Рубрика: English articles about real estate

Average 30-Year Mortgage Rate Drops to 3.57%

MCLEAN, Va. – All mortgage rate averages declined this week, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage dropping 8 basis points to 3.57%. Last week the FRM was 3.65%.

“Despite the economic slowdown due to weakening manufacturing and corporate investment, the consumer side of the economy remains on solid ground,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

“The fifty-year low in the unemployment rate combined with low mortgage rates has led to increased homebuyer demand this year,” Khater says. “Much of this strength is coming from entry-level buyers – the first-time homebuyer share of the loans Freddie Mac purchased in 2019 is forty-six percent, a two-decade high.”

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.57% with an average 0.6 point for the week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.90 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.05 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.14 percent. A year ago, it was 4.29 percent.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.35 percent with an average 0.3 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.38 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 4.07 percent.

Original

Отчет ФБР: за 2018 год обнаружено 11 800 случаев Интернет-мошенничества в сфере недвижимости

FBI report: 11,800 internet real estate scams in 2018

WASHINGTON – May 8, 2019 – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Complaint Center (IC3) released its annual report on internet crimes. It found a total of 351,936 complaints of internet crime were submitted in 2018, resulting in monetary losses exceeding $2.7 billion.

Of those crimes, 11,300 victims were taken in by real estate-related scams, for a total loss of $150 million, according to Inman News. Year-to-year, the number of victims increased by 17 percent (9,645 real estate fraud victims in 2017) and the amount of dollars lost in real estate scams increased by 168 percent ($56 million in 2017). Read More

Дом во Флориде. Лучший день для листинга? В зависимости от того, где вы живете

Top day to list a Fla. home? Depends where you live

ORLANDO, Fla. – March 14, 2019 – Realtor.com analyzed listings on its website with an eye toward the best day of the year to put a home on the market. The ideal day? April 1.

That’s close to ideal for Jacksonville – one of four Florida metro areas included in the analysis – but less so for other areas. According to Realtor.com, the best time to list a home in Jacksonville this year is March 31.

The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metro area’s high-point for listing a home is less than two weeks later, April 14, 2019, but the peak time to put a house up for sale in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater doesn’t occur until early summer, June 9, 2019. And the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach doesn’t follow the spring selling season pattern at all. Realtor.com says the top day to list a home in South Florida is Aug. 4, 2019.

«June is often considered the peak of home buying season, but our analysis found the first week of April is best for sellers looking to maximize list price, and also reduce the risk of price cuts and competition from other sellers,» says Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com. «Given the time it takes from listing to close, putting a home on the market in early April positions sellers to attract buyers seeking to close and move before the beginning of school year.»

The analysis is based on trends in median listing prices, views per property on realtor.com, home price drops, median days on market, and number of listings on the market over the last three years.

Why the first week of April?

The market is bustling with buyers, but the number of homes hasn’t peaked yet, according to the analysis. Homes listed the first week of April see 14 percent more views, on average, and 5 percent less competition compared to the rest of the year’s weekly average. As a result, homes are likely to sell 6 days (about 9 percent) faster on average.

Although the typical June listing is 7 percent more expensive than the best week to list, waiting until June could mean a higher likelihood of a price reduction as buyers bow out toward the end of summer.

In addition to more views, homes listed at the beginning of April are approximately 1 percent less likely to take a price cut, on average, compared to the rest of the year. On the flip side, homes listed in June are 1 percent more likely to have their price reduced and see nearly 2 percent fewer listing views than other times of the year, on average.

Another factor likely to boost April buyer demand this year is the surprising decline in mortgage rates that started in November 2018. Rates are now below 4.5 percent vs. nearly 5.0 percent in November 2018. These lower rates could entice demand earlier than usual.

© 2019 Florida Realtors®

Ассоциация риэлторов хочет открытия сельских кредитных программ

NAR asks president to reopen rural loan program

WASHINGTON – Jan. 18, 2019 – The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) has asked the Trump administration to jump-start the Rural Housing Loan Program, which has been unable to process mortgage applications since the partial federal government shutdown began nearly a month ago.

After learning that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USAD) – which operates the loan program through the Rural Housing Service – decided to temporarily recall employees of the Farm Service Agency to provide certain services to farmers and ranchers, NAR asked federal officials to also assign staff to process stalled loan applications during the shutdown.

«What we’re trying to do is piggyback on a policy that the USDA is implementing to get farm loans processed within a short time frame,» says Megan Booth, NAR director of housing policy. «We’re asking them to supplement that by adding a home loan specialist to review Rural Housing Service loans that are already in the pipeline. Longer term, we’re asking them to keep some staff on board reviewing home loans during the shutdown.»

The Rural Housing Loan Program helps people in rural areas with limited incomes who can’t qualify for traditional mortgages. The program guarantees that participating private-sector lenders will be repaid if borrowers default, providing an incentive for lenders to make loans. In some rural markets, Rural Housing Service (RHS)-backed loans are the only affordable mortgages available.

Unlike the mortgage programs run by the Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs, which permit private-sector lenders to sign off on mortgage applications, the Rural Housing Loan Program does not allow lenders to close loans without approval from Rural Housing Service staff. Congress has authorized the Department of Agriculture to delegate that responsibility to lenders, but the agency has not yet done so.

Source: Realtor Magazine. Writers Sam Silverstein and Robert Freedman contributed to this article.

© 2019 Florida Realtors®

Original — https://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=1&id=376047

Недвижимость — вторая целевая аудитория для мошенников

Real estate: The second-most targeted industry for scammers

CHICAGO – Dec. 12, 2018 – More and more phishing scams are targeting real estate professionals and their clients, attempting to dupe them out of money. New and unique types of cyber scams appear every day as tech-savvy criminals invent new ways to separate victims from their money.

