Biden Extends Eviction Ban for 60 Days

The Biden Administration announced a 60-day eviction ban extension. The new order is more limited than the old ban – it covers COVID hot spots only – but that still includes an estimated 90% of U.S. renters and seemingly all of Fla., which has seen rising numbers of cases in the past few weeks.

Read more

No New Onslaught of Eviction Cases Filed on Monday

The eviction ban ended last weekend, but S. Fla. courts saw less movement on Monday than they expected. Lawyers think some landlords might be holding off to make sure there isn’t another extension, and federal stimulus payments and rent aid have helped some at-risk families.

Read more

Sales of $1M-Plus Homes Soar

Some Americans did well during the pandemic, boosting demand for luxury housing – a segment that doesn’t face the same supply shortages as lower-priced homes.

Read more

AP Explains: What Happens After Foreclosure Moratorium’s End?

Most experts agree that there’s a “foreclosure threat,” but it’s uncharted territory – any uptick in foreclosure listings is hard to predict. With prices rising, lenders are under less pressure to list homes for sale. And even if they’re ready now, homes likely won’t be listed until at least Sept.

Read more

CDC’s Eviction Moratorium Has Expired

The Supreme Court had signaled the ban would only be extended to July 31. With the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 delta variant, Biden is asking Congress to extend the fed eviction ban, but the prospects of legislative action are unclear.

Read more

Is the Office Back?

With in-person work on the rise, employees may return to reconfigured office layouts meant to encourage social distancing and sanitization, plus other safety features.

Read more

NAR: June’s Pending Home Sales Fall 1.9%

The number of homes that went under contract “has seesawed since Jan.,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, but higher home prices have taken a toll. In areas where housing is more affordable, local pending sales rose because buyer demand remains strong.

Read more

Foreign Investment in U.S. Existing-Homes Falls 27% to $54.4B

NAR: It’s the lowest level in a decade. Foreign buyers purchased 107K properties, down 31% from the prior year, as the COVID-19 pandemic led to a strong global economic slowdown. For the 13th straight year, Fla. remained the top destination for foreign buyers, with 21% of all international purchases.

Read more

Ransomware Attack May Jeopardize Some Closings

Cloudstar, a cloud service used by many title companies, shut down after a ransomware attack last week. As a result, some brokers now can’t register transactions or closings. “We are still very much in the containment and remediation phase,” the company says.

Read more

Fla.’s Housing Market: Sales, Median Price, More Rise in June

Florida Realtors’ data: More closed sales, more new listings and higher median prices (up 24.5% for single-family homes, 22.4% for condos) than a year ago. Chief Economist O’Connor: The ratio of buyers to sellers may be easing; as a result, home price growth could begin to cool down in the future.

Read more

NEW: Escalation Addendum to Contract Released

On July 22, 2021, Florida Realtors released a new addendum for use with Florida Realtors contracts, the Escalation Addendum to Contract, available through Form Simplicity and other licensed vendors. FAQs and how-to-complete info is available on the association’s website.

Read more

Number of Mortgages in Forbearance Drops to 3.5%

Mortgage bankers say that many homeowners are coming out of forbearance, with only 7.4%, so far, either selling the home, doing a refi or otherwise paying off the mortgage. 1 in 4 (23.2%) never stopped making monthly payments; another 1 in 4 (28%) ended up having their loans deferred.

Read more

June Rental Prices Broke Records in 44 Cities

Realtor.com rental listing costs were up 8.1% year-to-year in June, and two Fla. metros ranked in the top 10 for increases: Tampa-St. Pete, up 21.2% and Jacksonville, up 14.4%. Overall, two-bedroom units saw the largest increase, 10.2%, as demand for a larger living space continues.

Read more

Buyers’ Pressure Cooker Eases a Bit as Bidding Wars Drop

A survey of Redfin agents found a slow but steady drop in the percentage of listings engaged in a bidding war. In April, 74.1% of sellers entertained multiple bids; in May it dropped to 72.1%; and in June, it fell to 65%. But Sarasota tops the list of U.S. bidding-war cities at 87%.

Read more

Yes, Florida, People Are Listing Homes for Sale

Florida Realtors chief economist: More homes are being listed than you think. Despite record-low inventory levels, the reason for current buyer frustrations isn’t so much “not enough sellers listing homes,” as it is strong buyer demand – so strong that listings don’t stay active very long.

Read more

Judge Blocks Roofing-Contractor Part of Property Insurance Law

A law passed this year attempts to ease Fla.’s rising property insurance premiums by limiting roofing companies’ abilities to help homeowners get a “free” insurance-paid roof replacement. But a judge issued an injunction and said the Constitution protects roofers’ free speech rights.

Read more

What Happens After the Foreclosure Ban Ends on July 31?

Some foreclosures were postponed due the pandemic, but for some homeowners, COVID-19 forced them into foreclosure. In either case, a courthouse backlog is likely starting Aug. 1, though most at-risk homes will be listed for sale before any foreclosure can be finalized.

