Despite the COVID-19 breakout, Real Estate sales have seen a noticeable increase throughout 2020, compared to 2019. A continuously growing number of people are in the hunt for properties, especially among the younger generations. This is remarkably true in the state of Florida, which has seen record-breaking numbers in the final quarter of the year. However, while Florida sales are staying strong, real estate sales nationwide appear to be slipping. 

The National Association of Realtors stated that pending home sales fell in October 2020, in their recent Pending Home Sales Index. This index forecasts home sales using the number of contract signings as a basis. The report showcased that contract signings fell 1.1% (to 128.9) in October, which would be the second continuous month that reported a decline in the index.

Sharing his insight, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for The National Association of Realtors said, “Pending home transactions saw a small drop off from the prior month but still easily outperformed last year’s numbers for October. The housing market is still hot, but we may be starting to see rising home prices hurting affordability.”

Yun also mentioned that the inventory of homes for sale, along with mortgage rates are at all-time lows.

“The combination of these factors – scarce housing and low rates – plus very strong demand has pushed home prices to levels that are making it difficult to save for a down payment, particularly among first-time buyers, who don’t have the luxury of using housing equity from a sale to use as a down payment,” said Yun. “Work-from-home flexibility has also increased the demand for both primary and secondary homes.”

However, while nationwide real estate sales are beginning to slip, Florida reports a non-stopping growth in residential real estate sales. Ever since August, Florida-based realtors have observed an outstanding increase of signed contracts, especially in South Florida. 

The increase in sales is most remarkable in Broward County, where the number of newly signed contracts for condos rose 85.9% in October 2020 compared to October 2019. This report was based on the number of contracts on condos and houses listed on the Multiple Listing Service.

People from different states within the US represent a great number of recent Florida homebuyers, mainly coming from Boston, California, and New York. International buyers are also in search of properties, most coming from Canada and Mexico. 

A few factors contributing to this recent surge in home sales in Florida are:

  • Work From Home Capabilities: With more companies and jobs enabling their workers to work from home due to the Coronavirus, people are able to move to Florida while keeping their salaries from their respective states. And since California and New York salaries, for example, are usually greater than Florida salaries, moving to the Sunshine State becomes an interesting option to consider for many people. 
  • Desirable Location: Warm weather and beaches make Florida attractive for potential homebuyers
  • No State Income Taxes: Florida is one of the 7 states in the US that does not impose an income tax, making it a major advantage for many – especially to those in high-income households.

Real Estate sales seem to be reaching a peak nationwide. In great part due to the increase in housing prices, as a consequence of low housing inventory. However, Florida sales continue to skyrocket and show no sign of slowing down.

We, at Title Partners of Florida, write and support the real estate transaction closing, including the issuance of title insurance policies through Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund. We also coordinate searches, title products, and a variety of other services for our clients. Contact us with any questions about our real estate closing services by phone at (844) 321-6168 or by email at titleinfo@titlepartnersfl.com.

While historically the homebuying season reaches a peak towards the last quarter of the year, 2020 has proven to be a remarkable exception. A continuously growing number of people are in search of acquiring a home, and the spike has not shown signs of withering down. And amongst the seeking homebuyers, experts have observed a distinct increase in Gen Z’s and Millennials shopping for homes. 

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) revealed in their latest Housing Trends Report that the share of Gen Z’s and Millennials searching for homes has increased in comparison to the third quarter of 2019. 

They stated that “Between the third quarters of 2019 and 2020, the share of Gen Z adults planning a home purchase rose three points to 14%. Millennials, however, are the generation most likely to be considering buying a home (22%).”

The NAHB also observed that over 80% of Gen Z potential homebuyers are first-timers, compared to 64% of Millennials.

Offering an explanation for the recent increase in home buying activity in the younger generations, Chief Economist for First American, Mark Fleming, explains that they are growing into their prime “home-buying years”

Mark stated that “Record low mortgage rates and millennials continuing to age into their prime home-buying years has boosted demand…”

Record low mortgage rates also play a fundamental role in the increase in homebuyers in general as it allows for more purchasing power in the community. 

Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Lawrence Yun, provides insight into this circumstance.

“Home sales traditionally taper off toward the end of the year, but in September they surged beyond what we normally see during this season…I would attribute this jump to record-low interest rates and an abundance of buyers in the marketplace, including buyers of vacation homes given the greater flexibility to work from home.”

However, as more buyers enter the market, competition in acquiring homes also increases. This in addition to a noticeable lack of housing supply may cause aspiring homebuyers difficulties in finding a suitable property for their needs. 

As Mark Fleming says “a lack of housing supply remains a challenge.” And Lawrence Yun adds “There is no shortage of hopeful, potential buyers, but inventory is historically low.”

Due to the decrease in mortgage rates, now is an ideal time for homebuyers to acquire a property, especially amongst the younger generations. Likewise, it is also an ideal time for realtors, as buyers and sellers are continuously seeking the guidance and assistance of trusted professionals in their pursuit to buy or sell a home. 

We, at Title Partners of Florida, write and support the real estate transaction closing, including the issuance of title insurance policies through Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund. We also coordinate searches, title products, and a variety of other services for our clients. Contact us with any questions about our real estate closing services by phone at (844) 321-6168 or by email at titleinfo@titlepartnersfl.com.

A recent report released by Zillow revealed that the number of households headed by a Latinx member that own their homes is at its highest since 2008. Latinx refers to individuals who identify with Latino, Hispanic, or Spanish origin. There are roughly 60 million people in the US who identify as Latinx, comprising 18% of the US population. However, they account for over 60% of new U.S. homeowner gains according to the Housing Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2019. 

As a consequence of 2008’s Great Recession, Latinx headed households constituted 19.4% of all homes foreclosed between 2007 and 2015. This makes the recent gains in ownership even more meaningful when put into perspective that only 3 years ago the Latinx homeownership rate was at 44.1%, its lowest since 1998.  The current Latinx homeowner rate is at 48.9%, the highest it has been since 2008.

Referring to this phenomenon, Manny Garcia, population scientist at Zillow said:

“While Latin households have made recent gains in ownership, longstanding inequities in intergenerational wealth and other systemic barriers continue to impede Latin Americans from reaching parity with the U.S. population as a whole.”

Manny explains how despite the increase in Latinx homeownership gains is substantial, there are still many roadblocks for the community. 

Garcia continues by saying: “Latin home buyers are more likely to face challenges during the process, with financing the purchase often reported as a primary concern.”

Manny Garcia’s reasoning is backed by the fact that even though recent gains have benefited the community, the Latinx homeownership rate is still 10% behind the rate for Asian, Native, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander households. And nearly 25% behind non-Latin white households. The difference in household wealth is a big factor as the average Latinx headed household has an income of only 75% of the average non-Latin white household. Therefore, Latinx houses comprise a greater percentage of their wealth. 

First-generation Latinx Americans possess the lowest homeownership rate of the community with only 46% of the overall members owning a house. While other generations have a 50% or greater homeownership rate. Nonetheless, Latinx buyers, in general, are more likely to be first-time buyers. 56% of Latinx buyers of first-time homeowners, compared to 43% of buyers overall. 

Manny Garcia also stated that “even within the Latin community, wealth inequality could help explain the varying homeownership rates of people of different origins.”

People of Spanish and Argentinian descent have the highest homeownership rate within the community, 63% and 59% respectively. While other groups have homeownership rates as low as 29%. 

We, at Title Partners of Florida, write and support the real estate transaction closing, including the issuance of title insurance policies through Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund. We also coordinate searches, title products, and a variety of other services for our clients. Contact us with any questions about our real estate closing services by phone at (844) 321-6168 or by email at titleinfo@titlepartnersfl.com.

As with many things in 2020, the housing market is in an “uncertain” place right now. In previous months, the industry has seen an increase in new home mortgage applications in regards to 2019, amid the Coronavirus. But, at the same time, experts forecast a tsunami of chapter 7 bankruptcy cases due to the impact COVID-19 has had on the economy. So the question arises: what does this mean for the Luxury Real Estate market? Pretty good news, actually. 

