MIAMI – Feb. 20, 2018 – Thanks in part to an especially cold winter, Canadians' interest in South Florida vacation homes continues to grow.
Canadians comprised 9 percent of all foreign buyers of South Florida homes last year compared to 6 percent in 2016, according to a Miami Association of Realtors® and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) report.
Nationally, Canadians purchased $19 billion of residential property in the United States last year – more than double their $8.9 billion of purchases in 2016, according to NAR.
The sustained strength of Canada's housing market is also motivating Canadians to sell their primary residences.
Rob Siemens, director of marketing for the Siemens Group, says Florida's hurricane season "isn't a major concern" among Canadians shopping for second homes in the state. He adds that Canadians own roughly 15 percent of the 3,400 condo units at the Boca West Country Club in Boca Raton, and expects that population to grow as Canadians buy into Ayoka Boca West, a 139-unit condo that Siemens Group is developing on the grounds of the country club property. Prices for condos at Ayoka Boca West start at $1 million.
Source: The Real Deal (02/18/18) Seemuth, Mike
NEW YORK – Feb. 20, 2018 – Mortgage rates hit a four-year high late last week, and it's looking like the years of ultra-low-cost home loans are coming to an end, experts said.
"I would say this has been a long time coming," said Dan Starelli, head of Guild Mortgage in Sacramento. "We've had interest rates dropping for decades. I think we hit bottom. I don't think we'll see rates in the 3s again."
Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages now hover in the 4.5 percent range after a run-up over the past month that was prompted by stock market volatility and strong signs of economic growth.
Last year average rates for 30-year mortgages were as low as 3.78 percent, and the year before that they fell nearly to 3.4 percent, according to Freddie Mac, the huge home-loan corporation owned by the federal government.
Freddie Mac's average rate for 30-year mortgages on Thursday was 4.38 percent, its highest level since April 2014, but many banks were charging more. Wells Fargo and Umpqua Bank, for instance, both posted 30-year mortgage rates of 4.5 percent on Friday.
A number of factors are influencing the rise. The stock market took a huge plunge earlier this month, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average experiencing its biggest one-day drop in history. The sell-off was prompted in large part by fear of rising interest rates and indicators of strong economic growth, including low unemployment, that can lead to inflation.
The Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank, has kept rates low for years to spur economic growth but will likely raise the cost of borrowing going forward, economists said.
"Inflation measures were broad-based, cementing expectations that the Federal Reserve will go forward with monetary tightening later this year," Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist with Freddie Mac, said in a prepared statement on Thursday.
Increasing the interest that the Fed charges banks can push up rates across the board, including car loans, credit card rates and mortgages.
In addition, the yield on 10-year Treasury notes – a number that usually correlates with mortgage rates – has surged in recent weeks. The yield goes up as demand for the securities, deemed among the safest in the world, goes down.
During the recession and its aftermath, the Federal Reserve, nervous investors and overseas entities bought 10-year treasuries in huge quantities, driving down the yield and pushing mortgage rates to historic lows. That's no longer happening.
"It was very artificial," Starelli said. "Now we're getting into a more realistic market, which is healthy overall."
He and other mortgage professionals said they expect interest rates to continue to rise this year, perhaps reaching 5 percent by year's end. But they don't expect a return to traditionally more normal rates of 7 or 8 percent anytime soon.
While the overall economic picture may be good, the increased cost of mortgages isn't good news for would-be homebuyers. That's especially true for those competing for entry level homes.
"It is a tremendous challenge right now for low-to-moderate income families to get into housing," said Kara Thomson, homeownership manager with nonprofit housing group NeighborWorks Sacramento.
Every dollar can count when trying to make a home loan pencil out, she said.
A family of four earning 80 percent of the area median income, or just over $60,000, can afford a mortgage of less than $270,000 and a monthly payment of about $1,800 a month, she said. Increasing that payment by $100, because mortgage rates have gone up by half a percentage point, can affect a family's ability to qualify for a mortgage.
"A hundred dollars can make a difference," she said. "Sometimes they're right on the line anyway."
Brandon Haefele, president of Catalyst Mortgage in Sacramento, agreed that even a seemingly incremental rate increase "can be a big deal for an average homebuyer."
"You're talking an increase over 30 years of $18,000 to $20,000 of interest that you'll pay," he said. That assumes a $350,000 mortgage with 10 percent down, which is fairly typical these days.
Entry level buyers are already at a disadvantage when competing for an extremely low inventory of homes for sale and need to put themselves in the best position to get an offer accepted, he said.
Haefele's advice: "Be pre-approved. Know your purchasing power. Ask your loan officer, 'What if rates go up a quarter point or half a percent? How will that affect my purchasing power?'"
Just in case rates should fall again, make sure your lender has a float-down policy allowing a locked-in rate to go even lower, he said.
You never know, Haefele said. "Rates might pull back and improve a little bit."
ORLANDO, Fla. – Nov. 21, 2017 – The impact of Hurricane Irma on Florida's housing market resolved by the end of October, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales, median prices, new listings and new pending sales rose even as the inventory of for-sale properties remained constrained in many areas. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 20,543 last month, up 2 percent compared to October 2016.
"Home purchases stalled by Hurricane Irma striking Florida in September resumed – and many of those sales closed in October," said 2017 Florida Realtors President Maria Wells, broker-owner with Lifestyle Realty Group in Stuart. "Areas hit hardest by the hurricane will still take time to recover, but in other parts of the state, real estate activity has returned. Sellers were ready to put their homes on the market in October, with new listings for single-family existing homes up 9.8 percent year-over-year; new listings for existing condo-townhouse properties rose 14.6 percent.
"Wherever you are, there is a local Realtor who can help you understand local market conditions and prepare for a successful home sale or home purchase."
The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $235,558, up 7.1 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Thestatewide median price for condo-townhouse properties in October was $170,000, up 5.2 percent over the year-ago figure. October was the 70th month-in-a-row that statewide median prices for both sectors rose year-over-year. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
According to the National Association of Realtors®(NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in September 2017 was $, up 5.6 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $$555,410in Massachusetts, it was $380,000; in Maryland, it was $277,746; andin New York, it was $257,500.
Looking at Florida's condo-townhouse market, statewide closed sales totaled 8,116 last month, up 2.2 percent compared to October 2016. Closed sales data reflected fewer short sales and foreclosures last month: Short sales for condo-townhouse properties declined 22.5 percent and foreclosures fell 42.8 percent year-to-year; short sales for single-family homes dropped 36.7 percent and foreclosures fell 42.3 percent year-to-year. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.
"Last month, we talked about how it's not uncommon for Florida to see a quick rebound in sales of existing homes the month after a hurricane," said Florida Realtors®Chief Economist Dr. Brad O'Connor.
October's for-sale inventory remained tight with a 3.8-months' supply for single-family homes and a 5.6-months' supply for condo-townhouse properties, according to Florida Realtors.
According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.90 percent in October 2017; it averaged 3.47 percent during the same month a year earlier.
© 2017 Florida Realtors®