National and Local Housing News Update

The housing market continues to attract daily attention from national news outlets.  A breakdown of the major components affecting the market as a whole and in our area is included. A short and sweet (ish) report may be all that we can handle when the allure of turkey, stuffing and shopping is around the corner!

National News:

National Association of Realtors chief economist, Lawrence Yun commented that relatively flat home prices have been the hallmark of the 2010 housing market. “Even with swings in home sales, prices this year have been changing very little from year-ago readings. Areas with some larger swings in home prices reflect the degree of distressed sales in those markets”.

Construction of new homes and apartments declined in October and a recent report suggests that housing production in 2008 and 2009 fell one million units short of required figures needed in a normal functioning economy. Application for building permits rose in October 0.5 percent to an annual rate of 550,000 units, though the state of Florida has recorded a single-family deficit of 112,600 units.  National Association of Homebuilders Chairman Bob Jones commented, “pent-up demand for housing will at some point need to be worked off, pushing single-family production in a positive direction. In the meantime, the deficit continues to grow as builders remain cut off from the credit they need to begin developing and building new housing.”  The flood of foreclosures has lowered home prices and builders have found it difficult to compete.

Realty Trac Inc, a foreclosure listing company reported that banks are expected to take back more than 1 million homes this year. Major lenders temporarily suspended foreclosures as they reviewed faulty paperwork and refined internal procedures.  These delays resulted in a 9 percent decline in residential repossessions in October 2010 as compared to the previous month.

Naples News:

The autumn season has arrived in Naples and while our friends “up north” are preparing for wintery weather, many have made other plans. Judging by the increased traffic and crowded restaurants we can safely assume that visitors and snow birds have returned!  My colleagues in the rental department are very busy and popular beach front condos have been booked for weeks.  While the busiest months in Naples are typically January to March, the influx of visitors ahead of schedule has been a welcome surprise.

Figures through October 2010 indicate a total of 9,044 available homes in the Naples area. Median prices have held at $180,000, yet for properties priced above $ 300,000 the median price has climbed from $525,000 in October 2009 to $541,000 in October 2010.  For the week of November 15th, 422 residential new properties came onto the market of which 37 were priced above $1M.  A total of 492 residences have been sold thus far in the month of November with over 900 pending sales contracts. Pending sales provide an accurate gauge as to the direction of the market, given that contracts in this category are expected to close within thirty to sixty days given the current climate. “The overall pending sales trend when compared year over year shows the market is moving back up,” said John Steinwand, President of Naples Realty Services. Overall pending sales for the 12 months ending October 2010 increased 11 percent when compared to the 12 months ending October 2009. “The bank freeze on foreclosed homes has not scared buyers away, they are still buying properties,” said Steve Barker, Managing Broker of Amerivest Realty.

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