I went to hear noted economist Jack McCabe speak about the Florida real estate market yesterday. My firm brought him to Sarasota so he could give his opinions about the Florida real estate market to local sellers, bankers, attorneys, accountants and investors. His opinion was that things will get worse before they get better and that there will be further price declines over the next 2 years.
Last week noted economist Hank Fishkind was in town last week speaking about Florida and Sarasota real estate. His opinions were quite different. I did not hear him speak but many of my associates were present. He stated that the bottom has already set in for many areas of Florida. He painted a much rosier picture.
My personal opinion is to lean more towards Jack McCabe but I am not quite as gloomy. There will be further problems, especially in south Florida with the large supply of condominiums coming on line. However, I am seeing signs of life to the Sarasota market. Fundamentally, there are some positives.
The Canadians and Europeans are looking in Florida because of their strong currency and our weak market. It is the perfect storm for them. I am actively working with several out of country buyers.
Prices have retraced quite a bit. Florida is affordable again.
Mortgage rates are low
The stock market is very volatile right now so some people will shift their assets to real estate.
The property tax bill was passed by the state Florida so there will be some tax relief. How much is unknown at this time.
Loan limits on conventional loans have been raised
Lenders are loosening up a little bit. Getting a loan today is easier than 3 months ago.
We have been in this slow real estate market for over 2 years now. It wonâ€™t last forever.
Speculators are spooked and not coming back anytime soon. You wonâ€™t see another real estate bubble for a long time.
Sellers should not take these reasons as ammunition to keep their ridiculously high asking price. If you want to sell and not sit most of you need to lower your prices. I am still seeing a lot of over priced property out there. Sellers should not be putting their properties up for sale unless they really need to sell and Realtors should not be taking those over priced listings. All of these overpriced listings are adding to the problem. Economists, newspapers and market watchers follow inventory levels. Having high inventory levels receives a lot of newspaper ink which in turn keeps a lot of buyers from taking the plunge.
Despite all of the debate raging as to whether weâ€™ve hit bottomâ€”or notâ€”hindsight is the only way to know for sure. By which time the lowest prices will have already disappeared. If you can comfortably invest with a time horizon of at least three years or more and you are an end user for the property this is a good time to buy.