Read more

Mortgage Rates Move Lower Again

The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 2.9% from last week’s 2.98% in Freddie Mac’s weekly survey. The 15-year loan and ARM rates also declined.

Read more

Spread Your Wings: Identify Your Area’s Top Feeder Market

Florida Realtors economist: Need to find an untapped source for new clients? Look past your own turf to the largest source of movers coming from a different county or state. If 10% of your new residents come from Any County, N.Y., spend some marketing dollars in Any County.

Read more

Where Can Buyers Find a Fla. Home for Around $250,000?

$250K homes are out there, but finding one largely depends on where a buyer chooses to live. South Floridians have sometimes moved about 80 miles north to find lower housing prices, but each area of the state has a few areas – typically smaller towns – with a few $250K homes.

Read more

40-Year FHA, VA Home Loans Coming in October?

Ginnie Mae – the funding arm behind FHA and VA loans – created a new “pool type” to secure “modified loans with terms up to 40 years.” It’s essentially the funding groundwork to release a new type of 40-year loan that Ginnie Mae expects to start offering in October.

Read more

Time for Acceptance? Make the Most of this Provision

ORLANDO, Fla. – Articles in Florida Realtors’ Legal Newsletter in the past addressed the time for acceptance provisions that exist in all the Florida Realtors contracts. However, this article specifically addresses this provision in the context of today’s hot market. Let’s walk through the language regarding the time for acceptance, what it means and the…

Read more

NAR: Solid Rebound for May Pending Home Sales

Pending sales rose 8% month-to-month in May and 13.1% year-to-year – the highest May reading (114.7) since 2005. NAR’s economist calls it a surprise following April’s decline and less affordability; but higher wealth and “rising prices evidently provided funds for purchases.”

Read more

Dictionaries, Differing Definitions and the Law

Common words often have specific legal definitions and might not mean what you think. Sometimes, the definition is specific to a contract. Sometimes it’s industry-specific. And sometimes a regular dictionary is the right reference source.

Read more

Fla. Wants Residents to Report Unsolicited Real Estate Calls

The tight listing inventory has led to an uptick in phone calls asking homeowners if they’re interested in selling – but occasionally U.S. and state do-not-call laws are ignored. The Fla. Dept. of Agriculture says complaints are up 41% this year, and it wants all violations reported.

Read more

CFPB Issues Rules to Create Smooth Forbearance Transition

The consumer bureau’s acting director, Dave Uejio, says the foreclosure-ban end will “drain billions of dollars in wealth from the Black and Hispanic communities.” The rules require lenders to assertively help homeowners stay in their homes and understand their options.

Read more

Miami Herald Editorial: We Need to Protect Affordable Housing

“When it comes to (Florida’s) affordable-housing needs, we need all the help we can get,” editors write. The state’s “housing funds help people who are first responders, our teachers, our paramedics with down-payment assistance,” says Florida Realtors President-Elect Christina Pappas.

Read more

How to Win a Bidding War?

In the end, coming out on top largely depends on the highest offer. But one Realtor also calls the seller’s agent to see what the seller considers most important.

Read more

Eviction and Foreclosure Moratoriums Extended to July 31

The CDC extended the federal eviction moratorium for another month, from June 30 to July 31, further frustrating landlords. However, CDC also said it’s likely that this new deadline will be the last one. FHFA also announced that its foreclosure moratorium was extended to July 31.

Read more

Fla.’s May Housing Market Strong, Shows 2020 COVID-19 Impact

Florida Realtors’ data: May had more closed sales, more new listings and higher median prices (up 27.7% for single-family homes, 24.1% for condos) than a year ago. Pres. Lambert notes one factor behind rising prices is that Fla. “is experiencing a greater share of luxury sales in 2021 compared to a year ago.”

Read more

Homeownership Coalition Wants 3M More Black Homeowners

NAR is working with a 100-organization group to boost Black homeownership – 3M more by 2030. The coalition’s “3by30 initiative” includes a 7-point plan. NAR VP Bryan Greene says Realtors will keep working to improve federal and local policies that help raise ownership levels.

Read more

Economists Evaluate Commercial Real Estate’s Recovery

REIT magazine interviews: Five economists generally agree that commercial real estate is recovering from pandemic shutdowns, though that will vary by sector and geography. Still, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and the U.S. will recover faster than the rest of the world.

Read more

NAR: Vacation Home Sales Rose 16.4% in 2020

Lee County tops NAR’s list of U.S. counties for the highest increase in vacation home sales, with Collier County also making the top 10 list. In 2020, vacation home sales were 5.5% of total existing-home sales; in 2019, they were 5%. Vacation home median prices were up 14.2%.

Read more

Proposed Amendment Would Protect Affordable Housing in Fla.

Doc stamp money in Fla.’s affordable housing trust funds should be used for affordable housing, but the Florida Legislature often “sweeps” it into general revenue. A constitutional amendment proposed by Florida Realtors would change that and secure ongoing support for housing in Fla.

