Homebuyers should rent and wait out the housing boom, experts say; high prices set a record in June
South Florida Sun Sentinel, July 22, 2021, David Lyons
Researchers are urging Florida homebuyers to consider renting while they wait for the state’s overheated market to cool as soaring prices in South Florida hit records in June.
Statewide, they say, homes are overvalued by 21.76%. creating a risk that buyers could get stuck with overpriced homes for significant periods of time until prices eventually ease.
The report found home prices in the Tampa area were the most inflated in the state, selling in June for a 32% premium, up from 28.53% in May. In South Florida, prices were 16.89% above their historical norms, with the Orlando area at 21.19%.
Even though monthly rents for apartments, condos and single-family homes are rising as well, they are not increasing at the pace of the home-buying market, said Eli Beracha of Florida International University’s Hollo School of Real Estate in Miami. He said people searching for a home are better off renting and investing the money they would have spent on home ownership elsewhere.
Thousands in South Florida could face foreclosure with federal protection coming to an end
South Florida Sun Sentinel, July 11, 2021, Rafael Olmeda
Time is running out for thousands of South Florida families who are facing foreclosure on their homes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For some, the nightmare started more than a year ago but was stalled by willingness of government officials to prevent banks from forcing people out during an unprecedented public health crisis. The Trump administration and most states stopped foreclosure and eviction proceedings on federally backed loans back in April 2020, setting expiration dates for their protection that have repeatedly been extended as the COVID crisis continued.
For others, the pandemic kept the foreclosure process from legally beginning — the moratorium on foreclosures kept banks from initiating the lawsuits in the first place, giving homeowners time to catch up or work things out with their lenders.
Now the moratorium, which applies to federally backed, single family homes, is set to expire at the end of this month. It was scheduled to expire June 30 before the Biden administration stepped in and extended it one last time.
Saving up for a home in South Florida?
South Florida Sun Sentinel, July 11, 2021, Amber Randall
Soaring home prices mean the average renter in South Florida now needs 17 years to save up for a down payment to buy a house — far longer than many places in the country, a new analysis shows.
The average nationwide is a little over 13 years, according to Zillow, an online real estate marketplace.
Soaring real estate market is killing dreams of buying a home — and even squeezing renters
South Florida Sun Sentinel, June 26, 2021, Amber Randall
The dream of buying a home is fading for more people in South Florida as the hot real estate market sends prices soaring out of reach.
Just 18% of households in Palm Beach County can afford the median price of a home, according to an assessment by the Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center at Florida International University. The numbers are even bleaker to the south, where about 15% of Broward County households and 9% of Miami-Dade County can afford the median home price.
The situation is not much better for renters, who are struggling to write larger monthly checks, take on roommates or search for a cheaper place to live.
Rents are rising as homebuyers get priced out of the market
South Florida Sun Sentinel, June 13, 2021, Amber Randall
Home shoppers who need a mortgage are finding it harder and harder to land a house when competing against buyers — many from out of state — who are offering huge amounts of cash. That’s driving many people to rent, which only drives rents even higher.
Average rents have increased almost 4% in South Florida in the past year, double the increase the year before. Rents could rise an additional 2.5% to 3.5% in the coming year, according to Ken H. Johnson, a real estate economist at Florida Atlantic University.
‘We Can't Raise Rents Fast Enough’: South Florida Multifamily Market Soars (But So Do Costs)
Bisnow South Florida, June 2, 2021, Deirdra Funcheon
In South Florida, where the population is booming and homeownership is out of reach for many, multifamily developers have been able to command high rents in their fully leased apartment complexes. But building new projects is challenging because land is only available between the ocean and the Everglades, and savvy sellers are not letting go of their property easily.
“I can't buy stuff in this market. It's completely out of sorts, in my judgment,” Coral Rock Development Group principal Michael Wohl said during a Bisnow webinar regarding South Florida multifamily May 21.
Construction costs have jumped, and there’s no shortage of competitors in the industry. Amid these market conditions, several multifamily developers said they have been getting creative in all aspects of the business, from site selection to uses to joint ventures.