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) issued an all-member alert on Sunday warning members of the latest email phishing attempt targeting the industry. The email appeared to be under the Realtor Party banner and solicited members to help «Support Diana» with a financial donation through a GoFundMe page. NAR says it will never solicit donations for personal or individual charities. Read More

Недвижимость в США. Большинство людей в США считают, что это кризис доступности жилья

Most people think there’s a housing affordability crisis

WASHINGTON – Dec. 5, 2018 – Nearly three out of four American households believe that the nation is suffering a housing affordability crisis, and a majority of respondents say it’s a problem at their local and state level as well, according to a new survey conducted on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

«These poll results confirm what builders from across the nation have been warning about – that housing affordability is an increasingly serious problem in communities across America,» says NAHB Chairman Randy Noel. «A mix of regulatory barriers, ill-considered public policy and challenging market conditions is driving up costs and making it increasingly difficult for builders to produce homes that are affordable to low- and moderate-income families.» Read More

Рынок Средней Флориды продолжает расти. За год в среднем на 8,5%

Fla.’s housing market: More sales, median prices up in Oct.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Nov. 21, 2018 – Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, rising median prices and more new listings in October compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 22,272 last month, up 8.5 percent compared to October 2017.

«Florida’s housing market showed a rise in new listings in October, which is a good sign for potential homebuyers,» says 2018 Florida Realtors President Christine Hansen, broker-owner with Century 21 Hansen Realty in Fort Lauderdale. «New listings for existing single-family homes rose 9.5 percent compared to a year ago and new listings for condo-townhouse properties increased 7.9 percent from last October. Read More

Недвижимость в США. Когда ждать следующий кризис?

Economy likely to cool – but how much?

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Nov. 29, 2018 – The economy is firing on all cylinders now, but executives and economists expect a slowdown in 2019 and 2020.

The big question: When will the next recession hit? Many economists see a cooling but no contraction on the horizon, while a few predict a recession in 2020.

After a decade of slow-but-steady expansion, U.S. economic growth finally topped 3 percent in 2018, and national unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in decades. In Palm Beach County, the unemployment rate plunged to 3.1 percent in September, an all-time low.

Michael Neal, chief executive of Kast Construction of West Palm Beach, said his company’s revenue soared from $30 million in 2011 to $550 million in 2017. While Neal doesn’t anticipate a crash, he does expect economic growth to plateau over the next year. Read More

Во Флориде уже ждут снижения цен на недвижимость

Some millennials may be gambling on falling home prices

TAMPA, Fla. – Nov. 14, 2018 – Millennials in the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg region appear increasingly willing to wait until the housing market cools down before purchasing their first home.

Surveys show millennials want to own a home – about the same percentage as baby boomers and GenXers – but like most generations of first-time buyers, they’re price sensitive and wary of market whims.

Nearly 80 percent of millennials who own homes think it’s a good time to sell, a recent survey from ValueInsured found – but only 38 percent of would-be purchasers in that age group think it’s a good time to buy, an 8 percentage point drop from a year ago. That wide gap in buyer-seller attitudes could result in more starter homes on the market but with fewer buyers willing to pay current prices. Read More

NAR buyer/seller study: Women a force, first-timers struggle

WASHINGTON – Oct. 29, 2018 – Single female buyers continue to be a powerful force in the market, while low inventory, rising interest rates and increasing home prices hold back first-time buyers despite their high interest in buying a home.

The just-released National Association of Realtors®‘ (NAR) 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers also identifies numerous current consumer and housing trends. Those include mounting student debt balances; the impact of pets on home buying decisions; increases in downpayments for all buyers; the rising age of repeat buyers; and an all-time low in for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) transactions.

«With the lower end of the housing market – smaller, moderately priced homes – seeing the worst of the inventory shortage, first-time home buyers who want to enter the market are having difficulty finding a home they can afford,» says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. «Homes were selling in a median of three weeks and multiple offers were a common occurrence, further pushing up home prices. These factors contributed to the low number of first-time buyers and the struggles of would-be buyers dreaming of joining the ranks of homeownership.»

Here are some additional key trends of buyers and sellers detailed in this year’s 150-page report.

Single female buyers continue to be a strong market force
For the second year in a row, single female buyers accounted for 18 percent of all buyers. The group was the second most common household buyer type behind married couples (63 percent). Single male buyers came in third and accounted for half the number of buyers as their female counterparts (9 percent). However, single males tended to purchase more expensive homes, with a median price of $215,000, compared to single females with a median price of $189,000 – the lowest of all household buyer types.

Share of first-time buyers continues to fall
The share of first-time home buyers continued a three-year decline, falling to 33 percent (34 percent last year). This number has not been 40 percent or higher since the first-time homebuyers tax credit ended in 2010.

«Low inventory, rising interest rates and student loan debt are all factors contributing to the suppression of first-time home buyers,» says Yun. «However, existing home sales data shows inventory has been rising slowly on a year-over-year basis in recent months, which may encourage more would-be buyers who were previously convinced they could not find a home to enter the market.»

Buyers to rely on agents and the internet to find a home
For the third year in a row, 95 percent of buyers used the internet at some point during their home search process, and 50 percent said that they found the home they eventually purchased online. Eighty-six percent of buyers used a real estate agent in their home search, and repeat buyers were more likely to use an agent than first-timers (87 percent to 86 percent).

Overall, 87 percent of buyers ended up purchasing their home through a real estate agent (the same as 2017). Finding the right home and negotiating terms of the sale were the top factors buyers desired from their agent. Ninety percent of respondents said they would definitely or probably use their agent again or recommend them to someone else.

«With inventory so low, buyers are relying on their agent’s knowledge of markets and neighborhoods to find listings, rather than relying only on online searches,» says NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall. «A Realtor has years of experience, generating insight and expertise that can help buyers navigate a tight market where buyers are forced to move fast and make competitive bids in order to get their dream home.»

Student loan debt still an issue
Once again, student loan debt stands out as one challenge keeping would-be buyers out of the market. Among the 13 percent of buyers who said saving for a downpayment was the most difficult part of the buying process, 50 percent reported that student loan debt had inhibited their ability to save for a home purchase or downpayment. Twenty-four percent of all buyers indicated that they have student loan debt, at a median of $28,000, and 40 percent of first-time buyers indicated that they have student loan debt at a median of $30,000.

«Even with a thriving economy and an abundance of job opportunities in many markets, monthly student loan payments coupled with sky-high rents and rising home prices make it exceedingly difficult for potential buyers to put aside savings for a downpayment,» says Yun.