Read more

Rent Crisis Pummels Mom-and-Pop Landlords

The national eviction ban could have a long-term impact on mom-and-pop investors. If the financial hit from non-paying tenants forces them to sell their investment homes, it could boost the size of institutional investors who generally have deeper pockets to weather financial losses.

Read more

NAR Report: More LGBTQ Buyers Purchasing Older, Smaller Homes

The annual report compares LGBTQ buyers and sellers to the overall market. It found that LGBTQ buyers buy smaller and older homes, but they plan to move out five years earlier than other buyers. As a group, they tend to identify as male more than female, and be single and unmarried.

Read more

When Will Buyers Again See Foreclosures Listed for Sale?

The question is simple – the answer not so much. CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) wants to wait until 2022. A request for rule comments, however, received a range of suggestions. And as a practical matter, can lenders handle thousands of foreclosures all at once?

Read more

Fla. Attorney General Issues Real Estate Scam Warning

Stressed buyers and renters desperate for a home can make rash decisions – and scammers know that. Escrow wire-fraud scams can destroy a buyer’s dreams only moments before a closing, but Fla. A.G. Moody also focuses on rental, loan-flipping and foreclosure relief scams.

Read more

Report: Home Loans Backed by PMI Increased 53% in 2020

The association representing private mortgage insurers (PMI) says the average Fla. buyer has a credit score of 739, a $58K annual income and buys a median $310K home. In 2020, 55% of Fla. first-time buyers relied on PMI to make down payments of less than 20%.

Read more

Drone Use May Be on the Rise

Aerial photography is becoming more common in real estate listings – even for interior shots – and new FAA rules may allow drone use in even more locations.

Read more

Dear Anne: Listing Agents Please Take Care

Listing shortages lead to some disconcerting behavior. Sellers have tremendous leverage in this intense seller’s market, but the Code of Ethics applies during all types of markets. Still, a handful of listing agents take advantage, simply because they think they can get away with it.

Read more

Condos: Who Insures What? Who Pays for Damages?

The 2021 hurricane season began June 1, but water pipes can burst year-round. If an insurable event occurs in a condo, however, is it a unit owner’s job to pay or the association’s? It’s a simple question with a sometimes complicated answer.

Read more

Presenting Offers: OK with License Law? Code of Ethics?

Your exhausted seller received five offers in one day. Four are over asking price, but the last one offers $50,000 less, possibly making it a waste of time for an already exhausted seller. Must you still present it? Perhaps not – but only under very specific conditions.

Read more

Near, Far, Wherever: Find Out Who’s Moving to Your Town

Florida Realtors economists: Where do most buyers come from? It’s no secret: Lots of people are on the move, and if you know they’re relocating locally or coming from afar, you can adjust your approach to client prospecting. To help, Florida Realtors’ research team studied moving patterns.

Read more

Will We Ever Shake Hands Again?

Has 14 months of mask wearing and social distancing changed business etiquette? It’s still too early to shake hands and elbow bumping is gimmicky, so just nod instead.

Read more

Some Lenders Say They’ll Resume Foreclosures in July

Bank of America says it will resume foreclosures in July, though “the amount … is way down, and most of the clients have become current,” and JP Morgan Chase says 90% of customers have left forbearance. But Wells Fargo plans to wait until 2022 to resume foreclosures.

Read more

April Pending Home Sales Drop 4.4% Month-to-Month

Year-to-year, however, pending sales skyrocketed 51.7% since April 2020 was the start of nationwide lockdowns to fight a spreading pandemic. NAR Economist Yun says contract signings now are near pre-pandemic levels after the big surge during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Read more

Pandemic Buyer Survey: Almost 75% Happy They Did

Despite a cutthroat market with multiple bids and successive failures to secure a home, 71% of successful pandemic-era buyers say their new home meets their needs, 75% say it was a good decision, and 45% wish they moved sooner. Only 19% say they should have waited.

Read more

U.S. Could Double Tariffs on Canadian Softwood Lumber

A rising cost for lumber has added thousands to the price of a new home, and an ongoing U.S.-Canada dispute could make things worse. Pres. Trump raised tariffs to 20% in 2018 and later lowered them to 9%. The Biden Admin. now proposes an 18.32% tariff.

Read more

Fla.’s April Housing Market Strong, Reflects 2020 COVID-19 Impact

Florida Realtors’ data: April had more closed sales, more new pending sales and higher median prices (up 22.4% for single-family homes, 19.6% for condos) than a year ago. Pres. Lambert says, “keep in mind the comparison data comes from April 2020 when Fla. was experiencing the full impact of the pandemic.”

Read more

NAR Study: Membership Hits Record High and 79% Staying Put

NAR had 1.48M Realtor members at the end of 2020, up from 1.4M one year earlier, and 4 out of 5 (79%) plan to stay in the profession at least two more years. Realtors with 16 years-plus experience made $75K, down from 2019’s $86.5K – but 1 in 4 members made $100K or more.

Read more

29% of Sellers Think Home Is Worth Less than Asking Price

Most sellers list for personal reasons, but a survey found that 1 in 4 (24%) who plan to list within the next 12 months are doing it because of the profit potential, with 53% expecting to get their asking price and 24% anticipating more. And 25% expect to have an offer within one week.

