October MLS Stats

REALTORS® Association Of Indian River County, Inc. MLS Statistics                                                       

Statistics developed by the REALTORSÒ Association of Indian River County through its

Multiple Listing Service and in conjunction with Florida REALTORSÒ reflect the following for October 2021/2020. The Residential closed sales of single-family detached homes totaled 253 units for October 2021.  This compares to a total of 365 units in October 2020.  The median price of single-family detached homes sold by members of the REALTORSÒ Association of Indian River County MLS for October 2021 was $319,000. This compares to a median price of $275,990 for October 2020.  Current active inventory of residential single-family detached homes total 403 for October 2021.  This compares to the active inventory of 774 for October 2020.

The Residential closed sales of condominium homes totaled 69 units for October 2021.  This compares to a total of 90 units in October 2020.  The median price of condominium homes sold by members of the REALTORSÒ Association of Indian River County MLS for October 2021 was $190,000. This compares to a median price of $153,000 for October 2020.  Current active inventory of condominium homes total 113 for October 2021. This compares to the active inventory of 389 for October 2020.

 Report Prepared on November 19, 2021

Why Is Fall a Big Opportunity for Buyers?

NEW YORK – The housing market has been fiercely competitive over the last few months, but hopeful buyers who keep getting shut out may soon find better luck. Several signs to a potential opening to buy this fall, housing analysts say.

For one, competition reportedly cooled and listings receive fewer offers. In September, Redfin reported that bidding wars among its agents reached their lowest level this year.

Also, more listings are coming to market, offering buyers more choices. A recent realtor.com report shows housing inventory at a high for 2021 – and nearly one-third of the 50 largest metros saw increases in the number of newly listed homes compared to last year.

“This September, buyers had more options than they’ve had all year, and while that’s typical of early fall, that’s not what happened in 2020,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s chief economist. “Still, it’s important to remember that while buyers may have an easier time this fall than they did in the spring, the market remains more competitive than it has been historically at this time of year.”

There are still fewer homes for sale than a year ago, and less than half as many as two years ago before the pandemic, Hale says.

Hopeful buyers should watch “days on the market” to indicate it’s a good time to buy in their area – and they should compare days on market to all local neighborhoods, cities and metro areas, says Terri Robinson, a real estate professional with RE/MAX Distinctive in Ashburn, Va. “If things are staying on the market a little longer versus staying for a couple of days, then it might be time for [buyers] to get back in the market,” Robinson says.

Robinson says home inspectors are also reporting that the demand for walk-and-talks is lessening. A walk-and-talk is an abbreviated home inspection completed while a potential buyer views the property. Many homebuyers have been waiving formal home inspections to try to compete in a market with multiple offers. But fewer homebuyers waiving home inspections “indicates that sellers are more amenable now to a buyer coming in and asking for a home inspection, so that’s good news for buyers,” Robinson says.

Potential buyers will never be able to wait out the market perfectly, however.

“If you’re trying to wait for the perfect time, I feel like you’re going to sit and wait forever,” Rob Heck, head of origination at the online mortgage broker Morty, told NerdWallet.

Source: “Hopeful Home Buyers: Here Are Some Signs That You Should Make Your Move,” NerdWallet (Oct. 4, 2021)

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PPP Is Gone – But Government Help for Small Businesses Isn’t

PPP loans – the best-known business aid of the pandemic – ended May 31. But there are other options, such as EIDL or SBA 7(a) loans, plus local or state grant programs.

By Randa Kriss

WASHINGTON – The federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provided small-business owners with just under $800 billion in COVID-19 relief, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The PPP concluded on May 31, but as businesses forge ahead in the recovery process, they may find a continued need for affordable financing. Here are some of the government funding options that are still available – and how to get them.

COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans

If your business lost money as a result of the pandemic, you may be eligible for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). The SBA can issue these loans through Dec. 31 of this year or until funds run out, whichever is sooner.

New changes to the program have increased the maximum available loan amount from $500,000 to $2 million, extended the payment deferment period to 24 months for all loans and expanded the use of funds to include payment of nonfederal and federal debt.

COVID-19 EIDLs are funded by the SBA directly – but unlike PPP loans, they cannot be forgiven.

However, businesses in low-income communities may be eligible for a COVID-19 EIDL advance of up to $15,000 that does not need to be repaid. Business owners can get an advance without getting a loan.

You can apply for a COVID-19 EIDL for free using the SBA’s online portal – and if your business is eligible for an advance, the SBA will reach out to you directly to submit an application.

SBA 7(A) loans

Although not unique to pandemic relief, SBA 7(a) loans can offer long-term affordable financing to qualified businesses.

Recent updates to the 7(a) loan program have waived the upfront guarantee fee for loans under $350,000, effective through September 2022. The maximum funding amount for the SBA Express loan – which offers a faster turnaround time than standard 7(a) loans – has also been permanently set at $500,000, up from its pre-pandemic amount of $350,000.

