April real estate fools

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Castles in the Sand

Well here we are; it’s April 1st, April Fools’ Day, and most of us are camping out in our homes while some of the best spring weather is outside our doors. Fortunately, this is Florida and you can still ride your bike, take a walk or run your boat even if the beach is closed.

We, of course, have no idea when this is going to end and what effect it will have on the economy as a whole and specifically real estate values. We can assume there will be a serious impact which is really ironic in the face of the February Manatee County sales numbers, which are spectacular. So let’s start with those numbers as reported by the Realtor Association of Sarasota & Manatee.

The number of single-family homes closed 2.8% with the median selling price up 8.9% to $325,000 and the average sale price up 4.8% to $407,940 from February last year. The median time to sale was 90 days, down 7.2% and the month’s supply of properties was only 3.4 months, down 24.4%.

Condos closed 40.1% more properties in February compared to last year. The median sale price was $210,000 up 11.1% and the average sale price was $245,303 up 7.7%. Time to sale was 39 days, down 42.6% from last February, which was 68 days. And the month’s supply of properties was 4.5 months, down 10%. An interesting side note was the number of cash buyers which was up 22.4% for single-family homes and 15.7% for condos.

It almost doesn’t need to be said that March’s numbers won’t be anywhere near February’s; if they were, believe me, no one would be happier. There are some modifications the government and the Florida Realtors’ Association are making to help homeowners and buyers and sellers.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are suspending foreclosures and evictions of homeowners behind on their mortgages and at risk of losing their homes. The 60-day suspension affects about 182,000 homeowners who are in different stages of foreclosure. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is also suspending foreclosure actions for 60 days. In addition, borrowers affected by the coronavirus outbreak could reach out to their mortgage servicer for help in suspending payments for a period of time.

Finally, the Florida Realtors’ Association has released a new contract extension addendum that allows for time periods and dates to be extended as a result of the pandemic in the event the parties to the contract would like to extend the terms of the contract. Delays could be caused by travel restrictions, self-imposed and/or governmental required isolations, closure of offices that fund and close transactions as well as inactions of homeowners’ and condominium associations.

Some of the extension options are closing date, financing period, inspection period, title cure period, feasibility study period, due diligence period, homeowners’/condominium association approval and a provision for a loan-approved buyer should things change on the lenders’ side as a result of the pandemic.

I hope everyone is adhering to the coronavirus guidelines and not gathering in groups, staying home if you’re sick or older with underlying health issues and washing your hands on a regular basis. My personal best wishes to everyone to stay safe and healthy and be patient until our lives get back to normal.