Real Estate Monday: Florida Market Strong; Myeloma Awareness Month

Florida Real Estate Continues to Show Strength

Florida Real Estate Continues to Show Strength

It is a recipe for a great market: higher median prices, more new listings, fewer days on the market and a stable level of inventory— that’s what happening right now in Florida, according to stats released last week.

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $165,000 in February, up 10 percent from the year-ago period. And townhouse-condo properties in February had a statewide median sales price of $132,500, up 15.2 percent from a year-ago.

Compared to the rest of the nation, Florida prices seem a relative bargain.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in January, the most recent data available, was $188,900, up 10.4 percent from the previous year, and the national median existing condo price was $188,700, according to the National Association of Realtors.


There were 15,826 single-family home sales closed statewide last month, up 1.5 percent from the year-ago period. And new listings for single-family homes in the Sunshine State in February rose 11.6 percent year-over-year, while new townhouse-condo listings rose 4.2 percent.


Florida’s statewide townhome-condo sales totaled 7,578 last month, down 6.8 percent from February 2013. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales last month: Short sales for condo-townhome properties fell 59.6 percent while short sales for single-family homes declined 51.9 percent, according to the Florida Association of Realtors


Inventory was at a 5.7-months’ supply last month for single-family homes and at a 6.1-months’ supply for townhouse-condo properties, according to the Florida Realtors.


“The majority of results for the residential market paint a picture of a normal growing market,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist John Tuccillo. “The weaker results in sales for both single-family homes and townhouses and condos are solely the result of plummeting short sales. This is actually a good sign since short sales are falling because prices are rising, reducing the number of homes that fall into the potential short sales category.”

Myeloma Awareness Month

Last month, we ran into our good friend Ken Zeno.

Ken is a certified health and wellness coach and a volunteer for the  International Myeloma Foundation. He was also recently diagnosed with this blood cancer.

Ken asked us to raise awareness of this disease and remind people that March “Myeloma Awareness Month.”


Myeloma is the second most common blood cancer affecting 750,000 people worldwide, 100,000 in the United States and 20,000 newly diagnosed cases annually. The majority of patients have never heard of it. Multiple Myeloma is a type of cancer that is caused by malignant plasma cells that proliferate in the bone marrow and can lead to anemia, infections, bone lesions and fractures, vertebral compressions, osteoporosis, severe pain and kidney dysfunction. Since the news reports that Tom Brokaw has Myeloma, there is increasing interest about the disease.


When Ken first heard he had multiple myeloma, in October 2013, he was shocked. He had never heard of Myeloma nor did family or friends. He notes that he has always tried to live a life-long healthy lifestyle, especially since he opened one of the first natural foods markets in Massachusetts in 1970.  Myeloma symptoms can be easily dismissed or confused with other medical conditions and overlooked. In Ken’s case, he experienced extreme fatigue, kidney problems and arthritic-like pain in his joints. After three months of experiencing these symptoms, he saw a Nephrologist due to persistent increasing elevated creatinine levels in his blood. Ken underwent a Kidney biopsy and a subsequent Bone biopsy. The diagnosis of multiple myeloma was confirmed. Increased awareness about myeloma will help our local citizens and medical community recognize the symptoms sooner, leading to quicker diagnosis and treatment.


While there is no cure for multiple myeloma, there are many treatment options, including chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplantation and some novel and emerging therapies. Myeloma patients have a greater chance of survival today than years past due to increasing research in the efficacy of new drugs. For information on myeloma clinical trials see and type in “myeloma” in the search box. Ken is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment to bring the disease into remission. He is also researching evidence-based complementary treatment modalities with a goal to integrate them into his current treatment plan with hopes of guidance from knowledgeable professional healthcare providers. An integrative approach to recovery exemplifies Ken’s perspective towards health & wellness as well as prevention and rehabilitation.


With the support of the International Myeloma Foundation, Ken is an active member of the Boca Raton/Delray Beach, FL Multiple Myeloma Support Group. The group brings together myeloma patients, caregivers and family members to share their experiences and success with treatments and outcomes, as well as coping with side effects and general Myeloma information and resources. Notable Myeloma specialists have been invited to present the latest evidence-based therapeutic approaches to successful remission.  The group meets the first Monday of the month at the Patch Reef Park Community Center. 2000 West Yamato Rd. in Boca Raton, FL (561-367-7035).


