When will housing affordability improve? Spoiler alert: It will take some time
Inflation is slowing and job growth has surged, but many Americans still feel the burden of expensive housing – fueled in part by high demand, low inventory and mortgage rates. Home prices across the U.S. rose 5.5% over the past year in December 2023 and they are projected to increase 2.8% year over year by December 2024, according to CoreLogic, a consumer and business information company. [Source: Florida Phoenix]
How short-term rental regulations could impact the South Florida market
According to AirDNA, a short-term rental data analytics company, in December there were over 22,000 available listings in Miami-Dade county – a 19% jump from 2019. Broward County saw a 71% increase from 2019, with over 17,700 available listings that same month. “We’d be hard pressed to find a market that has absorbed or taken on the concept of short-term rentals more than Southeast Florida,” said Ken H. Johnson, a real estate economist and professor at Florida Atlantic University. [Source: NBC Miami]
Million-dollar home sales were rare around Pensacola. Now they’re everywhere.
After Jennifer McKeown-Putney moved away from the Florida city of Pensacola in 2021, she could think of only one thing: moving back. Located on the westernmost edge of the Florida panhandle and along the Pensacola Bay, the city is the site of America’s first multiyear European settlement, established over 400 years ago, according to the University of West Florida. Its metro area is made up of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties and includes the Pensacola Beach community and the small city of Gulf Breeze, which have frontage on the bay, the Santa Rosa Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. [Source: The Wall Street Journal]
Solar boom: Polk County among Florida’s hotbeds for utility-scale solar power plants
Every year, a land conference in Florida is hosted by Lakeland-based commercial real estate broker Dean Saunders for updates on the various land-use trends and tabulations of large land transactions in Polk County and across Florida. And for nearly the past 10 years, the conference has shown astronomical growth in one type of land sale: large agricultural tracts sold for solar power generation. [Source: The Ledger]
Buying in Florida? Second homes are not the same as an ‘investment property’
Over the past couple of years, thousands of buyers from “up north” have purchased houses and condos in Florida with various ideas about how to use the property. Some intend to relocate here full-time, some want to be seasonal residents until they eventually become full-time residents, and some want to own property they can offer visitors and snowbirds for short-term rental. Property owners must have accurate information about the difference between second homes and investment properties. [Source: Islander News]
› Cash homes sales in Naples hit nearly 60%
The amount of homes being purchased for cash in the last half of 2023 and first month of 2024 has seen a “significant surge,” according to a new report.Naples real estate agent Mike Rodriguez, with Coldwell Banker Realty, compiled the report using Attom Data. Rodriguez says the data is for the six months ending Jan. 31.
› Disney’s affordable housing project squeaks through zoning board
Disney’s proposed affordable housing project won a narrow endorsement last Thursday from Orange County’s planning and zoning board, as objections from its neighbors dampened enthusiasm for the desperately needed below-market homes.
› Deeper shipping channel water helps spur boom in industrial real estate in Jacksonville
Size matters. That was the theme of Jaxport’s State of the Port presentation at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront hotel on Thursday. With the deepening of the St. Johns River completed, Jaxport is focused on growing its capacity for containerized and breakbulk cargo, port officials said.
› Investors are buying cheaper homes at a record rate — and certain markets have their attention
Most of the homes being purchased by investors — about 68.6% during the fourth quarter of 2023, according to Redfin — are single-family homes. Condos represent the second-largest share of purchased properties, at 19.2%, followed by townhouses at 7.1% and multifamily properties at 5.1%.
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Florida lawmakers consider future without property taxes
Florida lawmakers could look into eliminating all property tax and replace lost revenue through a consumption tax depending on a potential study, according to the Florida Senate. House Bill 1371, originally filed on Jan. 5, exempted $100,000 of the value of real property from being taxed. Those over the age of 65 would be qualified to be exempted from property tax up to $250,000. More from WFLA and Florida Politics.
Lawmakers look to fix affordable housing act after outcry across state
When Florida lawmakers passed legislation to create thousands of affordable housing units last year, it was considered long-overdue relief for low- and middle-income Floridians. The Live Local Act, as it was called, was a top priority for the Senate president, and no one blanched at its $711 million price tag. Less than a year later, communities across the state are in uproar. Local officials complain of proposed developments ruining the character of neighborhoods. Some say they’ve lost control of local planning. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
The most expensive home for sale in the U.S. goes up in Naples
The most expensive home for sale in the U.S. hit the market this week for $295 million. Gordon Pointe, as it’s called, is a roughly 9-acre compound in Naples, Florida, on the Gulf Coast, in an affluent enclave called Port Royal. The mega-listing includes a main house that spans about 11,500 square feet, with six bedrooms. Two guest houses, each over 5,000 square feet, bring the estate’s total interior living space to 22,800 square feet. All three homes are on a peninsula that delivers 1,650 feet of waterfront, a private yacht basin and T-shaped dock. More from CNBCand Islander News.
