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Good news from Orlando, where an increase in pending sales and higher average sales in 2013 than in 2012 confirms that the only way is up for this section of the Florida market.

Plus, Florida has also attracted the largest share of foreign buyers of any state in the US, confirming the our love affair with the balmy climate and easy lifestyle of the Sunshine State.
 
So, what are the best numbers?

Florida's closed sales of single-family homes were up 11.8 per cent in 2013 over the 2012 figure, with pending sales (where contracts have been signed but not completed) up by an even more impressive 17.6 per cent, according to the latest figures from the Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department.

The state-wide median sale price jumped 15.9 per cent for the same period, to $168,000.
 
Florida's success is set against an improving picture across the US, with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) recording a national increase in the median sale price for single-family homes in 2013 of 11.5 per cent compared to 2012.

The median price reached $197,100 for the year.
 
The figures show that not only are prices in Florida increasing faster than the US average, making it an attractive location for those looking for capital gains from real estate investment, but that they still have some way to go before they reach the national median figure of $197,100.

Prices in the Orlando area also remain well below their median peak of $264,000 in 2007, leaving investors excited about how much further prices may be expected to rise.

These factors help explain the recent surge in foreign investment in Florida's real estate, which data from the NAR Profile of International Home Buyers has shown accounted for 23 per cent of the US total.
 
The figure confirms Florida's position as capturing the largest share of foreign real estate investment in 2013 of any state in the US, with non-resident foreigners accounting for $6.4 billion of investment in the state in 2013.

Interestingly, the NAR data has also shown that foreign investors' desire for 'above-average properties' means that they purchase more luxurious (and expensive) homes than the state's median price.
 
Orlando is one of Florida's most popular areas when it comes to foreign real estate investment.

Orlando has everything - a fantastic climate, world-class theme and water parks and some of the best golf courses in Florida. It's an extremely exciting time for those looking to invest in Florida's real estate market.

The State’s economics are also sound.
 
According to a recent report from BMO Economics, Florida's GDP is expected to increase by 3 per cent during 2014, the state's job growth rate was up 2.6 per cent year on year in December 2013 (against a national rate of 1.7 per cent) and housing starts rose by 35 per cent for the year.
 
By 2020, Florida's population is expected to increase by some 1.9 million people, according to the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

The increase will push the state's population past 21.1 million, making it the third most populous state in the US. The increased population is expected to mean that Florida surpasses the population of New York in the near future.
 
With so many new residents needing housing, along with Florida's record-breaking year for tourism in 2013, it's no wonder that investors across the globe are so excited about the possibilities of the Sunshine State's dynamic real estate sector.

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The national median sales price for residential real estate in the United States in August was $175,000, up 3% from the previous month and up 6% from a year ago, the latest index shows.

It is the 17th consecutive month where median home prices have increased annually nationwide, according to the figures from RealtyTrac, the housing data specialists.

The August report also shows that the median price of a distressed residential property, foreclosed or bank owned, was $116,000, up 1% from the previous month, but down 3% from a year ago. Median distressed prices have now declined on an annual basis for six consecutive months including August.

Properties, including single family homes and condominiums and town homes, sold at an estimated annualized pace of 5.6 million in August, up 2 percent from the 5.5 million pace in July and up 12 percent from the 5.0 million pace in August 2012.

‘Seven years after the housing bubble burst, US home prices are clearly on the rise again, up 23% from the bottom in March 2012 although still 26% below the peak of the housing price bubble in August 2006,’ said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

‘This recovery in home prices and sale volume continues to be driven in large part by cash buyers and institutional investors, as evidenced by the increasing share of sales represented by those two categories in August,’ he added.

All cash purchases represented 455 of all residential sales in August, up from 39% in July and 30% in August 2012. Among metro areas with a population of one million or more, those with the highest percentage of all cash sales were Miami at 69%, Detroit at 68%, Las Vegas at 66%, Jacksonville in Florida at 65% and Tampa in Florida at 64%.
 
Institutional investors, purchasing 10 or more properties in the last 12 months, accounted for 10% of all sales in August, up from 9% in July and 9% in August 2012.
 
Among metro areas with a population of one million or more, those with the highest percentage of institutional investor purchases were Memphis at 31%, Jacksonville at 29%, Atlanta at 22%, St. Louis at 17% and Detroit at 17%.

Short sales accounted for % of all US residential sales in August, up from 14% in July and 8% in August 2012. States with the biggest percentage of short sales were Nevada at 34%, Florida at 29%, Ohio at 23%, Maryland at 21%, at 20% and Michigan at 20%.
Sales of bank owned homes accounted for 10% of all US residential sales in August, up from 9% in July and 9% in August 2012.

States with the biggest percentage of REO were Nevada at 22%, Ohio and Arizona at 17%, Michigan at 16%, Illinois at 14% and California at 14%.

Sales volume increased from the previous month in 39 out of the 42 states tracked in the report and was up from a year ago in 37 states, including Texas up %, Illinois up 29%, Pennsylvania up 28%, Virginia up 26% and Florida up 22%. Notable exceptions where sales volume decreased from a year ago included California which was down 17%, Arizona down 12% and Nevada down 6%.

States with biggest annual increases in median prices include California up 32%, Nevada up 26%, Georgia up 21%, Arizona up 20% and New York up 19%.