Downpayments are higher for all buyers
Overall, buyers paid a median 13 percent downpayment, up from 10 percent last year and the highest since 2005. First-time buyers paid a median 7 percent downpayment, up from 5 percent last year and the highest since 1997 (9 percent), while repeat buyers paid a median 16 percent, up from last year’s 14 percent and the highest since 2010.

A majority of buyers ranked their personal savings as the primary source of their downpayment (58 percent). Repeat buyers were most likely to use the proceeds from the sale of the previous primary residence (56 percent), while first-time buyers were the most likely to use a gift from a friend or relative (24 percent).

Nearly all buyers choose a single-family home
A majority of buyers continue to choose a detached, single-family home (82 percent) as opposed to a townhouse or row house (8 percent) or a condo/duplex/apartment unit (4 percent).

Median age of repeat buyers skyrockets but stays flat for first-time buyers
For the third straight year, the median age of first-time homebuyers was 32 years old. A majority of first-time buyers were married couples (54 percent), followed by single females (18 percent). Their median income was the same as last year’s at $75,000, and they spent a median of $203,700 on a home. These buyers were more likely to purchase smaller homes than repeat buyers, with a median size of 1600 square feet.

The age of repeat buyers increased to an all-time high of 55 years old (up from 54 last year). Most were married couples (57 percent), followed by single females (18 percent). Their median income increased from $97,500 last year to $100,000 and they spent a median of $280,000 on a home. The median home size remained the same as last year: 2000 square feet.

Pets influence many buying decisions
Fifteen percent of all buyers said that convenience to vets and/or outdoor space for their pet was a critical factor in determining where they wanted to purchase their home. That number rises to 20 percent – one-fifth of buyers – for unmarried couples.

«NAR conducted a survey on the important role pets play in our home buying decisions and the unique considerations that pet owners face,» says Mendenhall. «Realtors understand that when someone buys a home, they are buying it with the needs of their whole family in mind. And any pet owner will tell you that their animals are an important and beloved part of their family.»

Downsizing isn’t a trend
Only 9 percent of buyers listed downsizing as a factor in their decision to move. In fact, 73 percent of buyers purchased a home that was either larger or similar in size to what they previously owned.

«Homeowners that may be looking to downsize tend to be competing for the same homes as first-time buyers, and we are experiencing a scarcity of inventory in those smaller-sized, moderately priced homes,» says Yun. «These buyers, not finding the smaller home they are looking for, may decide to purchase an equivalently sized home or simply stay put in their current home.»

FSBO’s at record low
For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) sales accounted for 7 percent of all sales – the lowest number recorded in this survey’s history.

This number has been steadily declining since a high of 15 percent in 1981, with more and more owners relying on the expertise of an agent to help navigate the complicated process and intricacies of a home sale.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®

Недвижимость в США: Устойчивое снижение темпов продажи новостроек

New-home sales slump – 4th straight month

WASHINGTON (AP) – Oct. 24, 2018 – Sales of new U.S. homes plunged 5.5 percent in September, the fourth straight monthly drop as the housing market cools with mortgage rates rising.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that newly built homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 553,000 last month. New-home sales in August were downwardly revised, erasing the previously reported gain. The annual rate of home sales has dropped 15.3 percent since May, eliminating much of the strength in sales from the first five months of 2018.

Builders had assumed that a stronger economy would push up sales, yet a greater share of new construction is going unpurchased. There is a 7.1 months’ supply of new homes on the market, the highest level since March 2011 when the real estate bust caused by subprime mortgages was still weighing on the economy.

Housing has found itself in a downturn in recent months despite the unemployment rate falling to a nearly half-century low of 3.7 percent.

The National Association of Realtors® said last week that existing-home sales – the largest share of the market – had plummeted 3.4 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million.

The major culprit for the decline in homebuying appears to be higher borrowing costs.

Average 30-year mortgage rates have climbed to 4.85 percent from 3.88 percent a year ago, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. Increasing interest rates can make homeowners less likely to upgrade to a new property if it requires them to spend more each month on repaying a home loan.

The new-home sales report is volatile on a monthly basis. But the declines in September were sharpest in the Northeast and West, the two most expensive housing markets. New-home sales slipped in the South and increased in the Midwest.

The average sales price has slumped 0.6 percent from a year ago to $377,200.

AP Logo Copyright 2018 The Associated Press, Josh Boak. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

Когда ждать снижения цен на недвижимость в США?

Buying a home? You may have leverage soon

NEW YORK – Oct. 23, 2018 – Keith and Kylie Beukema were bracing for a yearlong slog as they started hunting for a larger home in the Denver area, one of the hottest housing markets in the country the past few years.

Instead, it recently took them just two weeks to snag their four-bedroom dream house with mountain views in Thornton, paying $490,000 – $10,000 below asking price – after visiting just three other homes.

«I was nervous (the seller) would laugh us off,» said Kylie, a 29-year-old physician. «We figured we’d get into bidding wars» and almost certainly have to pay above list price.

Denver epitomizes the slowdown taking hold this year in the nation’s housing market as mortgage rates climb, home prices rise and the new tax law limits the benefits of ownership. Those hindrances are adding to a longer-standing obstacle to sales – low home supplies – and making the housing market across most of the country more favorable for buyers – if they can afford the added costs.

«Definitely, there is a shift in the market,» said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). «Buyer activity appears to be softening … Buyers have more chances.»

While housing is still largely a seller’s market, it’s becoming less so, and the playing field should be roughly balanced between buyers and sellers by the middle of next year, said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist of research firm Veritas Urbis Economics.

«I think we are entering a (return) to normalcy,» McLaughlin said.

Home sales slip

Nationally, existing home sales were down 2.1 percent through the first nine months of the year compared with the same period in 2017. The prior three years, annual gains for home sales totaled 6.3 percent, 3.8 percent and 2.7 percent, according to NAR. The Realtors group on Friday reported a 3.4percent sales drop in September from the previous month to the lowest level since November 2015, though Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas contributed to the weak showing.

Prices for homes are still rising in general, although more slowly. In September the median price was up 4.2 percent from a year earlier to $258,100, but that marked a pullback from gains of 5.1 percent and 5.7 percent in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Next year, NAR’s Yun expects flat sales and price increases of just 2 to 3 percent.