The fastest growing towns in Florida
Many people across the country are leaving their current states and moving to Florida. Folks may choose The Sunshine State as their new destination for many reasons, like the multitude of great towns to explore. See a slideshow of the 11 fastest-growing towns in Florida. [Source: MSN]
According to the Department of State, Florida has over 1,300 miles of coastline and over 650 miles of sand beaches. Some of that beachfront is privately owned (about 60%), while the rest is State, County, or city-controlled. For decades, there have been ongoing questions over who can use certain stretches of beach along Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts. [Source: Islander News]
› Northeast Florida commercial real estate: Industrial still setting records as a logistics center
Metro Jacksonville’s industrial real estate market produced records in 2023. In addition to speculative 1 million-square-foot buildings attracting tenants quickly, smaller warehouses designed for tenants from 5,000 to 500,000 square feet were leased. Companies continued to seek space in Jacksonville to store and distribute goods ranging from food to clothes to construction materials to consumer merchandise.
› More money for My Safe Florida Home program clears Florida Senate
For months, some Florida homeowners have been waiting on a state program to help them try to lower insurance premiums. Last week, the Florida Senate unanimously cleared a bill to put $100 million into My Safe Florida Home. Even as Senators were in agreement on the funding, some wonder if it is enough to help all Floridians accessing the program with free, wind mitigation inspections and repair grants.
› Villatel Orlando Resort seeks to reinvent the vacation home business
When he first saw the 77 acres of vacant land in the heart of Orlando’s International Drive corridor, Brock Nicholas knew he had found a unicorn. As president of Lennar’s Orlando Division, Nicholas had built and sold thousands of vacation homes in Osceola County, but he had never found a location suitable for a resort community so close to the Orange County Convention Center and Universal theme parks. Everyone from Lennar, to Pulte to Park Square Homes, to Encore Homes, was building resort communities in Kissimmee or the Four Corners area.
› St. Petersburg council can’t reconsider $19.1 million Deuces townhomes
It’s too late for the St. Petersburg City Council to reverse a decision to spend $19.1 million building 24 townhomes on 22nd Street South. Council chairperson Deborah Figgs-Sanders told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday that she inquired with the city’s attorneys about how to go about reconsidering a vote. She said she was told that had to happen during the meeting when the vote took place on Jan. 18, or at the next regularly scheduled meeting, which was Feb. 1.
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Court blocks Florida law barring Chinese citizens from owning property
A U.S. appeals court has blocked Florida from enforcing a ban on Chinese citizens owning homes or land in the state against two Chinese nationals who were in the process of buying property when the law was adopted. A panel of the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said on Thursday the individuals were likely to prevail on claims that Florida’s ban violates a federal law governing real estate purchases by foreign nationals. More from the News Service of Florida and Reuters.
29.7% of Florida homes paid off, above U.S. average
U.S. Census Bureau data show that nearly 63% of owner-occupied housing units are mortgage free for homeowners age 65 and up, but fewer than 28% of homeowners younger than age 65 have paid for their homes in full. Housing costs are the largest chunk of household budgets and inflation has made it harder for some to pay their mortgages. [Source: Florida Realtors]
To rent or to buy right now in Florida? Here’s what real-estate experts suggest
For the past several months, would-be homebuyers and renters alike have faced fluctuating market and economic conditions, most of which have given people nothing but tough financial decisions to make. Many people wrangle with the question: Should I rent or buy in South Florida? Right now, renting may actually carry more benefits for some people than buying in the region given the current market conditions, according to recent research. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Florida bill aims to move out Citizens second home policies
Florida lawmakers are moving along with a bill that would bring some insurance changes to those with second vacation homes insured by Citizens Insurance. SB 1716 would allow take-out offers to be made by surplus line insurers, and it still has more legislative hurdles. “The overall goal of this bill is to limit the overall exposure to Florida of the Citizens large policy count,” state Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, said. [Source: WPTV]
Miami-Dade County’s warehouses are going as fast as croquetas and cafecito on a cold day. Tenants — picture e-commerce, importers, fruit and beverage companies — are having a hard time finding storage space in Miami-Dade to rent with the 1.6% vacancy rate an all-time low, according to the JLL fourth quarter 2023 Miami Industrial report released in January. Miami-Dade County has 216.7 million square feet of warehouse space. [Source: Miami Herald]
› How corporate investors are taking over Tampa Bay’s neighborhoods
Housing in Tampa Bay is becoming increasingly corporate-owned, a Tampa Bay Times analysis has found. Large companies have amassed around 27,000 homes across three counties. More than 70% of these properties are linked to institutional investors backed by Wall Street and private equity.