With any type of SBA 7(a) loan, however, you’ll likely need good credit, strong revenue and a few years in business to qualify.

The challenge that some businesses are having is an inability to show historical cash flow due to pandemic effects, said Jodi Rathbun-Briggs, senior vice president and chief lending officer at Greylock Federal Credit Union in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, via email.

“Borrowers should have well-thought-out recovery plans and thorough discussions with their banker regarding those plans,” she said.

The SBA offers a Lender Match tool on its website to connect potential borrowers with lenders within two business days. You might also contact a local bank in your community or one with which you have an existing relationship to see if it offers SBA 7(a) loans.

Local loan and grant programs

States and cities continue to implement their own COVID-19 relief programs, as well as roll out new ones. The city of Chicago, for example, recently announced the launch of the Chicago Creative Worker Assistance Program, which has allotted $2.3 million in grant relief to artists and creative workers that suffered lost income due to the pandemic.

Similarly, the California Rebuilding Fund has provided loans to more than 700 small businesses – and in September, announced the addition of $56.5 million of available capital. The program offers low-interest loans to eligible businesses across the state, distributing them through a network of community lenders.

In general, community lenders like community development financial institutions, or CDFIs, can be a great option for affordable financing, particularly for traditionally underserved businesses, such as those operating in low-income areas, minority-owned businesses or women-owned businesses.

It’s worthwhile to look at CDFIs from both a geographic and sector angle, says Randell Leach, CEO of Beneficial State Bank, a CDFI with locations in California, Oregon and Washington. If you’re a natural food store, for example, there’s a good chance you’ll find a CDFI that’s focused on that, he says.

Business owners can search state or city government websites and reach out to local representatives or industry groups to find grant and loan programs in their area that they might qualify for. To find CDFIs in your region, or those that might be relevant to your business sector, you can browse the official list of certified CDFIs on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund website.

Organizations like SCORE and local Small Business Development Centers also offer access to free recovery resources and can help business owners identify potential funding opportunities.

Don’t forget about PPP forgiveness

Over 11 million PPP loans were approved, and as of Oct. 3, approximately 7.5 million applications for PPP loan forgiveness have been submitted, according to the SBA.

Loan forgiveness won’t offer your business additional funding. But it will ensure you can put money you already have toward expenses rather than PPP loan payments. If you received a PPP loan, you have until the loan’s maturity date to apply for forgiveness.

This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Randa Kriss is a writer at NerdWallet.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Oct. Consumer Confidence Improves as Delta Fades

After three declining months, U.S. consumers felt better in Oct. about both the current and future economy, with the confidence index rising 4 points to 113.8.

By Kerry Smith

BOSTON – After three months of declines, the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in October to 113.8, up from 109.8 the month before.

The Present Situation Index – consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – rose to 147.4 from 144.3 last month. The Expectations Index – consumers’ short-term future expectations for income, business and labor market conditions – improved to 91.3 from 86.7.

“Consumer confidence improved in October … as concerns about the spread of the delta variant eased,” says Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

“While short-term inflation concerns rose to a 13-year high, the impact on confidence was muted,” Franco says. “The proportion of consumers planning to purchase homes, automobiles, and major appliances all increased in October – a sign that consumer spending will continue to support economic growth through the final months of 2021. Likewise, nearly half of respondents (47.6%) said they intend to take a vacation within the next six months – the highest level since February 2020, a reflection of the ongoing resurgence in consumers’ willingness to travel and spend on in-person services.”

Present situation

  • Consumers’ appraisal of current business conditions was mixed in October: 18.6% said business conditions are “good,” down from 19.1%. On the flipside, 24.9% of consumers said business conditions are “bad,” down from 25.3%.
  • Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was moderately more favorable: 55.6% said jobs are “plentiful,” down from 56.5%. Conversely, 10.6% said jobs are “hard to get,” down from 13.0%.

Expectations six months from now

  • Consumers’ optimism about short-term business conditions was mixed in October: 24.3% expect business conditions to improve, up from 21.7%. But on the other hand, 21.1% expect business conditions to worsen, up from 17.6%.
  • Consumers were more optimistic about the short-term labor market outlook: 25.4% expect more jobs to be available in the months ahead, up from 21.3%; 18.3% anticipate fewer jobs, down from 19.9%.
  • Consumers were also more positive about their short-term financial prospects: 18.7% expect their incomes to increase, up from 16.9%, and 11.3% expect their incomes to decrease, virtually unchanged from 11.4% the month before.

Toluna conducts the monthly Consumer Confidence Survey. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was October 20.

© 2021 Florida Realtors®

I’m more worried about inflation.