South Florida counties receiving $189 million more for rental assistance
South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 26, 2021, Ron Hurtibise
More federal assistance money has been approved for renters and landlords in South Florida even as counties struggle to distribute the $165 million they received in January.
Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties will receive another $189 million to help prevent eviction of tenants affected by the pandemic. But documentation requirements have been loosened for this latest round of funding, prompting advocates for low-income renters to hope money can be distributed more quickly.
The first round of funding was part of $25 billion approved by Congress and former President Trump in December. The latest round comes from another $21 billion approved in February as part of the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan in March.
Eligibility requirements for the new funding will remain unchanged: Applicants’ household income cannot exceed 80% of the median household income for their areas. Applicants must demonstrate that they lost income or were hit by increased expenses because of the pandemic. And they must show a risk of becoming homeless if they do not receive help. Money can be applied to past-due rent dating back to March 2020.
South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 26, 2021, Amber Randall
New data shows just how tough it is to buy a home in South Florida.
The region has fewer homes for sale than anytime in the past three years; the median price has increased steadily for a year; and the houses are disappearing faster than anyone can remember, according to data from the Florida Realtors Association..
The trend has been evident for some time, but the Realtor data offers a new perspective.
South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 22, 2021, Amber Randall
More people are choosing to build their own homes in South Florida as bidding wars push prices out of sight and existing homes remain scarce.
Sales for newly constructed homes have surged 113% compared with last year, according to Zonda Home, a market research company for the real estate industry.
It’s a shift escalated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as a newly built home is seen as a simpler, less complicated option than buying an existing home.
In the current torrid market, buyers of existing homes often are forced into bidding against waves of transplants who are arriving with wads of cash. With new construction, a buyer picks a lot, usually for a fixed price, and can customize the home with a developer from there, explained Tim Costello, CEO of Builder Homesite.
South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 18, 2021, Ron Hurtibise
Tenants who are behind on their rent because of the COVID-19 pandemic now can apply for assistance through the state of Florida and possibly get money to their landlords more quickly than if they used a local program.
And that will be useful for many local renters because application portals for assistance programs run by Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties are currently closed while workers process thousands of applications received so far.
The Florida Department of Children and Families began accepting rental assistance applications from tenants and landlords last week through its website, OURFlorida.com, and started processing them on Monday, according to the site.
Applicants without access to the internet can apply by phone by calling 833-493-0594.
South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 17, 2021, Amber Randall
The rising cost of homes in South Florida is chasing some people to other parts of the state.
Some homeowners are cashing in at a profit and moving to more affordable spots like the Gulf coast or farther north on the eastern side, according to moving companies and real estate agents.
To be sure, thousands of people are still streaming into South Florida from the Northeast, Midwest and even California. Florida is expected to gain a little over 300,00 residents a year, according to estimations from the state’s Demographic Estimating Conference.
But Joseph Sabga, president of moving company Bekins South Florida in Fort Lauderdale, said he’s recently been moving more people from South Florida to Tampa, St. Petersburg, Fort Myers, Orlando and the northern parts of St. Lucie County.
Those type of moves are up 108% this quarter compared with the same time last year, at the height of the pandemic, he said.
South Florida’s population growth slowed sharply last year as deaths surged and people moved away, Census data shows
South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 6, 2021, Aric Chokey
South Florida saw dramatic changes to its population trends in 2020 as COVID-19 led to more deaths than births and more people moved out of the area, according to annual data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The swing was most stark in Miami-Dade County, which saw its population decrease for the first time in at least a decade.
The figures come as part of the Census’s annual vintage population estimates, which calculate population based on deaths, births and net migration since the 2010 Census. The estimates are separate from the 2020 Census, the once-per-decade survey conducted last year.
While Miami-Dade, like South Florida’s other two counties, had seen its population growth slowing in recent years, in 2020 it joined several northern counties that saw negative growth in 2020. It’s the first time Miami-Dade’s population shrunk since at least the last Census in 2010.
