Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

Fort Lauderdale ranks higher in hot markets for 2018

The Fort Lauderdale real estate market has been on the rise and healthy for a while now and studies show it will be even better for 2018. According to a recent report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute, Fort Lauderdale comes in at #6 in this year’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate. The city has moved up in ranking by 29 spots and is notably the largest increase for the report.

There has been a positive feeling about the industrial, multifamily and single-family markets in Fort Lauderdale. The local economy health, investor demand and available capital are all showing good signs to be at an all-time high for next year.

The report also shared that the population gain for the city is expected to be 29,000 in 2018 ranging in age from 15 to 34. Fort Lauderdale’s booming economy is bearing many new jobs as well with 13.4% of the companies being less than 3 years old. This attraction along with the airport’s close proximity and international investors in nearby Miami have all played a part in its popularity.

The report has indicated positive activity overall for the whole United States. There will be 3 key factors that will all play roles in how the real estate market will be shaped. For one, the housing shortage which is in large part by baby boomers staying in their homes longer while there is a surge in younger buyers looking for properties. Generally speaking the smaller and more energy-efficient homes will be in high demand. Next will be multifamily housing. This market segment will remain positive as homebuyers who have difficulty in finding options to buy may turn to more affordable rental units while they search. Finally, senior housing is predicted to gain popularity. This segment of the population is staying in their homes longer and is also expected to grow by 25 million in the next 15 years.

Here is a quick look at the top city rankings from the report:

  1. Seattle
  2. Austin, Texas
  3. Salt Lake City
  4. Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina
  5. Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
  6. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  7. Los Angeles
  8. San Jose, California
  9. Nashville
  10. Boston

7 Costs To Know About When Purchasing a Home

Purchasing real estate can involve a lot of up front expenses and can often be overwhelming. As a first time buyer there is a lot research to do on top of making sure that you have plenty of money available for each of the necessary steps. Most everyone is aware of the down payment required for your loan, but not everyone knows about all of the other miscellaneous expenses that arise after your offer is accepted. Here are 7 substantial costs to be aware of as you purchase your home.

Mortgage Rate – Make sure you shop around for the best mortgage rate when looking for a home loan. Some may vary by a fraction of a percentage point, but that can mean thousands of dollars over the course of your loan. There are many different loan types, terms and the option to pain points at closing to save you over time.

Appraisal Fee – Every lender will want to be sure that the price you are paying for a home is not more than the market value. Therefore a property appraisal is necessary for confirmation. These can range in cost from anywhere between $300 and $700.

Home Inspection – As a home is one of the largest investments one makes, taking a closer look is most important so there aren’t any surprises down the road. Paying somewhere between $200 and $500 on a home inspection will help you budget for repairs while you identify if any unexpected immediate repairs will need to be made.

Closing Costs – Your lender should be able to give you a “good faith” estimate for what to expect to pay for closing costs. These include things like attorney fees, pre paid items, taxes and the like.

Property Taxes – Property tax is one of the more significant annual costs associated with home ownership. Check to see what property tax rates are like in the area to estimate what you will be paying. These are never guaranteed to be the same each year and are subject to rise. Furthermore, as taxes are paid in arrears, there is nearly always going to be an increase in what you pay versus what the current owner is paying.

Homeowner’s Insurance – If you are financing your home then insurance is a necessity. However, just like mortgages, insurance rates can be shopped for better rates. Depending on your home’s location, additional insurances may be required if in a flood zone or the like.

Escrow Account and Mortgage Insurance – This can also be a sizeable number, but some of these monies are pre-payments. When opening up a mortgage account banks will ask for funds in advance to build up escrow for insurance and taxes. Also, if you are putting less than 20% down then you will be required to pay mortgage insurance. Your mortgage agent will provide you with this number that you will pay monthly on top of your regular payment.

Irma may have slowed number of sales, but home prices still rising

The South Florida housing market, along with fences and trees, took a slight hit from the recent hurricane Irma. According to figures shared by local Realtor boards, the tri-county area fell by 31% for closings of existing, single family homes. The reports showed combined closings for the tri-county area declined to 2,735 compared to the 3,964 deals seen last year in 2016.

“There is no doubt that Hurricane Irma impacted real estate activity throughout the month of September,” said Jeffrey Levine, First Vice President, Realtors of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale. “In addition to most businesses losing up to five working days, no closings could take place until FEMA lifted our disaster area status.”

Chairman of the Miami Association of Realtors, Christopher Zoller, shared that federal backed lenders would be requiring new appraisals for properties that were under contract during the storm. Many buyers and sellers would see delays in closings due to the demand and added step in the process. A bump in sales in the upcoming months is expected once these re-inspected homes close.

The story on prices is that they continue to trend upward. The median price in Broward County for September was $357,600 which was an increase of 10% over last year according to the Realtors of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale. Palm Beach County saw a near 3% increase to $325,000. Miami-Dade saw a 6.5% increase from $314,500 to $335,000 in their median prices according to the Miami Association of Realtors. They also added that single family home prices have risen for 70 consecutive months.

The median sales price for single family homes on a statewide level by comparison was up 7.6% over last year.

