Friday, 23 October 2009

Property sales in the U.S. on the up

Today's Miami Herald reports on a news item covered by a number of newspapers - property sales in America for the month of September are expected to show a better than expected increase, indicating that the property market is strengthening.

A report out today from the National Association of Realtors shows that national property sales rose by 5% during that month. The median price of a sale in the U.S. now stands at $174,900, which is a slight dip from the August figure (of $177,300) but down by 8.5% from the same month the previous year.

At the same time, the number of properties for sale fell (to 3.63 million), also a promising sign; at that level it would take 7.8 months to sell all stock.

This upturn in sales is most prevalent in areas and cities in the western U.S. (which saw sales rise by 13% from August to September), such as Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas.

This increase in sales is down to low priced, foreclosed homes; attractive current mortgage rates; and a tax credit for first time buyers allowing them up to 10% off the purchase price (up to $8,000). This credit expires in November, which may be prompting a rush to purchase property before then, though the credit may possibly be extended beyond Novemberto help the property market to recover further.

So what does this mean for foreign buyers? Well, this upturn in sales means that supply will start to contract - not a pressing issue right now, but as more and more buyers enter the market, desireable properties will be snapped up more quickly. If you are seriously considering buying in Florida or the U.S., it will also mean that you'll be up against more competition. Finally, a rise in the number of properties being sold is likely to eventually cause a sharper rise in prices - so you may want to take the plunge sooner rather than later.

Article: Home sales rise 9.4 pct in Sept., beats forecast (23rd October 2009, Miami Herald)

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Property flippers are back in south Florida

Today's Miami Herald reports on something that might make you think the property market in south Florida is on the up (or thereabouts) - namely, that property flippers are returning. The same people who were operating in full force prior to the property market collapase almost entirely disappeared as property prices kept plunging lower and lower, deterred by the not being able to make their previously very healthy profits.

Now, they're being enticed back by low prices, especially on foreclosed homes. They buy such properties - many of which may be in some state of disrepair, or have other associated costs (usually unpaid taxes) - to do up and sell on, or rent for the short term for selling.

The main point is that the properties they are buying often need a considerable amount of work - new roofs, structural repairs - rather than undergoing a simple refurbishment job as may have been the case before. Not matter how how cheap such houses are, "ordinary" buyers may well be put off by the possibility of having to fork out additional considerable sums to do up their homes.

The downside, however, is that the re-emergence of property flippers means that ordinary home-buyers now have more competition in their search for a purchase - buyers who would normally require a mortgage, so are already at a disadvantage to property flippers or investors with ready cash.

Overall, the fact that property flippers have returned may - in some ways - be promising for the south Florida property market. Though their re-emergence may worry some people, who believe that they may eventually cause prices to rise rapidly to rather ridiculous levels, surely the fact that they are willing to start buying and selling in the south Florida property market means that it is becoming that little bit more healthy.

Moreover, if they are willing and able to do up the worst quality foreclosed properties, it is only a good thing.

Article: Real-estate flippers back in S. Florida (8th October 2009, Miami Herald)