Read more

Fla. Insurer Growing as 3 Private Insurers Cancel Policies

State-owned Citizens Property Ins. is growing rapidly, and Fla. insurance regulators recently authorized “extraordinary” terminations for thousands of homeowners insured by Universal Insurance of North America, Gulfstream Property & Casualty and Southern Fidelity.

Read more

More South Floridians Moving North – but They Stay in Fla.

Rising costs motivate some movers, but a lot of South Floridians are maximizing profits by selling their home now and moving to an area where their housing dollar buys more real estate. Moves to Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers, St. Lucie County and more are up 108% this quarter.

Read more

CFPB Preparing for Hectic Transition as Housing Protections End

The housing industry had an artificial pause button pushed during the pandemic, thanks to eviction moratoriums, forbearance programs, etc. As those draw to a close, CFPB proposed rules to maintain stability, and NAR commented with a suggestion that short sales might be the way to go.

Read more

Foreclosures Less Likely with Few Homes Underwater

Underwater homeowners – they owe more on their mortgage than their home’s value – are more likely to end up in foreclosure. But today, 1 in 3 owners with a mortgage (32%) have at least 50% equity, and only 1 in 21 (4.7%) owes 25% or more than their home’s current market value.

Read more

New York City to Fla. Relocations: Flight or Hype?

Florida Realtors economist: Florida’s population benefited from residents leaving New York City, but other states experienced gains too – some with triple-digit increases. With Fla. migration, residents of NYC’s Manhattan flocked in the highest numbers.

Read more

FHFA May Create New Lending Rules for ‘Condotels’

If a development has a large number of short-term rentals – individually owned units or single-family homes rented out similar to a hotel’s operations (condotel) – what unique lending standards for home sales should apply? FHFA opened a comment period that runs through July 5.

Read more

The Nation’s Realtor Members Become More Diverse

In 2001, 10% of Realtors were nonwhite; in 2020, that number rose to 24%, according to a study on career choice released by NAR. However, whites had the highest median number of transactions (7) compared to Blacks and Asians (2), Hispanics (3) and LGBTQ+ members (5).

Read more

Fla. Takes First Step to Launch Rental Assistance Program

DCF, the Fla. department charged with distributing $850M of federal funds to assist with rental assistance, introduced a dedicated website to get funds to landlords and utility companies. Applications should be available soon, and payments can be direct-deposited into business accounts.

Read more

Fla. County Approves ‘Tenant Bill of Rights’

Renters in unincorporated Hillsborough County cannot face discrimination based on their income, including tenants who use Section 8 housing vouchers. Landlords must also give tenants a list of housing rights and provide a notice for late fees.

Read more

CFPB/FTC Warn Large Apartment Landlords About New Rules

New rule: Debt collectors must give tenants written notice about their rights under the CDC moratorium – and they can’t misrepresent a tenant’s eligibility for protection. To spread the message, the consumer bureau directly contacted landlords who represent about 2 million units.

Read more

Florida Legislature: What Changed in Fla. Insurance Laws?

By the time negotiations ended and bills were passed, no interested party got everything they wanted under bills passed by the Florida Legislature, including the state’s attorneys, insurers or homeowners. But changes should help maintain a viable private insurance market in the state.

Read more

Fla.’s Home Sales and Prices Up, Inventory Tight in March

Florida Realtors’ data: Single-family home sales rose 23.3% year-over-year, median sales price up 18.9%; condo sales up 52.6%, median price up 15.2%. The coronavirus was first detected in Fla. on March 1, 2020; therefore, last March’s data was the first to reflect the pandemic’s impact.

Read more

NAR Report: Marijuana and Real Estate: A Budding Issue

States with marijuana legalization laws have seen increased demand for warehouse space, and about half with pre-2016 legalization laws are seeing addendums added to leases that restrict on-site growing. One recent change: More properties are being bought rather than leased.

Read more

How Many Homes Does the U.S. Need to Catch Up? Almost 4M

Why is the inventory of for-sale homes so tight? A new analysis by Freddie Mac found that supply will meet demand only if the U.S. adds 3.8M new homes. The housing need now is 52% greater than it was in 2018, just three years earlier – and it’s even worse for entry-level homes.

Read more

This May Be the Best Month Ever to Sell a Home

Study: April is the best month to sell a home – more buyer interest, less competition, higher list prices and faster sales – and given market conditions right now that strongly favor sellers, there may never be a better time for homeowners to post a for-sale sign in their yard.

Read more

Seller Optimism Jumps in Fannie’s Monthly Survey

The Home Sentiment Index rose 5.2 points to 81.7 this month, “nearly reaching pre-pandemic levels,” finding that more owners consider it a good time to sell. However, even the number of optimistic buyers rose a bit: Attitudes about mortgage rates were the only notable decline.

Read more

Study: How Does Credit Scoring Impact Fair Lending?

A study released during an NAR virtual Fair Housing event finds new scoring models open doors and boost minority homeownership. Older credit-score models “raised the cost to borrow while limiting access … for minority populations and rural communities,” says NAR President Oppler.

