Thursday, 30 July 2009

Property market in the Sarasota area shows signs of stabilising

Let's take a look at a different area in Florida rather than our usual focus on the southeast for a moment - the Sarasota-Brandenton market, which is near Tampa.

The local newspaper for the region, The Sarasota Herald Tribune, today reports some slightly encouraging news for the property market there. Although home sales continue to struggle, average prices have increased after falling steadily since September 2008 and reaching a low in February this year. The average price of a property now stands at $162,700.

The supply of new homes has fallen by 32% for the year ending this June. Meanwhile, new construction has also slowed by 42% in the same year period.

However, the amount of properties being sold has fallen, the research shows. The number of houses sold has fallen from 4,269 for the first six months of 2008 to 4,060 for the first six months of this year.

Generally, all of this amounts to signs of a slow recovery - at the moment, at least - in the property market in the region, as prices rise whilst supply falls. However, the overall conclusion is that these small rises and falls in the various factors make it difficult to fully predict when a proper recovery will swing into action. Right now, it is thought that this will not occur before 2010.

Article: Research finds local housing market still struggling, but starting to stabilize (30th July 2009, Sarasota Herald Tribune)

New home construction slow in southeast Florida

Yesterday's Miami Herald reports that numbers of new houses and condos being constructed during is levelling out for the second quarter of 2009 - which is good news, in all honesty! With high numbers of newly constucted units still to be sold, and more supply coming onto the market in terms of foreclosures, southeast Florida certainly doesn't need more houses and condos in this troubled property market.

To highlight this point, the Herald article states that at the moment, 1,022 new condo units remain empty in Broward, whilst a pretty staggering 10,685 remain empty in Dade.

In Dade county meanwhile, only 7 houses began construction during this period, whilst 27 condos (all in the same development) were starting to be built. For Broward, these figures stood at 78 houses but absolutely no condo units.

As mentioned in the article, however, part of the reason for this downturn in new construction is that developers are simply finding it tricky to get financing for new projects.

Article: Home building remains flat in South Florida (29th July 2009, Miami Herald)

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Number of foreclosures filings in southeast Florida falls

The Miami Herald last week featured an article on a report that shows some encouraging news for the property market in the region. From the month of May to June, the number of properties being filed for foreclosure in southeast Florida fell by a rather staggering 50%, on average; specific figures for the local counties are 40% in Dade and 60% for Broward. Meanwhile, across the United States, the number of foreclosures for the same period fell by 19%.

What these findings actually mean is difficult to say as the newspaper points out; such a drop is encouraging but many other factors to do with foreclosures or properties taken over by banks and then sold on need to be considered as well.

It really seems to be a case of wait and see. This news may be good, but let's see what happens next.

Article: South Florida foreclosure filings fall by half (17th July 2009, Miami Herald)

Monday, 6 July 2009

South Florida property market looking up?

The Miami Herald featured an article a couple of weeks ago (my apologies for not getting round to blogging about it sooner!) about a possible ray of sunshine emerging from the clouds for the South Florida property market. A couple of recent factors indicate that the market may be very close to recovery mode and subsequently on the up.

Recent figures show that the number of properties sold is increasing (the ninth such month on month increase) which is good news - despite the underlying reason for this increase not exactly being ideal.

And what is that "underlying reason"? Well, the increase in the number of properties sold is actually being driven by current low prices and what is termed "distressed sales" - i.e. sales of foreclosed properties or short-sales. (Where the property is sold for less than the amount owed on it.)

To give you an idea of the level of the market - sales of houses increased by 76% for Dade county and 47% for Broward; the condos, sales increased 36% in Dade and 25% in Broward. However, as much as 60% of all these properties sold were "distressed sales".

This increase in sales (which, in turn, is eating up some of the current oversupply of properties) isn't yet causing any substantial effect on prices - a comparison of median prices from last year to this still shows a large fall. However, month to month figures which show a small up and down fluctuation each month indicate that price falls may be slowing...which would turn into a price rise at some point. The main problem is the difficulty in predicting when exactly this "at some point" will happen.

The article finishes by saying the condo sales may not recover as quickly as house sales. The vast number of condo developments that were built in recent years means that there's a huge oversupply supply - the article mentions that by the end of this year, developers in just downtown Miami will still be holding 10,000 unsold units.

Article: Is the worst over for South Florida housing market? (24th June 2009, Miami Herald)