Kick rocks is my new favorite expression thanks to a young nephew who was recently visiting. What does it mean? Well, according to what I found in the Urban Dictionary and other on-line sources, it kind a sort of means "get outta here" or "go away" or "I don't care what you think" or words not suitable for this publication. Nevertheless, it's a phrase that can be applied to just about anything in life or in real estate.
Nationally home prices continue to edge slowly downward. Some of this has to do with banks finally foreclosing on properties that have been sitting on their books for several years, and part of it has to do with all cash investors buying at deep discounts putting more downward pressure on prices. This has resulted in prices falling by 3.9 percent nationwide during the third quarter of the year in almost all of the 20 indexed cities tracked by the Case-Shiller National Index.
Florida, however, is just beginning to see a general improvement in the state's housing market. The median home sales price for the state remained stable for the third quarter of this year compared to the third quarter last year. In addition, according to the Florida Association of Realtors, Florida's existing house and existing condo sales have showed gains in the third quarter of 2011 compared to the third quarter of 2010.
The Manatee Association of Realtors' November sales statistics are generally looking pretty good. From November of 2010 compared to November of 2011 the median for sale price has increased 13.6 percent to $250,000 and the median sold price has increased 0.4 percent to $162,005. The number of single family homes for sale is down 28.9 percent but the under contract properties are up 50.2 percent and the sold properties are up 4.5 percent.
Manatee County condominiums are not doing as well in the area of closing prices which are down 35.5 percent, however, for sale listing prices are up 11.6 percent. Units sold are also up 23.1 percent and under contract units up a whopping 62.4 percent. So we're seeing a real positive trend going forward certainly in number of sales if not pricing.
Now with winter coming where sales tend to slow during the colder months, the national sales market could be even softer than it has been. When you combine cold weather with additional distressed sales coming on the market as banks unload more foreclosures it could make for a really tough three months in most parts of the country. But not in the sunshine state where the winter months are the best time of year to buy and sell property.
While the rest of the country is sitting under a blast of Arctic air, our season is just getting started with the influx of visitors and potential buyers looking for beach front or Island properties at discounted prices. On average in the country prices are down by 31 percent from their 2006 peak. This combined with mortgage rates around 4 percent, the lowest in 60 years, should bring the snow birds flying south at high speed.
There may also be another little positive indicator of a good real estate season. Consumers in general are feeling better about the economy. This increase in confidence was exhibited with the sharp rise in retail sales following Thanksgiving when most people start their holiday shopping.
We're all looking forward to a busy and profitable winter selling season in Florida and particularly on Anna Maria. So while the rest of the country may be kicking rocks, Florida's real estate market is starting to kick a…… Thank you, Zach.