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.

The estimated taxable real estate value rose for most Miami-Dade municipalities and for all Broward county.

The State of Florida performs property appraisals every year in January.  This year, right before COVID-19, the valuation created some agitation in the real estate market. 

The preliminary estimated taxable value increased by 4.6% in Miami-Dade, from $307.2 billion in 2019 to $333.7 billion in 2020. In Broward, it grew by 6.14%, from $199 billion in 2019 to $211.2 billion in 2020. The taxable values will be finalized July 1.

The municipalities with highest overall increase in values including new construction in West Miami. These are municipalities dominated by mid-market housing West Miami 12%, Florida City 11.2%, Hialeah 9.6%, and North Miami 9.4%. The value for existing housing grew, being Hialeah the city with most growth 8%, followed by Florida City 7.6%, El Portal 7.6% and Biscayne Park 7.0%.  

In general, the overall assessment values fell in five upscale municipalities that dominate luxury housing. These municipalities are: Bal Harbour -4.2%, Aventura -3.2%, Key Biscayne -1.5%, North Bay Village -1.5% and Surfside -0.3%.  For existing housing the value fell in the following municipalities that are dominated by luxury housing: Sunny Isles -5.3%, Bal Harbour -4.2%, Aventura -4.1%, North Bay Village -3.3%, Key Biscayne -1.6%, Surfside -1.6% downtown Miami -1%, and Golden Beach -0.1%

The taxable values in Broward had a slight increase for all 31 cities in the county. The increase is credited to three trends in 2019, including population growth, new residential and commercial construction. Marty Kiar, Broward County’s tax appraiser said that there were a lot of properties that exchanged hands.

The most relevant increase occurred in the following municipalities: West Park 9.33%, Lauderdale Lakes 7.32%, North Lauderdale 7.22%, Lauderhill 7.02%, and Oakland Park 6.99%. Lazy Lake had the lowest growth (0.33%).

Kiar says that the bigger increase in West Park happened because a lot of people are moving there, while the lowest increase in Lazy Lake is just because it is the smallest community. It covers only a few blocks, with about 20 to 30 homes.

It is encouraging to know that higher tax values don’t necessarily mean higher property taxes. The property taxes are calculated after counties determine millage rates.

Tom Ringel, a founding partner at the Kendall-based law firm Markowitz Ringel Trusty & Hartog said that, even though the economic downturn, and job losses is making it difficult for some homeowners to afford the increased property taxes, litigation is unlikely. 

Miami-Dade property owners can review their estimated assessed values online at Miami-Dade website, and can file appeals with the county property appraisers. Miami-Dade homeowners can also ask for quarterly payment plans. Perhaps a legislative miracle happens as Kiar said: you never know what can happen – the Florida Legislature may allow us to consider the pandemic for this year or there may be an executive order that would allow us to do so.”

Appealing the assessment of your property may be worth it if you consider the assessment of your property is inflated; however, before moving into that direction, you may want to consider if it is worth or not to request the assessment appeal. In May, Ringel said: “If you think the assessment is unfair, the cost of litigation with attorney fees may be worth it for those $30 million-plus homes, but not for the $600,000 to $800,000 run-of-the-mill houses. The savings won’t be worth it.”   

Hotel owners are already suffering revenue losses from pandemic closures, and may suffer most, Mandler a partner at the downtown Miami-based law firm Rennert Vogel Mandler & Rodriguez, agrees with Ringel. For Mandler it  seems like the hardest hit will be for commercial real estate property owners.

The facts are that the high supply of luxury condos and the decrease in foreign buyers caused a slowdown in the Miami-Dade market. So far, Hialeah real estate increased values in 2020. And according to county property appraisers, new construction prices were higher for both counties before COVID-19.

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.

 

The March 2020 report from the Miami Association of Realtors, shows an increase of sales in the real estate market.  “The Miami real estate market extended its run of solid expansion through March 2020,” said Jorge L. Guerra Jr. the association’s chairman of the board.  “While COVID-19 is expected to temporarily impact home sales on a global level, we remain optimistic the robust fundamentals of the South Florida housing market will minimize the impact and sales activity will resume later in the year, as things normalize and pent-up demand builds.”

Here we show the market  by the numbers

Miami-Dade Broward
Sales

Total increase by 43%  

Single-family increased by 1.6%

Condos increased by .6%

Sales

Total decreased by 0.18%  

Single-family decreased by 1.%

Condos increased by 1.2%

Inventory

Single-family dropped by 1.6%

Condos dropped by 13%

 

Actual Supply

Single-family 5.5 months of supply 

Condos 12.5 months of supply

Inventory

Single-family dropped by 18.6%

Condos dropped by 6.9%

 

Actual Supply

Single-family 3.7 months of supply 

Condos 5.9 months of supply 

Median Prices Growth

Single-family increased by 9% from $351,250 to 382,750

Condos increased by 9.8% from  $244,950 to $269,000

Median Prices Growth

Single-family increased by 6.8% from $365,000 to 390,000

Condos increased by 6.2% from  $2169,525 to $180,000

Luxury Real Estate Market 

Price  

Prices increased for both single-family homes and condos

 

Luxury Transactions  

Single-family transactions increased by 17.1 %

Condos transactions increased by 46.8%  

Luxury Real Estate Market 

Price  

Prices increased for both single-family homes and  decreased for condos

 

Luxury Transactions  

Single-family transactions increased by 18.3% 

Condo transactions decreased by 24.2%

Listing Price

More than 90% of properties were sold for or near the asking price.

Listing Price

More than 90% of properties were sold for or near the asking price.

Cash Transactions

Decreased by 32.4% from 35.6% in March 2019

Cash Transactions

Decreased by 35.9% from 37.7% in March 2019

Before COVID-19, South Florida real estate sales were increasing, and even though the market has slowed down, it is expected for the south Florida real estate market to bounce back.

We are here to offer solutions to our clients, even during COVID-19 we have adapted to the needs of our clients and our industry providing many options for closings following social distancing measures from drive-in curbside closings to remote online notarization.

Remote online notarization offers real estate professionals the benefit to close transactions in which one of the parties is out of town, giving them the opportunity to provide a suitable closing experience.  

The South Florida real estate industry remains active; there are still opportunities to find buyers and sellers. Realtors and brokers are offering virtual showings  and regular showings when it is possible, always following social distancing.  Realtors should be using this time to enhance their social media presence, build their following, and gain interested buyers for now as well as after this pandemic ends. 

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.

 

 

Dear valued clients,

Thank you for being our customer and allow us to help you the very best we can.

At this time of uncertainty, we want you to know we are here to assist you and your clients. We remain open to process your real estate closings.

In an effort to comply with the recommended social distancing guidelines, and prevent the spread of the virus, we are  taking precautions to protect you and the public; and asking our customers, to contact us by phone, so we coordinate the closing process in the safest manner, if necessary we’ll make special arrangements.

We are committed to continue providing quality service. We appreciate your understanding as we all do our part while we navigate during this uncertain time period.

Please contact our office at  1-844-321-6168 with any questions you may have or email us at info titleinfo@titlepartnersfl.com 

We are here for you,

Richard Adams