It seems like everyone is moving to South Florida, but other places are even hotter
South Florida Sun Sentinel, April 25, 2021, Amber Randall
South Florida’s boiling real estate market isn’t the hottest in the nation — far from it.
Yes, prices are rising faster than they have in years. The median price for a home has grown by as much as 50% in some areas compared to the past year, and homebuyers fully expect a bidding war when they find a home.
But on a national scale, South Florida trails many metro areas in terms of inbound residents, rising home values and the number of days a home sits on the market.
Buyers flocking back to condos
South Florida Sun Sentinel, March 24, 2021, David Lyons
Condos are back in vogue in South Florida, lifted by the COVID vaccines, a dearth of homes for sale and a steady flow of migrants from out of state.
Buyers appear to be more comfortable again with tight multiunit living spaces. In Boca Raton, someone plunked down $10 million for a downtown penthouse that won’t be completed until next year. And some purchasers buy sight unseen — clinching deals after viewing their condo layouts virtually.
Homebuyers face stiff competition in South Florida as northerners arrive — with cash
South Florida Sun Sentinel, March 1, 2021, David Lyons
As homebuyers jostle for a dwindling supply of houses in South Florida, local bidders are finding themselves in a growing competition with out-of-state people who are offering cash on the spot.
Brokers are astounded by the increase in out-of-state inquiries pouring into their offices in Florida.
They describe how local buyers have lost out to COVID-driven buyers from New York and other northern states. Many callers on the other end of the line have a pile of cash ready — often the fruit of higher-priced house sales in their hometowns.
For the seller, “it’s a no-brainer — you go with the cash deal,” said Ken Johnson, a real estate economist at Florida Atlantic University. “That’s going to squeeze out locals using financing. You’ve got somebody else using cash.”
Couple that with a diminishing supply of homes to buy in South Florida, and the search for a new home “is getting tougher for everybody,” Johnson said. “Nationally the number of existing homes on the market has fallen off tremendously.
Home prices are surging. And there’s no end in sight.
South Florida Sun Sentinel, February 23, 2021, David Lyons
Homebuyers saw home prices exceeding 10% or more across South Florida during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, as interest rates hit new lows and the numbers of houses for sale sharply dropped off.
The monthslong, rock-bottom interest rates coupled with the heavy demand for homes all fueled the push, experts say. And there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, even though South Florida home prices are well above their historical highs.
Rental assistance update: Money coming soon to strapped tenants and landlords
South Florida Sun Sentinel, February 14, 2021, Ron Hurtibise
Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties are finalizing details of how they plan to dole out millions of dollars to help prevent the eviction of thousands of renters who fell behind on their payments because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The counties plan to begin accepting applications and making payments within the next few weeks.
A spokesman for Gov. Ron DeSantis, meanwhile, said the state will distribute $871 million through the Department of Children and Families instead of the 119 local governments that last year distributed $135 million in rent and mortgage assistance to more than 32,250 Florida households.
Landlords and tenants will be offered help for past-due rent if they agree to mediation
South Florida Sun Sentinel, January 23, 2021, Ron Hurtibise
Renters facing evictions — and the landlords who want their past-due rent — might soon be invited to mediation. The prize if they agree to settle their differences: some of that money approved last month by the federal government to keep renters in their homes.
That’s how Broward County plans to distribute much of the $59 million in emergency rental assistance funding that the county received on Wednesday. It’s Broward’s share of $25 billion approved by Congress and the president last month as part of $900 billion in federal COVID-19 relief.
Renters face rising prices in most South Florida cities. But not everywhere.
South Florida Sun Sentinel, December 28, 2020, David Lyons
If rents for November are any indication, people with an apartment search in mind could be facing rising prices in a majority of South Florida’s large cities.
But rents are cooling in several marquee markets such as Fort Lauderdale and Miami, a national survey shows.
