Broward County, which includes the city of Fort Lauderdale, is one of the fastest-growing, and more economically and socially-diverse regions of the state of Florida. It Fort Lauderdale has one of the largest marinas in the world, as well as having one of the most popular beaches in the US.
Tourism and recreation are economic mainstays, along with the entry of newer businesses like technology and manufacturing. The city's more notable manufactures include boats and yacht builders, and there is a wide variety of small businesses, along with the presence of major US retailers and corporations. The area also has a sizable community of retirees and foreign residents.
Home Prices Continue To Drop County-wide
It's a fact today that many would-be home buyers are still quite reluctant to commit because of rising consumer costs of living in South Florida, along with the continuing uncertainty of property insurance and taxes, and the dark clouds brought about by the US housing slump.
According to South Florida realtors, buyers are, in many cases, making low-ball offers, regardless of a home's condition. Analysts say that many buyers are all convinced that the market's a disaster, but they can't separate the houses that are overpriced from the ones that are well-priced, which is kind of frustrating.
For Florida's overall housing markets, existing home sales went down by 25 percent in February from a year ago and the median price of $198,900 was off 16 percent. Broward County's median price also slid by 15 percent to $307,700, which represent the biggest percentage drop since the state Realtors group began tracking statistics in 1994.
What’s Happening In The National Front That May Affect Local Buyers
On the national front, existing home sales however posted an unexpected upswing in February, which could be an indication of more assertive price-cutting by sellers in some parts of the US, such as the Northeast. However the National Association of Realtors also noted that the median price for homes and condos fell 8 percent to $195,900, which is the biggest year-over-year reduction on records that go back to 1999. The median means half sold for more, half for less.
The US Federal Reserve Bank has been initiating significant measure to fix the US housing and credit woes. The Fed's board has axed interest rates by around six times since September of last year, and the central bank is also freeing up billions of dollars at mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , as well as infusing $200 billion into the financial markets. These moves should allow the largest financial institutions in Wall Street to put up troubled assets as collateral for loans, and utilize the new capital to make money by selling mortgages and then pay back the loans up to 28 days later.
With the government's infusion of needed funding, the government-backed mortgage agencies should be able to buy more mortgages, and would lead to a drop in mortgage rates, and lead the way to improving home sales nationwide, analysts are optimistically noting. However, the industry’s observers are not as optimistic that the Fed's actions will make banks more willing to lend money.
Meanwhile, back in the housing markets of South Florida, real estate brokers are saying that they've seen activity pick up in the past few weeks as the spring home-selling season quickly approaches. Some surmise that it's in response to the new property-tax amendment, which allows homeowners in the state to take their accrued property-tax savings with them when they transfer to another home within the state.
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