Monday, December 22, 2008
Unit 3201 Fairway Oaks Villas - $273,000 This villa is the least expensive property on Amelia Island Plantation. The unit is being sold furnished and comes with some very nice additions like granite countertops in the kitchen, bathrooms and wet bar and new tile floors.
Unit 2029 Beach Wood Villas - $329,000 If you are looking for a weekend get-a-way this villa will be of interest to you. The unit, which is being sold furnished, has recently undergone some renovations to include a remodeled kitchen, new windows, sliding glass doors and new HVAC system.
Unit 2216 Linkside Villas - $549,000 This quaint villa has a beautiful view of the golf course and lake and is spacious enough to be considered for a primary residence. Besides the view, the owner of this property will enjoy close proximity to the beach, and ammenities of the Plantation.
Unit 1744 Dunes Club Villa - $1,705,000 Wow, this upscale villa with an incredible view of the ocean is a must see. If you are in the market for a luxury home with upgrades galore then this is the place for you.
Unit 6532 Spyglass II - $2,450,000 The newest oceanfront villa complex has it all. Views of the ocean from bedrooms, living room, dining room and kitchen.
These properties are offered by co-operating brokers and I would be happy to give you a full tour of the Amelia Island Plantation. You can also view homes at www.nassaumls.net
Thanks for reading - John Holbrook - Realtor
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Brian S. Wesbury - Chief Economist
Robert Stein, CFA - Senior Economist
Many observers are pessimistic about the economy because they believe a vicious downward cycle has taken hold, where less spending leads to fewer jobs, which reduces purchasing power, leading to even more job losses. Many just can’t see how this vicious cycle will stop.
We are frequently asked; “what is the ‘catalyst’ for a recovery?” What force (external or internal) will break the downward cycle of job losses? How does it ever end?
Taking this thought process to its conclusion clearly shows that something is missing. If job losses beget less spending and more job losses, then recessions would never end. On the other hand, if job gains beget more spending and more job gains, then expansions would never end.
But, a cursory look at history shows that this can’t be true. Since 1854, the US economy has gone through 32 business cycles (recessions and recoveries). In other words, the direction of economic activity eventually changed. Many times in these past cycles, the economy started to recover well before employment turned up.
There are a number of reasons for why this is true. The first reason is that the combined decisions we make as independent members of a free society tend to generate economic growth. When people lose their jobs, it does not mean they lose their ability to be productive. It may take time for them to find a new position that matches their skill set, but as long as they have worthwhile abilities, they will eventually get another chance to produce.
In the meantime, companies can use layoffs to increase efficiency, laying the groundwork for future increases in profits and wages for their remaining workers. What that means is that a 1% loss in jobs results in a smaller than 1% loss of production. And using assets more productively frees up resources to do “new” things. We have lost millions of farming jobs over the decades and centuries, but the nation as a whole is more prosperous as a result, not less.
In addition, if a recession is partly caused by over-investment in a particular sector, two forces drive down jobs in that sector, but one is temporary. For example, home building exceeded demand, and those extra jobs were unnecessary. But, by reducing inventories of homes, employment will fall even further. Once excess inventories are worked off, the industry will be adding jobs, even if it does not ramp up to the previous peak in production.
Nonetheless, some still look for a catalyst to end the panic that started this Fall. Consumers and businesses have pulled back, basically hoarding cash, to the point of driving down the T-bill interest rate to zero. Part of this was because many people lost faith in the banking system, but the end result was a sharp decline in the velocity of money. Only once in history has something like this spread in a long-term downward spiral and that was in the Great Depression.
But, in the Depression, the real problem was that the Fed let the money supply collapse, which in turn shut down aggregate demand. This is not happening now. The Federal Reserve is making sure a persistent deflation will not take hold and is adding liquidity to the system as rapidly as it can. As a result, we expect both money growth and a turnaround in velocity to start healing in the months ahead. In fact, given the unexpected increase of 0.5% in “core” retail sales in November, this may already be happening.
In other words, the catalyst for recovery is attached to the very eyes that are looking for it. As long as human beings attempt to better themselves and improve standards of living, and as long as policy-makers don’t compound problems, the natural course of growth will return in its magical and mysterious way.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Thanks for reading the blog!
John Holbrook - Realtor 904-415-0171
John Holbrook - Realtor 904-415-0171
Friday, December 5, 2008
WASHINGTON – Dec. 5, 2008 – Rates on 30-year mortgages plunged this week to the lowest level since January after the government launched a sweeping new effort to aid the U.S. housing market.
Mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac reported Thursday that average rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 5.53 percent in the largest one-week drop in 27 years. That was down from 5.97 percent last week, and the lowest since the week of Jan. 24, when it was at 5.48 percent.
Further drops could be on the way if the government launches an industry-backed plan to lower the rate on a 30-year mortgage to 4.5 percent by spending hundreds of billions to buy mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
That would follow an effort announced last week by the Federal Reserve, which is planning to purchase up to $600 billion of mortgage-backed securities and other debt issued by Fannie and Freddie and the Federal Home Loan Banks. Those institutions don’t make loans directly to consumers, but provide money to the mortgage market by packaging loans into investments.
The Fed’s move caused rates to immediately drop by about a half-point, and many in the real estate industry hope rates will keep dropping as the government increases efforts to battle the credit crisis.
Rates “are now almost a full percentage point lower since the last week in October,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said in a statement.
Bringing mortgage rates down is positive, but it “doesn’t help people that currently have unaffordable mortgages because it doesn’t help them refinance,” Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., said Thursday. “Low interest rates help some consumers, but the ones that really need help and can’t refinance are not helped.”
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the government can take steps to improve the functioning of the mortgage market, which would allow more people to secure home loans and help stabilize the housing market. Currently, he said, “the mortgage market is dysfunctional.”
Mortgage rates are sinking as Treasury yields, some of the most sensitive barometers of investor sentiment, have dropped to record lows this week as a torrent of bad economic news continues. But as investors send yields down, they’re also influencing the economy – driving interest rates so low that savers get punished and borrowers get a break.
Treasury buying has picked up and sent yields down because the economy is in a recession that investors believe will be long and deep.
Consumers already are taking advantage of the situation. New mortgage applications more than doubled last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly survey released Wednesday. Refinance volume more than tripled, and made up nearly 70 percent of all applications.
Rates on other types of mortgages also fell, according to Freddie Mac’s survey. For 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, rates averaged 5.33 percent, down from 5.74 percent last week.
Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages dipped to 5.77 percent, compared with 5.86 percent last week. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages dropped to 5.02 percent, from 5.18 percent last week.
The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee for 30-year and 15-year mortgages averaged 0.7 point last week. The fee on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 0.6 point, while the fee on one-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 0.5 point.