Read more

Appeals Court Ruling Casts Doubt on ADA Compliant Websites

While brokers should still strive to make websites accessible for disabled users, an appeals court ruling suggests that until wording of the current law is changed, websites are not places of public accommodation. The issue remains fluid, but it may bring relief to brokers facing ADA website accessibility lawsuits.

Read more

CFPB Proposes Rules to Prevent or Delay Foreclosures

After warning mortgage servicers not to repeat their Great Recession mistakes, the consumer bureau proposed actual rules to prohibit starting foreclosures before Dec. 31, 2021, with a few possible exceptions – such as proof that they’ve unsuccessfully tried to contact unresponsive owners.

Read more

As Mortgage Relief Plans End, What’s Next for Homeowners?

For owners in forbearance, a possible foreclosure is closely tied to whether or not they’re working again. This spring, about 800K owners in forbearance – out of a total of 2.6 million homeowners – hit the 12-month mark, though a six-month extension may still be possible.

Read more

FEMA Releases Rate Overview for Flood Insurance Risk 2.0

FEMA did not release a tool to answer the question on most Fla. homeowners minds: “Will my flood insurance rate go up or down?” But overall, it says 1 out of 5 residents (19.8%) will see a reduction, and 3 out of 4 (76%) won’t see a change higher than $120 more per year.

Read more

The Untethered Worker Is the New Sunbird

Florida Realtors economist: Turning seasons into verbs – “We wintered in Florida” – was once a trait of wealthy retirees. But a newly untethered workforce working at home because of the pandemic is now also considering weather-based migration, albeit a little differently.

Read more

A Path for Associates to Form a PA, LLC or PLLC

Sales associates and broker associates can practice real estate (and be paid) as individuals, or, if they follow the correct path, as a business entity. Here’s the route they must follow if they want to form a business entity.

Read more

Dear Anne: A Tale of Lost Listings, Commissions and Fairness

Realtor A had a listing, a buyer, and a bona fide offer two weeks after the listing expired. The seller had re-listed by then, but A contacted the seller directly, went to closing and earned the full commission. How can the new did-nothing listing agent file a Code of Ethics complaint?

Read more

No. 1 Reason Millennials Want to Buy? The American Dream

Study: Younger adults have the same hopes and dreams as older adults. While homeownership is a smart financial investment, it’s not always the top reason people buy a home. Millennials want to be part of a community and neighborhood, and have a place their family can call home.

Read more

New-Home Slowdown Isn’t Buyers, It’s Builders

New-home market problems aren’t new – rising prices for supplies and a tight workforce. But pending sales continue to be high, and many builders are pausing to complete a backlog of projects. In top-listed Jacksonville, pending new-home sales are up 80.5% year-to-year.

Read more

Home Flipping – and Profit Margins – Lower in 2020

The 2020 real estate market wasn’t ideal for home flippers who buy homes, fix them up and resell. ATTOM’s 2020 report found that fewer home flips were funded by fewer mortgages. And while gross profits went higher, profit margins dipped for the third straight year.

Read more

Senator Outlines Goals for Mortgage Reform; NAR Agrees

Government-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must be reformed, yet if done badly, it could threaten the U.S. housing market and possibly make 30-year mortgages obsolete. But a Senate Banking Committee member issued “guiding principles” that have been backed by NAR.

Read more

See the Future, Hit a Home Run in Your Business

Florida Realtors economist: Knock it out of the park through 2025. What can you do now to prepare for the buyers and sellers entering the market? Utilize digital tools, understand smart home features and attract remote workers to your market.

Read more

Flood Insurance 2.0: Congress Updates Its Analysis

National flood insurance will undergo a seismic change for homebuyers on Oct. 1, 2021, and for existing homeowners on April 1, 2022. Under “Risk Rating 2.0,” policy rates will be individualized based on a specific home rather than a general blanket rate based on flood zones.

Read more

Once Redlined Homes Flood More – Though Not in Fla.

Study: Redlined neighborhoods – metro areas once relegated to Blacks or other minorities – are less appealing geographically than nearby white neighborhoods. But Fla. is the exception, where a home’s desirability is often based on proximity to the beach – an obviously high-risk flood area.

Read more

Latest Stimulus Bill Signed into Law – Here’s What It Does

Many Americans will get a $1,400 stimulus check, unemployment at $300 per week runs to Sept. 6, and landlords can now tap into a bigger pot of money. Plus child tax credits – $300-or-more paid weekly – could be enough for some rental families to decide it’s time to buy a home.

Read more

No. of State-Owned Citizens Policies Increased 26.4% in a Year

More Fla. homeowners are relying on the state’s “insurer of last resort.” Citizens says it’s financially sound for now thanks to investment income that has outpaced operating losses, but at the current rate, a future disaster will again force taxpayers to make up some of its expenses.

