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Cacophony Group Blog

Wednesday, April 25, 2012   /   by Raul Pineyro

South Florida real estate creeping back to normal

South Floridas real estate market is creeping back toward a more normal era. But the trend might not last long. New figures show bank-owned homes or those facing foreclosure no longer dominate the resale market, and homes for sale under normal circumstances now account for about half of real estate listings. Thats a switch from a year ago, when distressed properties accounted for 70 percent of listings. Normal sales are gaining traction, said David Dabby, a real estate consultant in Coral Gables. The normal market is separating itself. Douglas Elliman, a brokerage based in Miami Beach, issued a report Thursday showing significant price increases in some of the regions prime real estate markets. The report estimates the median sales price for a single-family home along the coast in Miami-Dade  generally east of I-95  increased 26 percent to $176,000 between the start of 2011 and the start of 2012. Analysts credited the shift with a decline in distressed properties: 65 percent o ...

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Thursday, December 22, 2011   /   by Raul Pineyro

South Florida mortgage rates at record lows, but who can get them?

Mortgage interest rates dropped to record lows last week, hitting rates not seen since the 1970s. But brokers say few of the many South Florida homeowners rushing to take advantage and refinance their loans will be able to qualify.

The region's high levels of unemployment and depressed property values have made it tougher for many borrowers, and lenders are demanding better credit histories and proof of income before they'll refinance a loan. Only about half of those in the region seeking to refinance may actually qualify for a loan - far lower than before the housing market bust, South Florida mortgage brokers say.

Still, for many borrowers who don't face those problems, the rush to refinance is on.

"There's been a lot of activity," said Claudine Claus, owner of Home Financing Center, which operates in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. She says the part of her business devoted to refinancing mortgages has quadrupled in the past 30 days, compared with the 30 days before t ...

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Thursday, December 22, 2011   /   by Raul Pineyro

Zillow: S. Fla. homes to lose $6.5 billion in value this year

South Florida homes and condominiums are expected to lose an astonishing $6.5 billion in value this year, real estate website Zillow.com said Thursday.

As bad as that is, it was more than four times worse in 2010, when homes and condos across Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties lost $28.6 billion in value.

Nationally, U.S. properties are on pace to lose $681 billion in value, down 35 percent from 2010.

“While homeowners suffered through another year of steep losses, the good news is that homes are losing value at a substantially slower pace as the market works its way (to) the bottom,” Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries said in a statement.

Just nine of 128 markets showed gains in home values during 2011, Zillow said. Metro New Orleans led the way with $3.5 billion in gains. Pittsburgh was second ($2.7 billion).

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011   /   by Raul Pineyro

Foreclosure-sales slowdown a blessing and a curse

Banks aren't ditching foreclosures at nearly the rate they were last year, which is helping to keep the housing market stable. But a recovery hinges on how long it takes to dispose of the huge backlog of distressed properties.



Distressed properties  those in some stage of foreclosure  edged up to 28% of all U.S. residential sales in the first quarter from 27% the previous quarter, according to RealtyTrac.

The percentage would have been higher, analysts say, but overall housing demand is weak and the banks are not disposing of these assets at nearly the rate they were at the same time last year, when distressed properties made up 29% of all sales.

The numbers tell the story: In the first quarter of this year, 158,434 bank-owned properties (or those in the foreclosure pipeline) were sold, a 36% decline from the first quarter of 2010 and a 16% decrease from the fourth quarter of last year.

Compare that with the nearly 350,000 distressed properties sold in the first quarter of 2009 ...

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011   /   by Raul Pineyro

5 things real-estate agents will do for free

With the housing slump not looking to end soon, real-estate agents, brokers and licensees continue to look for ways to remain competitive in a slow market. These extra efforts often include offering services beyond simply helping someone buy or sell a home.

"A lot of these services, people don't know to ask for," says Justine Smith, a principal agent at Moxie Realty Group in Austin, Texas. Smith says knowing what services that others are offering for free can help consumers differentiate among agents in their area.

MainStreet talked to real-estate experts to find out what services agents are willing to provide in an effort to keep your business. (Bing: How to interview a real-estate agent)

Home staging
Since first impressions can be key in swiftly selling a home, Austin Allison, a former real-estate agent and current CEO of DotLoop, a company that specializes in helping real-estate agents expand their technological offerings, says many real-estate agencies now provide home staging a ...

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