MBA Report: Mortgage Market Isn’t Prepared for Climate Risk

What future risk does a changing climate present for a property? So far, lenders seem unprepared to even gauge that risk, much less mitigate a potential impact.

NEW YORK – Mortgage lenders and investors are woefully unprepared not only to mitigate their risk from climate change but to even gauge that risk, according to a new report from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Research Institute for Housing America.

“They are anxious to figure out what to do but not sure where to go to find out,” says Sean Becketti, author of the report and former chief economist at Freddie Mac. “They are unprepared but no longer unaware.”

According to the report, climate change puts more stress on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and could increase mortgage default and prepayment risks. It could also trigger adverse selection in the types of loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and increase the volatility of house prices. On a broad demographic front, climate change could even produce significant climate migration, according to the report.

The report suggests that lenders could soon start tightening standards to mitigate the risk of climate change problems.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could, according to the report, require lenders to perform additional due diligence to determine the need for flood insurance. They could also force lenders to incorporate additional sources of information on flood risk, notably in areas where flood maps have not been updated recently.

As a result, FEMA may even ban Fannie or Freddie from buying loans on homes with higher flood risks, unlike current loans that largely focus risk models on credit and operating risk.

“In the case of modeling for risk, the mortgage industry still predominantly thinks of protection in terms of property and casualty risk, which is underwritten and priced by insurance companies,” says Sanjiv Das, CEO of Caliber Home Loans. “The industry doesn’t model climate risk as much and mostly relies on models from FEMA or insurance companies.”

Source: CNBC (09/23/21) Olick, Diana

Many Overly-Confident Sellers Price Their Home Too High

Homeowners have read bidding-war stories and heard about homes selling for thousands of dollars more than asking price. Now they’re becoming sellers and think they can overprice their property, but the market is seeing more price reductions – 9.4% in Aug., says Zillow, up from 8.6% in July.

By Amber Randall

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Some home sellers are getting greedy in the scorching housing market, and it’s backfiring on them.

Many are setting their prices too high, trying to squeeze out every dollar from buyers who are willing to pay well over the asking price, often with cash. A growing percentage of sellers quickly learn that they’ll have to get real.

Some 9.4% of homes on the market in August had reduced prices, up from 8.6% in July, according to Zillow, an online listing service. In May and June, price cuts stood at 7.8% and 7.7% respectively, indicating the over-eagerness has spread.

“Many of the price cuts are a result of sellers getting overconfident in this market and asking for too much,” said Eli Beracha, professor of real estate at Florida International University. “Price cuts are not happening now for houses that are priced fairly and show well.”

On occasion, price cuts can work in a seller’s favor because they widen the pool of prospective buyers, who then might be willing to bid up the property in order to get it, said real estate broker Patty DaSilva with Green Realty Properties in Cooper City.

But widespread price cuts also can be bad for the overall market, as they cause buyers to be wary of trying to buy and they might back away, said Whitney J Dutton, real estate adviser with the Dutton Group in Fort Lauderdale.

“When you make price reductions to get them back to the property, they wonder what’s wrong with it. Why doesn’t anyone else want it?” he said.

A home that is priced correctly will move fast, said Gene Whiddon, real estate agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate in Fort Lauderdale. He recently listed a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo in Fort Lauderdale and got three offers for full price in only two days.

The increasing number of price drops doesn’t mean the market is getting cheaper, agents say. It just means the overpriced homes are being reduced to a healthier level, said Adam Docktor, a real estate agent with Compass in Fort Lauderdale.

The market in general is still hot. The median price in Palm Beach County was $480,000 in August, up 20% from last year. It was $495,000 in Broward County, up 19%, and $500,000 in Miami-Dade, a 20% increase.

Real estate agents call the high prices a “make-me-move” price. Sellers want to see how much money they can make rather than moving out of pure necessity, Dutton said.

Almost 25% of sellers put their homes on the market just to see how much profit they can make, according to a survey from realtor.com. Almost 30% said they were going to ask for more than their home was worth.

“For sellers, finding that highest possible strike price through small price adjustments is sometimes more appealing so they don’t leave money on the table that they may have otherwise been able to capture,” said Bonnie Heatzig, executive director of luxury sales at Douglas Elliman in Boca Raton.

If a home has sat on the market for more than two weeks – with no significant maintenance issues – that’s usually a big indicator that it’s priced too high, said real estate broker Patty DaSilva with Green Realty Properties in Cooper City.

“Buyers know when something is overpriced,” she said.

© 2021 South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

AR: Vacation Homes Will Defy Any Market Slowdown

While overall home sales show signs of cooling as prices rise and buyers step back, NAR Economist Yun doesn’t see that reflected in sales of vacation homes.

CHICAGO – The vacation-home market has boomed over the past year and is not likely to slow any time soon, even as the rest of the housing market starts to cool, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), in an interview for The Escape Home, a newsletter for second-home owners.