Read more

State-Owned Citizens Policies Increase 26.4% in One Year

More Fla. homeowners are relying on the state’s “insurer of last resort.” Citizens says it’s financially sound for now thanks to investment income that has outpaced operating losses, but at the current rate, a future disaster will again force taxpayers to make up some of its expenses.

Read more

Secondary Markets Heating Up for Commercial Investors

Florida Realtors economist: Investors are following renters into the suburban spillover markets. Strong demographics, population growth and an expected recovery in hospitality pulled the Tampa- St. Pete, Miami and Orlando markets into the top 20.

Read more

How Does the New Proposed Stimulus Bill Help Real Estate?

The House-passed bill is now in the Senate, and NAR expects most major provisions to pass. The latest stimulus includes aid for state and local governments, new homeowners’ assistance funds, small-business grants, rental-assistance funding, expanded unemployment and more.

Read more

Fla. House Plans to Target Flooding, Sea Level Rise

The House floated “a suite of bills” to address climate change, including a tax break for owners who elevate homes and money for local governments that create programs. Gov. DeSantis proposed changes earlier, but many differences must now be worked out.

Read more

FHFA Extends Foreclosure and Eviction Bans to June 30

Homeowners with mortgages held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac cannot be evicted through June 30, nor can renters in buildings acquired by the lending giants. Forbearance was also extended for three additional months, allowing some owners to skip mortgage payments for a total of 18 months.

Read more

Dear Anne: Is My Career Over? I Face an Ethics Complaint

A member listed a house in “mint condition,” but to the seller’s surprise, the buyer’s inspector found roof problems. The result: A “busybody” agent not involved in the transaction filed an ethics complaint. Can he do that? Does she need a lawyer? Could her license be revoked?

Read more

NAR, DBPR, FREC – Who Does What?

From NAR to DBPR, the real estate industry is riddled with acronyms for different organizations. It can be challenging to separate the specific products and services each organization provides – and to understand how those interlocking products relate to each other.  

Read more

Note to Sellers Also Buying: A Closing Date Is a Closing Date

Some homeowners jumped into today’s hot sellers’ market, fielded multiple offers, got top dollar and signed contracts within 48 hours. At the time, they may have considered their next home selection “a bridge we’ll cross when we come to it.” But sometimes there’s no bridge.

Read more

Dare to Compare: What Does $300,000 Buy in Fla.?

Florida Realtors economist: A lesson learned during the pandemic: Remote workers who aren’t tied to a specific location can search for housing values located anywhere. And with flexibility, it’s still possible to find a 3-bed, 2-bath Fla. home for $300,000 or less.

Read more

Feb. Consumer Confidence Continues Optimistic Trend

If consumer spending drives the economy, a rebound in confidence reflected in the Feb. and Jan. reports suggests a slow emergence from the darkest days of the pandemic. Consumers’ attitudes about their current finances rose for the first time in three months.

Read more

Fla.’s Housing Market Continues Strong in January 2021

Florida Realtors’ data: Single-family home sales rose 18% year-over-year, median sales price up 15.1%; condo sales up 24.6%, median price up 15%. Chief Economist O’Connor: Closed sales in Jan. were “way, way above our historical average,” which is likely for most, if not all, of 2021.

Read more

Sellers on Sidelines? Pull out the Big Guns: Market Data

Florida Realtors economist: Why should I list now? Show them why graphically based on 1) different home needs, 2) low mortgage rates and 3) equity potential. In 2020, over one-third of Fla. single-family home sellers cashed out and received their list price or more.

Read more

Sellers on Sidelines? Pull out the Big Guns: Market Stats

Florida Realtors economist: Why should I list now? Show them why graphically based on 1) different home needs, 2) low mortgage rates and 3) equity potential. In 2020, over one-third of Fla. single-family home sellers cashed out and received their list price or more.

Read more

NAR Releases Study Addressing Black Homeownership Gap

The study found a gap between Black and white homeownership rates of about 30% (60.8% for whites, 42% for Blacks). Blacks are rejected for mortgages 2.5 times more than whites (10% vs. 4%) and carry higher student loan debt (43% vs. 21% for whites). NAR calls for policy changes.

Read more

Florida Realtors to Go Global at International Trade Expo

The state association’s booth at Enterprise Florida’s virtual trade expo on March 16-18 will showcase members’ global expertise. Foreign attendees who want to know more about Florida Realtors and the state can connect with Realtors who speak Arabic, German, Spanish and more.

Read more

SentriLock Unveils New Home-Showing Service Option

Over a year ago, “our board directed us to develop a solution to address the growing lack of choice in this technology sector, given the natural fit with our current lockbox business,” says Scott Fisher, founder and CEO of SentriLock, a wholly owned NAR subsidiary.

Read more

SentriKey Unveils New Home-Showing Service Option

Over a year ago, “our board directed us to develop a solution to address the growing lack of choice in this technology sector, given the natural fit with our current lockbox business,” says Scott Fisher, founder and CEO of SentriLock, a wholly owned NAR subsidiary.

Read more

Florida Legislature: Vacation Rental Fight Revs Up Again

How – and who – should oversee Fla. vacation rentals? The Florida Legislature has debated the topic for years, and it’s still a high priority issue for Florida Realtors. This year’s version would make Airbnb collect taxes, remit them to the state, ensure proper licensing and more. 