› Squeezed by Osceola’s development, Kissimmee neighbors want to buy a buffer zone
Across Osceola County residents complain of mushrooming development, filling public hearings to let city and county commissioners know they’re angry over traffic, crowding and visual clutter. The Luxs took a different approach. Banding together with fellow residents in their neighborhood of one-acre lots and half-million-dollar-plus houses, they are asking local government and the developer to let them purchase a half-acre or more behind each home to ensure a buffer from the proposed subdivision.
› Northeast Florida new home permits fall, but have ‘leveled out’
There were almost 2,000 fewer permits pulled in 2023 for single-family homes in Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties than the year before, according to the Northeast Florida Builders Association data. In 2022, 13,802 permits were issued in the four counties compared with 11,821 in 2023. That is a 14% year-to-year drop but 2023 started 35% lower than 2022, said NEFBA Executive Officer Jessie Spradley.
› $700 million worth of development projects take shape in Sarasota
From a $17 million community theater to an upwards of $275 million performing arts center, members of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce recently heard from leaders of five local organizations working to bring nearly $700 million in cultural and scientific research development projects to the region.
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Florida seniors worry they’ll lose homes over skyrocketing insurance
Soaring insurance premiums seem to be hitting us all in Florida. For the state’s senior citizens, the cost is getting too high. It’s becoming an issue that insurance agents said they are noticing. Gregory Buck with National Risk Experts in Palm Beach Gardens said he’s seeing seniors struggling with insurance. “Fixed income, Social Security, they’re not getting paid a lot and have a small pension, maybe,” Buck said, “but even so when you’re paying $1,200 or $1,500 a month, just for the assessment, what do you do?” [Source: WPTV]
MAP: Eviction filings are above normal in South Florida. See where the highest rates are.
With South Florida’s steamy rental market showing little sign of relief, landlords have been filing a higher-than-normal number of evictions in the past 18 months, according to a new nationwide database. The filings — one step in the process required for a tenant to legally be kicked out — have been on the rise across the country as rental relief programs all but expired after the COVID-19 pandemic. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Farmworker housing could get boost
Local governments would face some limits on regulating the construction of farmworker housing, as state lawmakers seek to attract more seasonal agricultural workers amid rising housing costs. The Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill (SB 1082) that seeks to prevent cities and counties from “inhibiting” construction or installation of housing for workers on agricultural land. More from the News Service of Florida and WFTX.
6 new property insurance companies enter Florida market
The new year now means six new companies are ready to enter the state and start writing homeowners insurance policies, according to industry experts. “Very positive for the Florida insurance marketplace and consumers, because it will give homeowners a choice now on shopping for coverage,” Mark Friedlander, of the Insurance Information Institute, said. [Source: WPTV]
A large portion of Florida’s economy relies on tourism, especially as major Orlando-area theme parks including Universal Studios Florida and Walt Disney World. But the parks — which employ an estimated 110,000 people collectively — are also facing headwinds due to their employees’ struggles to afford housing, and now both NBCUniversal and The Walt Disney Company — owners of the major parks — are aiming to address it, according to reporting from Bloomberg. [Source: Housing Wire]
› Why are Pasco ‘luxury’ apartments getting affordable housing tax break?
Pasco County commissioners have found a new reason to dislike the state’s Live Local law, which was passed last year to boost the amount of affordable housing in Florida with tax breaks and other incentives. Not only can developers put apartments on land earmarked for industry and get a big property tax break, owners of existing apartment complexes can qualify as well.
› A home for $200,000? It’s possible when condo hunting in these South Florida areas
Budget-conscious buyers can still land a slice of paradise in South Florida under $200,000, good news in a market criticized for its affordability crisis. The only limitation? Shoppers have to go condo for the best deals. Broward County has the widest selection of homes under $200,000, according to sales data curated exclusively for the Miami Herald from Analytics Miami.
