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Why Buy a Florida Home Now? Large Inventories Offer Options, Say Florida Realtors(R)

Florida’s real estate market has started a new year with the largest selection of homes and condominiums available for buyers in more than a decade. But factor in a continuing inflow of new residents to Florida and that means inventory levels are likely to decline in 2008.

“Buyers have a lot of choices throughout the state,” said Nancy Riley,
a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Pinellas County
and the 2007 president of the Florida Association of Realtors(R) (FAR).
“It’s a great time to buy because there is large inventory.”
While statewide inventory figures are not available, more than 125,000
homes are listed for sale in Florida’s three largest markets, creating
ideal conditions for buyers, according to Riley.
In South Florida, Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger Wooten Maxwell
(EWM) in Coral Gables, says there are approximately 80,000 homes and condos
for sale in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, compared with 64,000 a year
ago, and just 25,000 in late 2005. “South Florida is still growing in
population — a clear sign that we will have more buyers in the future,”
said Shuffield. “We expect the inventory level to fall in 2008 as more
people make their homes here.”
In the Tampa Bay market (Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties)
there were roughly 29,000 homes for sale in late 2007, up from 25,500 in
December 2006. “Buyers have a great selection of homes to choose from and a
once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to get a great value,” said Cynthia
Fazzini, sales associate with Coldwell Banker’s Palm Harbor office, who
compiled the regional sales figures.
More than 26,300 homes are for sale in the greater Orlando area,
compared with 21,300 a year ago, according to MLS figures provided by Randy
Martin, broker-associate with RE/MAX 200 Realty in Winter Park. “There are
plenty of choices out there as sellers are becoming realistic in their
expectations,” Martin says.
While inventory levels are high in most Florida markets, the number of
for-sale homes is expected to begin to decline in 2008. Economist Hank
Fishkind, president of Fishkind & Associates in Orlando, expects Florida to
grow by about 265,000 new residents and add 130,000 new jobs in 2008.
At roughly 2.2 people per household, that would create demand for
roughly 135,000 new homes, helping to soak up excess inventory in many
markets.
Meanwhile, the production of new homes in Florida is expected to remain
flat. Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness
(IEC) at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, expects about
116,000 starts in 2008 compared with 117,000 home starts in 2007.
However, the decline will be much sharper in some markets, such as Lee
County (Naples), where Fishkind is projecting about 5,000 new home starts
compared with 30,000 in the peak year of 2005.
Across the country, National Association of Realtors(R) (NAR) Chief
Economist Lawrence Yun forecasts in NAR’s latest outlook that housing
starts will fall to 1.09 million in 2008, from 1.36 million in 2007 and
1.80 million in 2006. “A cutback in housing construction is a positive sign
for the market,”
he said, “because it will help lower inventory and firm up
home prices.”
The Florida Association of Realtors (FAR), the voice for real estate in
Florida, provides programs, services, continuing education, research and
legislative representation to its 150,000 members in 67
boards/associations. FAR’s Media Center Web site is available at
http://media.floridarealtors.org.
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of five articles focusing
on the advantages Florida’s residential real estate market currently offers
to buyers.
SOURCE Florida Association of Realtors
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Written by Rae Catanese, Realtor

Licensed Realtor since 2002, Tampa Bay’s own Rae Catanese regularly gives expert advice and insider tips about the Tampa Bay real estate market via her blog, The Tampa Real Estate Insider. If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in the Tampa, St. Petersburg or Clearwater areas-then this blog is for you. I typically post articles once a week. To make sure you don’t miss my newest posts, you can subscribe here! Have a real estate question? Email me here!

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