2016 Second Quarter Real Estate Market Statistics

2nd Quarter 2016 Statistics

Florida Realtors® recently released the 2016 second quarter (April through June) real estate market statistics for the state. I wanted to be sure you had an overview of how our area is performing.

The single family homes real estate markets in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco Counties are still looking very strong after the second quarter of 2016. Higher median sales prices, more closed sales, and faster time to contract are all good news for sellers.

Inventory has shrunk year-over-year for the second quarter. Median Days to Contract is down in the Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco markets, reflecting the short amount of time a home is on the market between being listed and being sold. All of this means fewer homes to choose from and a likelihood of more competition between buyers.

As your local Realtor® and Neighborhood Advocate, I am your resource for data that affects our communities and your property value. Homeownership affordability and accessibility is a cornerstone of the Realtor® advocacy efforts at every level – local, state and national.

Here are some highlights from the Florida Realtors® Quarter 2 2016 Statistics Release for the Single Family Home Market Segment:

Closed Sales: Up for Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and Pasco County for Quarter 2 2016 from Quarter 2 2015. This statistic is a good indicator of the overall health of the market, and lots of closed sales mean both sellers and buyers are achieving success.

  • Pinellas County: 4,023 Closed Sales Q2 2016 vs. 3,893 Closed Sales Q2 2015, a 3.3% increase
  • Hillsborough County: 5,426 Closed Sales Q2 2016 vs. 5,094 Closed Sales Q2 2015, a 6.5% increase
  • Pasco County: 2,859 Closed Sales Q2 2016 vs. 2,763 Closed Sales Q2 2015, a 3.5% increase

Median Sale Price: Up for Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and Pasco County for Quarter 2 2016 from Quarter 2 2015. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half the homes sold for less.

  • Pinellas County: $209,950 Median Sale Price Q2 2016 vs. $184,433 Median Sale Price Q2 2015, a 13.8% increase
  • Hillsborough County: $220,990 Median Sale Price Q2 2016 vs. $200,000 Median Sale Price Q2 2015, a 10.5% increase
  • Pasco County: $177,725 Median Sale Price Q2 2016 vs. $156,475 Median Sale Price Q2 2015, a 13.6% increase

Inventory (Active Listings): Down for Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and Pasco County for Quarter 2 2016 from Quarter 2 2015. When inventory is low, there are fewer houses on the market and buyers are often competing for homes or have a tougher time finding a home that suits their exact needs. Flexibility and preparation are key to being able to make an offer on a home when you do find what you’re looking for.

  • Pinellas County: 3,916 Active Listings Q2 2016 vs. 4,261 Active Listings Q2 2015, down 8.1%
  • Hillsborough County: 5,266 Active Listings Q2 2016 vs. 5,611 Active Listings Q2 2015, down 6.1%
  • Pasco County: 2,642 Active Listings Q2 2016 vs. 3,141 Active Listings Q2 2015, down 15.9%

Median Days to Contract: Down for Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and Pasco County for Quarter 2 2016 from Quarter 2 2015. The midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to receive a sales contract during that time. The faster a home goes to contract, the less time it is on the market for sale. Another good indicator for sellers and a tool for buyers to understand how to thrive in a hot market.

  • Pinellas County: 28 Days Q2 2016 vs. 35 Days Q2 2015, a 20.0% decrease
  • Hillsborough County: 28 Days Q2 2016 vs. 39 Days Q2 2015, a 28.2% decrease
  • Pasco County: 33 Days Q2 2016 vs. 42 Days Q2 2015, a 21.4% decrease

The Department of Transportation has begun work on a new plan called Tampa Bay Express (TBX)

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Traffic is everywhere, and it gets worse every year. Community leaders have tried many times to work out plans that could alleviate congestion, provide transit options, and reduce cost to citizens. The Department of Transportation has begun work on a new plan called Tampa Bay Express (TBX).

TBX is a $6 billion overhaul of the Interstate system in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. This eight-part project will fix many choke points and add capacity to the “spine” of Tampa Bay. 

Construction on the first major piece will begin soon as they connect I-275 to US 19 by building an elevated highway where 118th Ave runs in Pinellas Park. The other seven parts will fix the major choke points, create transit options for buses in Hillsborough, leave open the possibility of rail across the Howard Frankland Bridge, and add express toll lanes throughout the system.