Despite the current crisis, luxury real estate sales are skyrocketing in South Florida. Several multi-million dollar properties were bought in August alone, and houses that have been in the market for a long time, are now being sold. 

Palm Beach, Coral Gables, Miami Beach, and Coconut Grove have all witnessed home purchases exceeding the $10 million mark, and all in the span of a few of weeks. Here’s a list of a few luxury properties sold in August:

Luxury real estate sales have been in an increase for the past several months nationwide. For sellers, this translates as a great moment to list their properties in the market, if they had intention of doing so previously. 

When evaluating the current state of the luxury real estate market, Petra Liebmann, CEO of the Corcoran Real Estate Group stated that “a growing number of luxury buyers are looking for additional square meters and residential furnishings such as theaters and pools. For many apartment hunters in South Florida, “privacy” and “space” are the keywords. “

These current times might not be the best for most realtors, but in spite of COVID-19 there are deals happening! Realtors must take new action to get in front of their customers, innovate their marketing, get on social media (check our blog on social media tips on how you can promote yourself online). Those who adapt to the changes will be the ones who make the most out of any situation. Make sure that is you!

We, at Title Partners of Florida, write and support the real estate transaction closing, including the issuance of title insurance policies through Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund. We also coordinate searches, title products, and a variety of other services for our clients. Contact us with any questions about our real estate closing services by phone (844) 321-6168 or by email titleinfo@titlepartnersfl.com.

No one expected 2020 to be the year of a global pandemic. Up until the initial months of the year, everything was business as usual (with a few exceptions). But now COVID-19 has changed the way we live our lives. And has also changed the way we do business. This is especially true when it comes to realtors. Social distancing and mandatory lockdowns have forced realtors to transition from open-houses to more modern and innovative approaches to showcase properties. In consequence, realtors have taken advantage of a tool with immense power for brand awareness, engagement, and influence: Social Media.

In the first quarter of 2020, realtors were still conducting their businesses and attending their buyers the same way they have been for years before. The real estate market was a predominantly “in-person” industry. Property viewings, signings, and notarizations were actions that needed to be done in person. There were alternatives, they just weren’t paid too much attention.

On January 1, 2020, the state of Florida passed House Bill 409 and became the 21st state to adopt Remote Online Notarization (RON). This new bill allowed real estate professionals to close transactions, even if one of the parties were not physically present. For this, audio and video communication is used to notarize the signer’s electronic signature on electronic documents. However, in the first quarter of the year, very few realtors were registered to take advantage of the bill. It wasn’t a priority for the times. But this changed with COVID-19.

With quarantine orders putting a halt on the real estate market, realtors hastily searched for alternatives to keep their businesses in full swing. Insert the recent increase use of Virtual Showings, 3D Virtual Real Estate Tours, and Social Media. 

Social Media is the perfect solution for realtors to face the problem of getting in front of their clients. Besides the fact that through Live Broadcasts, realtors can showcase a property to a considerably larger amount of people than possible in person. Many have already started implementing the use of Facebook Live and/or Instagram Live to display their listings, answer questions or doubts, and provide any extra information.

In addition, through Social Media, you also have the benefit of being able to reach a broader audience. The more followers, subscribers, or “friends” you have on Social Media, the more chances you have to find high-quality clients that are ready to purchase. It also allows you to interact with clients, increase engagement with your content, and be more likely to be recommended to other buyers. There are virtually no limits to the growth you may have on Social Media. And those who have an active social network are the ones who are getting the buyers, listings, and transactions. However, not everybody is highly tech-savvy, and the change in the industry might be harder for some to assimilate than others. 