Townhome and condo closings had also declined by 22% in the tri-county area at 2,738 sales this year compared to last year of 3,543. Median prices for condos and townhomes also rose in all three counties with Broward coming in at $156,000, Palm Beach at $172,000 and $234,000 in Miami Dade.

South Florida home prices Increase at a more reasonable rate

Home prices in South Florida have increased over 5% from last year by this point which was surprisingly among one of the smaller surges for the country’s more popular metro regions. According to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index which tracks pricing in 20 metro areas nationwide, only Chicago, Cleveland, New York and Washington D.C. showed smaller gains.

Before we may think this is alarming, we must remember that severe and steep price increases are not the norm for a healthy real estate market to last. South Florida’s tri-county region had experienced its time in the limelight during late summer/early fall of 2014 when it led the nation with price increases. Since then prices have been more of a consistent and steady increase year over year.

“The housing market will face two contradicting challenges during the rest of 2017 into 2018,” David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee, said in a statement. “First, rebuilding following hurricanes across Texas, Florida and other parts of the South will lead to further supply pressures. Second, the Fed’s recent move to shrink its balance sheet could push mortgage rates upward.”

According to Svenja Gudell, chief economist for the Zillow website, approximately half of the homes for sale across the country are priced in the top one-third of the market. This heats up the competition for starter and trade-up homes and pushes prices up further which affects affordability.

The housing market “looks largely healthy from a 50,000-foot view” because prices are rising and mortgage rates are still low, but the situation is far from ideal for buyers, Gudell said in a statement. “It’s certainly a great time to be a home seller,” she said. “But when so many sellers need to then turn around and become buyers, the decision to list a home for sale and willingly enter that buying fray is the worst kind of Sophie’s choice.”

The index is often regarded as the nation’s most valuable housing market barometers as it tracks the prices of the same house over time. With home prices increasing at a more steady rate, this could be a step in the direction to more of a balanced market where sellers still benefit with gains and buyers can more easily afford to enter the game.

Picking the Right Generator

Severe weather fosters purchases of some standard items including fans, portable air conditioners, flash lights and the like. With tropical storms and hurricanes in South Florida like we have recently experienced comes the threat of power outages where retailers have difficulty keeping portable generators in stock.

In certain locations across the country like ours, some storms cause power outages either more frequently or for longer periods of time. This has caused for homeowners to consider investing in a permanent home generator. Power outages are not only uncomfortable, but they can also be dangerous and cause larger issues. An outage during the extreme temperatures could lead heat exhaustion and even be fatal in some cases. A permanent generator can provide power to the whole house automatically making it very easy and safe for power to be restored.

Choosing the Right Generator
Generators are rated by wattage where smaller ones produce only 1,000 watts while whole-house models can put out anywhere between 6,000-22,000 watts. Most manufacturers have size calculators on their websites that can help determine your needs. Square footage and appliances that you have are all a part of the equation. As technology and models have progressed, there have been quieter models introduced as historically generators have been noisy.

Hire a Professional
Installing a permanent generator is not a DIY project. Prepare yourself to pay in the range of thousands for the installation of a larger 20kW model due to the cost of the unit and the necessary wiring for installation. Additional considerations include:

  • Pull a permit
  • Follow town laws
  • Install unit far away enough from the home
  • Properly secure or bury any wires/cords
  • Install on a solid pad or foundation

Fueling options can really vary these days from gasoline, propane or natural gas. If you can connect to a natural gas line, then you shouldn’t have to worry about running out of power for fuel replenishment.

Although there are costs and efforts involved in installing a standby generator, it can be well worth the inconvenience and potential headache from the loss of power. Permanently installed generator systems can also add to the value of your home when it comes time to sell.

Report shows Canadians as most popular investors for Florida real estate

The United States has seen foreign real estate investors growing in numbers in recent years for many reasons. Some purchase real estate in our major cities for their children while they attend our universities, some buy investment properties for rentals while others seek vacation homes.

We have seen some of Canada’s Hollywood transplants purchasing here including Ryan Gosling and Ryan Reynolds while other investors from the North have been busy snapping up homes across the United States.

Canadians have maintained their ranking as the number two international investors in United States property. Florida has ranked as the most popular state among this investor group, according to the 2017 National Association of Realtors’ International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate Report.

Regardless of the weaker Canadian dollar, (one Canadian dollar is equivalent to approximately 79 US cents) Canadians remain popular homebuyers in our country. Of the nearly $20 billion in our country’s real estate purchases, $7 billion were in our state of Florida alone. Other popular areas include the states of Texas, California, New Jersey and Arizona.

Interestingly Canadians have more than doubled their spending on Unites States properties. Specifically, during the period between April 2016 and March 2017, Canadians spent $19 billion on real estate which is up from $8.9 billion the previous year.

In Canada, housing prices increased by 10% last year in 2016, compared to 5% in the United States. In particular, Vancouver home prices soared over the past year by 17%. The United States housing market has shown modest price growth compared to Canada’s housing markets, which may have played a role in increased spending on U.S. properties. Additionally, with harsh Canadian winters, it is no surprise Canadians flock to Florida to escape the cold.

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