Here are some highlights of the project:

Gateway Project: This will connect north and south Pinellas with a limited access highway. You could go from downtown St. Pete to Dunedin before seeing your first traffic light.

Howard Frankland/ Westshore/ Tampa Airport Interchange: This would reconfigure and rebuild the interchange to alleviate the bumper-to-bumper traffic on northbound Howard Frankland Bridge.

I-275/ I-4 Interchange: Also known as “Malfunction Junction,” this would increase the size of the interchange to allow more capacity.

Express Lanes: Tolled limited access lanes would give long distance travelers and commuters a more reliable drive through the Interstate system. Charged a variable rate based on traffic, drivers would be guaranteed a minimum 45 mph drive through the area. New lanes would be constructed for this plan, and no existing lanes would be used for this purpose. The current lanes would remain free to use.

No New Taxes: Most transit or transportation plans call for tax increases, or new tax sources. The entire plan will be funded by the gas tax we already pay at the pump, and by revenue generated by the express lanes.

I’m reaching out about this because these issues have the potential to directly impact the growth and strength of the local economy, as well as our quality of life. In order for our area to remain attractive to residents, visitors and the workforce, we must find a solution to our existing traffic problems. It ultimately affects all homeowners, and I wanted to keep you informed.  

You can find out more at tbxYES.com or TampaBayExpress.com.

Opportunity for homeowners in Pinellas County to reduce their flood insurance premiums

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Here’s an opportunity for homeowners in Pinellas County to reduce their flood insurance premiums. Many homeowners with flood insurance unknowingly pay higher rates for flood insurance than they have to.

There are many factors to consider when generating a flood insurance policy and its rates, and sometimes mistakes or miscalculations are made. These two events will give you the opportunity to hear about new changes to flood insurance. Afterwards, flood insurance evaluation professionals will sit with homeowners, one-on-one, to evaluate their policies.

On July 11 and July 12, 2016 you’ll have the opportunity to have your flood insurance policy evaluated with the possibility of a rate decrease. The first event is at the Pinellas Realtor Organization, 4590 Ulmerton Road in Clearwater. The second event is at the Tarpon Springs Community Center, 400 S Walton Ave in Tarpon Springs. Both events begin at 6:00pm with a general session, the individual meetings starting at 6:30pm.

Here are some questions worth noting:

How Do I RSVP? Email stpete@yourfloodrisk.com for the event in Clearwater or tarpon@yourfloodrisk.com, or call 856.723.3666 for both events.

Who is conducting the seminar? A company called Flood Risk Evaluator with the support of the Pinellas Realtor Organization and the Florida Association for Insurance Reform.

What is the cost? The entire event and evaluation is FREE. The only cost is possibly the overage you are paying for your current flood insurance policy!

What do I need to bring with me? You MUST have your elevation certificate and current flood insurance policy with you.

Florida Realtors releases 2016 1st Quarter Real Estate Market Statistics

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Florida Realtors® recently released the 2016 first quarter (January through March) real estate market statistics for the state. I wanted to be sure you had an overview of how our area is performing.

The single family homes real estate markets in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco Counties are looking very strong for the first quarter of 2016. Higher median sales prices, more closed sales, and faster time to contract are all good news for sellers.

Decreasing inventory and lower Median Days to Contract mean fewer homes on the market and a likelihood of more competition for buyers.

As your local Realtor® and Neighborhood Advocate, I am your resource for data that affects our communities and your property value. Homeownership affordability and accessibility is a cornerstone of the Realtor® advocacy efforts at every level – local, state and national.

Here are some highlights from the Florida Realtors® Quarter 1 2016 Statistics Release for the Single Family Home Market Segment:

Closed Sales: Up for Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and Pasco County for Quarter 1 2016 from Quarter 1 2015. This statistic is a good indicator of the overall health of the market, and lots of closed sales mean both sellers and buyers are achieving success.

  • Pinellas County: 3,167 Closed Sales Q1 2016 vs. 3,021 Closed Sales Q1 2015, a 4.8% increase
  • Hillsborough County: 3,934 Closed Sales Q1 2016 vs. 3,773 Closed Sales Q1 2015, a 4.3% increase
  • Pasco County: 2,184 Closed Sales Q1 2016 vs. 2,082 Closed Sales Q1 2015, a 4.9% increase

Median Sale Price: Up for Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and Pasco County for Quarter 1 2016 from Quarter 1 2015. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half the homes sold for less.