Of course, housing’s health varies by location. Generally, expensive Western markets such as Denver, San Francisco and Seattle had been posting double-digit yearly price gains that have slowed. More affordable areas such as Indianapolis and Grand Rapids, Michigan, are still seeing price increases accelerate. And reasonably priced Southern markets such as Atlanta remain hot, said Daryl Fairweather, chief economist of real estate brokerage Redfin.

But even the still-vibrant markets could cool by late next year as housing costs continue to mount, said McLaughlin of Veritas Urbis Economics.

Last year, economists blamed softer sales gains on skimpy inventories that limited the pickings and drove up prices, discouraging some buyers. And the nation’s 4.4-month supply of homes in September – the time it would take to exhaust the stockpile assuming no units were added – was still below a normal six months or so. While low, that was up from 4.2 months a year ago, marking just the second annual increase since 2015, according to NAR.

That’s largely because builders have responded to the shortages and put up more houses, mostly higher-priced units that can offset sharply rising labor and material costs.

Homes linger longer on market

In Denver, housing inventory is up 16.1 percent from a year ago, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors. Yet just 3,983 homes were sold last month, down from 4,994 a year earlier. The median sale price is off 5.9 percent from its April peak of $455,000. And single-family homes were on the market an average 27 days, up from 19 days in June.

Lisa Huntington-Kinn, a broker with Your Castle Real Estate in Denver, said the market started to sputter in July. Before, houses often drew dozens of bids and routinely sold for above asking price. Now, she said about 30 percent of sellers have had to reduce their list price.

As costs ratcheted higher, «a lot of buyers dropped out,» she said.

Until summer, broker Van Lewis of RE/MAX Alliance in Aurora, Colorado, was having his best year ever. Since then, he said, monthly sales have fallen 50 percent. He partly blames an influx of apartment buildings that are offering significant concessions, making renting more attractive than buying for many millennials.

Although the tech-driven Denver economy is still robust, and wages are rising, «the spread between income and (purchase) costs became too much,» he said.

The thinning pool of buyers gave more leverage to the Beukemas, who wanted to move up from their smaller townhouse because they plan to start a family soon. Besides dropping the asking price, the seller also agreed to make the deal contingent on the Beukemas selling their townhouse by December – an allowance almost never granted during the go-go days.

On the other side of the ledger is Holly Steele, 65. She eventually sold her Aurora townhouse in late September, but it took nearly three months instead of the two weeks she expected. And she had to drop the price three times, from $295,000 to $276,500.

«It was getting a little stressful because I wanted to make my move» to Rapid City, South Dakota, before snow season, she said.

Rates rise, first-time buyers dip

Nationally, rising mortgage rates are playing a bigger role and compounding the effect of U.S. home prices that are up more than 50 percent since their 2012 bottom.

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.85 percent for the week ending Oct.18, according to Freddie Mac, up from 3.88 percent a year ago. That bumps up the monthly payment on a typical $210,000 mortgage by about $125.

The higher rates are «making many people scared,» from first-time homebuyers to trade-up buyers seeking more expensive homes, Yun said.

The new tax law is also chilling some sales. It caps the deduction for property and state and local income taxes at $10,000. And it limits the mortgage interest deduction at home values up to $750,000, down from $1 million. The changes are tempering sales in states with more high-end houses, such as California, Connecticut, Illinois and New York, Yun said.

Meanwhile, pent-up demand from first-time homebuyers – who have driven the market the past couple of years – may be starting to peter out, said Aaron Terrazas, chief economist of Zillow, a real estate research firm.

The slowdown could mean housing will provide less support for the economy. Builders might put up fewer homes, fearing weaker economic growth and reduced home sales in coming years, Terrazas said. Single-family housing starts are down 1.7 percent so far this year. But he said the downshift will be nothing like the housing crash of the late 2000s, which toppled the economy into recession.

«This is not 2008,» he said.

Copyright 2018, USATODAY.com, USA TODAY, Paul Davidson

Florida’s 2018 profile of international real estate activity

ORLANDO, Fla. – Oct. 22, 2018 – Florida Realtors® has released its latest report on the state’s foreign buyer and seller transactions, the 2018 Profile of International Residential Real Estate Activity. The one year-report – from August 2017 through July 2018 – found a small slowdown in international activity within the state, due mainly to a tight home inventory and rising property values.

In many areas, foreign buyers compete with U.S. buyers for the same properties, and solid U.S. employment growth boosted the domestic competition. In addition, mortgage rates remain relatively low compared to historic values, and the large supply of buyers, both foreign and domestic, had to compete for a relatively small number of homes for sale.

A stronger U.S. dollar also made Florida homes more expensive for foreign buyers from selected countries, notably Venezuela and Brazil. When asked about challenges faced by their international clients, Realtors surveyed said top objections included «Cost of property,» «could not find property,» and «exchange rate.»

South Florida remains the preferred location for international business. While foreign buyers purchased property across the state, most foreign buyers were concentrated in five metropolitan areas:

  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach (54 percent)
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (9 percent)
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (9 percent)
  • North Point-Sarasota-Bradenton (5 percent)
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers (5 percent)

Size of Florida’s international market, 2017-2018

  • Foreign buyers purchased $22.9 billion of Florida’s existing detached single-family, townhomes and condominiums – a five percent year-to-year decline from $24.2 billion.
  • In dollar value, foreign buyers made up 19 percent of the market (21 percent in 2017).
  • In number of sales, foreign buyers purchased 52,000 of Florida’s existing homes – a 15 percent year-to-year decrease (61,300 one year earlier)
  • As a percentage of all sales, foreign buyers made up 13 percent in the latest report – 15 percent in the year before.
  • Average cost of foreign-purchased home: $286,500 compared to $259,400 in 2017, or about a 10 percent increase.
  • Overall, foreign buyers paid about 20 percent more that the median price of a Florida home.