A 37-city survey conducted by RentCafe showed rents for November declined a half percent in Fort Lauderdale to an average of $1,968, with Miami easing by 0.7% to $1,696. But in West Palm Beach, where out-of-town businesses are trolling for locations, and apartment projects are under way, rentals are up by 4.1% to $1,528 on average.
Buying a house in Miami is now more expensive than ever. Broward isn’t much cheaper.
Miami Herald, November 19, 2020, Rebecca San Juan
South Florida outdid itself again. The median sales price for a single-family home in Miami hit $435,000 in October, surpassing last month’s median price of $425,000, a historical high.
The total number of existing home sales rose more than 16% in October 2020 compared to October 2019 sales in both Miami-Dade County and Broward, according to the Miami
Association of Realtors.
The total number of home sales was up more than 12% in September 2020 over September 2019 sales in both counties, the Realtors said. That follows a similar increase in August, which provided welcome relief after the four-month decline in previous months.
Broward is getting a new $30M affordable housing project, thanks to two developers
Miami Herald, October 20, 2020, Rebecca San Juan
A new affordable housing community is in the pipeline for Broward County.
The Coral Gables-based development firms Coral Rock Development Group and the Paragon Group of Florida are building a $30 million affordable housing townhome complex, Highland Oaks, in Pompano Beach, according to a press release. The two-story rental community will have 138 townhouses and 305 parking spaces.
The project spans 10.75 acres at 921 NW Third Ave. Construction is anticipated to start in late 2020 and end by late 2021.
Miami-Dade is one storm away from a housing catastrophe. Nearly 1M people are at risk.
Miami Herald, October 08, 2020, Rene Rodriguez and Yadira Lopez
As the tail end of one of the most active hurricane seasons in history nears, Miami-Dade County appears once again poised to emerge unscathed. The region dodged hurricanes and tropical storms that posed a potential threat to South Florida. But what will happen when our luck runs out?
Housing advocates have long feared that the city is one storm away from disaster; nearly a third of all housing structures in Miami-Dade County built before 1990 are at risk of wind damage, mold contamination and even complete devastation from a hurricane.
According to U.S. Census figures, nearly one million people could be left homeless in a worst-case scenario — the majority of them among the poorest of the county’s residents.
Broward County Total Home Sales Rise in August 2020
Miami Realtors, September 22, 2020, Chris Umpierre
Broward County total home sales surged in August 2020, according to the MIAMI Association of Realtors (MIAMI) and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.
Broward County total home sales jumped 6.7% year-over-year, from 2,895 to 3,089. Broward single-family home sales jumped 16.4% year-over-year, from 1,436 to 1,672. Broward existing condo transactions decreased 2.9% year-over-year, from 1,459 to 1,417.
Strong demand coupled with limited supply continue to drive price appreciation in Broward.
Broward County single-family home prices increased 12.5% year-over-year in August 2020, increasing from $369,750 to $416,000. Existing condo prices increased 13.2% year-over-year, from $176,540 to $199,900.
South Florida rents are declining as coronavirus chases tenants away from downtowns
Sun Sentinel, June 20, 2020, David Lyons
The coronavirus pandemic might be chasing people away from living on top of each other in apartments.
Rents are gradually declining, suggesting that tenants are looking elsewhere for room to work at home and stay healthy.
In 30 South Florida cities, the rent for 62% of one-bedroom units are either flat or declining, according to Zumper, a national apartment search firm. The percentage increases to 69% for two-bedroom prices.
Sun Sentinel, March 3, 2020, by Susannah Bryan
Ordinance aims to protect children. The city that’s made a series of missteps over the years in attempting to corral the homeless has come up with a new way to protect its youngest residents from seeing things that their parents might not want them to see. Homeless people would not be able to set up camp within 1,000 feet of a school or child care facility under a new law being considered by Fort Lauderdale. The ordinance, which is up for a commission vote Tuesday, defines camping as dwelling temporarily on a sidewalk, alley or other public space while eating, sleeping or storing personal possessions. The new law would not take effect until a final vote March 17.