A year ago, the nationwide average rate on 30-year mortgages stood at 5.96 percent, 15-year mortgage rates averaged 5.65 percent, five-year adjustable-rate mortgages were at 5.75 percent, and one-year adjustable-rate mortgages stood at 5.46 percent.
The rate on Fannie Mae 30-year mortgage-backed securities fell to about 4.25 percent Thursday, said Kevin Giddis, managing director of fixed income at Morgan Keegan. That is down from about 5.5 percent in mid-November.
Fears of a protracted recession are slamming Treasury yield, which is good for borrowers with mortgage rates tied to Treasurys, but bad for people invested in money market funds that have been buying up Treasurys for safety.
Treasury prices fell again on Thursday, sending rates to new record lows, as the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 200 points. The 10-year Treasury note yielded 2.56 percent, down from 2.67 percent late Wednesday, while the 30-year Treasury bond yielded 3.07 percent, down from 3.17 percent.
Monday, December 1, 2008
December 1, 2008 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM
A Place of Peace Festival
December 5, 2008 07:00 PM
December 6, 2008 11:00 AM
Shells of the Talbot Shores
December 7, 2008 01:00 PM
December 13, 2008 09:00 AM - 04:00 PM
Yulee Holiday Festival and Parade
Monday, November 17, 2008
That’s because homes priced at the half-million mark – and higher – are now also beginning to shrink in value. Initially, the properties hit hard by the subprime crisis were lower-priced dwellings more often than not bought by people with poor credit. But now, as too many of us are experiencing, the pain is spreading even to people with good credit and higher incomes.Until recently, sellers in wealthy neighborhoods were somewhat protected from the subprime credit crisis and were still drawing buyers with high salaries, good credit scores, and a cushion of savings. But the problems worsened after Lehman Brothers collapsed on Sept. 15 and credit markets froze, corporate giants laid off thousands of highly paid workers, and the stocks that padded the portfolios of the wealthy plummeted.And even once seemingly impervious markets such as New York City, Florida, and California, which had attracted well-heeled international buyers looking to take advantage of a weak dollar, began to struggle as the global economic slowdown washed over Europe, Asia, and even the Middle East.
Luxury home asking prices nationwide have fallen 5.4 percent since Jan. 4, and homes now stay on the market for 148 days compared with 125 days at the beginning of the year, according to The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing’s Luxury Market Report, which tracked prices through Nov. 7. The data – compiled by Altos Research – look at prices in the top 10 wealthiest zip codes in 30 large metro areas around the country.Waiting game“The entry level of the upper tier – the $500,000 price point and up – has been softening for a while,” said Laurie Moore-Moore, founder and CEO of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, a Dallas-based group that trains high-end agents.
“What we’ve also seen in the last month is huge uncertainty at the very top of the market. People want to know where are we headed, how serious [the downturn] is going to be, and what is the duration. There are enough questions that at even at the top of the market people are waiting and watching.”Art Tassaro, a Realtor with Friedberg Properties in the wealthy New York suburb of Cresskill, N.J., said buyers have all but disappeared in the past few months. Sellers who want their home to move quickly need to be aggressive about pricing. One method is to average the three lowest sales prices in a given neighborhood during the past year and then discount that price by another 5 percent, he said.“If it was bad before, it’s worse now,” Tassaro said.
Friday, November 14, 2008
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Nov. 14, 2008 – The region’s bad real estate market at least is having one positive side benefit.Businesses that help South Florida homeowners “age in place” – or stay in their homes as long as possible – are gaining popularity with seniors and their adult children as more elders choose not to move into assisted living facilities.Unable to sell their homes, seniors are deciding they can’t afford assisted care, where they’ll pay $2,000 to $5,000 a month, or continuing care communities, where entrance fees range from $75,000 to $200,000.
But for the price of a few months in an assisted living facility, they can hire a contractor to swap out their door knobs for easy-to-push levers, lower their kitchen counters so they don’t have to bend when cooking, or widen their doorways so a wheelchair can pass through.These “universal design” fixes are popular with forward-thinking Baby Boomers as well and are increasingly included in new construction.Contractors now can become certified aging-in-place specialists, or CAPS, through a credentialing process created by the National Association of Home Builders and AARP. The program was started in 2000, and housing industry groups say they’ve had more inquires from remodelers.
The CAPS designation “is popular in our state, as we have a large number of senior citizens,” said Edie Ousley, spokeswoman with the Florida Home Builders Association. “We are getting a lot more requests for information about it.”There are 85 CAPS contractors in Florida, with seven in Broward and Palm Beach counties.Higher-end assisted living facilities and continuing care retirement communities in South Florida and elsewhere have seen their occupancy rates drop over the past year.William Varian, a Naples general contractor, became interested in senior-friendly construction when he built a guesthouse for his 92-year-old grandmother. He got the CAPS certification six years ago.Varian said aging-in-place retrofits are an increasing percentage of his business; he did about seven such jobs in 2003, compared with 16 last year. He’s working on two projects in South Florida: rebuilding one house to accommodate a man with limited mobility and renovating another for an older couple. His average retrofit job runs about $8,000.The biggest problem homeowners usually face? “Things involving the bathroom, like getting in and out of the tub,” Varian said, who often works with a nurse or physical therapist to determine what his clients need. Grab bars are a common fix, “although some people think they look institutional,” he said. “But I found one model that’s extremely decorative, with towel bars and toilet paper holders to match. I used it for younger clients, too.”
AARP housing research shows 83 percent of older Americans want to stay in their homes until the end of their lives, if possible.The sluggish economy has reinforced those desires. A recent AARP survey of 1,002 people age 45 and older showed three in 10 homeowners pinched by tight times were making changes to their homes in order to live there longer.It’s a challenge, however, to manage chronic medical conditions and provide necessities such as transportation and meals when a senior remains at home. Some turn to care-management firms, such as Rona Bartelstone Associates in Fort Lauderdale, to line up specialists and arrange at-home services.Executive Director Susan Fleischer said the company is working with two families who could not sell their homes and whose adult children could not afford their assisted living expenses. “With today’s economic situation, it only will get worse,” Fleischer said.
Others are trying a new concept: creating a community concierge who coordinates services for seniors living in specific neighborhoods.The best-known example is the “village model,” pioneered by Beacon Hill Village in 2002. Residents of the Beacon Hill neighborhood in Boston, who range in age from 52 to 100, pay $100 to $850 annually for a village membership. That hires a village staff, which plans social activities, gets discounted rates from home health companies, and arranges for rides and shopping.There now are 13 villages in seven states, all governed by member boards.© 2008 South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.
South Florida governments are gearing up to spend more than $161 million in federal grant money to stimulate the housing market.
BY MONICA HATCHER
The buyer of that ramshackle foreclosure down the street just might be the government.
In coming months, South Florida cities and counties will be armed with more than $161 million in new federal grant money and a mandate to stabilize falling home values and decay in neighborhoods hardest hit by the real estate downturn.