› Orlando has seen record apartment deliveries — but here’s why a shortage still may be looming
Metro Orlando saw a record volume of apartment deliveries in 2023 and has about 20,000 apartments under construction to start 2024, according to CoStar Group — so why are many industry insiders predicting an apartment shortage here within the next few years? Several veteran apartment brokers told Orlando Business Journal they anticipate a supply-and-demand imbalance in the region’s apartment sector as early as the end of this year.
› Northeast Florida housing markets in 2024: ‘A bit more stabilized’
If interest rates drop as predicted in 2024, Northeast Florida’s residential real estate market could see more sellers as well as buyers as both sides see greater incentive to do deals. Affordability will be another key factor as prices fluctuate. Northeast Florida Association of Realtors data shows the median price of a single-family home rose more than $23,000 from January through December 2023.
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Major legal fights over longstanding commission practices may upend Florida’s real estate business
The decades-long practice of property owners paying real estate commissions is being seriously challenged in courts nationwide and the legal fallout could dramatically change how much money buyers and sellers of homes pay real estate agents in the future. The repercussions will be especially pronounced in Florida, which has more real estate agents than any other state in the nation. [Source: WLRN]
New poll shows Floridians still worried about property insurance
A new poll of Florida voters is revealing that many are still worried about fixing insurance. The Associated Industries of Florida Center for Political Strategy survey found 21% of voters said insurance is a big problem and 23% of voters found inflation an important issue facing the state. It also revealed that 55% think both Republicans and Democrats aren’t doing enough to lower insurance costs. [Source: WPTV]
Flying south: Canadian buyers return to Florida with bigger budgets
Florida real estate has always been a magnet for global wealth, with the well-heeled typically traveling northward from Latin America to buy condos and mansions. Now, one of the region’s most significant buyer pools is flying south from the land of hockey, moose and poutine. Canadian buyers, primarily from Montréal and Toronto, are coming to the table with serious cash, but are still coasting under the radar. [Source: The Real Deal]
Here are the 20 cities where home prices could see the biggest gains in 2024 — and where prices could fall
While home prices are expected to appreciate by 2.5% nationally this year, residential real estate in 20 U.S. cities could see pricing gains of at least double that rate, property research firm said. At the same time, a handful of metropolitan areas could see home prices fall, the analysis found. Many are regions that saw big pricing gains during the pandemic, such as Florida’s Tampa-St. Petersburg metropolitan area, where housing costs have soared 72% since early 2020, prior to the pandemic. Four of the five cities that could see the sharpest price declines are in Florida, according to Florida. [Source: CBS News]
Homes sales keep falling in South Florida, continuing a downward spiral from the buying frenzy in the early years of the pandemic. But one thing keeps climbing: prices. South Florida home sales in 2023 fell by double digits from 2022, according to a Miami Association of Realtors housing report released on Friday. [Source: Miami Herald]
› Builders pushing mega-development in east Orange are back again
Familiar foes find themselves in a fracas again over a proposed mega-development in rural east Orange as residents hope to block a plan for 1,800 homes on ranchlands in the environmentally sensitive Econ River Basin. Developer Sean Froelich’s proposed project also has a familiar sounding name, Sustanee, a spelling tweak of “Sustany,” the tag by which an earlier iteration of the plan was known in 2016 when it last fired up neighbors’ rancor.
› Broward buys Fort Lauderdale dev site for police crime lab, medical examiner’s office
Broward County bought a commercial building in Fort Lauderdale, with plans to replace it with a new police crime laboratory and medical examiner’s office. Broward dropped $18.5 million for the two-story, 133,300-square-foot office building at 2000 West Commercial Boulevard, according to records and real estate database Vizzda.
› A rare Florida pedestal home is now on the market for $185K
A unique Florida home designed to withstand hurricane winds is now for sale in Polk County. Located in Haines City, this “pedestal home” was built in 1982 and comes with just two bedrooms and two bathrooms, as well as 791-square-feet of living space. Though pretty rare, the majority of the pedestal homes sold in Florida came in kits and were mostly built by the North Carolina-based company Topsider.
› New Orlando housing market data suggests more would-be homebuyers will get off sidelines
Interest rates for mortgages in metro Orlando dipped below 7% in December, marking two consecutive months of rate decreases as optimism spurred by improved borrowing costs continues to grow. New data from the Orlando Regional Realtor Association shows the average interest rate for December was 6.6%.
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