Characteristics of Florida’s foreign buyers

  • 68 percent primarily reside in another country; the rest are recent immigrants (less than two years in the U.S.) or visa holders.
  • Latin American and Caribbean buyers accounted for 36 percent of Florida foreign buyers, followed by Canadians (22 percent), Europeans (19 percent) and Asians (11 percent).
  • Most foreign buyers – 67 percent – made an all-cash purchase (72 percent in 2017).
  • 71 percent purchased residential property for vacation, residential rental or both (68 percent in 2017).
  • Slightly more than half of foreign buyers preferred townhouses or condominium (53 percent), while 43 percent purchased a detached single-family home, 3 percent purchased residential land and another 3 percent purchased other types of properties.
  • Nearly half of foreign buyers purchased in a suburban or small town/rural area.
  • 93 percent visited Florida at least once before purchasing a property.

International clients role in Realtors’ businesses

  • In 2018, 41 percent of Florida’s Realtors worked with an international client; in 2017, however, 44 percent did.
  • In 2018, 23 percent of Realtors reported an increase in their international business; in 2017, it was 26 percent.
  • Only 30 percent of Florida’s Realtors reported an increase in their business that is international in the past five years (33 percent in 2017).
  • Only 34 percent expect an increase in their international transactions in the next 12 months – it was 37 percent in 2017.
  • 35 percent of respondents said that their client found Florida’s home prices less expensive than the prices in their home country– a decrease from 41 percent in 2017.
  • 68 of foreign clients were referrals for a Realtor – personal or business contacts or former clients.
  • 60 percent of Realtors reported no significant issues working with international clients.
  • Of the Realtors surveyed, 75 percent were born in the United States, and 34 percent were fluent in a language other than English.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®

Original

Кредиты на недвижимость поднялись до 4.65%

Mortgage rates rise again – 30-year at 4.65%

WASHINGTON (AP) – Sept. 20, 2018 – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates are up for the fourth consecutive week, with the key 30-year rate reaching its highest level since May.

Costs for would-be homebuyers continue to climb. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages jumped to 4.65 percent, from 4.60 percent last week. The average rate has increased from 3.83 percent a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans rose to 4.11 percent this week from 4.06 percent last week.

The primary factors driving rates higher include the strong economy, trade tensions between the U.S. and other countries, and the U.S. government stepping up sales of its debt, according to Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater.

The expanded U.S. debt sales suppress Treasury bond prices and push their interest rates higher. The yield on the key 10-year Treasury note has been running above 3 percent, approaching a seven-year high. The yield jumped to 3.08 percent Wednesday, from 2.96 percent a week earlier. It held at 3.08 percent Thursday morning.

The higher mortgage rates «represent continued affordability challenges for prospective buyers – especially first-time buyers,» Khater said.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week.

The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates.

The average fee on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was unchanged from last week at 0.5 point. The fee on 15-year mortgages also remained at 0.5 point.

The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages edged down to 3.92 percent from 3.93 percent last week. The fee rose to 0.4 point from 0.3 point.

AP Logo Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Оригинал

Тампа в пятерке городов, куда хочется переехать в США!!!

Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville near top of ‘likely to move’ list

IRVINE, Calif. – Aug. 16, 2018 – ATTOM Data Solutions’ Q2 2018 Pre-Mover Housing Index finds that Chicago, Washington, D.C., OrlandoTampa-St. Petersburg and Atlanta posted the highest pre-mover index in the second quarter of 2018 in the larger-metro category. ATTOM says a high score is «predictive of a high percentage of homeowners moving in the third quarter.»

ATTOM’s quarterly report looks at 36 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with at least 500,000 single-family homes and condos using data collected from purchase loan applications on residential real estate transactions.

The Pre-Mover Housing Index is based on the ratio of homes with a «pre-mover» indicator compared to total single-family homes and condos in a given geography, indexed off the national average. An index above 100 is above the national average and indicates an above-average ratio of homes that will likely be sold in the next 90 days in a given market.

Among a broader set of 131 metro areas with at least 100,000 single family homes and condos, those posting the highest pre-mover index in Q2 2018 were Wilmington, N.C. (206); Colorado Springs, Colo. (178); and Manchester-Nashua, N.H. (172); followed by Chicago (168) and Washington, D.C. (166).

«A higher pre-mover index bodes well for local real estate agents, home improvement stores, moving companies and others that benefit from the halo effect of a home sale,» said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

«Meanwhile markets with a low pre-mover index likely have a scarcity of inventory available to buy or relatively weak demand from prospective buyers – or some combination of both – which is not optimal for businesses that rely on the home sale halo effect,» Blomquist adds.

ATTOM has a pre-mover heat map on its website that displays the likelihood of home sales by city.

States with the highest pre-mover index in the second quarter of 2018 – predictive of a high percentage of homeowners moving in the third quarter – were North Dakota (275), Illinois (193), Nevada (164), Virginia (163), and Colorado (147). Other states with a pre-mover index among the 10 highest in Q2 2018 were New Jersey (133), Florida (133), Delaware (130), Maryland (127), and Utah (124).

Florida cities ranked by pre-mover index ranking

  • Orlando-Kissimmee: 136
  • Jacksonville: 136
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater: 133
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven: 126
  • Ocala: 109
  • Port St. Lucie: 100
  • Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville: 95
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers: 91
  • Deltona-Dayton Beach-Ormond Beach: 90
  • Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice: 87
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach: 85
  • Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent: 65
  • Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin: 58
  • Naples-Marco Island: 53

© 2018 Florida Realtors®

 

Рынок недвижимости Флориды продолжает позитивный тренд во втором квартале 2018 года

Fla.’s housing market continues positive track in 2Q

ORLANDO, Fla. – Aug. 8, 2018 – Second-quarter 2018 saw increased sales, higher median prices and more new listings for Florida’s housing market, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Many local markets continued to report a lack of for-sale inventory, which impacts sales and puts pressure on rising median prices. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 80,711 in 2Q 2018, up 1 percent from the 2Q 2017 figure.

«During the second quarter of 2018, Florida’s economy and jobs sector continued to grow,» said 2018 Florida Realtors President Christine Hansen, broker-owner with Century 21 Hansen Realty in Fort Lauderdale. «In June, the state’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent while the U.S. unemployment rate was 4.0 percent. On another positive note, Florida’s 2Q 2018 homeownership rate was 65.1 percent.