Their spending plans include buying and rehabbing, reselling or renting out property repossessed by banks through foreclosure, a first for many small municipalities without housing authorities. Cities may also use money to develop new projects and tear down neighborhood eyesores.
Miami Gardens' plans include using homes to help young adults aging out of foster care. Miramar wants to give financial aid to middle-income home buyers.
Hialeah wants to build more $300-a-month rental units. And Miami-Dade plans to use some money on the once fraud-wracked redevelopment of the Scott Carver housing project in Liberty City.
The funds represent South Florida's share of a $3.9 billion pot offered as part of a larger housing stimulus plan passed by Congress this summer.
The stimulus money comes as the state's housing market continues to slog along under historic foreclosure rates, unsold homes and growing economic malaise. In all, Florida will get $541 million, with $91 million going to state government.
When it comes to house hunting, governments don't lack for choices. As of Oct. 31, banks owned 10,725 homes in Miami-Dade and 10,234 in Broward, according to RealtyTrac data released Thursday.
And foreclosures keep rising: In October, foreclosures were up 53 percent in Broward and 97 percent in Miami-Dade over a year ago, RealtyTrac reported. The figures mean one of every 114 homes in Broward is either headed into foreclosure or already bank-owned. In Miami-Dade, it's one of every 93 homes.
Lenders have already begun knocking on doors at Miami-Dade agencies, county officials said. The county will get $62.2 million, the largest share of any locality in the country.
''This is not a whole lot of money in reality, but I think there will be a whole broad spectrum of people we can help. The magnitude of the problem is really huge,'' said Robert Cruz, chief economist for Miami-Dade.
Housing administrators' tentative plan is to spend almost $37 million buying bank-owned single- and multi-family properties, hoping to add roughly 342 new units to its affordable housing stock. The county now owns 10,000 units. There are 71,000 people on the waiting list for those as well as privately owned units through Section 8.
The rest will be spent demolishing 80 blighted structures as well as on homeownership counseling and mortgage assistance for about 130 families. The county will leverage nearly $9 million for infrastructure needed to complete work on the Scott Carver HOPE VI housing project, which will help bring 236 new units online when finished. In all, they expect to directly aid 1,500 families.
The County Commission will vote on the plan next Thursday. Broward approved its plan Thursday.
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Prudential Chaplin Williams Realty
Monday, November 10, 2008
- August 2008 closed MLS stats for Nassau County
Residential units (36) sales ($11,454,680)
Condos units (5) sales ($1,847,000)
Lots and Acreage units (5) sales ($604,900)
- September 2008 closed MLS stats for Nassau County
Residential units (39) sales ($13,077,263)
Condos units (8) sales ($4,277,000)
Lots and acreage (3) sales ($632,000)
- October 2008 closed MLS stats for Nassau County
Residential units (31) sales ($8,265,019)
Condos units (4) sales ($1,761,900)
Lots and acreage (6) sales($788,000)
Jacksonville, FL – Buyers Continue to Wait for Prices to Stabilize
Traffic increases, but mostly lookers and few transactions. Buyer traffic improved
slightly in October, as our traffic index increased to 18 from 8 in September (readings
below 50 suggest traffic below agents’ expectations). One agent characterized the change
as “a slight increase in buyer interest, but still just heavy shopping.” Other agents
commented that the tight credit environment and economic worries are preventing many
potential buyers from looking, although several agents did note buyers are willing to look
at sharply discounted listings. We think most buyers remain on the sidelines for signs of
price stabilization or an easing of credit
Fear Grips Buyers in October
Buyers scared by economy and equity market, low prices
(foreclosures) driving sales. Our Monthly Survey of Real Estate Agents
indicated a sharp drop in October. Trends deteriorated somewhat during the
month, but the majority of the drop in traffic was seen at the end of
September. Real estate agents stressed that buyers remain handcuffed by
concerns about the economy and the equity market, along with continuing
fears of buying before prices have bottomed.
Nearly all markets impacted by buyer worries. Overall, our traffic index
fell to 19.6 in October from 24.0 in September (readings below 50 point to
traffic below expectations). 31 of the 40 markets we survey with seven
markets showing improvement in traffic (but from extremely low levels) and
two markets showing stable traffic.
Foreclosure-heavy markets still getting traffic, but economy takes toll
on buyer psychology. Of the hard-hit markets where we had generally
seen solid traffic through ’08 (Ft Myers, Las Vegas, the Inland Empire (CA),
and Sacramento), only Ft Myers showed improvement in October, with the
others showing declines, but still having more traffic than most other markets.
Prudential Chaplin Williams Realty
Search the MLS at www.nassaumls.net
Monday, November 3, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
My grandfather (my mother's father), upon being admitted to a convalescent home, put my mother (his daughter) on the deed in joint tenancy with him. He owned the home free and clear at the time. His original purchase price on the home was a mere $15,000.
He has since passed away, leaving my mother as owner of the entire property. A year and a half later after his passing, my mother quitclaimed the property to me. I have recently sold the property for $225,000.
I need to know what my cash basis of the house is so that I can determine if I'm selling at a gain or loss. When my mom transferred the home to me a year and a half ago, the fair market value was about $385,000.
I am not sure if I should use the fair market value of the property at the time of my grandfather's death, or the date the property transferred to me in calculating the cost basis.
Please help, as I am holding up the closing trying to figure out what tax documents to fill out. I appreciate any information you can provide on this situation.
A: Your situation is a bit complicated, but it's not unfathomable.
When your grandfather added your mother to the deed, he gave her half the house. Her cost basis was whatever he paid for the property (in this case $15,000) plus any structural or capital improvements made. Let's assume he added another $5,000 to the property while he lived there. The cost basis for her share became $10,000, or half of $20,000.
When he died, the fair market value of the property was $385,000. She inherited his half at $192,500. Remember, she got her half at $10,000.
When she quitclaimed the property to you, you received her half at $10,000 basis, and the inherited half at $192,500. (The total value of her gift to you is $202,500, but we'll come back to that number in a moment.)
You have now sold the property for $225,000. The profit on the share of the house your mother was given is $102,500 ($112,500 minus $10,000 equals $102,500). The loss on the inherited half is about $80,000 ($192,500 minus 112,500 equals $80,000). You would subtract half of any costs of sale or cost of improvements that you've made to the property from whatever profit you have from your mother's half.
Unless you lived there for two out of the last five years as your primary residence (as the owner of the property), you would owe long-term federal capital gains tax on the $102,500 plus applicable state tax. At 15 percent, you'd pay $15,375 plus any applicable state tax. Unfortunately, you would not be able to deduct the loss on the inherited half of the home.