  • Pinellas County: $195,000 Median Sale Price Q1 2016 vs. $163,319 Median Sale Price Q1 2015, a 19.4% increase
  • Hillsborough County: $200,000 Median Sale Price Q1 2016 vs. $178,000 Median Sale Price Q1 2015, a 12.4% increase
  • Pasco County: $157,025 Median Sale Price Q1 2016 vs. $137,525 Median Sale Price Q1 2015, a 14.2% increase

Inventory (Active Listings): Down for Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and Pasco County for Quarter 1 2016 from Quarter 1 2015. When inventory is low, there are fewer houses on the market and buyers are often competing for homes or have a tougher time finding a home that suits their exact needs. Flexibility and preparation are key to being able to make an offer on a home when you do find what you’re looking for.

  • Pinellas County: 4,015 Active Listings Q1 2016 vs. 4,470 Active Listings Q1 2015, down 10.2%
  • Hillsborough County: 5,098 Active Listings Q1 2016 vs. 5,454 Active Listings Q1 2015, down 6.5%
  • Pasco County: 2,759 Active Listings Q1 2016 vs. 3,344 Active Listings Q1 2015, down 17.5%

Median Days to Contract: Down for Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and Pasco County for Quarter 1 2016 from Quarter 1 2015. The midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to receive a sales contract during that time. The faster a home goes to contract, the less time it is on the market for sale. Another good indicator for sellers and a tool for buyers to understand how to thrive in a hot market.

  • Pinellas County: 36 Days Q1 2016 vs. 49 Days Q1 2015, a 26.5% decrease
  • Hillsborough County: 46 Days Q1 2016 vs. 58 Days Q1 2015, a 20.7% decrease
  • Pasco County: 44 Days Q1 2016 vs. 59 Days Q1 2015, a 25.4% decrease

Have you heard that flood insurance rates increased starting April 1?

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In 2012 Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Act, creating sharp rate increases for properties in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Those increases went into effect in the fall of 2013, and crisis ensued for many homeowners. Congress acted by passing the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which addressed many of the problems.

The sharp increases from Biggert-Waters were postponed, and a glide path was proposed instead of the immediate increases. On Friday, April 1, 2016 the glide path went into effect.

Here is what a property owner should know:

  • The type of property matters: Residential vs. Commercial, Pre-FIRM (Flood Insurance Rate Map), Severe Repetitive Loss, non-primary residential, etc. It is important for a property owner to understand that the property’s characteristics will dictate the maximum annual increase in premiums. A typical Pre-FIRM, primary residence will see a maximum annual increase of 18%, but on average will see a 9% increase.
  • High likelihood rates will continue to increase: Pinellas County, FL has the most NFIP policies of any county in the country, and Pasco and Hillsborough are close behind. This is based on several factors that will continue to drive risk and increased rates for years to come. Those risk factors are weather, building codes at the time of construction of Pre-FIRM homes, and proximity to bodies of water.
  • How do I know exactly what I will be paying?: It is important to involve an insurance professional during this conversation. The many facets of flood insurance, or any other form of property insurance, make it a complex question to answer. An insurance professional can navigate the ins and outs, and properly advise you on how best to limit your cost. Keep in mind, you won’t see an immediate increase in costs until your next renewal period, you purchase a new property requiring flood insurance, or you have to re-initiate your flood insurance policy due to a lapse in coverage.

Millage Re-authorization for Education

3_schools_millage_postcard_WEBHere’s an issue for homeowners in Florida to watch.

Education is absolutely critical to our economic growth, and obviously economic growth impacts the value of your home. But, our responsibility goes beyond our property values to our core values. By investing in our schools we are investing in our children and their development.

In 2004 Pinellas County citizens voted to increase their property taxes by a half mill to fund in-classroom spending for public schools. The goal was to make an investment in our children, and therefore a long-term investment in our community. In 2008 and 2012, our community continued this commitment by reauthorizing the half mill for education.  Pinellas County voters will have the option to re-authorize once again this Fall.

