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Florida Real Estate News

How Much Does Curb Appeal Affect Home Value?

A great looking home front can boost selling prices 7%, according to a university study – and up to 14% in markets with a higher inventory of listings.

NEW YORK – Homes with high curb appeal tend to sell for an average 7% more than similar houses with an uninviting exterior, according to a joint study by the University of Alabama and the University of Texas at Arlington. Further, the premium rises as high as 14% in slower real estate markets with greater housing inventory, finds the study, which was published in the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics.

Researchers examined Google Street View photos and sales data from 88,980 properties in the Denver metro area to find how much curb appeal matters to a home’s value.

In addition, the researchers found that the curb appeal of neighboring properties also can impact a home’s value. The appearance of the yard next door accounts for about a third of a home’s overall premium, the study notes.

It’s considered common knowledge that curb appeal affects a home’s value, but quantifying the financial impact is a challenge, said Sriram Villupuram, senior author of the study and an associate professor at UT Arlington, to The Wall Street Journal. “It’s observable, but not quantifiable,” Villupuram said.

The researchers manually scored a set of properties using Google Street View on a scale of one to four (one indicates lowest curb appeal; four indicates highest). Researchers considered it “low curb appeal” if a property had blemishes, like a broken pavement or overgrown grass. Homes were considered to have high curb appeal if they included features like well-kept lawns and professional landscaping.

Many appraisers evaluate a home based on interior features like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage and home improvements. But Villupuram told the Journal that the study’s ultimate goal is to create an algorithm that could be used to automate assessments of curb appeal. Villupuram says that could make it easier for large investors, banks and institutions to include such assessments in their property appraisals.

Source: “Selling Your Home? It’s What’s on the Outside That Counts,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 23, 2020) [Log-in required.]

© Copyright 2020 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

disappearing-dome-homes-are-casualty-of-eroding-beaches
Florida Real Estate News

Disappearing dome homes are casualty of eroding beaches

As sea level rises and erosion eats away at coastal landscapes, we’re starting to see the casualties of climate change. In southern Florida, that’s particularly true with the number of critically eroded beaches rising every year.

On Marco Island, a small barrier island off the cost of southwest Florida, a curious architectural feature has been lost to the ocean. The “Dome Homes,” a series of domed concrete houses, were at one point a vision of future sustainability. Bob Lee, a builder from Tennessee, built the unusually shaped house in the mid 1980s as a vacation home.

The house was ahead of its time in some ways; Lee built the house without electricity, instead relying on solar power. A rainwater capture system was used for drinking, bathing, and other chores. “Daddy was just trying to build something that could withstand the weather,” Lee’s daughter Janet Maples told The Weather Channel.

The utopian vision was no match for the ocean. Despite being built a long walk from the beach, persistent beach erosion allowed the water to creep up to the home, eventually submerging the white structure in the ocean. Two domes have since completely collapsed into the water.

The home was deemed uninhabitable in 2007, and jurisdiction over the domes is now with the state since they are in the water rather than on land. Whether they will be completely destroyed is undecided, but for now, the domes are a particular breed of climate change disaster porn.

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Florida Real Estate News

Consumer Confidence Rises Again in Jan.

The index tracking attitudes about the current economy rose the most, from 170.5 to 175.3. But the longer-term outlook also rose to 102.5 from last month’s 100.0.

NEW YORK – The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in January, following a moderate increase in December. The Index now stands at 131.6, up from 128.2 (an upward revision) in December.

The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – increased from 170.5 to 175.3. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – increased from 100.0 last month to 102.5 this month.

“Consumer confidence increased in January following a moderate advance in December, driven primarily by a more positive assessment of the current job market and increased optimism about future job prospects,” says Lynn Franco, senior director, economic indicators, at The Conference Board. “Optimism about the labor market should continue to support confidence in the short-term and, as a result, consumers will continue driving growth and prevent the economy from slowing in early 2020.”

Current conditions: Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved in January. Those claiming business conditions are “good” increased from 39.0% to 40.8%, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased, from 11.0% to 10.4%.

Consumers’ appraisal of the job market also improved. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” increased from 46.5% to 49.0%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined, from 13.0% to 11.6%.

Future conditions: Consumers were also more optimistic about the short-term outlook. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months was virtually unchanged at 18.8%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen declined from 8.8% to 8.4%.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was more upbeat too. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 15.5% to 17.2%, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined from 13.9% to 13.4%.

Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement declined from 22.7% to 22.0%, while the proportion expecting a decrease was virtually unchanged at 7.7%.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was Jan. 15.

© 2020 Florida Realtors®

some-luxury-home-features-becoming-standard
Florida Real Estate News

Some ‘Luxury’ Home Features Becoming ‘Standard’

Builders say some the home elements that were considered upgrades only a few years ago are a standard element of most new home construction today – items such as laundry rooms, walk-in master closets and low-emissivity (low-e) windows.

LAS VEGAS – First-time and repeat buyers say they’d rather have a smaller home with high-quality amenities than a bigger property with fewer such features, according to a survey the National Association of Home Builders released during the International Builders’ Show last week in Las Vegas.

NAHB’s report, titled “What Home Buyers Really Want,” identified the following features as being most desired by both segments of buyers.

  • Laundry rooms
  • Energy Star–rated windows
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Walk-in pantries
  • Patios
  • Ceiling fans
  • Kitchen double sink

Builders report that designers are including flexible spaces that add greater functionality to laundry rooms. They’re also creating more outdoor spaces to seamlessly integrate indoor and outdoor living.

The survey also uncovered the most likely features that single-family homebuilders say is becoming standard in most new homes built today, including

  • walk-in master closets
  • low-emissivity (low-e) window
  • laundry rooms

Builders say they’re also more likely to add energy efficient features, such as lighting, programmable thermostats and Energy Star-rated appliances.

The open design concept, along with great rooms and 9-plus-foot ceilings on the first floor, is also becoming common in newly built homes, the survey finds.

Source: National Association of Home Builders

© Copyright 2020 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Home_Price_Gains_Accelerate_Amid_Smaller_Supply_of_Homes
Florida Real Estate News

Home Price Gains Accelerate Amid Smaller Supply of Homes

S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller: The 20-city home price index rose 2.6% year-to-year in Nov. – an increase from the 2.2% year-to-year recorded in Oct.

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home prices rose at a faster pace in November than the previous month as lower mortgage rates and a sharp drop in available properties have pushed would-be buyers to bid up home values.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 2.6% in November from a year ago, up from a 2.2% annual gain in October.

Price increases remain modest: They fell to a seven-year low in July before picking up last fall. The number of homes for sale plummeted 8.5% last year to 1.4 million. That represents a three-month supply at the current sales pace, the lowest on records dating to 1982.

And mortgage rates fell to a three-month low last week and are far below their levels of a year ago. That helps make purchasing a home more affordable, even as home prices rise nearly at the same pace as wages.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage declined to 3.6% last week, down sharply from 4.45% a year ago. That partly reflects the impact of the Federal Reserve’s cuts to its short-term interest rate, as well as a lower yield on the 10-year Treasury note, a benchmark rate that influences mortgage costs.

Home prices rose the most in November in Phoenix, where they increased 5.9%, followed by Charlotte with 5.2% and Tampa at 5%. All 20 cities reported price gains.

Home values have fully recovered from the housing bust and have moved even higher. The 20-city index is nearly 6% above its 2006 peak, though that figure is not adjusted for inflation.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press, Christopher Rugaber. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

how-can-you-dominate-the-luxury-short-term-rentals-niche
Florida Real Estate News

How Can You Dominate the Luxury Short-Term Rentals Niche?

To maximize your number of weekly bookings, luxury rentals must grab the viewer and make them want to visit. List amenities, optimize SEO and use professional photos.

NEW YORK – The first step when marketing a luxury short-term rental property is to craft a strong description that includes relevant keywords and a compelling narrative that describes the property.

Professional photographs that accompany a listing description should convey the home’s amenities – and invest in drone and aerial photographs to fully capture the rental.

Make the most of your listings with search engine optimization (SEO), which is even more important for short-term rentals because they must be continually rented. To do this, include relevant keywords in all listings and descriptions, as well as title tags, metadata and alt tags – and verify the accuracy of all spelling and grammar.

In addition, you should stage the house so that it’s ready for guests at all times and make an effort to create welcoming outdoor living spaces that reflect the area’s lifestyle.

The listing description should include an inventory of all property amenities and consider providing a video tour of the property that highlights the most alluring touches along the way.