But there are also gift tax considerations. Anyone can give away to individuals up to $1 million in a lifetime. You can give away $12,000 in 2008 (rising to $13,000 per person in 2009) to any number of people without deducting from your lifetime gift exemption. But your mother gave you a house, which was roughly valued at $202,500 (her cost basis of $10,000 plus the inherited half's cost basis at $192,000). She should find out what, if any, forms she needs to file with the IRS.
This is a great example of why someone should leave real estate in their estate to their heirs instead of putting them on the deed. If your mother had inherited the property from her dad, she would have received it at the fair market value the day he died, which you've said was $385,000. If your mother had sold the property that same day, she would owe no taxes on it.
Just to be sure I had the details right, I ran your question by two tax professionals, Chet Burgess, an enrolled agent who owns Brookwood Tax Service in Atlanta, and Julianna Clementi-Ryan, a vice president with Nationwide 1031 Exchange, a 1031 exchange company. They concurred with my answer to you, but you should consult with your own knowledgeable tax professional, because there may be extenuating circumstances or other facts you might have failed to include in your e-mail.
For more information on this topic (and I've written about it frequently online), and other similar questions I've answered, please visit my Web site, www.ThinkGlink.com.
Reposted from a news article
Prudential Chaplin Williams Realty
Search the local MLS www.nassaumls.net
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
View from the rear patio
$184,500 Cartesian Pointe Home in Yulee. Upgrades include: Premium homesite, bay window in bedroom, volumne ceiling, coffered ceiling in master
In order to further its long term strategic plans for growth of Amelia Island Plantation, the Amelia Island Company has been pursuing prospective investors, partners and lenders over the past two years for capital improvements to our hospitality resort business model. These efforts have progressed to the point where the Company has signed a letter of intent with a prospective partner to help with the planned expansion of the resort’s facilities. While there are many more details to be worked out, the Company is pleased to announce signing a Letter of Intent with Redquartz Development. Redquartz Development was attracted to this partnership opportunity based largely on the strength of Amelia Island Plantation’s management team, strategic plan and long range goals.
Redquartz Developments Atlanta (RQD) is a real estate investment company, who is partnered with Redquartz Developments, Ltd. (“Redquartz”), a Dublin based Property and Investment Company with investments in projects with more than $3 billion of value. Redquartz specializes in mixed-use developments to include commercial, residential, retail, hotel & leisure facilities. Their group philosophy is about partnerships that offer access to expertise and resources in addition to reducing the risk profile of individual projects. Redquartz Developments, Ltd. is located in Dublin, Ireland. Headed by Patrick (Paddy) Kelly, Redquartz has over 40 years experience in property development in Ireland, Europe and the USA.
Redquartz Developments Atlanta spearheads development activities in the United States from it offices in Atlanta, Georgia.
Interested in Property on the Amelia island Plantation - Search www.nassaumls.net
John Holbrook - Realtor
Prudential Chaplin Williams Realty
Friday, October 3, 2008
Foreclosure Pricing Needed to Attract Buyers
■ Start of the fall season, but few buyers are found, aside from foreclosure-rich markets. Our Monthly Survey of Real Estate Agents showed another slight decline in September, with traffic worsening over the course of the month. Agents generally noted fear among buyers about buying before prices reach their low, difficulty getting a mortgage, and the elimination of down-payment assistance on Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans as the main issues.
■ But there are signs of better traffic again in the hardest hit markets. Overall, our traffic index fell to 24.0 in September from 25.9 in August (readings below 50 point to traffic below expectations). However, we saw improvement in traffic in September in hard-hit markets such as Ft Myers, Las Vegas, the Inland Empire (CA), and Sacramento. The key driver of the better traffic is the improved affordability as the lower home prices on the many foreclosure sales (foreclosure sales have represented as much as 40-50% of sales in these markets) have restored affordability back to attractive levels (p. 5). We are encouraged that there seems to be a clearing price in many markets, but foreclosures are typically sold at least 20% below current market pricing so there will likely be a painful further adjustment for traditional sellers.
■ Texas markets (Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio) show further weakness along with a couple Florida markets (Jacksonville and Miami). We expect those builders with significant concentrations in Texas (MTH, DHI, LEN and RYL) to see worsening order trends based on the declining traffic. Unlike the other markets with significant foreclosures, we have not seen similar improvement in traffic in Phoenix. The Washington, D.C. area (p. 27), in which we had seen better traffic from April-July slipped back to a lower level of traffic in both August and September.
■ Pricing drops further, consistent with high inventory levels and weak traffic. Our price index fell to 17.5 in September, down from 20.1 in August (readings below 50 point to sequentially lower prices).
■ Inventory levels near stabilization. Our home listings index increased to 39.5 in September, up from 37.5 in August (with a level of 50 indicating flat inventories sequentially with levels above 50 pointing to falling inventory levels). Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Sacramento, Sarasota, Tucson, and Washington, D.C. were among the markets showing flat or falling inventory levels in September. We continue to believe that declining inventory levels are necessary for home price stabilization.
Prudential Chaplin Williams Realty
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Subject: October Events @ the Intercoastal Wine Company - c
It's hard to believe that it is Fall already, the days are feeling a little cooler and the festivals are coming out in full force!
October 3-4- The Amelia Island Book Festival. Stop in for a bottle of wine to sip while you're reading your new book.
October 5-12- The Les DeMerle Amelia Island Jazz festival. Great music, great venues, a great time. Tickets available at Intercoastal Wine for all events. Present your jazz festival ticket stub and get 5% off a purchase of a bottle of wine (one bottle of wine per ticket stub).
October 16 (Thursday)- Lloyd Gross from Transatlantic Wines will be here from 5:30-7 to taste and talk about Spanish wines from his portfolio.
October 18- Cruizers Car Show- historic downtown Fernandina, come in and relax with a glass of wine after looking at all the great classic cars.
October 23 (Thursday)- Marlene Strobach art reception- the talented "artist in residence" will be here to meet the public and talk about her beautiful watercolor paintings. Free wine tasting with this event- 5:30 -7pm.
October 30 (Thursday)- Girl's Night out is back with a "Southern Living at Home Show". Julie Brown, independent Southern Living at Home consultant will be here to display some of the fine items from this catalog. It's not too early to Christmas shop! Free wine tasting at this event. 5:30 -7pm
Hope you enjoy the information
John Holbrook - Realtor
Amelia Island, Florida 904-415-0171
For tickets and information, visit www.ameliaislandjazzfestival.com or call (904) 504-4772.
John Holbrook - Realtor
Amelia Island, FL
Prudential Chaplin Williams Realty
John Holbrook - Realtor
Amelia Island, Florida 32034
Search the local MLS www.nassaumls.net
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
A short sale is when a bank or mortgage lender agrees to discount a loan balance due to an economic or financial hardship on the part of the mortgagor. This negotiation is all done through communication with a bank's Loss mitigation department. The home owner/debtor sells the mortgaged property for less than the outstanding balance of the loan, and turns over the proceeds of the sale to the lender in full satisfaction of the debt. In such instances, the lender would have the right to approve or disapprove of a proposed sale.