«Despite tight inventory levels, it’s encouraging to see that new listings for single-family homes over the quarter rose 4.9 percent year-over-year, while new condo-townhouse listings rose 3.9 percent. If that trend continues, it will hopefully help ease buyer demand and slow the pace of rising prices.»

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 2Q 2018 was $256,150, up 6.7 percent from the same time a year ago, according to data from Florida Realtors Research department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for condo-townhouse properties during the quarter was $189,900, up 8.5 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

Looking at Florida’s condo-townhouse market, statewide closed sales totaled 34,376 during 2Q 2018, up 4.7 percent compared to 2Q 2017. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales – and rising traditional sales – over the three-month period: Short sales for condo-townhouse properties declined 41.4 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 45.2 percent. Meanwhile, traditional sales for condo-townhouse units rose 6.8 percent and traditional sales for single-family homes increased 4.3 percent year-over-year. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

«Through the second quarter, low inventory levels kept the number of single-family sales just barely ahead of last year’s pace, whereas a greater selection of condos and townhouses on the market allowed for a nearly 5 percent increase in sales versus last year,» said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. «Competition for existing homes remains fierce, with over half of successful single-family home sellers in the second quarter getting above 96 percent of their initial listing prices.»

He added that the median time to a contract (the midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to receive a sales contract during that time) dropped during the three-month-period.

«Half of the single-family homes that sold in the second quarter were only on the market for 35 days or less, compared to 39 days or less in the same quarter last year,» O’Connor said. «Among condo and townhouse sales, there was a similar-sized drop in this regard, from 50 to 44 days.»

Inventory was at a 3.9-months’ supply in the second quarter for single-family homes and at a 5.5-months’ supply for condo-townhouse properties, according to Florida Realtors.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.54 percent for 2Q 2018, up from the 3.99 percent recorded during the same quarter a year earlier.

To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Research & Statistics section on floridarealtors.org. Realtors also have access to local market stats (password protected on Florida Realtors’ website.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®

Цены на арендное жилье во Флориде продолжают расти

Study: Most average Fla. rents rise 3%-8% year-to-year

ORLANDO, Fla. – July 10, 2018 – A RentCafe study that looked at average rents in many Fla. cities found that Hollywood (up 9.6 percent) and Orlando (up 8.4 percent) had the greatest year-to-year increases. Out of 19 Fla. cities included in the study, only Davie saw a year-to-year decrease (down 0.3 percent).

However, the study suggests that Davie’s average rents may be turning around. The month-to-month stat finds that they increased 0.3 percent in June. On the flipside, Coral Springs, which saw a 1.9 percent yearly increase in average rents, was the only Fla. city in the study to see rental prices decrease month-to-month in June (down 0.3 percent.)

The overall average rents for the study included studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, which did not necessarily move the same amount. In Hollywood, for example, a one-bedroom apartment rose an average 7.1 percent year-to-year, while the average two-bedroom rose 10.9 percent.

Nationally, rents in the 250 largest U.S. cities rose 2.9 percent and reached an all-time high of $1,405. In Florida, average rents ranged from $1,018 in Lakeland to a high of $1,861 in Fort Lauderdale.

For a complete list of the 19 cities – average city rental prices by number of bedrooms plus month-to-month and year-to-year changes – visit RentCafe’s website. To view cities within the state, select «Florida» in the chart at the bottom of the page.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®

Original — http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=2&id=368620

Top 10 Threats to Real Estate in 2019

June 14, 2018
storm cloud near roofline

Rising interest rates and the economy are the top two current issues to watch in real estate, according to the Counselors of Real Estate’s Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate 2018-2019, a list of the biggest threats to the housing market. For the first time, CRE broke its annual list down into current and longer-term issues to watch during the industry’s next year.

Top Current Issues to Watch

1. Interest rates and the economy: As interest rates rise, commercial and residential real estate markets are seeing several changes, such as decreasing demand for commercial property and higher home mortgage rates. Rate increases are making homes less affordable and are also limiting the value appreciation for commercial real estate. “Lack of wage growth for all but the wealthiest population segment is dampening housing demand, and limiting consumer spending that the economy needs for growth,” the report notes.

2. Politics and political uncertainty: Tax reform and policies aimed at balancing trade with other countries will have an impact on jobs, incomes, and both commercial and residential property, according to the report. “Congressional action to relax certain bank lending and asset management regulations was also among developing trends that may improve access to capital,” the report notes.

3. Housing affordability: The lack of affordable homes across income brackets, excluding the most wealthy, is being fueled by low wages, rising mortgage rates, and the underproduction of housing for nearly two decades, according to the report.

4. Generational change/demographics: Four distinct generations are exerting influence on commercial and residential real estate, such as in office design, student and elder housing, amenities, and location preferences.

5. E-commerce and logistics: Volatility in the retail sector, such as from the increase of e-commerce, is leading to a growth in warehouses.

Top Longer-Term Issues

1. Infrastructure: Roads, bridges, airports, water and sewer lines, electricity, and public transit are rapidly deteriorating, the report notes. An estimated $4.5 trillion is needed to improve critical infrastructure by 2025, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. “The lack of serious effort by the U.S. to address its condition and much-needed revitalization leads the list of broader and emerging issues affecting real estate,” the report notes.

2. Disruptive technology: The report highlights advances in robotic manufacturing and warehousing; driverless cars and trucks; the extensive availability and utilization of personal and transactional data (aimed at enhancing business decisions); “smart” building technology that enables efficiency; global connectivity; automated business processes; and information protection through cybersecurity. “Nearly every aspect of real estate is undergoing dramatic change as these types of technology are adopted,” the report notes.

3. Natural disasters and climate change: The ongoing threat of natural disasters and climate change can result in high-priced property and environmental damage. This includes everything from severe storms, wildfires, and floods to earthquakes, volcanic activity, and rising sea levels.

4. Immigration: “If reduced by law, will have a negative impact on new housing starts and home purchases as well as worsen the current skilled labor shortage in the U.S.,” the report cautions.

