Believe it or not, things are picking up in the real estate world. They may not be gangbusters and overinflated like the years we saw before, but houses are selling. If you are thinking about moving, you may want to take advantage of the peak summer selling season.
Here are some positive things that will help our market:
• The Navy is MOVING a base from Brunswick, Maine. These are typically S3 pilots who love Jacksonville. They have lived in high cost areas like San Diego, and they would love to make Jacksonville their last tour of duty. From what I understand from my military clients, they will be moving these squadrons down in phases over the next 18 months or so. You may have seen the huge hangers at NAS JAX. Granted, some of these servicemen will rent, but once they suck up that inventory, they will buy, especially if they plan to be here for a long period of time. They love Clay County and what it has to offer for their families.
• The next thing that is going to help the real estate market is that the builders are not building spec homes. In the prime of the market, they would build homes and hope people would come and buy. This summer, this is not the case. The builder inventory is shrinking and they would rather build from the ground up to reduce their risk.
• Next is that interest rates are well below historical levels, as they are hovering on average about 6%, and the FHA loan limits have been raised to $387,000. This means that a buyer can put down 3% on a mortgage and not have to take a higher interest rate.
• Prices are back to 2004-2005 prices. If you did not buy during those times, you could just pretend the boom years did not happen and take advantage of the great deals that people are offering. Of course, if you are happy in your home, it would not be a great time to move, but if personal circumstances or life changes have made you start to think this would be a good time to move, you may want to think about it. You may actually be making more money than you thought by selling because you will be upgrading your lifestyle.
• The Tax portability law was passed in November. What does this mean to you? It means that you can move and take your current assessed value and roll it over to your new house. I can not tell you how much you will save exactly, as it is complicated, but it will make the new taxes less expensive for current Florida residents. You can call the Clay County Property Appraisers office to get what your new tax rate will be.
The hard things about this market are real
• You have to be priced right. The banks are scared and not willing to lend money for homes that are over valued. Even if you get a buyer that loves your house and is willing to pay a price above the current comparables, the banks will shoot the deal down. If you are not willing to play in the market then it is a good time for you to sell.
• You have to make your home stand out. The difference between a home that has been de-cluttered, freshened up and perfectly show ready and one that is filled with knick knacks, family treasures and clutter matters greatly. Is this going to get you more money? I can not promise you that, but it will make your home move to the top of the list of the thousands of homes on the market.
• In Clay County, there are 2,240 homes on the market. 259 are pending and 631 have sold since January 1 2008. What people don't realize is that 323 of the houses on the market are in what we call a short sale, foreclosure or bank-owned status. This means that the bank may or may not have agreed to sell the house for less than the seller owes. There are many sellers that are just testing the waters. They don't really care if their house sells or not, but if someone brings an offer, they might sell. The other real homes on the market are the relocation folks, people that have to move and investors that are getting out of the market. These tend to be priced to sell, and they have a goal to get out now.
So if you are thinking about selling or taking advantage of this current real estate market, now may or may not be the right time for you. But how many times in the boom times did you say...... I should have bought 5 years ago.