A short sale typically is executed to prevent a home foreclosure. Often a bank will choose to allow a short sale if they believe that it will result in a smaller financial loss than foreclosing. For the home owner, the advantages include avoidance of having a foreclosure on their credit history and the partial control of the monetary deficiency. Additionally, a short sale is typically faster and less expensive than a foreclosure. In short, a short sale is nothing more than negotiating with lien holders a payoff for less than what they are owed, or rather a sale of a debt, generally on a piece of real estate, short of the full debt amount.
Realtor Prudential Chaplin Williams Reaty
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Amelia Island is a terrific place for a second home or vacation getaway. Real estate prices in Nassau County range from competitive to enviable when compared to other coastal communities. Whether in need of a single family home or a condo, Amelia Island has something for everyone with a variety of price ranges and ammenities. The combination of clean, uncrowded beaches, friendly island hospitality, historic downtown, and world class hotels and restaurants are a rarity. Unlike many other island and resort destinations, the island has its own community hospital and easy access to Jacksonville International Airport.
Local entrepreneurs have had a strong, positive influence on our second home market by creating reliable and simple solutions for those living full time elsewhere and owning locally. Concierge and property management services help ease the hassles and fears of long distance property ownership.
Property managers provide a lengthy list of conveniences and services which include, but are not limited to, house keeping on arrival and departure, hiring lawn, landscape and pool services, handling maintenance and repairs, mail and package delivery and regularly scheduled property inspections. During inclement weather it is reassuring to know that someone is keeping an eye on your home and will not only contact you if needed but arrange for necessary repairs or servicing. Even if the second home in a condominium and has an association caring for the exterior, that obligation usually ends at the front door. Having a reputable and trusted property manager will insure the safety of your interior as well.
Concierge services may include everything from transporation to and from the airport, arranging car rental, restaurant reservations, dry cleaning pick up and drop off, to stocking the kitchen pantry. With an experienced concierge, even tee times, kayak excursions and fishing trips can be waiting for you on arrival.
According to a recent survey, 6.4 million people are currently second home owners and by the year 2010 the number is expected to increase to 10 million. Even in the current real estate market slowdown, Florida continues to be a desirable vacation and retirement destination. Advances in technology and the baby boomer mind set make more frequent vacations and time spent away from work on the increase. Second homes allow an escape from the daily routine, a place to relax with family friends and frequently becomes the primary home at retirement.
Second home ownership can lead to financial reward through long term investment and allows for tax advantages such as mortgage interest deductions. With the recent passage of Amendment 1, Florida second home owners are now receiving some protection from spiking tax increases which could result from future rising property valuations.
The current availability of properties at stabilizing prices, historically low interest rates and all that Amelia Island has to offer makes this a terrific time to make Amelia Island your second home.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Existing home sales ease due to mortgage restrictions, says NAR
ORLANDO, Fla. – May 23, 2008 – Florida Realtors® statewide reported an upswing in existing home and condominium sales from March to April 2008, according to the latest housing statistics released by the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR). A total of 11,200 existing single-family homes changed hands in April, a 20 percent increase over the previous month when 9,330 homes sold. Existing condo sales statewide rose 21.6 percent, with 3,900 units sold in April compared with 3,207 condos in March.
The median price for existing condos increased slightly as well during the one-month period. The median price of an existing condo in April was $179,200, up 1.6 percent from March’s figure of $176,300.
In the latest National Association of Realtors® (NAR) housing outlook, Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts that home sales and prices throughout most of the nation will improve in the second half of the year, especially if access to mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac increases. “There are many reasons for people to get into the housing market today, and very few reasons not to,” Yun says. “With the plentiful supply of homes for sale at affordable prices, interest rates approaching 40-year lows, and the strong track record of housing as a good long-term investment, conditions are ripe for buyers.”
In the year-to-year comparison, a total of 11,200 existing homes sold statewide last month while 12,358 homes sold in April 2007 for a decrease of 9 percent, according to FAR. Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month was $198,900; a year ago, it was $239,000 for a 17 percent decrease. But, looking back to April 2003, the statewide median sales price for single-family homes has increased about 30.9 percent over the five-year-period, according to FAR records – at that time, the statewide existing-home median price was $151,900. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
Friday, April 4, 2008
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – April 4, 2008 – Praxeis doesn’t develop retirement communities. Don’t even use that word in earshot of the company’s executives.
Praxeis creates a “Life Fulfilling Community,” a phrase trademarked by the Jacksonville-based company.
And it’s putting those communities, marketed to people 62 and older, in the vicinity of college campuses, those bastions of intellectual challenge and wild party nights.
The university connection is part of Praxeis’ business strategy, which seeks to get beyond the stereotypical view of older adults merely winding down their lives, said Dick Ambrosius, vice president of cultural resources.
“There’s not a business in the country that’s not going to be impacted by the demographic shift,” he said. “At no point in our history have older adults dominated the market.” He added, “Some companies get it, but some still market to the old model of, ‘I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.’ Older people have been buying a lot of products over the years in spite of the advertising, not because of it.”
Praxeis, which operates at an office in Ortega, developed Oak Hammock at the University of Florida in Gainesville in 2004. The $132 million development is near full occupancy, according to the company.
The company is turning its attention to Florida State University for a community called Westcott Lakes. The goal is to open it in 2010 in SouthWood, a St. Joe development in Tallahassee.
Praxeis also is working with the University of Kentucky and the University of South Florida on plans for similar communities.
The company’s first community was The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch in Sarasota. It’s not affiliated with a university.
Ambrosius said over the years, communities catering to people 62 and older have expanded their on-site fitness program, such as weight rooms and pools. In the same way, he said, residents want activities that keep them mentally fit. He points to medical research showing older adults don’t reach a point where their brains stop adjusting neurologically to new experiences.
The research has suggested people who do brain-stimulating activities have a better chance of avoiding memory loss and even Alzheimer’s.
“The old model was doing crosswords puzzles,” Ambrosius said. “But further research has shown it’s that and more. If you really want to stave off Alzheimer’s, learn a new language. Take up Sudoku.” Being in a college town gives residents the ability to live like a college student in terms of taking classes and going to cultural events but avoid big-city hassles like traffic, he said.
At Westcott Lakes, the entrance fee ranges from $268,000 to $1.3 million. Prices at the high end put residents into a plan that will refund 95 percent of the fee when a resident moves out or dies.
Residents also pay a monthly fee ranging from $2,430 to $5,430, depending on the size of residence. They must be active and independent at the time they move in, but from then on, they would be guaranteed lifetime services for assisted living and skilled nursing.
Praxeis doesn’t have any plans for developing a community in connection with the University of North Florida, though Ambrosius said that would have one definite advantage for the company’s employees – they wouldn’t have to travel so far for the meetings that go into getting a community off the ground.