Even as companies bring employees back to the office, vacation homes will remain in demand, Yun said, though part of vacation homes’ rise in popularity has been attributed to the growth in remote work.

Overall, home sales show some signs of cooling, with many first-time homebuyers getting priced out of the market, Yun says. The median existing-home price for all housing types was $359,900 in July, nearly an 18% increase from a year ago.

Mortgage rates are also likely to increase, which could make buying even more expensive. NAR predicts that mortgage rates will rise to 3.5% by mid-2022, as the Federal Reserve likely begins to reduce its bond purchases before the end of 2021.

But vacation homes will remain a hot commodity. Rental prices for vacation homes will likely continue to rise too, Yun says.

“One near-certain aspect of the post-pandemic economy, when it comes, is the flexible work schedule,” Yun told The Escape Home. “It is very hard to envision five days a week in the office. Therefore, vacation-home sales will continue to move higher this year, next year and for the foreseeable future.”

Source: “What’s Next for the Real Estate Market? We Asked the Chief Economist at the National Association of REALTORS®,” MarketWatch/The Escape Home (Sept. 18, 2021)

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Interest Rates Rising? Fed May Start Reversing Programs in Nov.

Fed policies influence mortgage rates, and the Fed’s latest announcement suggests it will cut back its bond-buying in Nov. and hike interest rates sometime next year. The Fed currently buys $40B in mortgage bonds per month, and any cutback could add to the cost of a home loan.

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve hinted it may start reversing its pandemic stimulus programs come November – and it could raise interest rates next year.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Fed’s rate-setting committee revised its post meeting statement Wednesday to say that it may start to reduce or taper its $120 billion in monthly asset purchases as soon as its next meeting in early November.

“If progress continues broadly as expected, the Committee judges that a moderation in the pace of asset purchases may soon be warranted,” the statement said.

New estimates released at the end of the two-day meeting showed half of 18 officials expect to raise interest rates by the end of 2022.

When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, the Fed cut its short-term benchmark rate to close to zero, and it has been purchasing at least $80 billion a month in Treasury and $40 billion a month in mortgage bonds since June of 2020 to provide additional stimulus.

Per the Journal: Fed officials laid out a three-part test to raise interest rates one year ago that would require inflation to reach 2% and be on course to exceed that while the labor market returns to levels consistent with maximum employment.

In December, they said they would buy bonds at the current pace until the economy had made “substantial further progress” toward their goals of reversing a shortfall, then of around 10 million jobs since the start of the pandemic, and moving inflation back to their 2% goal over time. The Fed’s asset portfolio has doubled to $8.4 trillion from $4.2 trillion in February 2020.

Rising vaccination rates and nearly $2.8 trillion in federal spending approved since December has produced a recovery like none in recent memory. Inflation has soared this year, with so-called core prices that exclude volatile food and energy categories up 3.6% in July from a year earlier, using the Fed’s preferred gauge. The gains largely reflect disrupted supply chains, shortages and a rebound in travel associated with the reopening of the economy.

Wednesday’s projections show half of the officials expected interest rates would need to rise at least 1% from their current level by the end of 2023, and by another three-fourths of a percentage point in 2024.

© Copyright 2021 Human Events. All rights reserved.

More Canadian Snowbirds Plan Their Florida Return

A summer survey found that over 90% of snowbirds expected to return to Fla. this winter – but sentiments have dipped a bit since the COVID delta variant hit.

SARASOTA, Fla. – After staying home last winter, more Canadian snowbirds plan to return to Florida in 2021. Wallace Weylie, legal counsel for the Canadian Snowbird Association, said there seems to be a lot of pent-up demand from regular snowbirds to return to a warmer climate.

“The sentiment is that they’re not going to spend another winter in Canada,” he says.

The first year of COVID-19 saw a lot of Canadian snowbirds deciding to stay home, said Stephen Fine, president and managing editor of Snowbird Advisor. A survey conducted by the publication last year found that only about 30% of snowbirds returned to their usual sunny destinations for the 2021 season.

This year, things look more positive, Fine said. But sentiments have dipped a little bit since the delta variant started a new COVID wave.

“We did survey in the summer before cases went up, and at that point, the expectation was over 90% of snowbirds would return,” Fine says. “We don’t think at this point we’re going to hit 90-plus, that would be almost pre-pandemic levels. So it’ll probably be somewhere between last year and that – probably 50-60%.”

Despite the strength of the Sarasota area real estate market, local real estate agents say Canadian buyers haven’t done much purchasing since the pandemic began. Some of the older Canadian homeowners are selling their Florida properties, while the younger, active adults in their 50s and 60s are holding onto their assets, hoping for better post-pandemic days. 

Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (09/19/21) Finaldi, Laura

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