Luxury Home Market is Silver Lining Today

October 11, 2011

In every economic downturn there is a silver lining. And in housing, it continues to be the luxury home market.

But you need to move fast if you want a deal. Foreign buyers have been busy doling out cash on discounted properties brought on by the housing crash and the deals on a piece of luxury won’t last.

In Manhattan, a shrinking inventory means if you want a place to live for under $1 million, it will need some renovation. In Miami, prices are starting to rise as the economy slowly recovers and luxury properties are selling quickly. Realtors in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Malibu, California, report inventory on luxury homes is dropping, although prices continue to be stable.

From March 2010 to March 2011, the National Association of Realtors found that international buyers bought more than $82 billion in real estate, up 24% from the previous year.

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Treat your renters like family – they may never move out

October 19, 2010

Whether it’s fallout from the housing market crash or simply that there isn’t enough money to go around, a new survey that shows more than 25 percent of renters have no plans to buy a home means property managers must treat tenants as long-term assets as opposed to transitory income.

Gene Bennett, founder/president of All American Management in Longwood, Fla., says in response to this new shift in behavior companies like his must adapt by re-examining the way they market to and retain tenants.

“With long-term commitments, it makes good business sense to offer added incentives to clients,” Bennett explains. He says it also behooves property managers to beef up customer service since long-term renters offer more positive, stable cash flow.

The aforementioned survey, conducted by Harris Interactive for Trulia, a website service for people looking to buy homes, found 27 percent of renters never plan to buy a home, and two-thirds of those who do plan to purchase one will wait more than two years. When asked what could influence them to buy a home in the next year, the top three responses were the ability to save for a downpayment (47 percent), getting a new job (28 percent), and low or lower interest rates (27 percent).

The survey’s results seem to mirror what is happening in America’s home-flipping market as well. With even less buyers for homes, according to the National Association of Realtors, only 4 percent of transactions this summer were for homes owned less than a year.


Orlando Real Estate Investing Alive and Well

October 19, 2010

Orlando real estate investor eyes investment market growth

Lenny Layland, founder, and broker/owner of Investorlando Realty based in Longwood, Fla., was one of 45 professional investors invited to attend the Investment Provider Leadership Summit in Phoenix, Arizona last month. For the past 11 years Layland has also run his own private real estate investment fund, Investorlando, Limited.  Layland says, “Real estate is alive and well, regardless of the recessionary climate.  In fact, it is one of the best investment opportunities in years.

“People don’t realize how big this is,” he adds. “It’s even a larger market than I thought, even on the international stage. For example, New Zealand investors at this conference see our prices as dirt cheap and are actively investing in the U.S.”

Layland, who graduated from Miami University with a degree in finance and turned down offers from Wall Street to become an independent investor and broker, has real estate investing in his blood. His parents retired to Florida after years of home investing in the small town of Eaton, Ohio.

Investorlando Realty, and the related real estate investment fund formed in 1999, provides individuals multiple, simple and diversified ways to invest in real estate.   The newly launched brokerage also offers property management, buyer representation, marketing, and consulting for residential, investment and commercial buyers and sellers.

Investorlando offices are located in the historic Longwood Village Inn, which opened as the Waltham Hotel in 1887. It is one of the few remaining 19th century buildings remaining in Florida today and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Is Florida Getting Snubbed?

June 3, 2009

First it was The Associated Press earlier this year that said by reviewing driver’s license applications in Florida, there was a drop of 175,000 applications between 2003 and 2008.  Then United Van Lines’ 32nd annual “migration” study, which tracks where its customers moved from and their most popular destinations over the past 12 months, showed Florida had as many people move out as move in. It made folks wonder whether Florida had lost its allure.

Well, yes and no.  It is no coincidence that following the 2004 hurricane season that saw at least three major storms crisscross the Sunshine State like  a crazed banshee in the matter of six weeks, people may have put off their plans to relocate. While the state’s population actually grew by 2.2 percent in 2005, net migration did fall 13 percent.

But the real reasons Florida has seen its border crossings full of more tumbleweeds than New Yorkers is related to the economy. Dr. Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida, says the recession and the fact that the Dow lost 43 percent at one point, caused retirees to delay plans of moving to the Sunshine State.  “They had to push back their decisions,” the economist explains. “The influx choked up.”  Even worse, the state, like many, stopped producing jobs, so those not at retirement age are also in limbo about their plans to relocate. Throw in the fact that the cost of living has increased since the boom days of Florida migration, and it is easy to see why Florida’s allure may be changing. However, it may be short term. “As the economy recovers,” believes Snaith, “it will pull more migrants into Florida.” He says population growth should soon return to a normal 1.5 to two percent a year.

In fact, Snaith forecasts 2011 and 2012 will be good years for the state, especially the Orlando area, which is predicted to have the highest job growth statewide. Because of that, net migration will not affect Orlando as much since people will move from the coast to the epicenter of growth.

Finally, I leave with this statement by Wayne Archer, director of the Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Florida from a report this past winter in which net migration was being analyzed.  

“There are pessimists who think people are going to pack up and leave Florida, but when I stand outside on these clear winter days, I think ‘they’re not going far.’ As long as people keep moving here, the growth will bring us a correction that you won’t get in industrial states like Ohio, Michigan or Illinois.”

Besides, the beaches are still free, and the water is warm. Surf’s up!


Future is Bright for Housing – Get Out Those Shades

May 6, 2009

Take a guess the age more people are today than any other age in the United States? If you guessed 49, pushing 50, you’re right, according to the folks at the National Association of Home Builders and MetLife Mature Market Institute.  The association recently addressed this age group at the NAHB’s Building for Boomers and Beyond 50+ Housing Symposium in Philadelphia, because this bodes well for the housing industry. These 49-year-olds are next to join the 50-plus market, a demographic that surveys say are posied  to move and will be seeking smaller, aging-in-place homes.

I am not sure why I was so intrigued to learn this age-fact tidbit, but my guess was more in the 20s or 50s. The number two age? Nineteen, which is even better news for housing: In a few years, those college grads will also be seeking their first home, and they, too, will want something smaller, just not necessarily an aging-in-place home.

Let’s look at the sheer overall numbers of the next wave of homebuyers. Greg Logan, managing director for the Orlando-based Robert Charles Lesser Company, notes there are around 76 million baby boomers in the United States and some 88 million representing Generation Y, those born between 1981 and 1999. 

With these two behemoth demographics poised to buy real estate in the near future, some builders are already reacting. K. Hovnanian, according to the builders association, has been downsizing some of its homes, starting as small as 1,100 square feet, down from a minimum of more than 1,500. And there will be a lot of takers.

The point here is that both generations make up more than 50 percent of our people. That equates to more than 160 million consumers on the loose spending money as this recession subsides, and besides just wanting cars and jeans, they will be looking to buy homes. Lots and lots of homes.

Got your shades handy?