Because of the need to increase awareness, The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) is designating “March as Myeloma Awareness Month”. The IMF fosters collaborative research, empowers people through education, provides support for patients and families and advocates for the healthcare needs of Myeloma patients. For information on the IMF call 1-800-452-2873 or

We wish Ken well and thank him for his advocacy and support.



Florida Real Estate Market Showing Continued Strength


Dr. John Tuccillo, chief economist for Florida Realtors, says market is resilient.

Dr. John Tuccillo, chief economist for Florida Realtors, says market is resilient.

More closed sales—check.

Higher median prices—check.

Increased pending sales—check.

All signs point to a sunny outlook for Florida’s housing market, according to the latest data released by Florida Realtors®.


“Throughout the year, we’ve seen Florida’s housing market strengthen, and that positive momentum continued in September,” says 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. “Home values are rising and many homeowners across the state see improving home equity. Those trends are helping to ease tight inventory levels in many areas as people who had been waiting on the sidelines decided to list their homes for sale. September marks 22 months in a row that the statewide median sales prices rose year-over-year for both single-family homes and for townhome-condo properties.”

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 18,490 in September, up 18.8 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written. The local market in Palm Beach County appears even stronger than the state.


Meanwhile, pending sales – signed contracts not yet completed or closed – for existing single-family homes last month rose 10.5 percent over the previous September. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $170,000, up 17.2 percent from the previous year. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.


According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in August 2013 was $212,200, up 14.4 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in August was $441,330; in Massachusetts, it was $345,000; in Maryland, it was $272,895; and in New York, it was $242,000 making Florida an extraordinary value.


Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhouse-condos, a total of 8,279 units sold statewide last month, up 11.4 percent from September 2012. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhouse-condos last month increased 4.6 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties was $130,000, up 23.5 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in August 2013 was $211,700.


Inventory was at a 5.3-months’ supply in September for both single-family homes and for townhouse-condo properties, according to Florida Realtors.


“Not too long ago, the focus was on the strength and longevity of Florida’s housing market recovery, but we’ve moved into a slightly different stage of growth,” says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Now, the focus turns to growth in different segments of the real estate market. For example, it is very difficult to find homes for sale priced under $200,000. Investors have taken whatever has come on the market in this range. However, despite this, inventory has definitely stabilized and appears to be on the verge of rising. More sellers are coming into the market — new listings are up — and investor demand appears to be cooling off a bit, as shown by the fact that cash sales as a percentage of all sales are falling.”


According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.49 percent in September 2013, up from the 3.47 percent average recorded during the same month a year earlier. But despite the rising rates, buyers remain bullish on Florida real estate.

In Palm Beach County, home prices were up 11 percent in September from a year ago, with the median price for existing homes settling in at $250,000.

While looking strong measured against September 2012, prices have leveled off and stayed steady since March, which many realtors say is a good thing and will prevent the market from overheating.

Sales of single-family homes were up a whopping 21 percent over last year, according to the Realtors’ monthly report.

Palm Beach County also saw an impressive increase in the median price for existing condominiums last month. The median price hit $118,500, up 41 percent from a year earlier. But transactions were off 5 percent from a year ago.

Local realtors say that inventory in Palm Beach County is still lacking. That is having an impact on the length of time homes are staying on the market. Homes went under contract in a median 44 days last month, the lowest level in five years.

Interested in the Boca-Delray lifestyle? Contact us for in-depth community information.  We can answer your questions about schools, taxes, crime rates, cultural opportunities and  more. We also work with a trusted network of real estate professionals who can help you find your ideal home. Contact with your questions and needs. No cost, no obligation, just real information from people who have lived, worked and raised our families in Boca Raton and Delray Beach.

International Sales Important for Florida Real Estate


International sales growth strong in Florida

International sales growth strong in Florida

Florida real estate is a hot commodity for foreign buyers.

International real estate deals made up 8 percent of all existing homes sales in Florida over a one-year period ending in July 2013, according to Florida Realtors®’ recently released “2013 Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida.”

By dollar volume, international real estate transactions made up 9 percent of sales over the same period.