Finally, work with the property owners to ensure the home is well-maintained at all times, including landscaping, cleaning, repairs and updates.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Blog (01/13/2020)

© Copyright 2020 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

2020_Real_Estate_Trends_What’s_Ahead_for_Fla_Real_Estate?
Florida Real Estate News

2020 Real Estate Trends: What’s Ahead for Fla. Real Estate?

Real estate helps drive growth, so insight into 2020 trends is valuable to Realtors and policymakers who should plan to attend the Florida Realtors’ event on Jan. 23.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Real estate helps drive Florida’s growth, and figuring out what lies ahead in 2020 is a key question for policymakers, residents and Realtors. That’s the focus of this year’s Florida Realtors® 2020 Real Estate Trends summit, which also will feature a panel discussion on the latest trends in construction and development.

Two highly respected economists – Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor and Dr. Sean Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness – will share their insights at Florida Realtors 2019 Real Estate Trends on Jan. 23, 2020, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tickets are not required. The session is a highlight of Florida Realtors’ annual Mid-Winter Business Meetings, which take place from Jan. 22-26, 2020, at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, 6677 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Fla., 32821.

Snaith will provide a thorough economic outlook for Florida and its diverse metro areas, while O’Connor will focus on the Sunshine State’s real estate market. He will recap how 2019 ended and share his expectations for the year ahead.

“Unexpectedly low mortgage rates were the big story in last year’s housing market, leading to more home sales across Florida than originally anticipated,” O’Connor says. “Meanwhile, home prices continued to march upward throughout the year, increasing affordability challenges in several markets around the state. The inventory of homes for sale remains low and builders are still unable to satisfy the demand driven by Florida’s strong, vibrant economy.

“Our primary focus at Florida Real Estate Trends 2020 will be to explore which of these trends will continue throughout the course of the next 12 months.”

Following the economic presentations, a panel of homebuilders and commercial real estate experts will share their 2020 outlook. Moderated by Jennifer Quinn, an economist and director of economic development for Florida Realtors, the panel includes Kristine Smale, who heads up the Meyers Research Advisory Team; Matt Orosz, co-president of Hanover Family Builders; and Brad Fess, owner of NuDesign Builders Inc.

The panelists will discuss topics such as the anticipated pace of new building in 2020 and the expected price ranges of the new builds, as well as obstacles hindering the development of affordable housing.

“Realtors and anyone interested in Florida’s future should attend the upcoming Real Estate Trends event,” says 2020 Florida Realtors President Barry Grooms, a Realtor and co-owner of SaraBay Suncoast Realty Inc. “The information you’ll gain will provide valuable insight for your business in the months to come.”

© 2020 Florida Realtors®

Florida Real Estate News

Number of U.S. Renters Passes 100M in Last Decade

1 in 3 (34%) Americans are renters, according to RentCafé, and since 2010, the number of U.S. renters has increased twice as fast as the number of U.S. homeowners.

NEW YORK – A decade after the Great Depression, the economic landscape has changed significantly. RentCafé, a nationwide internet listing service, claims renter rates have climbed across the country as more and more Americans now choose to rent instead of own.

According to the company’s decade report, the renter population became more than 100 million strong after a decade of sustained growth, as the number of American renters reached 108.5 million in 2018, up from 99.4 million in 2010.

The company claims there are 74% more renters today than there were in 1960, with their numbers growing by 46 million since that time period.

Renters make up 34% of America’s general population; and on a national level, the number of renters has increased two times faster than the number of homeowners since 2010, climbing by 9.1% and 4.3%, respectively.

By 2019, 20 U.S. cities made the switch from a homeowner majority to a renter majority, pushing the share of renter-majority U.S. cities from 28% to 32%, according to the company.

As renting becomes a more popular option for housing regardless of age and income, RentCafé data shows more wealthy Americans choose renting over owning. According to the company, the number of renting households that earn more than $150,000 per year has increased two times faster than the number of high-earning homeowner households since 2010, rising 156% and 78%, respectively.

Source: HousingWire (12/18/19) Lloyd, Alcynna

© Copyright 2020 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Florida Real Estate News

UN report forecasts rising seas, temperatures threatening coastal cities

Today’s release of the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC), focused on our seas and frozen lands, underscores the accelerating risks to our planet, especially to coastal cities. Scientists found that low-lying coastal zones, home to 680 million people, or 10 percent of the world’s 2010 population, are under extreme risk of a combination of increased sea level rise, more extreme weather, and more frequent and strong storms.