5. Energy and water: Natural resources that are vital to property and quality of life are being threatened by environmental damage (manmade and from changing climates) as well as “entangling state and local regulations that are complicating development and lack the standardization that national regulations would provide.”

CRE additionally notes several other issues making its “watch list,” including rising construction costs; urbanization/suburbanization (with suburbs adapting citylike development and amenities); tax cuts (which may positively impact commercial properties; legislation is still developing); and societal leadership (social activism among younger Americans that is fueling business and social reform at many levels).

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Long-term mortgage rates fall – 30-year at 4.57%

WASHINGTON (AP) – June 21, 2018 – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week, marking their third decline in the past four weeks after increasing last week.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was 4.57 percent, down from 4.62 percent last week. By contrast, the 30-year rate averaged 3.90 percent a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans eased to 4.04 percent from 4.07 percent last week.

Putting the recent decline in perspective, long-term loan rates have been running at their highest levels in seven years. The average 30-year mortgage rate reached a high this year of 4.66 percent on May 24; the 15-year rate hit 4.15 percent that day. The Federal Reserve last week raised its benchmark interest rate for the second time this year and signaled that it may step up its pace of rate increases.

Over the week, worries over potential fallout from the festering U.S.-China trade dispute roiled the stock market. As investors sought safety in bonds, their prices climbed and depressed their yields. Mortgage rates often take direction from long-term bond yields. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.93 percent Wednesday from 2.97 percent a week earlier. By Thursday morning, it had dipped to 2.90 percent.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week.

The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. The average fee on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 0.5 point from 0.4 point last week.

The fee on 15-year mortgages was unchanged at 0.4 point.

The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages held steady at 3.83 percent. The fee remained at 0.3 point.

AP Logo Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Many buyers find inspiration in home-makeover programs

NEW YORK – May 23, 2018 – When Kuangchi Chang and her husband, Robert Peterson, were planning a kitchen renovation in 2015, they drew on a lot of professional help.

And we’re not talking only about the contractors who transformed the den and sun porch of their 1970s Colonial into a sleek white-and-gray cucina. Chang, a confessed HGTV fanatic, watched countless episodes of rehab shows such as «Property Brothers,» «Love it Or List It» and «Flip or Flop» to get ideas. Read More

Хорошее время — покупать дома! Прогнозы национальной ассоциации риэлторов США

NAR forecast: Home sales, prices to rise despite inventory

WASHINGTON – May 18, 2018 – A stronger economy, wage growth and an improving job market are expected to march home sales and prices higher in 2018, but low supply and weakening affordability will impact the rate of increases, according to speakers at a residential real estate forum during the 2018 Realtors® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), presented his 2018 midyear forecast and says that, despite headwinds, a moderate and multiyear increase in home sales is likely ahead. After accelerating 3.8 percent in 2016, existing home sales rose only 1.1 percent to 5.5 million in 2017 and Yun forecasts that they’ll finish 2018 at a pace of around 5.6 million (up 1.8 percent). He projects 5.7 million sales for 2019.

«Overall fundamentals remain solid, driven by a growing economy and steady job creation, which will sustain home sales in 2018 slightly above last year’s pace,» says Yun. But «the worsening housing shortage means home prices are primed to rise further this year too, hindering affordability conditions for homebuyers in markets across the country.»

The widespread shortage of homes for sale is the major factor limiting sales from being higher. While home sales have risen modestly since the start of the year, Yun says without more supply to fully satisfy demand and alleviate the upward pressure on prices, contract activity is likely to remain flat and will more or less continue sideways through the end of the year.

Total housing inventory at the end of March was 1.67 million existing homes available for sale, which is 7.2 percent lower than a year ago (1.80 million). Inventory has trended down steadily for the past five years, says Yun, and the country is now experiencing the lowest inventory levels in a generation; unsold inventory is at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.8 months a year ago.

Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com, agreed there is an acute shortage of for-sale homes, especially of affordable inventory. According to realtor.com data, there are 250,000 fewer starter homes – those priced under $200,000 – now than there was two years ago, in May 2015. Millennials, boomers and investors may all be going after the same affordable inventory of homes, so competition is great, says Hale.

«There is reason for optimism ahead though. We’re starting to see new listings grow in recent months,» Hale says. «The inventory shortage isn’t over. It took us years to get into an inventory rut, so it’s going to take us years to get out of it, but we do see signs of a turnaround.»

Home price growth, up 48 percent from 2011 to 2017 and likely to rise an additional 4 percent in 2018, is far outpacing income growth, up only 15 percent during the same timeframe. Increased home prices on top of rising mortgage rates puts affordability at a six-year low, according to NAR’s Housing Affordability Index, and will likely continue to fall in coming months.

Yun predicts that mortgage rates will rise to 4.6 percent in 2018 and 5 percent in 2019.

«Challenging affordability conditions have prevented a meaningful rise in the homeownership rate after having fallen to a 50-year low a few years ago,» says Yun. «To increase homeownership, more home construction is needed, which could be boosted by delivering regulatory relief to community banks, removing the lumber tariff, re-examining stringent zoning laws and training more workers for the construction industry.»

Jessica Lautz, NAR’s director of demographics and behavioral insights, presented findings during the forum from her thesis from Nottingham Trent University: «Is the Dream Still Alive? Tracking Homeownership Amid Changing Economic and Demographic Conditions.» According to Lautz’s doctoral work, the affordability crisis has impacted some segments of homebuyers more than others, specifically African American and Hispanic/Latino buyers and those with student debt.

Lautz says student loan debt has risen dramatically and is a massive barrier to homeownership. It’s delaying home purchases among millennials who pay their debt by a median of seven years. Her research found that consumers with student loan debt who were successful in buying, purchased a home costing 17 percent less than those without any student debt.

«The homeownership rate amongst some ethnic groups hasn’t rebounded since the recession, and the ongoing affordability crisis has hampered potential buyers under 35, especially those with student debt, from accessing mortgage credit and making home purchases,» adds Lautz.

Yun says consumer optimism that «Now is a good time to buy a home» has fallen the past two years, according to data from NAR and other industry consumer sentiment surveys.

