It’s been a tough couple years for real estate professionals in Florida. Very tough. Like California, Florida has taken some of the biggest hits in home values and home sales. But recently, agents and brokers are reporting that things are looking much better. Not long ago, buyers were hard if not impossible to come by. And few of the buyers that were showing interest were really buying. Even those who made decisions to buy were finding that lenders weren’t being cooperative which resulted in some disappointments. Today, Florida real estate professionals have something to smile about. And in the coming weeks and months they’re going to be even happier!
In one Florida county alone (Lee County) January saw $125.1 million worth of homes sold. That’s almost as much as the $126.8 million sold there in January of 2008. This, in a market that was pronounced “practically dead” only a few short months ago.
Let’s think about this for a minute. We all know that home prices in Florida have dropped dramatically over the past 12 months. So in order for Jan ’09 sales to almost match those of Jan ’08 it’s likely that it took significantly more transactions to get there. More transactions at lower prices equals smaller commission checks. That may not sound all that fantastic but it’s what has to happen in order to help clean up the remaining mess. But you won’t hear these agents and broker complaining. They know that this is a necessary phase in the recovery. They are working hard to help reduce the existing inventory which in turn will help prices stabilize. It takes a little more work to earn a living right now but what they are doing is helping the market recover. You’ve got to respect these professionals for hanging in there through the hard times. They will see huge benefits soon.
So, things are already looking up, but they are about to get even better! The stimulus bill that will likely pass this week includes more incentives for buyers that will help them say “yes” and in turn will reduce the inventory glut. The $15,000 tax credit will be key in this process. The number of visitors to real estate websites like Zillow, Realtor.com and Trulia is way up over the last several weeks. Zillow had it’s busiest day ever just last week. Potential buyers are getting excited and they are busy making plans for a purchase.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) we’ll hear more news from the White House regarding plans to help slow the foreclosure rate and encourage lending. Less foreclosures equals fewer homes coming onto the market. Again, helping keep the inventories from growing further.
There’s a lot coming together right now – a lot of “Good News”. Let’s see what Geithner has to add tomorrow!
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About David Goldstein — David Goldstein is an Owner and Founding Partner of Express Schools, LLC. which operates online education providers Real Estate Express, Insurance License Express and License Tutor. Follow him on Twitter.