Read more

Fla.’s Housing Market Wraps Up 2020 Strong Despite COVID-19

Florida Realtors’ latest data: Single-family home sales in 2020 up 5.8% year-over-year, median price at $290K up 9.6%. Condo-townhouse sales up 2.5%, median price at $215K, up 12% from 2019. Chief Economist O’Connor: “Sales of Florida homes in the 4Q were very strong.”

Read more

Study: Does Affordable Housing Lower Nearby Home Values?

Redfin economists analyzed 220K sales in 26 metros over a 13-year period. In most suburbs (18 of the 26) they found no appreciable price difference after affordable housing was built – and in four metros, local prices actually rose higher. But it also lowered prices in four metros.

Read more

Report: Fla. Home Insurance in a ‘Spiral Towards Collapse’

According to a new study, “runaway litigation costs” threaten Fla. insurance market stability. In 2016, Fla. property insurers faced 27K lawsuits; in the first 10 months of 2020, it rose to 60K. An average $800 in each Fla. property insurance premium pays for litigation costs.

Read more

Emotional Support Animals: What You Can and Can’t Do

Even discussions about emotional support animals get emotional, but one thing remains true: No-pet rules don’t matter for legitimate emotional-support animal claims. But Fla. owners now have more ways to deal with people who stretch the truth about a pet’s emotional-support status.

Read more

NAR’s Clear Cooperation Policy Wins First Court Case

A federal judge dismissed the case, saying NAR’s Clear Cooperation Policy, which limits pocket listings, isn’t an antitrust issue. PLS.com, a pocket-listing service, alleges that NAR designed a stricter pocket-listing policy to damage its business model and discourage listings.

Read more

Real Estate Trends: Housing Supply, Affordability Key in 2021

At Wed.’s 2021 Florida Real Estate Trends, NAHB Economist Dr. Robert Dietz called 2020 “a surprise year for growth,” and he along with other presenters generally agreed that the strong market will continue into spring, held back only by the need for more newly built homes.

Read more

Come on Down! Fla. Attracts Retirees and Many More

Florida Realtors economist: Marketing to out-of-staters and wondering which demographic group to target? The most-cited reason for moving to Florida is retirement (39%), but many others come for the jobs (23%), the lifestyle (21%) and family (17%).

Read more

CDC Extends Eviction, Foreclosure Ban to March 31

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially moved the ban on foreclosures and evictions to March 31. However, further extensions could be considered by lawmakers in a new pandemic stimulus bill being negotiated by Pres. Biden and Congress.

Read more

How Would the Proposed $15K First-Time Buyer Tax Credit Work?

Pres. Biden campaigned on a new $15K credit to help first-time buyers. It doesn’t exist yet, but lawmakers will probably consider it eventually. If passed, it would likely work like the credit from 2008-2010, with a heavy spike in demand followed by a drop-off after the program ends.

Read more

Citizens Rate Recommendation: Charge New Owners Full Price

The Fla.-owned property insurer’s board approved an average 7.2% rate increase – but it also wants to charge new policyholders a full actuarial rate. It’s unclear if Fla. officials will approve Citizens’ proposal, but any new-policyholder increase could affect some property sales.

Read more

Jan. Consumer Confidence Rises Thanks to Future Optimism

Americans think current conditions aren’t great – but they’ll get better. The overall index rose more than 2 points but a future expectations index rose 5.5 points. It also had positive housing news, suggesting “the pace of home sales should remain robust in early 2021.”

Read more

What Does Democratic Control Mean for Homeowners and Buyers?

Pres. Biden considered homeownership an important issue during his campaign and has already instituted some changes. Congress will likely focus on housing-related pandemic aid first and, once the disease fades, turn to other issues, such as a proposed $15K new-buyer tax credit.

Read more

Fla.’s Housing Market: Strong Gains in Dec. Despite Pandemic

Florida Realtors Dec. data: More closed sales (single-family sales up 21%, condo-townhouse sales up 27.7%), more new pending sales, higher median prices and more new listings year-over-year. Chief Economist O’Connor: Higher pending sales “strongly signal” higher closed sales in 2021.

Read more

What Top Stories Do RE Agents Expect in 2021?

According to top agents, 2021 stories will relate in some way to the pandemic, with the tight inventory of homes topping their list. Also: How will vaccinated sellers react? Will a lot decide to list their home this year after months of waiting? And how many homes will go into foreclosure?

Read more

Fla. Grapples With Property Insurance Woes

“I have not seen any evidence that the trends we are seeing now are going to reverse,” Fla. Insurance Commission Altmaier says, referring to double-digit homeowners policy rate increases and a greater number of policies in Citizens, the state-owned “insurer of last resort.”

Read more

Biden Plan: Longer Eviction Ban, More Money for Landlords

If Congress passes the president-elect’s COVID-19 stimulus, the eviction moratorium will be extended to Sept. 30, but there will be an additional $25B to help landlords offset the cost of non-paying tenants – a total of $50B when combined with money in the latest stimulus package.