While the lack of supply and challenging affordability conditions is chipping away at homebuyer optimism, however, Hale says buyers aren’t giving up their dreams of purchasing a home. New survey data from realtor.com found three-fourths of recent shoppers started their home search in 2017 and are still in the market in 2018.

«Buyers know it’s tough; 35 percent of shoppers anticipate a lot of competition, but they remain optimistic, and more than 70 percent expect to close in 2018,» she says.

Yun says conditions would improve measurably if homebuilders increased their production of homes, especially in the affordable price ranges. He forecasts home starts to come in around 1.3 million in 2018 and reach 1.4 million in 2019 – but that is barely above year-ago levels and well below demand.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®

Brace for another hurricane season, experts warn

WEST PALM BEACH – May 18, 2018 – Following last year’s most destructive hurricane season on record, government officials and emergency responders are imploring Floridians to be prepared should the state experience another nightmarish season marked by prolonged power outages, fuel shortages and potentially deadly storm surge.

As the start of the six-month Atlantic hurricane season looms, state and federal officials encouraged residents to stock up on supplies to sustain them for several days without electricity, have evacuation plans in place if they live in a mandatory evacuation zone and ensure their homes are properly insured in the event of flooding or severe wind damage. Officials issued the stern warning at the 32nd annual Governor’s Hurricane Conference taking place in West Palm Beach this week – the country’s largest tropical cyclone gathering attended by officials from more than 30 states and 12 foreign countries.

«By having this conference and doing what you do, you have helped this state, in particular, respond in the right manner and get back to work quickly,» Gov. Rick Scott said to hundreds of emergency workers and government officials at the conference’s general session. «Irma was very scary and it could have been devastating, but everybody worked together.»

With the conference theme of «Readiness is Everyone’s Job» in mind, meteorologists and emergency workers encouraged local government officials and the media to emphasize the need to be prepared for another potentially calamitous season.

Weather experts from Colorado State University – regarded as the nation’s top hurricane forecasters – predict another active season with 14 named tropical storms, seven of them hurricanes. A tropical storm reaches hurricane status when wind speeds top 73 mph. Of the seven predicted hurricanes, three are expected to churn into major hurricanes – Category 3, 4 or 5 – with sustained wind speeds of 111 mph or greater. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will issue its forecast for the season on May 24.

The hurricane season officially starts June 1.

The 2017 hurricane season produced 17 named storms. Of those, 10 became hurricanes, including six major hurricanes and the first two major hurricanes to hit the continental U.S. in 12 years – Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which made its first landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm before passing east of Sarasota and Bradenton on Sept. 11 as a Category 1 storm. The 2017 season was the seventh most active in history, causing more than $316 billion in damage.

National Hurricane Center meteorologists this season will continue to use storm surge watches and warnings, which were implemented for the first time last season, the center’s director Ken Graham said, adding that his team is working on creating a seven-day forecast as accurate as its current five-day forecast. Storm surge is the rapid rise of sea level as a result of atmospheric pressure changes and wind associated with a storm.

Graham credits the new watches and warnings with saving lives during the onslaught of major storms last season. There were no known fatalities from storm surge last season despite four hurricanes making landfall on U.S. shores, Graham said.

«Around 90 percent of fatalities from tropical systems is water,» Graham said. «We have to talk water.»

Storm surge, not wind, is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane. At least 1,500 people died during Hurricane Katrina in 2005; many of those deaths occurred directly or indirectly as a result of storm surge, according to NOAA.

Residents who live in a hurricane surge zone should evacuate when a storm threatens, but others quick to hit the road should think twice, said Bill Johnson, director of Palm Beach County Emergency Management.

«People mistakenly focus on the wind,» Johnson said. «Over-evacuation creates a demand on every service that we have.»

Hurricane Irma sparked the largest mass evacuation in U.S. history. More than 7 million people in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina were issued a mix of mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders as the Category 5 storm barreled toward Florida.

The evacuation inundated roads and hotels, used significant first responder resources and in some cases prevented fuel trucks from quickly reaching stations to restock the hot commodity.

In Lee County alone, nearly half of the county’s population of 701,000 evacuated. Fourteen shelters opened to accommodate 30,000 evacuees. Officials there were able to handle the large crowds, but are working on tweaking staffing levels at shelters ahead of the 2018 season, said Lee Mayfield, the county’s emergency management director.

«The biggest thing we’re going to continue working on … is right-sizing shelter staffing,» Mayfield said. «Making sure we have the right partnerships in place from the county government to our volunteer agencies (and) volunteers we sign up and train throughout the year, so making sure we have shelter staffing appropriate to the levels we saw during Irma.»

During Irma, Lee County made all shelters pet friendly. Sarasota County is following suit this year and will open all shelters simultaneously. Phased opening of shelters ahead of Irma created confusion, county officials said. Sarasota County sheltered approximately 20,000 area residents during Irma.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long is encouraging U.S. residents to properly insure their homes ahead of the 2018 season. Additionally, citizens should know skills such as CPR and how to operate a generator in the event emergency responders and federal aid are delayed, Long said.

«Insurance is the first line of defense, not FEMA,» said Long, who emphasized the importance of flood insurance.

Any house can flood, as evidenced by damage Hurricane Harvey inflicted on Houston, Long said. Roughly 80 percent of homeowners with damage from Harvey lacked flood insurance, Long said.

And governments should be prepared to feed and provide water to citizens for the first 48 to 72 hours following a natural disaster without relying on aid from FEMA, Long said.

Last year, FEMA was spread thin from responding to natural disasters. Roughly 46.9 million people were affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and wildfires in California, Long said. The agency last year nearly ran out of money responding to Harvey before Congress replenished its funds.

Copyrght © 2018 Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla., Nicole Rodriguez. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

How to tell if criminals ‘stole’ your home

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – May 18, 2018 – In light of recent arrests in what the Broward County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office is calling a fraudulent real estate ring, I want to take this opportunity to provide you with tips on how to protect yourself. With this type of fraud, authorities say homes are illegally taken without owners’ consent.

The rise of technology has made it very easy to create fraudulent documents that can be easily recorded in public records, and these documents can make it appear that your property was sold or belongs to someone else. As with most dangers, awareness and diligence are the best ways to protect yourself. Read More