Copyright © 2008 The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
By: John Holbrook
Amelia National is geared to those well acquainted with the finest private golf clubs. The community features an 18-hole course of stellar natural beauty designed by Tom Fazio, designed for Championship play, yet forgiving enough for the nonprofessional to enjoy again and again. A par 72 with tee positions ranging in length from 7,166 yards to 5,198 yards.
- An eight acre practice facility with a driving range, practice bunker, chipping and putting greens.
- Private golf instruction with a knowledgeable and experienced PGA teaching staff.
- Three lighted hard tru tennis courts.
- Stunning new French Provincial Clubhouse designed especially for the camaraderie that is a grand tradition among private golf clubs.
- Fitness center with Lifefitness State-of –the-Art equipment with integrated LCD TV monitors.
- Resort style pool set among lushly landscaped gardens is a delightful place to meet friends, neighbors or just send the kids for the afternoon.
- ICI Homes. Since its founding in 1980, ICI Homes mission has been to provide home buyers with the highest quality craftsmanship, innovative designs, and personal service, at the best possible value
- Morrison Homes. Building a new home is an exciting experience. Morrison Homes also believes it should be an enjoyable experience from the start until the new home is finished. Morrison Homes is an award winning, national home builder that creates beautiful homes showcasing quality construction and value.
- David Weekley Homes. You won’t find another builder who values imagination more than David Weekley Homes. Homebuyers work directly with a builder to ensure that their needs are met. The company’s focus is giving its customers innovative design, a long list of choices to personalize their homes, and inspired service.
- American Homebuilders. Their mission and that of the company is to provide comfort and value for their home buyers. In 2006, American Homebuilders introduced the Woman-Centered Home. This new concept in home design and construction presents four unique home comfort zones.
Presented by John Holbrook - Realtor
ORLANDO, Fla. – Feb. 12, 2008 – The best place to get a bargain on a home is an area where there is healthy job growth and more houses available than people to buy them.These are markets “where you have high inventories but pliable borrowers, with lenders willing to deal,” says Anthony Sanders, a professor of finance at Arizona State University.Forbes magazine went looking for markets where the damage from risky lending hasn’t been as dramatic as in some parts of the country and where employment growth will burn off an over-abundance of inventory quickly.Here are the magazine’s 10 best cities for bargain house hunters.
1. Salt Lake City, Utah. Developers have gotten ahead of the demand, but the city is adding jobs more quickly than practically any place else in the country.
2. Raleigh, N.C. Another place where building got ahead of the curve, but the economy is expanding quickly.
3. Orlando, Fla. This part of the state had fewer speculators than Miami and Tampa, and it’s adding jobs faster than those cities as well.
4. Charlotte, N.C. The financial industry is moving here, adding jobs, but the inventory of unsold homes is still significant.
5. Phoenix. This city had a high foreclosure rate, but the economy is growing and people are still moving here in large numbers.
6. Seattle. The city’s port has profited from the weak dollar, but the housing price growth has slowed.
7. Las Vegas. This market was hit hard by foreclosures, but the growing economy makes the huge inventory less toxic than it is many places.
8. Jacksonville, Fla. The foreclosure rate is slower than the rest of the Florida cities, making the large inventory likely to improve.
9. Richmond, Va. There is only one foreclosure per 1,103 households here (compared to 1 in 33 in Detroit). Still, there are plenty of homes on the market.
10. Houston. Homes in Houston have long been a bargain. While there have been plenty of foreclosures, the population and the economy are expanding.
Source: Forbes, Matt Woolsey (02/07/08)© Copyright 2008 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688
Prudential Chaplin Williams Realty
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Jan 2006 Jan 2007 Jan 2008
Homes 68 55 25
Condos 27 10 5
Lots 18 5 4
B of A Monthly Real Estate Agent Survey
Traffic Aided by Lower Mortgage Rates and Home Prices, Buyers Still Cautious
Affordability tends to drive sales activity; mortgage rates are critical. We
believe that affordability is the key determinant of sales and that the downturn in
sales activity since mid-’05 was driven by the lack of affordability as home prices
and mortgage rates both increased and limited the pool of potential buyers. We
think the improving affordability will translate into better sales activity as the year
Pricing pressure continues as a result of high inventory levels. Our price index
increased modestly to 20 in January from 18 in December (readings below 50
indicate sequentially lower prices). We think these price declines are likely to
continue throughout ’08 based on the high level of existing home inventory, but
think the better affordability may help to limit the declines.
Jacksonville, FL – Few Transactions, Concentrated Among
Aggressively Priced Homes
Little incremental change as bargain hunters circle but few others dare to step in.
Our traffic index was essentially unchanged in January at 35.1 from 32.8 in December,
still below agents’ expectations (readings below 50 suggest traffic below agents’
expectations). Similar to last month, several agents saw higher call volume and
showings than in the fall, but only on homes with sharply reduced pricing. “Price adjustments
have brought out more buyers looking for deals.”Still, most agents remain cautious as
lending conditions remain challenging and buyers fear further price declines given the
huge oversupply of homes for sale.
Prices continue to spiral lower. Price declines showed no signs of slowing in January,
as our price index came in at 17.1 (from 11.3 in December), far short of a neutral
reading Agentssaw a large increase in short sale and foreclosed properties coming onto the market with huge price reductions, but with little demand inventories continued to build (in
contrast to the normal seasonal decline in January). Our home listings index increased
to 38.9 in January from 27.6 in December, with readings below 50 indicating rising
inventory. We think inventory will continue to climb through spring as more
foreclosures hit the market, leading to additional severe price declines throughout the year.
Let’s take a look at some of the opportunities and positive indicators for the future of Florida’s real estate market.
Long-term economic and demographic trends continue to favor Florida. By 2010 it has been forecast that Florida will be the third most populated state in the country. Florida’s population is expected to increase about 75 percent by 2030. Florida demonstrates a long history of strong growth. It has been one of the 10 fastest-growing states in the U.S. for each of the past seven decades, and often it has been in the top four, according to census data. Population growth will continue to provide a foundation for other economic growth such as new jobs and growing incomes. All of which is good for real estate.
People are continuing to move here. It’s estimated that 1,000 people move here every day (www.stateofflorida.com, “Florida Quick Facts”). No wonder Florida’s population has grown 13.4% since 2000, compared to only 6.4% for the rest of the country, according to census data.
Five of the top 15 cities in the Milken Institute’s 2007 “Best Performing Cities” survey, which looks at sustainable economic growth, are in Florida, including the No. 1 city, Ocala. A total of 13 Florida cities are in the top 50.
Low unemployment. Almost 120,000 jobs were created in Florida in the year between August 2006 and August 2007. Florida’s unemployment rate has hovered at or under 4% for a long time; and was 4% in August 2007, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Department of Labor. That not only puts it well below the national unemployment average, it also is the lowest unemployment rate among all ten of the most populous states.