Among metro areas with a population of one million or more, those with the biggest annual increases in median prices included San Francisco and Sacramento both up 35%, Riverside-San Bernardino in Southern California and Arizona both up 28%, Los Angeles and Las Vegas both up 26%, and Phoenix up 25%.
 
 ‘The increase in short sales in August in the mid-Tennessee market is due to the banks’ lengthy short sale approval process. We should see this level out in the coming months,’ said Bob Parks, CEO of Bob Parks Realty.

‘The continuous rise in interest rates has had an effect on the housing market with refinancing slowing as it typically does when rates go up. However, we are experiencing a great period of growth and stability in Tennessee,’ he added.

The Northern Utah area is experiencing a much healthier housing market overall, but the levels of demand and the amount of available inventory continue to be out of balance, according to Steve Roney, chief executive officer of Prudential Utah Real Estate covering the Salt Lake City and Park City markets.

‘This is encouraging banks to accelerate their disposal of distressed inventory, which explains the increase of bank owned home sales in our market,’ he explained.

The Tulsa metro area has picked up as evidence by the increasing amount of open house traffic, while the Oklahoma City market has slowed, said Sheldon Detrick, chief executive officer of Prudential Detrick/Prudential Alliance Realty covering the Tulsa and Oklahoma City markets.

‘The Oklahoma housing market experienced a large surge of demand from buyers during the past nine months, and now the market is levelling out and entering back into a more normal and sustainable pattern,’ he added.

The rise in cash sales in the San Francisco market is due to the overall health of the Northern California economy, ‘Investors and home buyers are making cash purchases to be competitive in the buying process and to circumvent the hassles and extra costs of financing,’ said Gretchen Pearson, president of Prudential California Realty.
 
‘We are seeing a normalizing of the market as home price appreciation continues to increase,’ she added.

The Portland metro area is experiencing uncharacteristically high bank owned home sales and short sales due to state laws that affected the foreclosure process. ‘The laws slowed lenders from foreclosing on homes and now those legal challenges have been worked through, so even though the Portland housing market is healing and returning to normal, we are experiencing this rise in foreclosures again,’ said Brian Allen, president and owner of the Windermere Cronin and Caplan Realty Group.

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Source: Property Wire

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Clear Capital, specialist real estate valuers, inform us that in cities across the United States this August, annual growth figures in the housing market showed an increase of just over 1O%, the first double-digit rise since the middle of 2OO6 at the height of the housing price bubble.

However, more data from Clear Capital reveals that prices are still about 3O% under their previous high levels and are roughly the same as they were in 2OO2. It also highlights that from  a peak rate of growth in April 2O13, quarterly gains in lower value home sales (the bottom 25% of the housing market) settled at 2%, down from 4.1% in April this year, making it the lowest rise since spring 2O12. This surely means that moderation will be the preferred path for the sector that kick-started the recovery. Further figures show that regional and urban trends mirrored those at a national level, with mostly expanding quarterly & annual rates of house price growth. The major top performing urban markets saw an average quarterly growth of 3.4% which, when annualised, represents a near 8% fall in the 22% gains of recent times, confirming that moderation will become very much the norm in the future as the strongest markets are aligning themselves for a cooling period.

This is all encouraging news indeed. Propertiesabroad.com interprets this information as an indicator of no current worries of a new housing bubble.

The following is a quote from Alex Villacorta, Vice President of Research and Analytics at Clear Capital:

“With the continued strengthening of home price trends in August, the need for perspective on market activity is even more important. National yearly gains surpassed 1O% for the first reported time since the peak of the market in mid-2OO6. Certainly these trends are exciting, particularly against the backdrop of the seemingly endless housing market woes following 2OO6. It’s been a long, hard road and it’s difficult not to celebrate double-digit growth. It’s important, however, to note a few underlying trends that signal a likely subsiding of these gains over the coming months. Average quarterly gains in the top performing 15 major metros indicate that moderation is already underway, when those gains are annualised & compared to current yearly growth. Additionally, we see the spread between low price tier and top price tier rates of growth are the tightest since the start of the recovery. Considering that the low tier price segment of the housing market led the recovery, the cooling in this segment will likely transfer through to the broader housing market”.

Mr Villacorta also said that when analysed cyclically, the market is heading out of the busy buying season and into the slower autumn & winter months.

“That’s not to say the recovery is slated to stall, but that growth patterns are likely to return to more historical rates of increase, say to between 4% and 5%, rather than aligning with bubble-like growth. At the end of the day, this is still great news for housing. The market today is not irrational or out of balance within the broader context of housing trends but, as we learned to our cost, trying to sustain the previous high pace of growth was simply not healthy. The industry call for moderation is the next phase of a more mature recovery” he concluded.

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Following the real estate crash in 2006-2007, the USA property market is starting to show positive movement again, and many investors are now pouring back in.

According to the Financial Times, house prices ended in 2012 with the biggest annual gain since 2006, and sales of US homes last month were the highest level since mid 2008.

Mortgage rates in America are at a record low, unemployment levels are falling, and we now believe that house prices have hit the bottom, and are on the up again.

According to the national association of realtors, buyer traffic surged by 40% last month, as many institutional investors move in to take advantage of the market.Despite these positive gains, housing prices still remain around 30% below 2006 peak levels.

Propertiesabroad.com now has an office in Orlando, Florida and is able to offer its investors the most attractive deals. From repossession properties, to brand new luxury vacation villas, we handpick our properties to a very specific criteria, high rental yields and high capital gain potential.

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