Read more

Environmentalists’ Lawsuit Challenges Fla. Permitting Change

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shifted development approval for sites that include wetlands to the State of Florida, and developers praised the change, saying it cuts down lots of red tape. However, environmental groups have filed a lawsuit challenging EPA’s decision.

Read more

Will the End of Forbearance Create a Rush of Foreclosures?

At this point, lenders don’t know. Thanks to easy application terms, they’re not sure how many homeowners are at risk and how many took forbearance “just in case.” On Jan. 3, about 1 in 20 mortgage holders (5.5%) were in a forbearance program, according to mortgage bankers.

Read more

Fla. Senate Discusses Climate Change Issues

Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, filed a proposal to establish an Office of Resiliency that operates under Gov. Ron DeSantis, and a nine-member Sea-Level Rise Task Force to create baseline projections on expected sea-level rise and its flooding impact on Fla.’s coastlines.

Read more

DeSantis Provides Details on Fed’s Rental Assistance Program

Cities and counties with populations of 200K-plus will distribute their rental-assistance money to landlords and renters (about $550M), and Fla. will distribute the funds in all other areas (about $850M). The dollar amounts are estimates, and DeSantis expects funding “in the coming weeks.”

Read more

When Will That $25B Get to Renters and Landlords?

It will probably take several more weeks for newly approved rental assistance to trickle down and cover tenants’ past-due rents. Fla. will likely receive about $1.4B. It’s not enough, but it should cover the past-due rent balances ($6,000 each) for more than 200K Fla. households.

Read more

More Small-Business PPP Loans Are on the Way

SBA and the Treasury Dept. are preparing to revive the PPP loan program. Businesses that already received a loan last year will be able to borrow up to $2 million soon if they have no more than 300 employees and suffered at least a 25% drop in quarterly revenue.

Read more

Fla. House, Senate Unveil COVID-19 Business Protections

The bills could be amended, but if passed and signed into law by Gov. DeSantis, they would provide Fla. businesses, schools and churches some protection from COVID-19 related lawsuits alleging damages, injuries or deaths – a concept supported by Florida Realtors.

Read more

Housing Discrimination Survey: How Prevalent Is It?

More than 15% of U.S. consumers have personally experienced housing discrimination in rentals or purchases, according to a Homes.com survey. And 30% know little about six main federal programs, such as Sec. 8 housing vouchers, FHA loans and civil rights protections.

Read more

Fla. Consumer Confidence Rises but Rough Year Expected

Floridians expect good things for their personal finances one year from now and the U.S. economy over five years, but they’re pessimistic about 2021’s prospects. Record-high attitudes tanked when the pandemic hit but have been slowly moving higher since then.

Read more

2021 Resolution: Cut Risk – 15 Steps to Resolve Legal Issues

Many legal troubles start with phrases like “I didn’t realize that …” or “I didn’t read that part of the document.” To lower risk and avoid trouble, ask questions, read contracts, do research, take notes, record with cellphone photos and take an extra day to think about things.

Read more

Dear Anne: Why Would I Ever Work with Non-Realtors?

Realtors pay dues. They adhere to a Code of Ethics. They work together under local MLS rules. But you said in last month’s column that I must work with real estate licensees who aren’t part of the Realtor organization. Why in the world would I willingly do that?

Read more

Legal Hotline: The Questions Asked Over and Over Again

Print this. Stick it on the fridge. Read it weekly. Realtors often forget or ignore certain issues unless there’s a problem, and then they call Florida Realtors Legal Hotline. While attorneys are here to help, they spend a lot of time explaining these seven oft-asked questions.

Read more

What Real Estate Has to Be Grateful For in 2020

It’s hard to look at 2020 in a positive light, but the real estate industry was uniquely and unexpectedly a beacon of hope for a nation battered by the COVID-19 virus. Home sales boomed, mortgage rates repeatedly hit record lows and rising values bolstered homeowners’ equity.

Read more

New Stimulus Bill Includes Money for Rent Assistance

A complex pandemic stimulus bill compromise appears to offer relief for landlords even as Congress extends a rental ban to Jan. 1, 2021. It also bolsters Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans ($284B more) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grants ($20B more).

Read more

The Open House Is Down but Not Out

Most experts predict a return of open houses in 2021 – but even in a pandemic, the open house could be sellers’ safest option for showing the home to multiple buyers.

Read more

Fla. Has Greater Authority Over Wetland Development

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency granted Fla.’s request for greater authority over development of the state’s wetlands. Supporters say it should streamline permitting if property owners want to develop wetlands, but environmentalists oppose the change.

Read more

Worries Could Put Citizens Insurance Rate Filing on Hold

The Fla.-owned insurer’s proposed rates weren’t discussed yesterday and will now be considered Jan. 26 after critics said proposed increases weren’t high enough. Citizens is no longer the insurer of last resort, it’s “the insurer of first resort and growing rapidly,” says Chairman Carlos Beruff.

Read more