Without serious efforts to mitigate carbon emissions, the oceans could rise an average of 1.1 meters by 2100, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, which would completely reshape coastlines, plunge major cities underwater, and displace millions. And that’s what scientists can predict; according to Regine Hock of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a coauthor of the report and a glacier expert, “the sea level rise can go way beyond [that] because of this potential instability of the West Antarctic ice sheet.”

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, chair of C40, an alliance of international cities fighting climate change, said the report makes for “shocking reading,” offering more evidence that we’re in a climate emergency city leaders must respond to immediately.

“The world’s coasts provide a home to around 1.9 billion people and over half of the world’s megacities, all of which are in grave danger if we don’t act immediately to prevent rising temperatures and sea levels,” she said in a statement. “Extreme high temperatures, coastal flooding, and more frequent natural disasters are becoming the new normal. Several cities, home to hundreds of thousands of people, are already disappearing underwater. This is what the climate crisis looks like now.”

A For Sale sign pokes out above floodwaters in a Florida street.An apartment for rent sign is seen in a flooded street in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on September 30, 2015.

Rising coastlines and rougher weather

The report, drawn from almost 7,000 papers by over 100 leading climate scientists, expresses virtual certainty that the global ocean has warmed unabated since 1970, soaking up more than 90 percent of the excess heat in the climate system. The rate of warming has doubled since 1993, leading to ocean acidification, deoxygenation, decreased populations of fish and marine life, and a sharp increase in marine heatwaves.

Increased global temperatures have melted polar ice, as well as glaciers around the world; in the western U.S., many small glaciers will disappear in the coming decades, the report notes, impacting agricultural practices and hydroelectric power generation. The Greenland ice sheet is shrinking three times faster than it was a decade ago, and the Antarctic ice sheet is thawing at a rapidly increasing rate; the ice loss between 2007 and 2016 is triple that recorded between 1997 and 2006.

Hotter temperatures and higher oceans mean more and stronger storms, and increasing storm surges and flooding. During a call with press yesterday to discuss the report’s conclusions, IPCC Vice Chair Ko Barrett said the impacts delivered by tropical cyclones and hurricanes have become “significantly worse” due to climate change, in part because these storms are loaded with more rainfall and the resulting storm surge is riding higher due to rising seas. There’s also increasing evidence these storms are stronger and more frequent. Extreme El Niño and La Niña events, which can cause dramatic swings in global weather patterns, are projected to become twice as frequent.

This more extreme weather means that extreme sea level events—historically rare storms that caused extensive flooding once per century—are expected to happen much more frequently, and in some places annually, by 2050.

These accelerating shifts spell increasing risk for those living on or near the ocean. A report last year by the Union for Concerned Scientists, “Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for U.S. Coastal Real Estate,” predicted that 300,000 residential and commercial properties will likely face chronic and disruptive flooding by 2045, threatening $135 billion in property damage and forcing 280,000 Americans to adapt or relocate. The U.S has already experienced a significant rise in billion-dollar weather and climate disasters over the last few years. The SROCC report suggests the number of unprecedented monster storms—Harvey in Houston, Florence in the Carolinas, Michael on the Panhandle, and Maria in Puerto Rico—will become even more frighteningly commonplace.

People rush to find safety and higher ground as floodwaters rush in and inundate a neighborhood.
The more extreme weather predicted in the latest IPCC report means that extreme sea level events—historically rare storms that caused extensive flooding once per century—are expected to happen much more frequently, and in some places, annually by 2050.
 

What can be done?

The report details different emissions scenarios, or “representative concentration pathways,” with the RCP 2.6—an aggressive response to climate change and meeting emissions targets—resulting in less drastic sea level rise than RCP 8.5, a future where no serious mitigation or action is undertaken.

But in addition to immediately adopting emergency measures to reduce carbon emissions, the report recommends that countries prepare today for the physical impact of rising waters: We have to adapt to and manage the changes to the ocean and environment that we can no longer avoid, an effort that will require tens to several hundreds of billions of dollars in investment per year. This includes “hard protection,” such as sea walls and other infrastructure, which the authors suggest can be a cost-efficient response, though one that may not be affordable to many resource-limited areas.

