Karen A. Sweatlock
April 26th: Taste of Collier at Bayfront
April 27th- May 10th: ArtsNaples World Festivals, various locations
May 9th: The Great Dock Canoe Races, race starts at The Dock at Crayton Cove
Average rate on 30-year mortgage drops to 3.75%
Average long-term mortgage rates have fallen for the first time in four weeks and remain near historic lows reached in May 2013.
Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday that the national average for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.75 percent from 3.80 percent last week.
The rate for a 15-year mortgage, popular with homeowners who refinance, fell to 3.03 percent from 3.07 percent last week.
A year ago, the average 30-year mortgage stood at 4.28 percent and the 15-year mortgage at 3.32 percent. Mortgage rates have remained low even though the Federal Reserve in October ended its monthly bond purchases, which were meant to hold down long-term rates.
Economic weakness around the world has lured global investors to the relatively strong U.S. economy. They’ve bought Treasurys and pushed the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note down to 2.11 percent from 2.79 percent a year ago.
The Fed continues to keep short-term rates near zero. Fed Chair Janet Yellen delivered the central bank’s semiannual economic report to Congress last week and indicated that the Fed is still willing to be “patient” before raising short-term rates.
The Fed is worried about weak wage growth and inflation well below its 2 percent target.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.
The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was 0.6 point, unchanged from last week. The fee for a 15-year mortgage also remained at 0.6 point.
The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 2.96 from 2.99 percent. The fee was stable at 0.5 point.
For a one-year ARM, the average rate was unchanged at 2.44 percent. The fee remained at 0.4 point.
View article here.
The secrets to selling a second home
March 24, 2015 – According to the National Association of Realtors®, vacation-home sales in 2013 increased nearly 30 percent, while sales of investment homes slipped 8.5 percent. Real estate agents specializing in the vacation-property market – a big niche in retirement-friendly Florida – say that these buyers have a different style than clients seeking a place to live full time.
They stress the importance of conveying the story of a home, the surroundings and the community if clients are looking for a second home – “Doing whatever it takes to get that ‘magical’ picture to portray the feeling of the property … is still probably the single most important thing when it comes to marketing,” says Joe Burns of Country Homes Real Estate in New Hampshire.
Julie Toon Timms of Hilton Head Island Real Estate Brokers in South Carolina emphasizes the need for patience.
“With a vacation or investment property, it’s not a matter of needing a roof over one’s head, and I find many buyers taking a long time, sometimes years, before making the final decision,” she says.
Timms says building a genuine relationship is crucial. Since many vacation-property owners rent out their homes, agents should provide them with data on cash flows and rates of return, among other information.
Additionally, agents should have first-hand experience living in the area, a deep-seated love for the community, and the ability to truly listen to the wishes of their clients in order to succeed in the vacation home niche.
View Article here.
Pending home sales rise 3.1% in Feb. despite weather
March 30, 2015 – In February, pending home sales increased to their highest level since June 2013 as sizeable gains in the Midwest and West offset smaller declines in the Northeast and South, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 3.1 percent to 106.9 in February from a slight downward revision of 103.7 in January. It’s now 12.0 percent year-to-year – since February 2014’s 95.4.
The index is at its highest level in almost two years, since June 2013 (109.4). Pending sales have increased year-over-year for six consecutive months and remained above 100 – considered an average level of activity – for the 10th consecutive month.
“Pending sales showed solid gains last month, driven by a steadily-improving labor market, mortgage rates hovering around 4 percent, and the likelihood of more renters looking to hedge against increasing rents,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “These factors bode well for the prospect of an uptick in sales in coming months. However, the underlying obstacle – especially for first-time buyers – continues to be the depressed level of homes available for sale.”
According to NAR’s monthly Realtors Confidence Index, the percent share of first-time buyers increased slightly for the first time since November 2014, rising from 28 percent in January to 29 percent in February.
“Several markets remain highly competitive due to supply pressures, and Realtors are reporting severe shortages of move-in ready and available properties in lower price ranges,” says Yun. “The return of first-time buyers this year will depend on how quickly inventory shows up in the market.”
The Pending Home Sales Index in the Northeast fell 2.3 percent to 81.7 in February, but it’s 4.1 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest, the index leaped 11.6 percent to 110.4 in February. It’s now 13.8 percent above February 2014.
Pending home sales in the South decreased 1.4 percent to an index of 120.2 in February, but they remained 10.8 percent above last February. The index in the West climbed 6.6 percent in February to 102.1 and is now 18.3 percent above a year ago.
NAR forecasts total existing-homes sales in 2015 to be around 5.25 million, an increase of 6.4 percent from 2014. The national median existing-home price for all of this year is expected to increase around 5.6 percent. In 2014, existing-home sales declined 2.9 percent and prices rose 5.7 percent.
View the article here.
380 Sharwood Drive
River Oaks of Palm River
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163 Westwood Drive
Palm River Estates
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492 Saddlebrook Lane
Horse Creek Estates
213 Viking Way
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330 Country Club Drive