The report is based on an annual study done by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) in cooperation with Florida Realtors. A total of 977 Realtors responded to this year’s survey conducted July 9-Aug. 16, 2013.

For the study, foreign buyers were defined as non-resident foreigners – individuals who purchase property in the U.S. but live here only part of the year. These buyers typically use the property as a rental unit, vacation unit or both.

The international real estate market is important to Florida. Nationwide, 61 percent of all reported foreign sales take place in five states: Florida, California, Arizona, Texas and New York, according to NAR’s larger study on international homebuyer activity in the U.S. Of those five states, Florida has the largest share: 23 percent of national sales to foreign buyers closed in the Sunshine State.

For the 12 months ended July 2013, existing home sales in Florida – single-family homes, townhomes and condos – accounted for 327,350 transactions worth $74 billion dollars. Of that total, there were 22,572 transactions worth $6.4 billion dollars to foreigners.

Here are some highlights of the report:

  • Canadians lead the way (30 percent of total Florida international sales) as the largest source of buyers, followed by Venezuela (8 percent), Brazil (7 percent), and the U.K. (6 percent). Boca Raton has seen a surge in Brazilian buyers according to local realtors.
  • Two in three (63 percent) of Realtors in Florida have international clients, compared to the national average of 27 percent.
  • 80 percent of surveyed Realtors said that international clients found Florida property less expensive than similar property in their home country. Overall, foreign buyers say the U.S. residential housing market provides a good value.
  • 84 percent of international transactions are cash sales
  • International buyers had a preference for detached single-family homes (47 percent of Florida foreign sales), followed by townhouses (11 percent) and condominiums (34 percent).

Another emerging trend is the number of Asians who are investing in Florida real estate. While still lagging Canada, Brazil and Venezuela, a growing number of Chinese and Japanese buyers are discovering Florida. So far, the trend seems to be seen more in Fort Lauderdale and Miami than in Boca Raton or Delray Beach but experts say it’s only a matter of time before foreign buyers discover the quality and value of Palm Beach County.




All Cash Deals Driving Market

Cash buyers are flocking to Florida

Cash buyers are flocking to Florida

When it comes to Florida real estate, cash is king.

The Sunshine State led the nation in July in the percentage of “all cash” home sales.

In fact, a whopping 66 percent of home sales were all cash deals, a new report shows. Real estate experts call the rate “astounding” and the trend is being fueled by investor groups, international buyers, landlords and those seeking vacation homes.

The high rate of all cash deals is putting a crimp on entry-level home buyers who are still having some difficulty obtaining mortgages. Sellers and realtors are opting for all cash deals rather than wait for appraisals, mortgage approvals and other issues associated with those seeking FHA mortgages.

Cash sales made up 57 percent of Florida’s home sales a year ago and 61 percent of all sales in June of this year, according to real estate research company RealtyTrac.

That trend rose again to 66 percent in July. Realty Trac executives called the trend astounding.

Only Nevada—another hard hit state in the recession–and Maine compare with Florida’s numbers.

In Nevada, 64 percent of deals are all cash. In Maine, a popular vacation home destination for Floridians, 60 percent of homes were sold for all cash.

In Nevada, another trend is beginning to take shape. Some underused hotels are converting a portion of their units to condo’s which are attractive to overseas investors, especially Chinese who enjoy gambling.

The hotel market in Florida continues to be robust, but the idea of condo-hotels, popular before the real estate bust in 2007-08, does not seem to be making a comeback.

Brevard County in Florida, home to Daytona Beach led the state with 70 percent all cash deals in July.

The Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach market, which includes Boca Raton and Delray Beach, was second in Florida with 69 percent all cash deals in July.

A deeper dive into the numbers suggests that large institutional investors such as private equity firms are beginning to seek out other states for their purchases. Only 14 percent of the cash deals were from institutional investors, according to Realty Trac.

Most of the all cash deals now seem to be driven by smaller investors seeking vacation homes, retirement homes or homes that can be fixed up and rented for income.

While some experts are concerned about the entry level buyer, others say the activity is helping the market by flushing out inventory and creating new demand.

Indeed, residential homebuilding in Boca-Delray appears to gaining steam with GL Homes, Ansca and others entering the market and custom builders focusing on hot neighborhoods including the beach area in Boca-Delray and the red hot Lake Ida market.