Here’s what the funding goes to:

  • Teacher pay: Each teacher receives an additional stipend that makes their annual pay more competitive with surrounding school districts. Pinellas County Schools is able to attract and recruit a higher caliber of teacher because of this incentive.
  • Well-rounded Curriculum: With tight budgets and restrictions from Tallahassee and D.C., the arts, music, summer programs, state of the art technology, etc. have been cut from most school district budgets. In Pinellas County, we have these programs and classes to offer students because of the half mill increase, giving our children a more well-rounded education.
  • In-classroom spending: Every penny of the millage rate goes to in-classroom spending, avoiding the sometimes expensive administrative bureaucracy of government. Furthermore, there is an independent citizen oversight committee to make sure they funds are being spent as intended, and wisely.

Water Quality Issue

water-quality-issueHere’s an issue for homeowners in Florida to watch.

As you know, water is Florida’s lifeblood and efforts are being made to improve water management, water quality, and water supply which will help keep our economy stable and growing.

During the 2016 session, Sen. Charlie Dean (R-Inverness) and Rep. Matt Caldwell (R-Lehigh Acres) introduced bills enacting comprehensive statewide policies to help prevent a water crisis like the one California is struggling with.

Here’s what is included in both bills:

  • Creation of the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act. The goal would be to put programs in place that will protect and restore water flow and quality in the aquifer in order to improve conditions at “outstanding Florida Springs.”
  • Creation of a set of statewide standards that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), in cooperation with water management districts and other regional water supply authorities, should operate by when it comes to collecting and analyzing water supply and quality. This will ensure reliable and valid data and testing results
  • Establishment of water flow levels for the state’s natural springs. The DEP will oversee pollution control measures for Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee Estuary and the St. Lucie River and Estuary.

Consumer Issue regarding estoppel certificates

Estoppel-Postcard_FrontConsumer Issue

When you’re selling or refinancing your home, if you’re part of a condo association or a homeowners’ association, you need to provide the buyer or lender with something called an “estoppel certificate”. That is a statement of your financial status with the association: Are you current on your association dues? Are there any liens on your home? Since buyers and lenders don’t want to be surprised, providing them with an estoppel certificate is reasonable and a good business practice.

Florida law does allow condo and homeowner associations to charge a “reasonable” fee to prepare one of these estoppel certificates. The issue is what exactly is “reasonable”.

Condo and homeowner associations are required by law to maintain current records of any assessments or liens on the properties they oversee. So the work required to put together an estoppel certificate is fairly minimal. Many associations charge a reasonable fee – $50 or $100 – to provide the certificate. Others, however, have turned this into a revenue stream, charging over $1,000 in some cases to provide a simple piece of paper.

Well, during the 2015 session, Rep. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) and Rep. John Wood (R-Winter Haven) have introduced bills to cap the amount charged by condo and homeowner associations. They’re looking to reintroduce that bill in the 2016 session. The pertinent facts are:

• $200 cap on fees for any homeowner who is not delinquent on paying association dues and fees;

• Up to an additional $200 if the homeowner is delinquent; and

• Up to $100 for an expedited certificate.

Plus, the bill would require associations to provide the estoppel certificate within 10 days, and have the certificate be valid for 30 days.

On the one hand, this seems like a no-brainer to ensure that consumers aren’t being overcharged. $1,000 just to prepare a piece of paper, with information the association already has, does seem like a stretch. On the other hand, there are people who wonder if this isn’t just another example of government intervention and regulation into private businesses. And of course, there are people who think that the bill doesn’t go far enough: even $200 cap seems too high for them.

Tax-Law Revamp an Uphill Climb With Republican-Led Senate

“The divides they hoped to bridge remain, even without delving into the finer points of home-mortgage interest deductions and depreciation schedules.

Democrats want to use a new tax code to raise more revenue, and are reluctant to reduce the top individual rate they managed to increase to 39.6 percent. They’re also open to rewriting only the tax laws affecting businesses.

Republicans want a revenue-neutral bill that limits deductions and reduces marginal tax rates for individuals and companies. Some propose changing the rules for analyzing tax proposals to assume that rate cuts would generate economic growth and partly pay for themselves.”

By Richard Rubin, Bloomberg.com

To read the entire article click here.

Thousands who received debt relief would benefit if Congress renews expired tax law

“The mortgage debt relief law expired last Dec. 31, along with other special-interest tax breaks that usually would have been renewed as a package. That process broke down last year, however, leaving people who have received principal debt reductions during 2014 — through short sales, loan modifications or foreclosures — twisting in tax limbo.” 

By Kenneth R. Harney, The Washington Post

To read the entire article please click here.