If you are looking to take advantage of Social Media to impulse your business, here’s what you need to do:

  • Make sure your profile is up to date. Irrelevant profiles will not get attention and interest from buyers. Check that your social accounts do not have outdated information and have a fresh and modern look. 
  • Post great content. Provide your followers with content they can benefit from, in a very fashionable manner. Make sure you have images and videos that are visually appealing and provide the viewer with information that they will be happy to receive and share with others. 
  • Get involved with local Facebook Groups. Your buyers are on Facebook. That’s an absolute certainty. Join local Facebook Groups to interact with the local community and promote your services. 
  • Do a Live Broadcast at least once a month. This allows you to interact with followers directly, get a sense of what your audience is looking for, and showcase yourself as a realtor that is updated to the times. There are many options for live broadcasts, but the most recommended are Facebook Live and Instagram Live.
  • Engage with your audience. Answer questions, provide insight, comment on their posts, and consider showing the “behind the curtains” life of your business. This will make you seem like a real person in the eyes of the buyer instead of just a business. In short, be social. 
  • Participate in our periodic Social Media Classes. We offer Social Media classes for realtors to learn the newest and most relevant practices and techniques to grow their business online. Signup to our newsletter to get updates on our classes. 

It is no secret that these are challenging times. The industry has changed. The old way of doing things is no longer effective and we have all been forced to overcome different levels of adversity. But those that put in the effort to adapt to the new way of conducting business will see the results they desire. 

We, at Title Partners of Florida, write and support the real estate transaction closing, including the issuance of title insurance policies through Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund. We also coordinate searches, title products, and a variety of other services for our clients. Contact us with any questions about our real estate closing services by phone (844) 321-6168 or by email at titleinfo@titlepartnersfl.com.

The Builder Application Survey (BAS) sponsored by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) indicates an increase of 54.1 percent in mortgage applications for new home purchases in June 2020, compared to June 2019. The BAS also indicates a 20 percent increase in regards to May 2020. The registered variation does not take into account any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns.

The BAS provides an early estimate of new home sales volumes based on the application volume from mortgage subsidiaries of home builders across the country; as well as data from other sources. The new home sales volumes estimate can be provided at the national, state, and metro levels. 

Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting, recently stated: “The new home purchase market continues to recover – applications surged 20 percent in June, and although this is not adjusted for seasonal impacts, it is another piece of data indicating that homebuying activity that was delayed by the pandemic in March and April is just being realized later in the season. The fact that applications are up over 50 percent from last June further reinforces that point.” 

Kan also mentioned that the “MBA estimates that new home sales in June increased 15 percent to a seasonally adjusted pace of 774,000 units – which would be the strongest level of activity since January 2020.”

Although the increase in new home mortgage applications and new home sales is a good indicator of a restabilizing market, the tight supply and availability of houses come into question.

In regards to this, Kan added, “We do anticipate that new home construction will speed up to attempt to better meet demand. However, with the low level of homes for sale on the market, the sustainability of the upward trend in home purchase activity will hinge on supply ramping up more rapidly.”

Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, addressing this topic stated “new home construction needs to robustly ramp up in order to meet rising housing demand.”

According to the MBA’s recent Builder Application Survey, new single-family home sales had an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 774,000 units in June 2020. This represents a 15.2 percent increase compared to May’s SAAR of 672,000 units. 

Analyzing from an unadjusted basis, there were 71,000 estimated new home sales in June 2020, constituting a 9.2 percent increase from 65,000 estimated new home sales in May.

The breakdown of the new home mortgage loans is as follows: 65.1 percent in conventional loans, 22.5 percent in FHA loans, 1.0 percent in RHS/USDA loans, and 11.2 percent in VA loans. 

The average loan size of new homes also recorded an increase of over $4,500, growing from $332,702 in May to $338,589 in June. 

Homebuying activity is seeing steady growth, as May’s BAS report also indicated a spike in new home mortgage applications in regards to May 2019, and the report from June has solidified this fact. 

We, at Title Partners of Florida, write and support the real estate transaction closing, including the issuance of title insurance policies through Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund. We also coordinate searches, title products, and a variety of other services for our clients. Contact us with any questions about our real estate closing services by phone (844) 321-6168 or by email titleinfo@titlepartnersfl.com.