Who Turned the Light (Back) on Sunny Florida's Housing Market?House hunters shut out of the recent housing boom are smiling from ear to ear.
Unless you''ve been lying beside Rip Van Winkle for a couple years, the country is in a buyer''s market with a 7.2-month supply of homes for sale. Anything more than a six-month supply means an advantage for buyers.
No more craziness in the market. No more rushing to submit an offer *above* the list price and with no contingencies.
Depending on your part of the country or even your part of the state or town, the housing market has not tanked.
Sure, more For Sale signs dot your favorite neighborhoods. However, please don''t think that this "buyer''s market" entitles you to waltz in with a low-ball offer and scoot out with a signed contract.
If you''re interested in escaping the frigid North to the Sunny South, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) forecasts a sunny outlook for homeowners.
This "new" market of the South features more affordable homes prices, continued job growth above the national average, and historically low interest rates. Your parents and grandparents simply cannot believe it''s possible to pull a ~6% rate on a 30-year fixed home loan, can they?
To assure you it''s a good time to buy a home in the South, the NAR offers the Housing Affordability Index, which looks at home prices in an area, along with salaries, the percentage of income homeowners are spending on a mortgage and a host of other factors.
This index provides a pretty good indication of just how much home you can buy. And this is one index where, to get the most home for your dollar, you want to see the highest number possible.
To break it down, a score of 100 means that if you are earning the area''s median income you can afford to buy a median-priced home. And if the number is 125, it means that you have 25 percent more income than is necessary to buy a typical median-priced home.
In the Sunny South the index was 119.8 -- 5.1 percent *above* 2005 numbers. Parts of the Midwest recorded a 150, but who wants to scoop snow, scrape ice, pay outrageous heating bills and not see or feel the sun for months?
C''mon, do you really want to be an Eskimo for six months? Wouldn''t you rather be golfing, lounging in hammock at the beach, sitting in shorts and tee shirts on your screened lanai sipping lemonade and enjoying a warm breeze...in January and February?
In that case, what good is a 150 for the Midwest. Despite the 150, people are not waiting for spring to pack the moving trucks and drop a couple resumes on Monster.
Enough already of the snow, the ice, the wind, the gray skies, the heavy clothes, the slipping & sliding, the numb fingers, the dry-chapped lips etc. ---- they''ve had enough of the brutal arctic weather hammering the North.
They''ve had enough!
Across the Sunny South, the median home price is $181,700, but if you''re looking in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area you will see median prices of $366,800.
While the housing market in Florida, in particular, catches its collective breath following five years of dizzying, unprecedented price increases, house hunters ? with a little patience and strong negotiating skills ? are finding some "good" deals.
As a whole, the NAR predicts home prices will increase 4 to 6 percent in 2007. This is more like it...reasonable, sustainable growth.
Southerners are also spending a smaller than average portion of their income on their mortgage payments. In the South, a home owner devotes approximately 20.7 percent of income to that mortgage check, according to NAR numbers. The national average is 23.6 percent.
If you want to live with Mickey Mouse, enjoy the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of Florida or the Gulf of Mexico on the west coast of Florida & abundant outdoors entertainment year round, you will pay more for your new "way of life".
How much more?
In Orlando, buyers are seeing median prices of $272,100, according to NAR''s most recent statistics.
Sarasota ? the amazing tropical playground of the "rich & famous" ? boasts a $301,300 median home price. The small town "feeling" coupled with incredible boating, arts, entertainment, and a vibrant economy makes Sarasota, FL, the jewel of Southwest Florida.
For college basketball fans, the Sarasota area is home to Dick Vitale, Mr. College Basketball for ESPN.
By the way, the "expensive" median homes in the area include:
* Washington, D.C./Arlington/Alexandria, (D.C., Va., Md.) ? $421,600
* Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Miami Beach ? $366,800
* Sarasota/Bradenton/Venice, Fla. ? $301,300
* Baltimore/Towson, Md. ? $277,900
Stop dreaming about spending more pleasant time outdoors and find your dream home today while Florida catches its breath. With each hard winter, Florida and other southern states welcome more people to this year-round oasis.
Join other smiling homeowners in Florida who, despite being shut out of home ownership during the boom, are living in their dream homes purchased for less money and with the same great interest rate.
Got those bags packed yet?
Florida''s "blue light" buying opportunities still exist in Florida. Buy now. Realtor Mike Payne creatively helps buyers and sellers @ Orlando Realtor, Lease Own Real Estate.