Jobs are plentiful, and that trend will continue. A recent study by Bizjournals called “Where the Jobs Are” found that 7 of the hottest 15 job markets are in Florida.
Let’s take a look at the weather. If you think the hurricanes we experienced are going to have long-term effects on the Florida real estate market, consider this tidbit from Fortune Magazine. It recently reported, “Economists and geographers who have studied how natural disasters affect real estate values have generally found there to be no lasting impact.” Example #1: When Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston, S. C., home values were actually higher one year later. Example #2: That same year, 1989, a huge earthquake made big news in San Francisco, and the same thing happened—house prices went up.
Grant Thrall, a professor of what’s called Economic Geography, explains this phenomenon this way—residents move away and home prices fall only when natural disasters start becoming regular occurrences in an area, not when they happen periodically. And while the hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005 may still be fresh in our minds, the fact is, historically it was a fluke. Eight storms hit the Florida mainland in those two years. But if you look back at the 50 years prior, only six Category 3 or higher storms hit the Florida mainland in half a century.
Gov. Charlie Crist, state lawmakers and business groups are committed to finding real solutions to the escalating costs and shortage of property insurance in Florida, as well as much-needed property tax reform. Florida Realtors will continue working closely with lawmakers to help resolve these complicated issues and keep the state’s economy moving forward. For example, 2007 FAR President Nancy Riley sits on the governor’s property tax reform commission, and 2005 FAR President Frank Kowalski served on the governor’s insurance reform commission.
Interests rates currently are still low, on a par with interest rates in the 1960s. And thanks to the Fed’s recent rate cut, we’re already seeing lower rates on home equity and mortgage loans, including jumbo loans. The Fed’s action effectively increases the number of homebuyers able to make a purchase, which should increase demand, and also help support home prices. Home prices continue to stabilize, inventory is plentiful and homebuyers have lots of options.
Homeownership has value: Realtors believe… and research supports that belief … that homeownership provides a variety of benefits, tangible and intangible, to the community as well as the individual homeowner.
Studies show that home equity is still the largest single source of household wealth, both for the individual homeowner and for homeowners as a group. Home value is the most important single aspect for homeowners.
Owning a home leads to increased personal well-being. Research shows that people who own their own homes tend to show higher levels of personal esteem and life satisfaction, which in turn helps to make homeowners and their children more productive members of society.
Studies show that children raised in homes owned by their families are more likely to stay in school and more likely to graduate high school. They’re also shown to have a higher lifetime annual income.
People who own homes have a strong financial stake in what happens to their community and tend to become more involved in community and civic affairs. Studies show that homeowners also interact with their neighbors to gain wider influence over their neighborhoods and communities.
Homeowners join up to 41 percent more civic and/or nonprofessional organizations than renters, such as the PTA or Scouts; vote in local elections 15 percent more often; enhance their neighborhoods with gardens 12 percent more often; attend church about 10 percent more often; and have a 3 percent greater chance of being interested in public affairs.
2007 Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR) President Nancy Riley says, “Florida Realtors know buying a home is a very personal investment – an investment in a family’s future. Although research shows it is the largest single investment most families make and helps to provide security for the future, owning a home isn't just a financial investment. Ownership is about having a place to call home: a place where families build a future and become part of a community.”
Over the past five years, the average homeowner has seen an increase of 50 percent in value, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Here in Florida, the statewide median home price has shown an increase of 52.5 percent from November 2002 to November 2007, according to FAR records. NAR housing industry analysts project that prices will rise about 2 percent next year, and in coming years, average home price appreciation should return to historical averages of around 6 percent.
Florida is a great place to live and work. According to Enterprise Florida Inc., the Sunshine State has one of the nation's strongest tourism industries; it is fourth in the nation in high-tech jobs; is the third largest exporter of high-tech goods and services; and is ranked as one of the best states in the nation to be an entrepreneur.
Orlando-based economist Dr. Hank Fishkind recently said in several media reports he believes that “the worst of the so-called housing crisis has probably been mitigated by the actions of the Fed. Recovery will take a while, but it has begun.” Another economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors, predicts that the Florida housing market will get stronger in 2008 and will be booming again by 2010.
And let’s not forget the things that brought people to Florida in the first place, and will continue to attract them – beautiful beaches, fabulous weather and a friendly business climate, with no state income tax. It’s no wonder that Florida’s combination of temperate climate, outstanding recreational amenities and economic opportunity has consistently put us at the top of Harris Poll’s “most desirable places to live” survey.
Full Golf Membership:
Full Golf Single-$2,640 per year or $220 per month
Full Golf Family-$3,360 per year or $280 per month
Senior Single-$2,280 per year or $190 per month
Senior Family-$3,000 per year or $250 per month
Junior Single-$2,280 per year or $190 per month
Junior Family-$3,000 per year or $250 per month
*all rates are plus tax
Initiation Fee: Single: $4,500 plus tax
Family: $6,000 plus tax
Associate Full Golf Membership:
Associate Single-$2,160 per year or $180 per monthAssociate Family-$2,940 per year or $245 per month*all rates are plus tax**This type of membership is subject to time restrictions
Full Golf Membership Benefits:Cart Fee Golf $20 for 18 Holes, $11 for 9 Holes both plus taxUnlimited Range Balls, with special Member Practice TeeEligible to compete in all club tournaments and leagues200/0 off Non-Sale Apparel in Golf Shop20% off Meals in Morgan's GrilleFree Handicapping Service
Golf Social Membership:
Golf Social Single-$600 per year or $50 per month
Golf Social Family-$780 per year or $65 per month
Play for the Guest of Member Rate. Unlimited Range Balls. Eligible to compete in most club tournaments and leagues
2008 Membership Fee Schedule:Full Golf Member 18 Hole Member Cart Fee-$20Full Golf Member Twilight or 9 Hole Cart Fee-$11
Full Golf Member 18 Hole Reciprocal Cart Fee-$25 Handicap Service-$35 (Annual Fee) Golf Social Play Rate and Guest of Member Rate-30% off of Resident Rate
Range Plan-will now be included in the Golf Social Membership
All of the above dues and cart fees will be subject to the appropriate sales tax.
Monday, February 4, 2008
Thursday, January 31, 2008
First, as you all know, the Fed lowered the fed funds rate yesterday by .5% after a .75% drop 8 days earlier. These dramatic moves set a record for the sharp drop in a short period of time. This DID NOT immediately lower mortgage rates except on ARMs of 1 year or 6 months. Longer term mortgage rates are not directly linked to the fed funds rate or any short term index. Mortgages ultimately wind up as MBS (mortgage backed securities) which are traded on Wall Street. The opinions of the Traders are what directly affect our mortgage rates. Therefore the Trader's reactions to the Fed moves determine rates. The traders are making moves daily whereas the Fed only does so about every 45 days, normally. So yesterday after the move, mortgage rates were worse than last Tuesday prior to the Fed making a 1.25% cut to Fed Fund rates. Don't listen to Matt Lauer on this subject listen to us.
