a couple of articles from the Orlando Sentinel - a city in which, generally, the property market seems to be improving.

As prices have come tumbling down in the city, property sales have increased. In a year on year comparison between this February and the same month in 2008, sales are up by 28%. However, for the same period, the median sale price fell by 34.8% to $148,000. This large drop in prices can be mainly attributed to many properties being listed for sale for foreclosure reasons. The number of properties for sale has also decreased to 22,168 featured on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), down 15% from February 2008, although the figure is still considered large. The average time it takes to sell a property has also decreased to 102 days, down from 123 days from the previous year.

The article concludes that whilst now may be a good time to buy, it is not such a great time to sell. A number of sellers are featured in the article who have had their homes listed for sale for a while and are unable to find buyers.

Another article from the same newspaper explains that property in Orlando is also becoming more affordable for a couple of reasons. Orlando has now fallen below-average on the ACCRA Cost Of Living Index's housing index, and is just above average on the cost of living index.

Furthermore, comapared to median income (at $52,136) which has stayed relatively stable over the last few years, median house prices have come crashing down meaning homes are now more affordable.

- Low prices boost home sales in Orlando area (Orlando Sentinel, 11th March 2009)

- Silver lining: Area homes affordable again (Orlando Sentinel, 9th March 2009)