by guest blogger Jeff Lichtenstein
Most would read the title and think it's a weird story for a Costa Rica real estate blog. We all know that when the real estate market went bust in 2006, Florida was one of the most suffering states. Since both Florida and Costa Rica are both a strong retirement market and we are so close to each other, we always keep an eye out on what is going on with the Florida real estate market. When the Florida real estate market picks up, it shouldn't take much for our retirement market to pick up again too.
Many who have been planning to retire and had Costa Rica on their list too look at end up in Florida because they were giving property almost away in Florida while the Costa Rica real estate market maintained stable property prices, though we still have lots of retirees who move to Costa Rica for the weather and nature. No matter if you own Costa Rica real estate or you want to purchase, Jeff Lichtenstein, a well known realtor in Palm Beach County - Florida has an interesting story to tell.
The Florida real estate market was hit the hardest from the housing bubble crash in 2006. Finally, that market is starting to come back. Read why below from Jeff Lichtenstein's Real Estate Blog …….
The market is improving as of spring 2012 in Palm Beach County, Florida. We are seeing a slight increase in supply because of economic conditions, but a bigger jump in sales because of a 6-year slow drip of investment and must-sell inventory that has dried up.
In January of 2012 the average price was $296,000. The average sold price in February 2012 was $318,000. However, the average sold price in February of 2011 was $348,000, so prices are lower today than they were a year ago at this time.
February 2012 home sales are up compared to last month. There were 797 sales in February 2012 versus 749 sales in January 2012. 752 sales took place in February 2011, so more sales are happening now than last year at this time as well.
Snowbirds, some first timers, and downsizers are purchasing. We are also seeing a trend of people selling their northern and small Florida home and then purchasing a medium-sized permanent Florida home. A few foreign buyers, but mostly from Canada. There are not as many Canadian purchasers as the last few years because many Canadians purchased from 2009-2011. Not much activity from Europe because their economy is weak.
163 short sales sold in February of 2012, which is more than the 128 that sold in February of 2011. There are currently 2621 short sales out of the 9593 homes available on the market. The Palm Beach County MLS has never kept exact track of foreclosures. Some lenders had their agents hide this for fear that agents would not show the property. However, that has changed in the past month, and going forward those properties must be marked in Palm Beach County MLS. Overall it has been reported that Florida, which takes a whopping 3-year time-span to foreclose on the average property, is starting to see that number go down. Banks are foreclosing faster as the overall inventory has diminished.
The people who want loans are not having trouble getting them. There is much more verification. I haven’t had problems myself with buyers finding financing. The problem lies more within the appraisal process of homes not appraising. Many times it is because the appraisal is not done well. Some of the appraisers hired are from out of the area, traveling from Miami or Orlando and don’t know the property well.