We do expect that the continuation of economic news reflecting a slowing economy will lead to lower mortgage rates. In fact, we are seeing that today. We are optimistic and excited about the probability of lower rates and perhaps the return of a "normal" yield curve. As you may know, in the past 2 years you could get a 30 year fixed rate at or below the rate on a 5/1 ARM. Borrow money on a 1 month LIBOR plus one percent and your rate was higher than a 30 year fixed rate just a month ago. This is not normal - even a UGA finance major knows that. We believe that over the next few months we may return to something like this: 1 year ARM = 5.0% - 5.25%, 5/1 ARM = 5.375% - 5.625%, 30 year fixed rate = 5.75% to 6.25%. This would be a good sign of a normalizing market just as more prudent risk management by lenders has been the start of normalcy.
What is the good news from a lower fed funds rate? Rates on Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) will be lower. For those of us who sometimes use our HELOCs to aid in cash-flow management our expense of borrowing has dropped by 2.25% in the past few months. Prime was 8.25% in August and today it is 6%. Anyone with an ARM,(1yr, 2yr, 3/1, 5/1 etc.) that is coming up on an adjustment in the next 6 months will not experience as much increase in their rate. The media has created great fanfare around the adjusting mortgages coming due this year. This drop may not fix everyone's problem but it will help. Many of these home owners may choose to refinance and lock-in a lower rate, especially if they expect to be in their home for at least 2 more years. Many businesses borrow based on Prime or LIBOR and their expense will decrease which will help the overall economy.
You likely have heard that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & FHA may be increasing their maximum loan amounts. This proposal is included in the President's "economic stimulus package". The proposal has passed the House and is currently in the Senate. As I understand it, the increase will be 125% of the average sales price for each area. I can not yet say how much, if any, this would increase the "conforming limit" over the current $417,000. We are trying to determine the "average sales price" for the Jacksonville MSA. When and if, the stimulus package passes and is signed into to law we will let you know.
How can you capitalize on lower rates? If you are a borrower determine if you could be borrowing money at a lower interest rate and what your expense to refinance your loan would be. If you can recapture the expense of a refinance in less than 2.5 years then you should consider the refinance - know your numbers. If you are selling real estate, be informed and advise your clients - sellers and buyers. If you are an investor, you may consider buying property to take advantage of lower priced homes and lower interest rates. Remember if the rates for borrowing are decreasing the rate you will get on your investments like money market and CDs will decrease. Maybe real estate is a better place for your discretionary investments.
Should you have any questions on the information presented here, please call or email us. We are happy to help you "know your numbers". Determine your current loan amount(s). Is your rate fixed or adjustable? If adjustable, when? What is your current rate? How long will you own this property? If you can answer those questions then we can tell you at what rate you should pull the trigger. Please call or email us to discuss. Have a great February!
Ben Stephens Alan Vanderheiden
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
John Holbrook - REALTOR 904-415-0171
Friday, January 18, 2008
View from the extensive deck at 1364 Shipwatch. 4th Floor oceanfront. Renovated 3 bedroom/3 bath. Large rooms! Located on the Amelia Island Plantation. Championship caliber golf and tennis. 10 minutes to Historic downtown Fernandina Beach, the Amelia Island Airport or the Ritz Carlton.
See additional info at http://www.1364shipwatch.com
Monday, January 14, 2008
Our position: Amendment 1 would help rein in local government spending
January 13, 2008
Floridians should vote yes on Amendment 1, the property-tax cut on the Jan. 29 ballot, but not just because it will put a few extra dollars in their pockets.Amendment 1 isn't just about cutting taxes. It is about controlling government spending. It is a reality check for local governments that feasted on escalating property values over much of the past decade instead of lowering tax rates.As property values rose, tax collections soared. Levies doubled between 1997 and last year, including 42 percent in just three years. Property taxes grew three times faster than growth in population and inflation combined. At the same time, government services didn't seem to get any better. What a waste.
Spending your money Graphic
With even a modicum of self-control, cities and counties could have lowered their property-tax rates. Most didn't, and spending more than doubled.Even after lawmakers approved a rollback of the tax rate last year, almost half of Central Florida's cities and counties set their rates higher. Others raised fees for services, like fire protection, that should be paid for through property taxes.There is no guarantee that Amendment 1 would force local governments to behave responsibly. They could still try to raise tax rates or fees. But if Amendment 1 passes and taxes do not drop, Floridians will demand answers. That alone is a powerful incentive for local governments to be more responsible.Amendment 1 would increase the average savings from the state's homestead exemption from $500 to about $800. Businesses and second-home owners would get a cap on property assessments. It would pump up the state's stagnant real-estate market by giving homeowners "portability," allowing them to move and transfer part of their Save Our Homes benefit that now saves an average of $1,000.Let's be clear. It is not fair that Save Our Homes gives long-term homeowners big tax savings while more recent homeowners pay higher taxes for houses of comparable value. But Save Our Homes is rooted in the state constitution, and voters will never remove it.Opponents argue that portability only adds to the unfairness and would discriminate against new home buyers who move here from other states. They say that if challenged in court, a judge could order governments to repay billions of dollars in tax payments to resolve past inequities caused by portability or Save Our Homes.But the reality is that it would be impossible to untangle Florida's complex property-tax structure and calculate who paid too much or too little over the years. Even if it were possible, the courts would not order such a remedy because it would impose financial ruin on governments and threaten important public services.Amendment 1 would not make Florida's tax system fairer. But if it forces local governments to spend more wisely, all Floridians will benefit. County/City 2001 Per Capita Property Taxes 2006 Per Capita Property Taxes Annual Growth Orange $387.30 $549.60 7.25% Orlando $386.57 $548.24 7.24% Belle Isle $165.21 $364.38 17.14% Winter Park $363.57 $665.96 12.87% Windemere $302.47 $667.02 17.14% Osceola $356.10 $576.10 10.10% Kissimmee $141.34 $303.50 16.51% St. Cloud $114.45 210.17 12.92% Volusia $273.40 $419.70 8.95% Debary $118.37 $310.42 21.27% Deltona $88.56 $154.60 11.79% Lake $204.80 $417.90 15.34% Clermont $201.41 $340.44 11.07% Eustis $166.91 $282.20 11.07% Leesburg $187.71 $313.89 10.83% Tavares $148.16 $312.73 16.11% Seminole $238.9 $357.9 8.41% Sanford $218.44 $359.48 10.48% Lake Mary $388.52 $570.36 7.98% Oviedo $221.58 $358.04 10.07% Winter Springs $140.33 $253.16 12.53% - Source: Florida House of Representatives -->
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