The U.S could do quite a few things to begin addressing the scope of the climate challenge, especially when it comes to coastal flooding and rising sea levels. Our leaders could discuss whether or not to retreat from threatened areas (and make the program to buy-back property in low-lying areas speedier and more efficient), or invest in a massive plan for resilient infrastructure. The nation could strengthen building codes. It could also reform the series of programs, including the National Flood Insurance, FEMA flood mapping, and community development block grants, for rebuilding after storms, which form the backbone of the nation’s response to hurricanes.

But so far, the nation hasn’t engaged in such a serious dialogue. This summer, the National Flood Insurance Program, set to expire September 30, was the subject of competing bills in Congress and a genuine effort to reform. But nothing was passed, and the program is only set to be solvent next month due to a continuing resolution that keeps government programs operating as they were before. With so much residential and commercial property at risk, not to mention neighborhoods and cities, it seems well past time to take action.

The SROCC notes that, while completely accurate projections about sea level rise post 2050 depend on the dynamics of our collective response to climate change, important decisions now around critical infrastructure, coastal protection, and city planning can, with foresight, prove valuable, especially if they’re made with flexible responses in mind. Politicians and planners still have time to make smart decisions to prepare for a future shaped by rougher waters.

“The scientific evidence of the damage that fossil fuel powered societies are wreaking on the natural world is now unequivocal and impossible to ignore,” says Hidalgo. “Fortunately, we also know what needs to be done to prevent complete climate breakdown. Emissions must peak by 2020, and halve by 2030. At least 27 of the world’s largest cities are already on this trajectory, with more than 100 committed to similar levels of ambition.”

Florida Real Estate News

UF: Floridians Remain Confident Heading into the New Year

The Dec. sentiment index rose to 100.1 from Nov.’s 99.4. Many respondents were optimistic about U.S. conditions now and in the future, but a bit less so about their own.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – As Florida’s unemployment rate reached a historic low, consumer sentiment among Floridians increased in December by seven-tenths of a point to 100.1 from November’s revised figure of 99.4. Similarly, consumer sentiment at the national level increased in December.

Among the five components that make up the index, three increased and two decreased.

Floridians’ opinions about current economic conditions were mixed. Views of personal financial situations now compared with a year ago decreased 2.1 points from 94.9 to 92.8 – but these views are divided across socio-demographic groups. Men, people younger than 60, and people with annual income under $50,000 expressed less favorable views while women, people 60 and older, and people with annual income of $50,000 or more expressed favorable views.

Opinions as to whether this is a good time to buy a major household item like an appliance increased 3.2 points from 103.3 to 106.5. This upward trend was shared by all Floridians with the exception of those with income levels above $50,000.

The three components representing future economic conditions were also mixed.

Expectations of personal financial situations a year from now dropped 6.4 points, from 108 to 101.6  a pessimistic view shared by all Floridians.

However, the outlook for U.S. economic conditions over the next year increased 4.3 points from 97.4 to 101.7; and expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next five years increased 4.6 points from 93.2 to 97.8.

Florida began 2019 with high levels of consumer confidence, and April 2019 had the highest level in the last 17 years, contributing to an average of 98.9 in the first half of the year. In August, consumer sentiment dropped significantly due to the ongoing trade war with China, and the average consumer sentiment reading fell to 97.6 in the second half of 2019.

“Notably, the average consumer sentiment in 2019 is one-tenth of a point lower than last year’s average. Despite this slight decline in 2019, overall, consumer sentiment among Floridians remains high,” says Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

As 2019 ends, economic indicators in Florida have remained very favorable throughout 2019, and the prospects for 2020 are encouraging as Florida’s labor market continued to strengthen in the final months of the year. In November, 217,400 jobs were added statewide compared with a year ago, an increase of 2.5%.

Among all industries, education and health services gained the most jobs, followed by leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services. The only industry losing jobs over the year was information. The unemployment rate reached its historic low of 3.1% in November, down one-tenth of a percentage point from October’s rate.

“The year is ending with an overall positive economic outlook and high level of consumer confidence among Floridians. Looking forward, we expect consumer sentiment to remain high at the beginning of 2020,” Sandoval says.

Conducted Dec. 1-26, the UF study reflects the responses of 397 individuals who were reached on cellphones, representing a demographic cross section of Florida.

© 2020 Florida Realtors®

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